Flies of the year 2010, part 1.
Then it is again time for this article series presenting the best fly patterns for me for this years’ season. This time it will be an article series in three parts, and the reason for this is the varying conditions on the river in terms of water levels. The water levels changed a lot during this season, and June was the worst month where we had many small and big summer floods. The river stabilised somewhat during July and August, but still there were many exciting fly choices which had to be made due to the variations. I think it is very important to be able to vary the fly choice according to the water level and temperature, which also means that you have to keep quite a few flies in your box at any given time. I guess I do not have too many fly patterns, but I make sure I use the patterns in different sizes, and vary them by tying them as tube flies, double hooks and a few patterns on single hooks. I may fish a big Greenlander tube in June, often with lots of flash in both body and wing, but I also have this base pattern in smaller hook sizes for fishing the river in lower, warmer conditions, and then these flies are often completely lacking flash and all that. This is how I vary my best patterns, and I feel this gives me a good overview in terms of what I need. I learn to trust these flies, as I know the light conditions in which each works best, and often water levels and temperatures can change during the same light conditions, and therefore you need the same pattern in different versions.
I keep statistics over all caught and lost fish in order to figure out which fly fishes best overall in all conditions. Basically this is the result of how many salmon took each fly, resulting in the fly of the year. And it is quite fun to be able to tell you that this year it was the Riffling Hitch tube. We fished this a lot in August, the river had been low for a while and kept dropping slowly but steadily. The fishing turned really difficult after a while, and most people complained about the poor catches. Steffen and I were fishing for four days at the end of the season, and the first night we noticed that the fish weren’t very interested in our flies. But at the end of that night we caught a nice fish on a fly which I fished on the surface, I had fitted a tube fly with a plastic turbo cone. When we saw how hard this salmon hit the fly when compared to all the wet flies we had been using, we decided to fish the Riffling tube, in order to fish even more actively on the surface than what the turbo cone fly did.
We rigged our 5 weight fly rods with 14 grams shooting heads, the tippet was about one rod lenght and we had tied up a few Riffling tubes. We searched the river and fished many different spots, often in typical swift currents where the fish would hold due to good levels of oxygen as the river now was very low. When the river is this low the speed of the current becomes very slow, plus the runs become very narrow in many places. But with our 14 grams 6 meter shooting heads we were able to fish the riffling tube elegantly and seductive in tough conditions. This strategy worked from the first cast, and in the end 6-7 salmon had eagerly taken the riffling tube, so we had a few bent rods and screaming reels over the last few days of the season. The number of salmon made sure the Riffling tube secured the first spot in this years’ “competition”, but it would have scored well either way, as it turned out to be better than anything else when the salmon almost didn’t touch anything else during these few days, according to many fishermen we spoke to. And it is rare for a fly to excel to this degree, we did fish these spots beforehand as well and noticed that the fish weren’t biting. But as the riffling tube was attached to the leader, the circus begun.
See previous articles on the Riffling tube in the menu ”Flies”, there I have a Riffling article, and a short film clip describing how to fish it.
Part 2 and 3 of the flies of the 2010 season will be posted later this autumn.
Steffen and Jan Erik.