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Lateral view of a Female Hexagenia limbata (Ephemeridae) (Hex) Mayfly Dun from the Namekagon River in Wisconsin
Hex Mayflies
Hexagenia limbata

The famous nocturnal Hex hatch of the Midwest (and a few other lucky locations) stirs to the surface mythically large brown trout that only touch streamers for the rest of the year.

Dorsal view of a Skwala (Perlodidae) (Large Springfly) Stonefly Nymph from the Yakima River in Washington
This Skwala nymph still has a couple months left to go before hatching, but it's still a good representative of its species, which was extremely abundant in my sample for a stonefly of this size. It's obvious why the Yakima is known for its Skwala hatch.
27" brown trout, my largest ever. It was the sub-dominant fish in its pool. After this, I hooked the bigger one, but I couldn't land it.
Troutnut is a project started in 2003 by salmonid ecologist Jason "Troutnut" Neuswanger to help anglers and fly tyers unabashedly embrace the entomological side of the sport. Learn more about Troutnut or support the project for an enhanced experience here.

Aaron7_8
Aaron7_8's profile picture
Helena Montana

Posts: 115
Aaron7_8 on Aug 10, 2008August 10th, 2008, 5:56 am EDT
I haven't been fly fishing for too long or exclusively, however, I have noticed an odd behavior while nymph fishing under a strike indicator. Have any of you had a problem with trout taking you strike indicator? This has happened a dozen or so times through out the year, and always with a orange pear shaped indicator. Also there was never a hatch going on and it always seemed to be the biggest fish in the given hole, which then spooked all the other trout around. Initially it was happening in late spring leading me to believe that the trout have mistaken it for a salmon fly, but the last time it happened was the first weekend in August. I am confused any experiences????????
CaseyP
CaseyP's profile picture
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
CaseyP on Aug 10, 2008August 10th, 2008, 6:26 am EDT
put a hook on the indicator and you're good to go. especially now, when terrestrials are on the menu. your fly shop may, in fact, sell Indicator Flies made of bright fuzzy stuff.

your experience happens to me when i use a brightly-colored indicator. mostly i use a few strands of olive and yellow Antron yarn tied in a sparse bunch an appropriate distance above the nymph and treated with floatant. this looks like any other piece of river floatie and doesn't spook the fish. the texture is great for poor visibility on smoother water; otherwise, the colors are pretty visible. really bouncy water requires a few more strands of yarn. if you're repeatedly drifting over one spot, you can even vary the shape of the yarn bunch to fool the fish with advanced degrees.

hope this helps.
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
Trtklr
Banned
Michigan

Posts: 115
Trtklr on Aug 11, 2008August 11th, 2008, 4:23 am EDT
I agree with casey put a hook on that indicator. this is why when I nymph fish I just use a big 8 or 10 dry as an indicator, cause ya never know.
I have seen nothing more beautiful than the sunrise on a cold stream.
Mblanken
Cocoa, FL

Posts: 1
Mblanken on Aug 12, 2008August 12th, 2008, 11:38 am EDT
I've had this happen, too, but mainly with stocked fish in NC and VA. I think the shape of my strike indicator (I use football-shaped indicators) might remind of them of the trout chow from the hatchery.

Or it just could be something different looking that looks worth taking a bite out of. I try not to give trout too much credit for reasoning.

However, in your case, and again thinking from the fish's perspective, a relatively big, pear-shaped object would look like a beetle floating in the current to me. Especially considering that, with the bright sky as a backdrop, the orange color might not be so evident to the fish...he might just see a dark silhouette that's roughly the size and shape of a beetle.

I like fishing with nymphs, too, but if "the biggest fish in the given hole" just busted my strike indicator, I might be inclined to have a seat on the nearest big rock, tie on a nice foam beetle pattern about the same size as my strike indicator, and puff on a cigar for about 10 or 15 minutes. From a safe distance, see if you can see the fish on his lie while you're waiting. Let everything calm back down, then float your beetle down the same seam where you got that strike.

One of my favorite things to do is to find a fish like that, and then to change my strategy/presentation/fly until I figure out how to get him to take.

Good luck! Wish I was in Montana having trout bust up my strike indicators...if you're going to have a problem, that's the kind to have!
Aaron7_8
Aaron7_8's profile picture
Helena Montana

Posts: 115
Aaron7_8 on Aug 14, 2008August 14th, 2008, 12:18 pm EDT
Hdey thanks for the imput. I will have to try a hopper dropper set up next time seeing how those are in abundance now.
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Aug 18, 2008August 18th, 2008, 7:29 am EDT
My brother has this happen to him fairly frequently on the little fly-fishing bobbers that are orange and chartreuse (I make sure to comment on how effective his bait-fishing rig is as often as possible when we fish together).

I've had this happen a few times as well, but on the deer-hair indicators I tie myself. It has never happened enough for me to put a hook on the indicator, though. Most memorable was the time an 18-inch wild rainbow inhaled my chartreuse deer-hair indicator while I mended it in a large pocket. When he hit it, illogically and out of pure reflex I set the "hook" on my hookless indicator. Happily, I drew the leader through his mouth and hooked him with the small nymph I had been fishing unsuccessfully. I landed him after a nice fight and considered it a fair-hooked fish, the best of the day by far.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
Mcjames
Cortland Manor, NY

Posts: 139
Mcjames on Aug 19, 2008August 19th, 2008, 5:47 am EDT
yes this has happened a few times, and its always kind of a letdown... I spend all that time trying to understand insect life cycles and behavior; all that time at the tying bench trying to perfect realistic patterns; and the trout hits my indicator?! shame on you, trout-- you are supposed to be smarter than that. although I guess maybe the orange putty I've been using resembles an egg?
I am haunted by waters
Leakywaders
New England

Posts: 43
Leakywaders on Aug 24, 2008August 24th, 2008, 12:36 am EDT
I still remember trout hitting my Dad's cigarret filters as they drifted down the river. I also remember finding all kinds of junk (leaves, sticks,etc.) in the stomics of the trout I cought. Think they were hatchery fish that were used to eating everything that came down the chute.
I've often wondered what would happen if I drifted a bass bug down a pool and popped it a few times.
Keep in mind that tout (like bass) will eat anything alive that they can fit into their mouth, and that the only way they can feel (no hands)or taste an object is with their mouth. The grashopper indicater sounds like a good idea.
Drag free??? If the fly didn't drag, I wouldn't know where it was!!
CaseyP
CaseyP's profile picture
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
CaseyP on Aug 24, 2008August 24th, 2008, 3:07 am EDT
Dad's cigarret filters--Leakywaders

i kid you not: there in the fly shop yesterday was a Butt Fly, ash and all. if it had not been $5 i would have given it a shot, the Yellow Breeches being a bit difficult once the trout gave up on good old ants'n'beetles.

lemmeno if you try one!
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Aug 24, 2008August 24th, 2008, 7:32 am EDT
I met a guy once who made his own poppers out of cigarette filters. He would lacquer them and put them on the hook with various feathers. They looked pretty good, just about the right size for trout, but I would be skeptical that they would hold their shape enough after being chewed on by a few fish. Perhaps a cigarette-butt popper indicator would be effective. I might just try it.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
Freepow
menomonie, WI

Posts: 83
Freepow on Aug 24, 2008August 24th, 2008, 5:17 pm EDT
Its been happening to me too...I had 2 different trout hit my strike indicator in the last 2 weeks. I have since made it my policy to not put a egg shaped neon indicator on during hopper season...especially during the dog-days of summer when a fish hitting anything can be rare. Makes you question everything you know about fly fishing when nothing hits all day except for some dumb trout on your indicator.

The hopper dropper works well. Has anyone figured out a way to tie on the hopper for the dropper with a knot that is adjustable? That is one thing I have trouble with is not being able to adjust anything once the tippet is tied onto the hopper hook. It can be quite restrictive.
"I fish...because I suspect that men are going along this way for the last time, and I for one don't want to waste the trip..."
CaseyP
CaseyP's profile picture
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
CaseyP on Sep 16, 2008September 16th, 2008, 6:41 am EDT
had to share this post from another forum--a unique solution!

http://www.flyanglersonline.com/bb/showthread.php?t=23360&page=2

look for posting #13 on page 2
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra

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