Copyright
Louis Rhead.

How to fish the dry fly; describing the latest up-to-date necessary tackle, its cost, and where to get it and the proper method of using it. A description of the American and English dry flies, also how to fish various nymphs from the bottom upwards in place of worms if trout do not respond to flies online

. (page 1 of 3)
Online LibraryLouis RheadHow to fish the dry fly; describing the latest up-to-date necessary tackle, its cost, and where to get it and the proper method of using it. A description of the American and English dry flies, also how to fish various nymphs from the bottom upwards in place of worms if trout do not respond to flies → online text (page 1 of 3)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


SH



UC-NRLF




O
CO
00
O



CO

>-



New art of using dry flies that imitate American Trout-Stream Insects

& "*






IP

SBSffilWy /



HOW TO FISH THE DRY FLY
FLOATING ON THE SURFACE

ALSO

HOW TO FISH VARIOUS NYMPHS
FROM THE BOTTOM UPWARDS

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY

LOUIS RHEAD



Sfew art of bottom fishing \vith nymphs copied from Natural Insects

PRICE 50c

Sent Postpaid on receipt of price




er







Edward J. Mills Ex-Champion Dry Fly Caster on the Stream



HOW TO FISH - DRY FLY

DESCRIBING THE LATEST UP-TO-DATE NECESSARY

TACKLE, ITS COST, AND WHERE TO GET IT

AND THE PROPER METHOD OF USING IT.

A DESCRIPTION OF THE AMERICAN

AND ENGLISH DRY FLIES

ALSO

HOW TO FISH VARIOUS NYMPHS

FROM THE BOTTOM UPWARDS IN PLACE OF

WORMS IF TROUT DO NOT RESPOND TO FLIES

EARLY IN THE SEASON OR

DURING THE LATE

SUMMER

By

LOUIS
(RHEAD

AUTHOR OF

TROUT STREAM INSECTS :: BOOK OF FISH AND FISHING
FISHERMAN'S LURES AND GAME FISH FOOD



PRIVATELY PRINTED AND ISSUED BY

LOUIS RHEAD, 217 OCEAN AVENUE, BROOKLYN, N. Y., U.S. A




CONTENTS

How TO FISH DRY FLY 5

DRY FLY TACKLE 8

The Rod 8

Some "Don'ts" Regarding Rods 8

The Reel 9

The Line 10

Points on the Care of Line 11

The Leader 12

Points on Care of Leaders 12

THE DRY FLY ITSELF 13

Fly Attachment to Leader 14

Flies Most Suitable for Surface Fishing 14

What Fly Shall We Choose? 14

Dry Fly Methods Casting 15

Casting Up Stream and Across 16

Fishing the Rising Trout 17

Fishing Where Trout Are Not Rising 18

Cross Currents Line Dragging 18

Dry and Wet Fishing Compared 19

How TO FISH THE NYMPH 21

Bottom Lures for Trout. . 27



Copyright, 1921, by Louis Rhead



HOW TO FISH DRY FLY




A7 M10 A 10. M2.

How to Fish Dry Flies that Imitate American Trout Stream Insects

The Floating Fly is More Widely Known

The dry fly has made rapid strides in the estimation of
American trout fishermen during the last ten years, so that
the new art is now widely known all over the continent,
although it is not, as yet, practiced to any great extent,
for the reason that method and special tools have not been
fully described in a simple manner. I believe every thought-
ful trout angler wants to acquire the latest and best up-to-
date information about dry fly fishing so that he may learn
to test his skill in this most satisfying branch in the art
of angling.

The object of this little booklet is to give a detailed,
easily understood definition of the dry fly in compact form
as a handy guide, to describe exclusively how the art may
be practised on American streams with dry flies copied
from native insects without any reference whatever to
methods used on British streams; this field has been so well
covered, not only by eminent English writers, Halford and
others, but also by two expert American anglers, Emlyn
M. Gill and George M. L. La Branche, who have described
their views with great detail and compared the difference
in the method pursued in England, as well as by themselves
on our own streams. If it is the; readers' desire to go fur-
ther, and study the art more thoroughly from the British
standpoint, they should get Halford's books from England,
and read "Practical Dry Fly Fishing," by Emlyn M. Gill,

^816514



"The Dry Fly and Fast Water," by George M. L. La Branche,
both will be found valuable to the angler in showing the
adaptability of the dry-fly method to American streams.
Both books are published by Charles Scribner's Sons, New
York. However, to be just with my readers, it is only
right they should know that these two books were issued
in 1914, two years before any classified list of Amer-
ican trout insects had been made, or my book on American
trout stream insects had been published. So that their
books exclusively refer to their use of English type dry flies.
On page 41, in "Practical Dry Fly Fishing," the author
says: "Whether English dry flies tied to resemble English
insects, imitate exactly in all points similar insects common
to American streams is a mooted question." This mooted
question has been settled by the writer who has proved that
English dry flies do not resemble in size, color, or form
any of the American trout stream insects. Some English
insects are similar to American, but there is always a differ-
ence in size or color of the artificial flies.

The strictly consistent rule laid down both by American
and British dry fly experts is, whatever dry fly is used, it
must exactly imitate the species of insect that trout are then
taking as food, or at least the insects visible at the time
on the water. If the reader has studied the "charts" in
Trout Stream Insects, he will, to a certain extent, know at
any time what kind of insects are likely to be rising by the
period, temperature and time of day. The writer has prac-
tised dry fly fishing more or less for twenty-five years past,
but not exclusively his views being too broad to entirely
ignore the great advantages -of wet fishing, or even live bait
and artificial lures on American streams.

There is no question whatever that the English dry fly
will seduce American trout, especially Fontinalis, fario and
irridius, but the same can be said of the old wet style
favorites, and the new style nature flies. It is left entirely
to the angler's judgment whether he prefers to fish with
English dry flies that do not imitate our insects, or remains
loyal to the old American favorites which do not imitate



insects, although now tied as floating flies for dry fly fishing,
or, that he prefers to make a trial of those new nature flies
tied expressly from careful pictures of living American
insects. All three of these classes of flies are sold by Wm.
Mills & Son, Park Place, New York City.



DRY FLY TACKLE-THE ROD

Casting the Fly is so Extremely Delicate

The method of fishing with dry flies is so extremely deli-
cate, artistic and precise, that it is almost compulsory to
use the special tools now made for it. These special tools
rod, reel, line and leader are somewhat more expensive
than what is used for wet fishing, yet, if reasonable care is
bestowed on them, they will last so much longer as to be
cheapest in the end.

When you buy a new rod, have it made to fit yourself.
The length and weight all depends upon a man's physical
power and build. Generally speaking, the short man re-
quires a three to four ounce, eight and a half foot rod.
Medium size man fits to a four ounce, nine foot rod. The
large, heavy man can use if so desired a heavier weight,
but anglers, big and little, buy their rods no longer than
nine feet, four and a half to five and a half in weight. You
cannot cast the dry fly accurately, or far, or properly handle
a heavy fish with a very limber rod along with a heavy
weight line.

It is conceded by many experts that Leonard rods are
unapproached for dry fly fishing. They have no com-
petitors in lightness, strength, or flexibility, and regular pat-
terns of any weight or length are made suitable for both
dry and wet fishing. If the amateur buys a Leonard, he
should order the mountings oxidized and an additional agate
guide in place of bottom guide on the butt of rod, and also
agate guides on the two tips which greatly facilitates cast-
ing. The price of these rods is about fifty dollars.

SOME "DON'TS" REGARDING RODS

Never lay your expensive rod on the ground while ex-
changing leader or flies; if you don't step on it, an obliging
companion will. Place the rod upright against bush or tree.

Always keep joints well oiled at end of season; if they
stick, pull out without twisting.

8



Don't keep one tip idle till the other is worn
out; interchange them frequently. Keep both
working.

Take rod apart as soon as you quit fishing.
Also take reel off for easy carrying.

Go through heavy bushes with tip in front,
especially if leader and fly are in use.

Release a hooked snag with line, not rod.

Never lend or borrow favorite rods. If tip
is injured send it to mender at once.

When climbing a fence or other obstruction
give rod precedence.

DRY FLY TACKLE THE REEL

In dry fly fishing the right kind of reel is of the
utmost importance. The main points to con-
sider are: Its weight should properly balance
your rod; the barrel should have room and to
spare for a dry fly tapered line. The click
should be firm, and the reel should fit on the seat
snug and tight yet be easily released. It should
be constantly oiled, kept perfectly iclean, and
handle screws thoroughly tight. A very service-
able reel is the Leonard patent trout reel, made
in the raised pillar style, light, strong and of
ample line capacity much lighter in weight than
the larger reels made in the old round plate style.
It is sold by Wm. Mills, price $13.00. They
sell another more expensive reel, specially made,
and called the dry fly reel. Price $22.00.



Fig. 1. Rig



Fig. 2. Cast
fly just above
large fish.



Fig. 3. Rig
for deep water.

9



DRY FLY TACKLE-THE LINE

There is no part of dry fly tackle so necessary to be per-
fect as the line; you depend entirely upon its perfect work
to force the fly through the air and alight on the water
like thistledown. Your line must be extremely flexible, yet
of a weight in the thicker part that will carry well in the
cast, though light enough at the taper to float and not drag
the leader under water. The best lines are soft dressed,
waterproof, that run freely through the guides. It must
be tapered at both ends, from four to ten feet. A really
beautiful line feels like velvet; it should never crease or
get sticky; whatever the atmospheric conditions may be, it
must not twist or kink and should be an olive or light brown
tint, with a smooth dull polish. These requirements are
necessary, because in dry fly casting the line is continually
running back or forth through the guides much more than
in wet fishing.

American experts and some writers advise the exclusive
use of English made lines, the best of which are sold in this
country by any good tackle dealer. The price runs from
eight to twelve dollars, and even higher.

A very high-grade soft finish dry fly line is
Mills' double tapered "Intrinsic," prices from
$7.00 to $8.50. Sizes are G, F, E, D, the heaviest
being D. The English lines are designated by
letters D, E, F, the latter being heavier and larger
in size. It is therefore essential to
have line weight fit to weight of rod

_^ a light rod to a light weight line

E heavy rod heavy line. The heavy
line is the best suited for short cast-
ing. It will be best for the beginner
to understand the choice of both line
and rod is personal to the angler's
build and strength of arm. The
tapered dry fly line can be used for

10







wet fishing; indeed, the old style flat line should be entirely
discarded for any kind of fly casting.

POINTS ON THE CARE OF LINE

The first thing is to have your line wound on the reel
as evenly as possible and see to it being unwound as far
as the line has been wetted and carefully dried every time
you quit fishing. Don't rub on deer fat or other grease
to a new line to make it float better. After considerable
use, day after day, the line becomes somewhat waterlogged,
and deer fat does make it float better, but several English
experts have lately stated that deer or other animal fat is
injurious which coincides with my own experience. They
suggest some chemical called "Mucilin," which does not
injure the dressing yet it floats the line also the fly. I be-
lieve the best way is to hang the line in the sun and wind
to thoroughly dry it. Mucilin is sold in tins by Wm. Mills
& Son.

If the line is in use a good deal it is wise to alternate
the use of both ends. If the hook is fouled on rock or
stump make every effort to save line breakage; far better
to break at leader, because the tapered end is made so fine
as to be about the thickness of attached leader; even a few
inches of lost line is a great disadvantage and for that
reason the tie to leader must be made to easily untie. With
reasonable care the life of a good line is prolonged. When
the end of the line loses its covering of dressing by frequent
tying, don't cut an inch or two away, making it a less effec-
tive line; you can remedy the trouble by using a small brush
and revarnish it with valspar.



11



DRY FLY TACKLE-THE LEADER

Dry fly leaders should have a gradual taper from thick
to fine, and made of extra long-length gut, furnished with
one small loop at line end, the other thin end being left
unlooped to be tied with a knot to eyed fly. The weight
of gut depends on weight of line and rod either light,
medium, or heavy. The length of leader should measure
from tip to middle of rod handle grasp so that you can hold
the fly with same hand that grasps the rod. Good tapered
leaders cost about sixty cents, superfine leaders made of
special gut will cost a little more. Preparatory to fishing,
a number of leaders should be placed in a box carefully
coiled, between damp felt, so that when used the leader
will fly out straight at the first cast, and the damp gut makes
a more secure tie to the fly.

POINTS ON CARE OF LEADERS

Dry your leaders after the day's fishing is done they
weaken if kept constantly wet. If leader breaks don't loop
them together; learn to tie a secure knot, and tie it only
when the gut is thoroughly wet. Don't loop gut to fly-
learn the proper knot attachment here illustrated.

Test your leaders. Discard, or retie any frays or weak
parts. For dry fly casting it pays to buy new leaders every
season. Beware of leaders which taper too fine if the fish
you capture are likely to weigh over a pound, especially in
turbulent water.

I have found it to be much more convenient to buy gut
by the different size hanks, and tie my own leaders. In so
doing the angler suits his own requirements, exactly as to
length and thickness, as well as a saving of considerable
expense, and will be found of especial advantage by all
anglers living far from up-to-date tackle shops.



12



THE DRY FLY ITSELF

The reader will now perceive that fine, delicate dry fly
casting requires the angler to be fitted with a properly
balanced rod that is flexible, light, yet strong, a free run-
ning reel of proper weight, a line that tapers down to
thickness of leader, and leader that tapers fine to the
fly to make it speed through the air without obstruction,
then drop gently on the water as near as possible like
that of the natural insect. I consider it a waste of the
reader's time to give details of who invented the dry fly,
or a list of so-called experts who have practised and written
down their opinions of what are the best dry or wet flies to
most surely seduce trout. Indeed, such a situation seems
to be comical in the extreme to quote the various opinions
(both domestic and foreign) of what fly is best, for the
very reason that the most experienced angler on earth is
unable to tell in advance of arrival at the stream ivhat
insect is on the wing, any more than he can foretell if it will
rain tomorrow. When certain species of insects do rise to
float down along the surface in vast or small numbers, then
it is that trout are attracted and visibly feed. If we are
consistent in our belief of the dry fly method, it is then
only we can surely tell which dry or wet fly is best.

It is sheer buncombe for experts to give a list of their
favorites. All flies are favorites to trout at their period of
rising. The reason I capture more trout on the shad fly,
cowdung, yellow sally and brown drake, is because their rise
extends through April, May and June, while some others
rise but a few days.

For the benefit of the amateur who never cast a fly,
and the wet angler who honestly seeks to rightly know just
what difference there is between a wet and dry fly, my
answer is, the artificial dry fly has the upward wings split
open mostly curving outwards often having wing feathers
doubled to make them stiff and float better. The hackle is
tied more bushy, partly pushed forward beyond the hook-
eye.

13



FLY ATTACHMENT TO LEADER

All the best dry flies are made on eyed hooks none are
made with a snell lashed to hook. Flies fastened to leaders
by a loop is fatal to a feathery cast, so that it is absolutely
necessary to learn how to properly attach gut-end to eyed
hook with a neat, firm knot.

FLIES MOST SUITABLE FOR SURFACE FISHING

The two principal classes of natural insects are defined
in my book, "Trout Stream Insects," as drakes and duns.
Each have their wings in exactly opposite positions, the
drakes have wings raised from, and erect above the shoul-
ders, and after they have risen from the bed to the surface
of the stream, they always float. The duns have wings
hanging from, and below the shoulders. They do not rise
to the surface and float, but the natural dun creeper travels
along the bed to the river side then climbs upon rocks and
vegetation, where they emerge into the perfect insect, alight-
ing on any object but the water's surface. To be consistent,
to follow nature, as all dry fly purists say you must, it is
perfectly clear that drakes are the only insects we should
imitate to use as dry flies, and the duns copied to fish wet.
Nevertheless, if the angler so desires, with the aid of dry
fly tools and methods, any fly, erect or lapwing, can be
made to float long enough for trout to seize it with the aid
of a dash of paraffin by an angler of ordinary skill.

WHAT FLY SHALL WE CHOOSE?

When we arrive at the stream, the first problem to solve
is what artificial fly to use; for the beginner this problem
is the most difficult and requires time and study. First we
look over the water, the runways, eddies, lines of bubbles
to find out what insects are on the surface; the size, the
color, if possible, what species of insect. If insects are flying
in the air, capture one. Note the color of its upper and
under tail, its shoulders, color of feet and wings; then pull
from your box of flies the nearest imitations of it. I leave

14



entirely to the angler himself what his previous choice in
the tackle shop should be, either of Halford's English flies,
or Rhead's American nature flies. The charts in "Trout
Stream Insects" give a list of the most abundant insects that
appear for each month of the season. There are many
other species not mentioned in the chart which are almost
the same. Should you find no drakes or upwing insects float-
ing on the surface and that a greater number of duns or
lapwing insects are on the wing, you can fish dry with a
dun fly like the natural insect you see, or fish the duns wet
with two or more flies, till later on when you see drakes
floating, then fish with dry fly imitations. The beginner
at first has to be under the guidance of tackle shop advice,
which is rarely good, with one notable exception, that is,
Wm. Mills & Son, who have several members of the firm
practical anglers of experience and talented fly tyers.

It is quite different with the wet angler of experience.
He is familiar with at least the old American favorites,
and is well able to select a good stock of dry flies to start
with in practising the newer method.

DRY FLY METHODS CASTING

The principal theory of dry fly angling is simply that of
delicately casting an artificial fly to the surface so that it
will float along with wings erect, or "cocked," over a rising
trout, or in places where trout are supposed to lie. As trout
almost invariably choose to lie underneath swift water,
generally a few feet below large rocks where the water flow
is curbed, the rule is to cast up stream against the flow
of water about three feet above the fish, permitting the fly
to float without drag or ripple over the fish, to then lift the
fly up from the water without wetting it. In a long, deep
placid pool, trout lie with head up stream and they should
always be fished up from tail end of pool. There is abso-
lutely nothing for the expert wet fisherman to learn in cast-
ing the dry fly if supplied with proper tools for it. It is
merely a change of method. The first difference is that
the wet fisherman has two or more flies on the leader, the

15



dry angler has but one fly. The preliminary dry cast is
performed by holding the rod upright, the right hand is
moved slowly back and forth while the left hand continually
draws more line from the reel and the fly is kept in the air
till sufficient line is out for the fly to reach the desired place
you wish to have it drop on the surface, which is usually a
few feet above the rising trout, when a slight check to the
line should be made. After a little practice you can keep
a fly in the air indefinitely with twenty to forty feet of line
out. You can move from one place to another with a gentle
motion of rod top making the fly sail through the air. The
rod movement must be slow and the tip descent for the fly
to alight slower still. The tip must be made to point
exactly to a couple of feet above the desired spot and careful
calculations made as to the distance which after some prac-
tice becomes remarkably correct, even to a few inches.
Accuracy is the most important, that is, to place the fly per-
fectly, so that it floats exactly over the fish, a difficult feat
that only comes by considerable practice. Safer casting is
more possible if you are wading, without back impediments.
Naturally, the fly goes as far back as it does in front, so
that must always be carefully considered.

CASTING UP STREAM AND ACROSS

In deep swift rivers, where it is impossible to wade
against the heavy flow, or deep water prevents wading in
the stream, you should cautiously approach the tail of a
rising trout, which always lies with head up stream. Cast
up and across for the fly to float down till you see it begins
to sink. Gather in surplus line to enable you to lift the fly
clear off the surface back in the air, then, with a waving
motion back and forth several times to dry the fly, cast
again. Or, if you prefer, make a few steps forward to
cast. You will cast more accurately, cock the fly better, and
keep it dry by making short casts of twenty or thirty feet.
A long cast across heavy currents, is sure to cause the fly
to sink.

16



FISHING THE RISING TROUT

Trout rise spasmodically, being induced to rise by peri-
odic gluts of floating insects, most frequently in greater
abundance along eddies and runways. Under these run-
ways trout invariably lie in selected places of their own,
one after another in a long line, the larger fish being where
greater numbers of insects pass over them. I have seen a
line of from twenty to fifty large trout all rising to a glut
of insects; at such a time the wet angler fails, while the
dry angler with the correct imitation will capture one after
another in quick succession, by choosing a situation where
he can easily cast to the larger fish. Should it happen the
first choice of fly is not taken, try the same on another fish,
time being precious to change flies. If trout still refuse a
fly that properly floats, then put on a smaller fly. Don't
drive them from feeding with too frequent or careless casts.
Keep below them, cast short and light; allow the fly to
float as long as possible, lifting off in the most delicate man-
ner, because these glut rises are always of short duration
never more than thirty minutes. When the glut rise ends,
it is useless to continue fishing, they are full of food for
the time, and will not respond to your efforts, so move to
another place, perhaps to luckily find another insect glut.
For those large solitary fish, generally browns or rainbows,
that choose to haunt places just below submerged rocks, the
floating fly is most effective, and if you can, get within fifteen
feet to make short casts to just above the rock, so that the
fly will float down along the edge of rapid water, you are
bound to get a quick response.

In easily waded little rivers like the Willowemoe at
De Bruce, where trout average half a pound or under, dry
fly fishing is comparatively simple by wading up the middle
of the stream. One great objection to it is by using small
dry flies most of the time you are catching so many under-
sized fish. Similar conditions to worm fishing, except your
method is superior.

17



FISHING WHERE TROUT ARE NOT RISING

Glut rises are not frequent. You will see isolated in-
sects dropping to the surface almost any time, then periods
occur when no insects are on the surface or in the air. These
almost barren periods occur through April, after the
middle of June, in July and August, with notable exceptions


1 3

Online LibraryLouis RheadHow to fish the dry fly; describing the latest up-to-date necessary tackle, its cost, and where to get it and the proper method of using it. A description of the American and English dry flies, also how to fish various nymphs from the bottom upwards in place of worms if trout do not respond to flies → online text (page 1 of 3)