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Fishing in & under the film with emergers and flash back P.t


Dry Flies Only
Guys I though I would start a new post,but just a continuaton of the one called Micro fibets.
I just want to make it clear that I use these patterns and techiques,when I am fishing to rising fish.Some call it Dry-fly fishing,I call it fishing to the rise.
I will start with the pattern I use from 6-10 inches below the film(surface) and will go thru every phase of emergence until dun.
Most consider the emegence of a mayfly only 4 stages 1.Fish a nymph on the bottom. 2.Fish an emerger on the surface 3. Fish the dun and 4. spinner stage.
I break it down in 11 stages

1. Nymphing on the bottom
2. Swinging or lifting the nymph off the bottom to imitate the initial ascent of the nymphs to the surface.
Ok heres "where" in the river ,I have found that most fish will feed on mayflies when I see rising fish. All of these stages in one way shape or form will leave a disturbance on the surface which is visible in most cases.
3. A pheasant with a bead head,and Flash back for the wing case fished under the surface film 4-10 inches.
4 Same pattern as above with no bead,fished 1-4 inches below the film.
5. Same pattern as above with cdc as wing case tied on a dry fly hook fished in the film.
There are two ways of fishing these patterns the first is the easiest method which is>
#'s 3,4,and 5 are fished as a dropper off the back of an adult that matches the current hatch happening at that time.You will want to tie the pattern anywhere from 8-16 inches off the back.The reason for the different lenghts, is the longer the tippet the deeper the fly will go. The reason you will have to experiment with different depths is that different species will hatch anywhere from 12 inches under the film to the film.(except quill gordons)they hatch on the streams bottom.

Obviously if #3 the Bh is not working go to #4 this will Put your pattern closer to the film,and if necassary go to #5 which will put your pattern in the film.

Always make your presentaion Down and Across-stream when using this techique.

I tie Pheasnats tails this way from sizes 12-22,and use the p,t 90% of the time the other 10% I use a hares ear to match the "fattter" species.

Ok the harder method>

No droppers, I fish these patterns with the same technique,casting Down and across to rising fish.What makes it very hard is you do not see your pattern.This way is very intense and takes some real concentration.One trick I learned out west is to put an indicator on your fly line right above where your leader is connected to the fly line.NEVER ON THE LEADER!

I rarley use an indicator but when on large rivers with declining light it is ofen needed.Either way you are always focused on the general area looking for a disturbance/rise form near where you think your fly is, or the slightest movement of your leader or indicator.In most cases your doing all of the above which is what makes it intense.

The way to varie your depths is by just going up the ladder with #'s 3,4,and 5 . NO GREASE! on the leader.

6. A cdc emerger tied on a scud hook.This is the stage where the dun is shedding its nymphal schuck and its wings are starting to unfold.The Antron or Zlon will imitate the peeling schuck,the cdc if tied in right with look just like the wings when they start to unfold and also give off tiny air bubbles as the naturals do.Its tied on a csud hook so that half the body is still under the film.If you want to see my pattern go to " First swap" on this web site and I have one there under JOE.T FLIES.

7.Down winged emerger pattern.Tied with deer hair as you would tie a caddis with a trailing shuck.It imitates the stage right after # 6 the wings are now straight back before they go upright and the body is tied on a std dry fly hook and it will be on the surface.If you want to see one go to http://www.mayfly.com go to I think products and then click on mayfly selections.

For 6&7 present these as you would any dry fly!

8.Sparkle dun or comparadun with trailing shuck
9.Same as above with of course Micro fibets
10.Semi spent spinner
11.spent spinner

Guys I GUARANTEE regardless of your experince if you sart to match not just the hartch but the stages you will catch more fish.

These pattterns and techiques should be used after you have tried your adult pattern".

Even though you may always catch fish, wouldnt you rather have a 20,30 or even a 40 fish day vs. a 5-10 fish day?This of course is if your a match the hatch guy.

And for you Delaware guys these patterns and techniques can be the difference from getting skunked or only managaing a couple of fish vs 8-12 fish night which as you Delware guys know is not so easy at times.Especially when fishing to those "wise" wild giants.

Some Books on the subject
1.Emergers by Swisher and Richards
2.Hatches 11 by Al caucci, although a book on mayflies in general he talks about in detail the emergence of each Genera of mayflies.
3.Mayflies by Malcolm Knopp & Robert Cormier a great book on mayflies as hatches 11 but gets into much greater detail with regards to patterns and the emergence of mayflies.


JoeT, this has got to be one of the most informative posts that I've seen on FFing on any board ever!!! Not only do you know your subject exceptionally well, you've explained it clearly and in detail.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge with all of us. Hope to see you on the stream so I can thank you in person!

Joe, you have to get out -- SOON ! Keep me posted on the arriving little flyfisher. Talk to you next week. Later.
My concern on having the right flies for the right situation is very focused (this fishing season) on the emerging nymph, not just the emerging dun. There have been numerous times, more so than others, in which the emerging nymph pattern for caddis AND mayfly have been the key pattern. My history on studying emergers goes back over 20 years. Emerging olive nymphs and shucked emergers are a requirement when fishing the limestone rivers and creeks near my home. Matching emerging midges and caddis are also another requirement, down here as well. British author/writer by the name of John Goddard first really opened my eyes to the study of emerging nymphs and returning olive spinners that actually dive into the water to lay eggs! I must also mention that Gary Lafontaine is another great source of information. FYI, Rene Harrop has published a great book (of which I have not purchased, just perused.)

Rene Harrop flies: http://www.danica.com/flytier/rharrop/rharrop.htm The guides of which I collaborate with, are incredible fisherman, really follow this guy.

Also another great link focused on Rene Harrop theories and practices:


Also check out this published book that focused on Emergers:

Emergers ©1991 (#1) Swisher, Doug & Richards, Carl ISBN 1-55821-095-4

Emergers ©1991 (#2 signed copy) Swisher, Doug & Richards, Carl ISBN 1-55821-095-4

This is a hell of a book. Must read as it focuses on this plus other areas of theory and practice:

Trout and the Fly, The ©1980 Goddard, John & Clarke, Brian ISBN 0-385-17141-2

Also, I must also mention that Gary Lafontaine is another great source of information.

Caddisflies ©1981 LaFontaine, Gary J. ISBN 0-8329-3508-5

Trout Flies - http://www.greycliff.com/Books/TFPP/body_tfpp.html

I believe that there are discreet stages of mayfly, caddis and diptera emergence of which trout key on.

The one stage in particular of which I see many fish focusing attention on is the stage of the nymph releasing gasses from its thorax. (This particular emphasis by trout is routinely seen during caddis and mayfly hatching activity on the Delaware River system). During this stage, the shuck starts to push through the thorax area. This stage leaves the nymph in a very vulnerable position, thus it's initial entry into the upper third water column. This stage is BEFORE the ALMOST full release of the wings from the shuck. The shuck has not been released or penetrated the thorax during this stage. You call this stage 2 through 5.

During this stage, I have seen many trout slash and feed aggressively, sometimes revealing the trout as just flashes in all three areas of the water column. For example, I sometimes initially think that trout are rising to emerging or fully emerged mayflies/caddis, when in fact they are taking emerging nymphs that are actively releasing gasses and starting the process of pushing it's internal wing pads out of the thorax area.

I have read and used emerging shuck nymphal patterns, which provide a regular nymph body (pattern) with a slightly exaggerated shuck. The shuck/thorax area typically employs the use darker hen/CDC fibers to provide this pronounced and darkened emerging wing pads. You employ the use of a flashback material. Gary LaFontaine chooses to use clear or white Antron.

This type of pattern is not mimicked by the current CDC Compara Dun pattern. That mimics your discussion of emerging mayfly duns. You call this stage 6 or stage 7.

I find your usage of flashback pheasant tails and interesting method (in addition to using various presentation depths and motion) as it is a very compelling technique. What is different (although not new as the flashback nymph and pheasant tail patterns have been employed for many years) is your focus to mimic the stage of this emergence via presentation and pattern type. You are employing very advanced techniques that most anglers do not typically attempt. (This has been documented by many anglers/authors: Joseph Humphrey, James Leisenring, etc.) Your use of a nymphal pattern with a flash type of shuck attempts to mimic the releasing gasses of the shuck.

Therefore, an emerging nymph is not the same as an emerging dun. A dun body's color and proportions is very different from an emerging nymph.

Emerging caddis nymph = emerging caddis (deep or emergent) pupae, fyi.

Yes, discrete genera of the family Baetidae, do employ the behavior of ovipositing under water. The comment was not meant to confuse the general public BUT to just mention that this particular behavior was documented within the book entitled Trout and the Fly, as previously posted.
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Wow! A great thread.... Great contributions! I've really gotten schooled here with regard to fishing to fish below the film but in the upper part of the water column! It's like a whole new frontier is opening up to me! I haven't really attempted to fish in this manner during hatches except for Caddis hatches but you bet that I'm tying up lots of Pts and pre fim emergers as the season is really going to kick in over the next two weeks.
I though I would add something very imporatnt regarding this subject.

The rise.When fish are eating nymphs that are beginning there emergence to the dun stage, in the upper part of the water column(stages 3-5),you will almost always see the "Porpoising rise.".

This rise is unmistakable..You will see backs,fins and sometimes tails breaking the surface.This is also known as Bulging to some.

The fish will position themselves in the upper water coloumn just beneath the surface and pick off these nymphs in great numbers for hours during a good hatch.It is a very efficient way for them to eat.They will also eat certain emerging caddis in the film in the same manner.

On the Delaware and its branches this is a daily occurence.I have seen these rises over the years thousands of times.I have some incredible video taken a few years back on the Missouri river,filming a pod of trout feeding in this manner.There are times on the missouri river that there are so many fish bulging that it apears to be a mini set off riffs.
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Does anyone know if there is such a thing as a sparkle bead? In fact I kind of recall some patterns tied in this fashion (with plastic beads). On the other hand the fashback material probably does a fine job in any case.

Last year I observed hendrikson's nypmhs rising in the water column to the film and it's no wonder fish key in on the gas bubbles and the reflection of light. This is one of the first things the eye focuses upon and was the most notable feature of the nymphs.

Joe T. Has the big event happened yet? BTW you have the same B-day as my youngest son.:D
This is why I'm goin' fishing with this fly fishing "nut" out west this summer. Good guy and he's a fishing encyclopedia. Can't wait, less than six months to go. Great info!

Don't know about sparkle beed, but I've tried a few turns of crystal flash for the same effect (gas bubble).

Joe, something "beginners" don't seem to notice is the different rises and takes. Very often I'll see some folks running after the "just under the surface" takes and go for "dry flies". A trick from the still waters, a splashy rise could be subsurface takes. I look for sipping and absence/presence of bubbles in the rise to see if they are in the film or under it.

My 0.02$ (great thread by the way ...)
Sunken Spinners - Another Fly and Fishing Technique

Another article was published by Kelly Galloup about Sunken Spinners which may ring true as well for fishing those technical rivers we all enjoy.

I just wish that he would acknowledge that John Goddard mentioned this over 20 years ago in his own publication as well and that this is not an undocumented behaviour.

"Sunken Spinners" Kelly Galloup - Flyfisherman Magazine - September 2004
vox vocis

JoeT's thread is dead on.

I have reviewed the thread and it is good sometimes that we do go back and re-post threads that have a significant impact or knowledge base that is a benefit for all.

I enjoyed the original post so well that I printed it. It was timely then and just as important now.

As always, on your side,