September 14, 2015

Summer is Coming to a Close

Another summer has come to a close in the northern Rockies. It's been a very productive one for me in that I have been able to fish more and explore previously unfished creeks and streams. I've taken less video and this has been quite liberating. All I do is fish.

Looking back over the summer and this past spring I notice that I haven't fished dry flies at all. Not even once. When I fished with western gear I fished 90% dry and 10% subsurface. Since changing to tenkara I fish 98% subsurface and 2% dry flies. That's a big change!

I suppose the main reason for this shift is the type of stream I fish. Whereas before I fished larger waters and spring creeks now I fish almost exclusively mountain streams. I prefer high gradient boulder strewn waters and I find myself seeking these out more and more.

I suppose the second reason for the shift in flies is that I find dry fly fishing less interesting. With the dry fly I can easily see it and control it, whereas with the subsurface fly I can't. Can't see it, that is. With tenkara I can still control it very easily. I just enjoy the subsurface presentation more. My catch rates have gone way up with subsurface presentations and my enjoyment has also increased.

This past spring and summer has been the season of wool-bodied flies. I've talked about these before and they are still producing for me on the waters I fish. But as with all things in tenkara you have to take into consideration the local or regional water types, fish species, etc.  I'm not sure if these flies will work in eastern brook trout streams, let alone southern warm water ponds. What works for me may not work for other folks.

Here are the flies that have been this years biggest producers, so far. They are not pretty, because they've been fished!

Is my season over? Not by a long shot, since I fish mountain streams year round. In fact, we are just getting to the season I like the most for fishing -- autumn/winter. I've got some new clothing to test out, but I'll be doing fewer rod reviews and fewer videos. It's time to just go and fish.


  1. Interesting post, I just started tying flies and I found some of your videos and was inspired to tie a fly with really thick wool yarn that produced. Here it is.

    I do miss the vids though.... Thanks for all the great posts.

    1. I'm not stopping the videos, there just will be fewer. No worries.

  2. Our loss. Hope to see you checking in periodically. My brother fishes with me, it's something we share, but his interest is at this point, more recreational, whereas mine is kind of a holistic outlet thing.We both went out a couple years back and bought western fly rods.

    As soon as I found tenkara, I became obsessed. I work night shift and sometimes, I'm off work, but up late by myself. I tie a few flies, (creating "beauty"), cut tippet to certain lengths and coiling them on to small foam spools and labeling them (making "preparations"), cast with my yarn practice flies into a kiddie pool (making "exercise"), pouring over maps and seeking approaches to small squiggly blue lines, plotting coordinates into my gps (exploration).

    He is, besides my wife, my best friend. I can't just hit him over the head with it, I have to be subtle, or he will smile and shake his head too quickly in agreement in order to appease me, to humor me.

  3. Like always an excellent post. Really like the Shetland wood flies. this and SmallStreamRelections are my favorite blogs

  4. I thought the red worm would make the cut or your "bloody Prince" but apparently not.

    1. Both of those are excellent flies and caught a lot of trout this year too, but mainly during the higher water of spring. But once the water cleared they produce less.

  5. Gotta love those wool bodied flies! Easy to tie and they just flat out work!

  6. Those flies look wonderfully buggy. I usually brush mine with a soft bristled toothbrush before fishing them, have you done that here, or nature has done it for you? :)

    Meanwhile, I found your comments about switching to sub-surface very interesting, since I have found myself in the same exact boat. I used to fish mostly dries, and now I rarely ever fish them.

    I think part of it was that Tenkara "taught" me how to nymph properly. It helped me find the fish, and it helped me simplify my technique.

    I thought about this myself during a hot august day when I realized that it was the first season that I had not used a dry all season. I threw one on and grabbed a quick trout to make myself feel better... but then took it off and returned to nymphing. Funny.

  7. the wool body flies work very well for Virginia native brook trout. as well as the wild rainbows and browns we have. I do catch a few panfish and stocked trout. so all in all awesome flies for most waters and easy to tie!


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