Three Distinct Fly Fishing Phases

by Fly Fisherman

There are three distinct phases of fly fishing:
1—Dry or floating fly.
2—Wet fly and streamer.
3–Nymph and Larvae.

Dry fly fishing is the easiest insofar as performance is concerned. Successful results is another factor. Nymph fishing enacted properly is the most difficult of the three and requires the most knowledge and know how. Wet fly fishing is the best known and at one time was practically the only manner in which flies were fished.

The dry fly simulates, primarily, emerged (hatched) duns, spinners egging, spent spinners, hatched caddis or sedge flies, hatched stone flies, ants, bees, grasshoppers and other land flies accidently or purposely caught on the water’s surface. The wet fly counterfeits nymphs and aquatic insects working to the surface to emerge as flies, aquatic or land flies damaged or dead under the surface and small minnows. The nymph fly imitates the true underwater stage of the aquatic fly in its living state preceding and up to the point where it is ready for the emergence as a flying insect. It is difficult to draw a line between the regular wet fly and the nymph fly inasmuch as the simulations overlap in many instances. The streamer fly, a type of wet fly, represents the minnow or “fry” period of the fish in the stream.

There are certain and definite periods in fishing when one of the three fly phases is dominantly the one to use for the most successful fishing. You hear or know of individual fishermen who confine themselves to one phase only and swear by it. He’s eccentric and missing out on a lot of additional pleasure. Usually the fisherman who limits himself to this one phase and is not adverse to shouting about its merits is the fisherman who understands little or nothing of the other methods and doesn’t want it known too widely. Use of any method of the group is as purely sportsmanlike as the others and the fisherman can class himself as a purist or stylist if he so desires.

I could supply pages of diagrams showing a section of a stream and outlining the various currents, where I stood while casting and indicating where my fly was placed as the pools, pockets and rifles were searched. I could tell you that I took two fish from position No. 1 and three good ones from position No. 2, but I only succeeded in taking one of three pounds from position No. 3. I could elaborate on what I did in each instance and expect that it would help you in your efforts to catch trout. It will not help you one iota and as for emphasizing my ego I only like to tell fishing “truths” when those whom I am belaboring with my saga have a comeback with their own “truths.” Also, if I were strictly honest about the fictional diagram I’d probably have to tell you that not one rise occurred except at position No. 3 and he didn’t stay on the hook. I contend that these episodes and stream maps make jolly reading but that it is extremely questionable whether or not you would ever be in that same location, under the same conditions, and if you were you wouldn’t recognize it.

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