Tuesday 12 November saw me catch my first fish on a dry fly in the highland lakes. I had heard on the grape vine that there had been an odd fish or two coming to dries during the first weeks of November. Previous to all this there has been some great fishing to tailers on Little Pine Lagoon and frog feeders in the Nineteen Lagoons. To see the antics of these fish the angler needs to be lakeside at daybreak or late evening, although there are odd times such as a very overcast rainy day where the fish will do their tailing, chasing and charging acts all day.
Getting back to the week mid-November when we had some really warm days-it brought out all sorts of insects such as gum beetles, ladybirds, Great Lake beetle, soldier beetles and even an odd dun, so the prime fishing was finally getting underway.
It's at this time some decisions need to be made-either continue fishing wet or to drift a dry around hoping a snout or two will show. It's better to wait till the trout start taking off the top consistently before getting too excited.
The way to get some advantage over the fish is to hang a dropper under a dry. The dry needs to be a buoyant pattern, remembering the dropper will add extra weight to this set up. The length of the dropper needs to be around six inches, tied off the bend of the dry fly hook. The dropper fly need only be dressed lightly.
The dry fly being a well dressed dry-as the angler needs to move the dry to get some attention from the fish. Remember, when the dry is moved so too will the dropper. On the other hand if a fish takes the dropper the dry will act as an indicator.
Choosing what flies to use at this time of year is a little bit hit and miss especially for the dry, I find a palmer body fly is good because it floats well or a foam gum beetle as this too will stay on top. The dropper will always be one of two flies-a Brown Nymph or a Stick Caddis. The Brown Nymph is my usual preference as I happily think it can also represent a stick caddis.
When dressing the following fly make sure it is not overly dressed. The legs are important as they give it life.
Hook: Long shanked medium guage hook, size 14-16
Tail: Dark brown cock fibres - small bunch
Rib: Fine copper wire
Dubbing: Claret seals fur
Wing case: Strip off a pheasant feather
Thorax: Claret seals fur
Legs: Small bunch feather tips
1. Take thread full length of shank and tie in tail, then rib.
2. Dub on claret seals fur, make sure not to over dub body. Bring the seals fur two thirds along the shank toward the eye, now bring rib forward in nice even turns to this point, tie rib down and cut away excess.
3. Tie in pheasant feather slip for wing case. Now dub thorax on with claret seals fur. Do not overcrowd the eye with dubbing.
4. Take a small bunch of pheasant feather fibres, then tie them in with only a short length of the tips facing toward the bend of the hook. Cut away excess fibres.
5. Bring pheasant feather slip over the top of thorax for wing case, tie down firmly and cut away excess slip.
6. Form a nice little head, whip finish and varnish.
This will be the last article for this year, so I may wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy new year. May you all have a new tying vice in your Christmas stocking.