Tag Archive: rigging flies


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Bob Korose, from Florida has a terrific reason to smile. Davy Wotton photo

Looks like we have a good turnaround at BSD after last years didymo mess which most certainly caused the fish at the dam to suffer due to loss of food base.

The past months of high water more or less blew out the didymo and has allowed at least some better aquatic vegetation some of which is a pain in the arse.
Due to the amount of undesirable chemical issues in the lake it seems each year we see worse issues of filamentous alga, it not going to hurt
the fish, but having to make sure our flies are clean at all times is a pain. (Its going to get worse once the alga starts to die off which it will as water temps rise and generations break it.
The deal here is to avoid rising water at the time.)

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Dave Chamberlain enjoys his annual Spring fishing on the White River, no wonder why. Photo courtesy of Davy Wotton.

The deal at Bull Shoals Dam is to know depths you are fishing and set your rigs up in such a way as you are not dragging flies on the river bed, further more contrary to what others may say it is not necessary to have your flies drag the river bed.
Trout are well capable of seeing your flies and for that matter naturals at least a one foot if not more above the river bed.
Natural stream hydraulics’ and varying depths not to mention structure move food sources at all depths within the water column. 

In some case l may well set my rigs up so as the flies are suspended two foot above. Its all related to the type of fly patterns you are using and how you wish to present them.

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New Jersey John - Speechless, but happy! Photo courtesy of Davy Wotton

Bull Shoals Dam, as most know has always been one of my go to sections of the river, after some 20 years fishing it l am more than familiar with its whims and ways which are so very different to any other section of the White River and for the most part the habits of the trout that reside there are the same. They are very much influenced by what is going on generation wise, they chop and change where they will choose to feed in given zones based on which gates are open and there is never a constant so far as what is needed to catch them in any number or for that matter choice of flies and method those flies are presented.

Sure you can run a simple rig with a worm or nymph and maybe catch a few or none or the flies you are using will be totally ignored. I would say in all honestly that my fly box for BSD contains more different patterns than needed for the rest of the White river. Nymphs, dries, emergers, midges , soft hackles wet flies, streamers, bait fish patterns you name it, they are all needed at times.

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Bob Korose said, "these fish are something else." Photo courtesy of Davy Wotton.

Gone are the days when trophy bows were somewhat the norm at the dam, 20 inch fish are for sure a prize by todays standards, and for me that is what l choose to target for my customers, way more worthy than a 20 inch Brown, l know how to catch them if they are in a feeding mood. That said we do catch a whole bunch of smaller fish.

Recent weeks at the dam have been good both for numbers and many fish from 18 to 24 inches, fish in the 3 to 5 lb class weight.

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Seeing spots sure makes a guy smile, ask Mike Lloyd! Photo courtesy of Davy Wotton

Do l have a secret fly? No, not at all; it’s based on experience. 100’s of trips fishing that dam and knowing what flies to use at the time that will get the fish interested. That said the majority of my fly patterns will be related to my White Tail various chironomid patterns, super and prism midges in various colors and patterns of my grass worms.

If the fish are surface feeding then other fly patterns will come into play as will a shad kill.

Davy Wotton

(posted by Teresa “TBird” Van Winkle April 7, 2016)

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Some 20 years or more ago l wrote a article for a UK magazine, Fly Fishing and Fly Tying regarding how weight addition would alter the attitude of a fly. This was well before the days when bead heads became popular, which as we know today are added to the vast majority of nymph and streamer patterns.

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The reverse option applied- Davy Wotton

The article included how lead wire or lead shot would alter how the fly drifted or animated based on how much and where that weight was added. For example if the weight was added at the rear end of the fly it would alter how they fly presented as opposed to weight added at the head end of the fly either on the hook or above it on the leader/tippet.

There is no doubt that bead headed fly patterns have a place but not always. That said by a simple process the fly fisher can for the same fly pattern used have many options in so far as altering how that fly will fish and by what attitude or movement it can be presented be that dead drift or with animated movement such as fishing wet fly, soft hackles and streamers.

This will also change the relative position of the hook point.

So here is the deal.  l carry with me a box which contains tungsten beads of different sizes and colors, size of bead is of course related to the weight. Many of my fly patterns are not adorned with a bead head included on the hook shank.

l now have many options to change the fly by the addition of bead size and color, or number of beads used,  more to the point by the addition of the bead to the tippet or leader above the hook eye it will cause the fly to fish hook upper-most.

There fore as a example… You can have many variations of say woolly buggers or other streamers in your box without bead heads. By adding a bead above the fly the hook will fish up and not down so very much, reducing the hang ups. It will also allow for you to fish the fly much slower.

More to the point it will also change dramatically how your fly animates ( Subject to how you fish it and with what fly line you use ) as the further effect is that the bead is able to move freely above the hook eye.

This method works equally well for nymphs, wet fly and soft hackles.

More or less you have now changed the fly in such a way as it acts like a jig, but it is not a fixed position as such.

Davy Wotton

(Posted by Teresa “TBird” Van Winkle 12-11-2014)