Fishing a dry-dropper | VailDaily.com
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Fishing a dry-dropper

Jim Kanda, Gore Creek Fly Fisherman

For those of you who are new to the game or have been holed up in some dark, far-off place, I would like to introduce and recommend a very effective way to fish our rivers and streams here in the Eagle Valley. Because our fisheries are losing water daily due to our dwindling snowpack, I would recommend fishing a dry-dropper rig to increase your chances at catching some trout. Though somewhat intimidating to the beginner, the dry-dropper setup is by far one of the best ways to approach our rivers during the latter stages of runoff. In fact, I would recommend fishing this way throughout the summer and even into the fall months.Currently, I would recommend starting your rig with a medium- to large-sized attractor or natural dry fly. Some great dry fly patterns to try are: Stimulators in orange, royal or yellow, Royal Wullfs, PMXs in peacock or lime, H&L variants, Dorseys Limeade, Elk Hair Caddis tan, black or peacock, Colorado Green Drakes, Fowlers Green Drake and Furimskys BDE Drake. Generally you will want to select dry flies that are buoyant and can easily suspend weighted nymphs or split shot. Once you tie on your dry fly, you will have a decision to make. Do you tie on one or two droppers?” Here is where it becomes intimidating to those who tend to find themselves constantly untangling a single fly, let alone two or three; and yes this method of fishing can be rather expensive, especially if you have a hook set that is better suited for bass found in the ponds of Florida and Missouri. When rigging your first dropper, take a piece of tippet that ranges between 18 to 28 inches in length and tie it directly to the bend of your dry fly hook by using a clinch or improved clinch knot. Once the tippet is tied on, you can either tie on a weighted nymph, unweighted nymph or an emerger to the opposite end of your tippet. If you choose a weighted nymph, you will be fishing two different fly patterns within two different water columns one on the surface and one at or near the bottom. This is beneficial not only in finding where fish are feeding, but also in determining what stage of the insects lifecycle they are keying in on. If you choose to fish an emerger behind your dry fly, you will be fishing a dry on top and an emerger towards the middle or top water columns. Often, when you are fishing in the middle of a hatch, you may notice a fish that is rhythmically taking flies off the surface. Here is where fishing an unweighted emerger in addition to your adult dry can be very effective. Many people share the common misconception that when they see a fish physically rising that they must be keying in on adult dries. It is quite often the opposite. Fish tend to key in on the emergence or crippled stage of an insects life because of its vulnerability. When emerging, the insects cannot fly away nor can they crawl back underneath rocks along the bottom. If you choose to fish a second dropper, bringing your total fly count to three, you can in essence fish all three water columns and three different lifecycles. Though intimidating and expensive, the triple threat is by far the most productive and exciting way to hook into a bunch of fish. Some great nymph patterns to try are: Copper Johns in red, black or chartreuse, Prince of Darkness, Tung Prince, Ms Pickpocket, Micro Mayfly, Tung. Pheasant Tails, Trinas Bubble Back BWO, Bottom Rollers in psycho or hydrop, Z-Wing Caddis and Poxyback Green Drake Nymphs. Some great emerger patterns to try are: LaFontaines Sparkle Caddis Pupa, Barrs Graphic Caddis in tan or olive, Lawsons Caddis Emerger in tan or olive, Roy Palms Special Emerger, Loop Wing BWO Emerger, Barrs BWO Emerger, Batwing BWO, Sparkle Wing RS2 and Barrs PMD Emergers.To help prevent the inevitable tangle at the end of your fly rod when fishing a dry-dropper or dry-double dropper rig, you will want to slow down and open up your cast just a bit. So, if you have the patience and the deep pockets to try something new, I think you will be greatly rewarded by learning and fishing a dry-dropper or triple-threat rig.


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