Archive for the ‘Fly Fishing’ Tag


Frog Hair 2

Fly line is one piece of an angler’s gear most often neglected when it comes to maintenance. It still needs periodic cleaning.  Dirty or cracked fly line affects the angler’s ability to cast for distance and accuracy.

The amount of friction between the line and the guides of the rod affects the cast. The slightest crack in the line or dirt on it slows the cast.  New slick line performs better older ones.

Most fly line makers coat them with a PVC plastic coating containing chemicals to keep it from drying out and becoming brittle. Ultra-violet rays and heat speed the aging process of the line.  Do not expose the rod and reel in the vehicle to either of these situations by leaving them in a vehicle.  Take care to avoid getting sunscreen, insect repellent and any other aerosols on the line, as they will also decrease its life.

Dirt form the deck of the boat, outside of the boat or from the shore is the main source of grime on a fly line. Whatever is dissolves in the water as well as algae also sticks to fly line.

It is important to clean you fly line regularly with warm water and mild soap. This is easiest done by spooling if off the reel into a bucket of warm soapy water, then wipe and dry with a clean soft cloth.  Finally you can apply a fine coat of quality fly line dressing with a cloth.

If the line becomes very dirty there are available fly line cleaning pads made with super-fine abrasives of lines that are very dirty. These pads strip off the micro-grime without damaging the line.




The strike indicator is the first sign that something is happening.  This small yarn knot is moving across the surface of this quiet backwater.  The hypnotic view of the line snaking its way over the water distracts one from the purpose of the trip.  Catching a forked tail channel catfish is why I am out here so early in the morning.

As the dawning light cuts through the mists, the streamer sinks slowly and then moves away.  Streamers are fly fishing lures made to look like small thin natural baits.  The latter includes such forage as leeches, crayfish, or nightcrawlers, forage with a long thin profile.  Channel catfish are bottom-feeders, as they tend to suspend a few inches off the bottom of their watery home.  Fly fishermen attempting to match the hatch use imitations of food sources the catfish find in those locations.

Mention fly fishing and one thinks of catching trout with a long spindly rod.  The vision is of someone whipping the air with a long fishing line to get a piece of metal covered with feathers into position.

Today the fly fisherman seeks all sorts of fish from saltwater giants to bluegills.  It is only natural that we add the channel catfish to the mix.  In the mid-section of the country it is possible to find catfish in almost any body of water.

For the angler seeking the catfish challenge, a starting point is the tackle.  Begin with a long rather stiff rod.  Match it with weight forward line.  For the more bulky fly a bass taper weight-forward line is a good idea.  A good tackle retailer helps with the selection.

If requiring more than one line, store them on extra spools so you can change lines in response to lure selection and varying water conditions.

For a tippet Monofilament of about 5-pound test works well in a length of 3 or 4 feet.  If seeing the line is a problem, a colored monofilament line is OK.  A float indicator or small ultra-light float aids in detecting a light bite.

Once on the water, look for a drop-off area where a riffle meets a pool of slow water.  In the evening the fish move up to the shallow eddies and flats where they feed through the cooler nighttime temperatures.  It is during these feeding periods that they are most vulnerable.

Good fishing hours are from early morning up to about an hour after sun up.  The bite does not last a long time.  You can enjoy it for a while and then move on to other species and types of fishing.

Experiencing fly fishing for catfish works on just about any lake, river or pond.   If wadding, do so with great care as holes in the bottom can cause serious problems for the anger as well as be a sanctuary for the fish.

Channel catfish are a muscle with whiskers on one end and a forked tail on the other.  On light fly fishing tackle it is a formidable opponent.  And it is a fun way to begin a summer day.




All too often we overlook fly fishing for the pan fish. Too many these are the “kid’s fish” or something to catch when the bass are not biting.

Panfishing with flies means fishing for bream, crappie, pumpkinseed and rock bass

They are a good source of fun and food once the water temperature gets into the mid 50-degree or higher range.  They move into the shallows to think about spawning.  First to move up to warmer water is the males who build nests.  The females which lay eggs before departing to the deeper climes follow them shortly.  The males move back in to guard the nests and fry until they can forage on their own.

At each of these times the panfish can be an excellent quarry of choice for the fly fisherman.

Getting started in this sport is easier than catching the fish. All you need are some balanced equipment and a few lessons.  As for the tackle, there are kits available from major tackle manufacturers tailored to the individual species, including trout and panfish.  These are available at most stores that sell the tackle.

Once the lessons are over and you are consistently casting 30 feet with comfort it is time to take to the water.

In choosing a fly A few basic patterns work well.  There is no reason for a vest full of flies.  The easiest way to select your basic flys is to ask another angler for help.  Find out what he uses with the most success and buy a few to try out.  The local tackle shop may be of assistance but not all of them are really familiar with fly equipment.

Flies come in two types wet and dry.  Panfishermen using wet flies try a variety of colors and patterns.  Some suggestions include Wooly Worms, small streamers ant or bee imitations.  For surface or dry fly fishing nothing beats a small popper or a rubber spider.  Trout flies work as well.  Hooks should be in sizes 6, 8 or 10.

In cooler weather you will want to fish when the sun is high and the water is warmer.  Later, as the water warms too much, try the early morning and late afternoon hours.

Cast to the shorelines cover such as weeds, pads, brush, logs, rocks and any other available structure.  If the bream are on the beds, then that is ideal casting territory.

After casting, allow the fly to sink slowly before retrieving it.  Remain alert as most strikes occur on the fall.  The strike will usually not be one of those rod bending types but rather a twitch in the line.  There is no need to set the hook hard.  The strike is just a matter of the fish sucking the fly into his mouth.   Just lift the rod straight up.  This increases your chances of a proper hook set in the upper lip.  It keeps the fish from inhaling the hook too deep to allow for a safe release.

It is easy to keep from yanking the hook right out of their soft mouth.

Surface fishing is the most entertaining.  If the mayfly hatch is on, then crappie will take poppers with gusto.  Little rubber spiders work well for bream around pads and stumps.  With the surface action the angler can see and hear the strike.

For the nighttime angler, only the splash is audible.  Nighttime is the prime time for feeding as the bugs come out.  One might even pick up a bass or two with those poppers.

Even on the best of nights, the fish will eventually turn off.  No one knows why, it just happens.  Pack it in and go clean fish. There will always be another day.


River Run Trout

Fly fishing anglers need to study the fish, their eating habits and the habitat where they find the trout.  Doing so will lead to enjoyable and successful fishing pursuits.

Thanks to the aggressive stocking program of the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, cool clean water of the rivers of the Ozarks numerous rainbow and brown trout are lying in wait to yank on an angler’s line.

Trout in the wild prefer water around 50-degrees with a rocky bottom.  The springs emanating in the limestone of the mountains provide a very suitable habitat for trout.  On rivers with changing water levels the fish survive through adaptation.  As the water level lowers and the current decreases, they move toward the middle or anywhere with deeper, cooler water.  When the current is fast, they will move to the edge of the river.  They need to move to structure to conserve energy and preserve calories.

Trout have tiny scales aiding them in living in moving water.  This coupled with their slime coat allows them to go nose into the current expending less energy than other fish.

The major other factor that affects trout fishing is food.  The trout’s eyes are located mid-range on their heads allowing them to feed either up or down from their position.  Ninety percent of their food, immature insects and aquatic creatures, crawls on the bottom of the river.  As the food supply grows and matures it moves up in the water column eventually reaching the surface.

Fly fishing anglers need to adjust they type of presentation they throw to the water level in which the trout are feeding at the moment.

If on the bottom, the best fly is one that is darker in color such as black or brown.  They should be small in size and weighted to keep it off the bottom a few inches.  In the mid-range he can turn to Wooly bugger in a size 10 that is black, tan, and olive or even occasionally white.  This is probably the easiest level to master trout fishing with flys.  On the surface, the trout will take dry flys sizes 10 to 20, but are difficult to catch.  Trout eating on this level slurp down the fly gently as they approach without notification of their presence.

Take to the rivers this summer and enjoy with me the bounty of trout found in the Ozarks.


Frog Hair 1

If you think about it there really is nothing as fine as frog hair.

At a recent media event at the world famous Rend Lake Resort Dale Black, President of Black Knight Industries, expounded on the advancements his company has developed in the line of leaders and tippets.

This PA company has become a leader in the field of fly fishing line technology.  How?  They use of Nanotechnology manipulation of matter at incredibly small sizes.  For example a piece of paper is about 100,000 nanometers thick.  The technology allows for the development of higher strength structured materials.

This technology is part of a new wave of innovation in science and engineering that is enabling the development of a generation of materials that are stronger, lighter and more durable than ever found before.

The line begins with the molecular structure strong and stiff due to highly aligned long chains of molecules created by extrusion and drawing.  After a Gamma Processing the long chain molecules are broken down and millions of intermolecular bonds cross link creating a structure stronger and more flexible.

The end result is monofilament line with a higher strength to diameter with a built in shock resistance.  The subtle line still maintains a high knot strength that maintains maximum fish fighting capability.  The company is so confident that it’s fishing leaders and tippets are the best performing products available that they have a money back guarantee.

For more information check out the websites of and



The line of pink cabins along this stretch of the White River in Arkansas is as distinct as they are historical. The main buildings house the main office, restaurant, sports bar and a huge dining room that overlooks the river. The river flows out of the Bull Shoals Dam. The number of electrical generating turbines in operation at any given time controls the river depth and speed of the current.

The resort provides a quality trout fishing experience of all members of the family with various fishing skills from novice to expert. Arkansas does not have a closed trout season but the prime months are March to November. Anglers seem to catch the larger fish during the colder months.

Fishing is from fully equipped fiberglass flat bottom boats that are 20 foot in length and about 40 inches wide. Local guides skilled in catching trout through a variety of methods pilot the craft.

These long thin boats powered by outboard engines present a graceful picture as the skim across the water to go upriver and float back. Stops along the way vary according to water level. The location of the fish varies with the changes in water level. This constantly changing fishery presents a challenge to even the most experienced angler. Each bend in the river can present a new angling experience.

Like many of us who learned our outdoor skills through trial and error, it has come time to go to school on fly fishing for trout. Fishing guide Frank Saska presents a two day fly fishing school at Gaston’s Resort.

The morning of day one involves classroom time learning to tie knots, equipment and the proper way to cast. Students move outside in the afternoon for practice in casting on a field and a local bass pond. Emphasis is on casting, mending and striping line.

On the second day the students move out on the river and practice their skills catching fish.

The trout here are river run rainbows and brown trout. The fishing is different from pond or lake fishing in that current becomes a factor. The feeding habits of the fish must be considered. Trout feed on a variety of small critters that are located at different levels during the year. Fly fishing students must learn to identify just what is going on in the trout’s habitat on any given day.

Visitors to Gaston’s Resort on the White River ( whether for the fly fishing school, the pleasure of a good meal or enjoyment of the fishing go away very satisfied.

For a more detailed examination of my experience go to


The Holston River flows through some of the most beautiful sections of northeast Tennessee.  Along 14 miles of this cold water fishery is some great Tennessee Rainbow Trout fishing open to the clients of South Holston River Lodge.

South Holston River Lodge is the first and only fly fishing lodge in the area.  Established by Bill and Will Anderson, the lodge and cabins provide fly fishers with modern amenities not to mention the fly tying tables in every room.  The oldest of the building is 100 years of age.  Internet service is available and each cabin has a 50-inch TV attached to cable service.  Every cabin has a porch with panoramic view of the river.

The father and son team stresses family fishing.  They can fish from drift boats or wade in the cool water.  The lodge is full service with food, lodging, and guides, etc.  Free instruction on fly fishing and fly tying is available for the asking.  If you prefer it is possible to fish on your own and cook your own meals.

The Rainbow Trout fishing is “catch and release only” in order to preserve the wild stock in the river.

The river contains every type of trout habitat one would seek anywhere.  There are plunge pools, deep water and shallow.  If you want another kind of fly fishing there is another 30 miles of great smallmouth water that are susceptible to trout fishing techniques.  Anglers find fishing for big Brown Trout in these waters.

Outdoor writer Bandon Butler says South Holston River Lodge “should be on any fly-fisherman’s bucket list.”

For further information on the fishing here go to their website at or contact the manager Jon Hooper at

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