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Fly Fishing in Adverse Conditions: Bring the Big Fly Box

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Yesterday I had the opportunity to hit the river for a few hours. I knew that my rod and fly box were already in the back of the car, so I headed out to the river. I picked a place that had been productive fly fishing for me before, and parked beside another angler.

He and his two sons were just getting out of the river with three nice strings of trout. All of Hand tied flies in fly boxthem at the limit. They all had spinning rods and looked like they’d been using either Blue Fox or Rooster Tail lures. I figured it would be a good day.


The problem was that I’d only brought my small fly box. I had the flies I’d used last time I was at the river, when I’d caught two large rainbows, hooked another, and brought in a few small rainbows.

The river was high, murky, and flowing fast. No hits on anything in the fly box. Black, brown, and olive woolly buggers are normally productive on this river. Not today. Trout crack didn’t get any hits except from a finger sized bait fish. With and without cone heads. I added weight to get the fly down. I went to several nymphs. Nothing.

To add insult to injury, the guy next to me was talking constantly. And caught fish on his spinning rod with a UV black, purple, and silver Rooster  Tail. One of them was a nice rainbow.

Lesson learned.

First of all, I’m going to restock my small boxes. I’m going to include some chartreuse and pink colors, streamers, and bucktails. Larger nymphs with more weight and bead heads in black as well as gold and silver. And I’ll replace the thin skin in my Copper John pattern with something UV like Fino skin.

I wonder if that would have changed the day?

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