Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Sunday, January 15, 2012

2012 - A Few Things To Do

Hello 2012!!! Today is January 15 and the air temperature at 10 am is 12 degrees. The Y Pool parking lot is EMPTY and all I saw at the PIPE was one shore bound bait fisher who had caught nothing. It was cold and even though I was dressed in space age layers I was glad that this was a non fishing trip. It was tooooo cold to wade and that was that. There is a limit to Winter fishing.

Winter fishing - this is the venue of the tailwater angler. The stream will not freeze over and if you can take the elements you may have success. I've been asked about Winter on the Millers. The Millers is not a tailwater and I can say after 28 seasons on that river that I can count on three or four frost bitten fingers how many Winters actually proved successful. This river, during most Winters, freezes over enough that you can see the deer tracks crossing it's most famous pools and runs. It's a common occurrence to find the stream gauges non operational because of the ICE!! One can fish around the outflow of the Orange WWTP if one likes doing that or dunk bait from shore below the dam in Orange BUT is this what we really want to do?? One may find a spot or two of fishable water but this is the season to tie flies, tie leaders and read about our sport and fish the Swift or the Farmington.

Did I say TIE LEADERS??? I gave up using standard tapered leaders for most sunken flies a year ago. Why?? The answer is that tapered leaders used on deep drifted offerings like cone head buggers, weighted nymphs or even the tiny Swift offerings fished deep are a waste of money (the cost of a tapered leader) and are not as effective as the system that I use now. To get down deep I use a 6.5 ft leader made of only two leader diameters. A 4x terminal end is made of 5 feet of 3x and 20 inches of 4x. That works well for buggers early on the Millers and the EB. A 5x terminal end is made up of the same lengths of 4x and 5x. For 6x on the Swift I use 4x and a 6x tippet.

Now, someone may ask "how do you cast that rig"?? The answer is that you don't have to really cast it. You are just placing the weighted fly on interesting water using a short line. The weighted fly will straighten out the mono and because the mono is very thin it will sink very quickly. Your fly will get into the zone quickly. I do a lot of "high sticking" on the Swift and a long, tapered leader only gets in the way. A short, thin leader gets the job done. Once surface action begins I go to a tapered leader (10 to 12ft) to catch trout.

I don't waste money on these leaders. For the 3x portion I buy a small spool of .008 diameter clear mono at any fishing store. You get 100 yards for a few bucks. In fact this diameter works well with a 5x tippet. I tie up a few of these leaders and put them in small, labeled zip lock bags. It works. Just don't try a 40 ft cast with a size 16 dry sulphur with these leaders. That's what tapered leaders are for.

Thought I'd show a photo of a Millers Stonefly from early June. THINK SPRING!!!



Anonymous said...

Do you have a preferred knot that you use when tying leaders? I assume it is better to have as little bulk as possible to the knot.

Bob O said...

Happy New Year Ken.

For those who like to use fluoro for nymphing, 4# Halo P-Line has been recommended as a less expensive alternative to those costly spools of tippet. 200 yds for under $20 is a deal. (delete this post if too product specific)

My 'go to' tippet knot is the double surgeons. Some use a triple surgeons, others a barrel knot. The double has been very reliable for me. When I leave the tag end a bit long, I can tie a dropper onto it.

My short line nymphing leader is a 48" straight length of 5x or 6x fluoro tied to 9 inches of chartreuse amnesia or stren for an indicator. A thicker 5 or 6 foot length of mono extends from my sighter to the fly line. This method allows me to present my nymph in short casts upstream. As I draw my line downstream any hesitation in the yellow sighter provokes me to strike.

See you on the water.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Bob O,

I've seen that 9 inches of chartreuse sighter tied directly to the fly line too.

The double surgeons knot works for me. I think I could tie it with my eyes closed!!


Anonymous said...

I started flyfishing 2 years ago and was initially taught the blood knot for tippet to tippet connections. It was painfully slow to do at first...and though it has gotten faster since then...the surgeons knot looks far more simple...especially on the go or in a quick pinch. Is the strength of both relatively equal? If so I think ill be retiring the blood knot for 2012.

Tony said...

I've seen those caddis shucked bodies on the bridge abutments around Wendell, but do you know if the browns hit those things on the waters? If so I've gotta tie some up, looks like those could be some fun huge dries to toss on a switch rod!

Millers River Flyfisher said...


Use the surgeons knot. Some night during this Winter sit down with some mono (it doesn't matter what the size is), find an online graphic instructional video or whatever, and just begin to tie one end to the other until it begins to seem natural. It will become so natural that you will wonder what the problem was!!


The zebra caddis (and other caddis) is a major event on the Millers and that may be what you see BUT it isn't a dry fly event. This fly is best fished subsurface in the film. Caddis are funny. They rise to the surface quickly and then fly away so the emerger patterns work best. Their surface action is usually during the egg laying (spinner) phase. My Moby Dick Wet pattern works well during the emerging phase which is the most important.

"Switch Rods" may not be needed on the Millers but use what you want.

Here's what you want: Late afternoon or early evening in late May through June. CFS flows between 250 and 400. Daytime temperature in the 60's through the mid 70's. That will get the caddis going. Slam your caddis into the riffle sections either wet or dry. Wet works better. Then hold on!!!!


Bob O said...

When properly tied, the Surgeon’s Knot approaches 100-percent line strength. It must be tightened by pulling on all four strands to properly seat the knot.