Size Matters:Selecting the right size fly and tippet

The neat thing about fly fishing is that bigger isn’t always better. Most fisherman would debate that big flies catch big fish, and no doubt the bigger fly hatches tend to bring the bigger fish to the surface….hatches of brown drakes, green drakes, sulphurs, etc.

But, I can tell you from experience that Ron Hill and I have been fishing on Pine Creek many times with green drakes and slate drakes floating on the water. Fish were rising, but the trout were completely ignoring the drakes and turned on to small blue winged olives in the size #18 or #20 category. Ron and I swear that trout like the way BWOs taste.

When mid-summer hits and the bigger hatches are over, tricos and midges are hatching and big fish can be sipping these flies with consistency and will completely ignore anything bigger than a size #24, #26 or #28…..and unfortunately a #28 is a “giant midge” compared to the real fly so trout may ignore your small offering. But, there is nothing more rewarding than landing an 18″ brown trout on a griffith’s gnat or a gray midge on 7X or 8X tippet.

It also works the other way too. I’ve fished the upper stretches of the Yellow Breeches or Slate Run with no apparent hatches, and no fish rising, but the wild fish will take will take a #14 attractor fly that seems as if it is bigger than the fish’s mouth.

So, pay attention to the hatches, what the fish are really rising to, and ofcourse the drift, and when the trout are ignoring your offering, go smaller.

Note: The general rule of thumb is to divide the fly size by 3 to determine your tippet size (#18 hook = 6X tippet). So, when midges are the necessary fly of choice, make sure you have 7X & 8X tippet in your vest.


Dream Catcher Fly Rods

I have been fishing with a bamboo rod made by Wyatt Dietrich, a local rod maker in Chambersburg, for about 6 years now and love it. It is a 7’6″ 4 wt. rod called “Timberfiddle.” I have used this rod on both small brook trout streams and larger creeks like Pine. My son Luke fishes with Wyatt’s Dream Catcher model called “Layla” (7′ 2″ 5 wt.) and has perfected fishing tough spots under overhanging branches.  Wyatt is now building rods originally made by George Mauer, a famous bamboo rod maker ( My rod collection mainly consists of 2 Winstons (8′ 6″ 5 wt. and 8′ 4 wt.), the 7 1/2 ft. bamboo and a 6 1/2 ft. Orvis Rocky Mountain. Obviously I was missing a rod in the 7′ category, so I fixed that this past week. Contacted Wyatt and closed a deal on a George Mauer 7′ 4wt. “48 special”. Can’t wait to put it to use! Check out the Dream Catcher web site or the Sweetwater rod site if you are interested in expanding your rod collection to a “cane pole”. You won’t be sorry.

Passing it along

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ImageAfter a morning of rabbit hunting, I settled in this afternoon, tied a few flies and began looking through a few pictures and reflected on the past few fishing seasons….I’m getting “antsy” to get back on the streams. One of  the thrills of a fly fisherman is taking the time to pass your knowledge along and working with others to help them get hooked on this great tradition…..especially the younger generation. So, I’ve attached a few pictures of the future flyfishermen, who had the opportunity to get started on this great sport thanks to someone who takes the time to work with them. It’s not all about personal success!

Fly Tying

With a full time work schedule and since I would rather spend free time outdoors, I have not mastered the art of fly tying, and the multiple patterns I like to fish with. I do focus on a few, however, that are difficult to buy in a fly shop and to my liking – midges and gray hackle flies down to size #26 are good examples. In addition, my brother-in-law, Ron Hill, catches tons of fish on a western fly called a Crackle Back which I have also learned to tie courtesy of U-Tube in sizes #14 and #16. I have mentioned this fly on previous posts. So, I started tying these flies with some consistency a couple of weeks ago to help build up the stock for this coming season. My granddaughter Leah has also become interested and helps me….she clips thread and hands me tools like a “surgeon’s assistant”  and tells me how great the flies look so I feel like an expert. She will be an avid fly fisherman some day! Can’t wait ’til the weather warms up so I can put these flies into action.