A Primer on Fly Tying HooksWritten by Cameron Larsen
At first glance, and well maybe even at second glance fly tying hook sizes can be confusing. They have not only size number attached to them but then they have all those x numbers following them. So they come out reading size 12, 1x short, 1x fine. Or size 8, 2x long 2x heavy. To beginner it is hard to discern what hook should be used for what style fly. Or further how to obtain a decent hook inventory without buying fifty different hook styles. I tied flies commercially for years, and worked into a basic hook inventory that consisted of dry fly hooks, nymph hooks, scud hooks, streamer hooks, and a few specialty hooks. For each style I kept various sizes of each style. For hobbyist, one needs to write down flies one would like to tie. And sizes you like, and then proceed from there as your budget allows. To help you distinguish style of fly hooks, most if not all fly hook manufacturers label their hooks as to basic style. For example dry fly hooks. A Mustad 94840, is a basic dry fly hook, likewise a Tiemco 100, as is a Daiichi 1180. They also have a basic size 10,12,14,16, etc. It seems perhaps a bit misleading that lower number denotes a larger size, but that is how system goes. The size also only measures gape, between hook point hook shank, it actually means nothing for hook length, which is where many fly tyers and fly fisherman get confused. While most dry fly hooks are what is called 'standard length'. Nymph hooks can be standard or 1x long, 2x long and on up, or even 1x short, 2x short on down. What number before 'x' means, is they are actually 1 hooks size longer or shorter shank than standard. For example a size 14 1x long nymph hook, is actually same hook length as a standard size 12. Every tier and fly supplier has their own preferences, so a size 14 Hare's Ear, might actually be tied on a 1x long hook or a 2x long hooks, thereby appearing like a larger fly to fly angler. To repeat size actually only refers to gape of hook, between hook point and hook shank and has nothing to do with size of fly. There is help however, almost all standard dry flies are tied on standard hooks. The exceptions being Stimulator or Salmonfly type flies, Hoppers, Damsels, and other long bodied flies. These would come under specialty hooks mentioned earlier. Long curved shank hooks actually are used for both dry flies and nymphs although their wire is a little thin for my liking for nymphs. The second x is wire gauge. Hook manufacturers naturally use larger wire diameter for larger hooks. But this can be modified and is. If a hook is size 12 2x heavy. That means hook is 2 times thickness that normally would be used for size 12. These hooks are helpful when going after very large trout or steelhead, or other large game fish, or if one likes to use unusually large tippet. In short if your fish is going to be on hook for a long time, there is a chance hook will straighten out, then one might like extra strong hooks.
Finding Lake TroutWritten by Cameron Larsen
Lake fishing with a fly can seem daunting to newcomer. Even a seasoned river fly fisher can become disillusioned with lake fly fishing, and give it up before really giving it a chance. In this article we will be examining where to find fish in lakes.
First off lake fish and river fish have same needs. They need to feel secure, and they need to eat. The greatest difficulty in figuring out where lake fish might meet these needs is that from above lake water doesn't give us many clues, and sometimes none at all. Rivers are nice enough to change surface appearance, which is probably single greatest factor in determining likely fishing spots, but lakes do not give us that, or at least not as easily.
Inlets and Outlets
Luckily though one of best places to find fish is where one can easily see difference in surface water. And that is inlet of a lake. Fish often lie in inlet current, enjoying cooler well oxygenated water. And also food that comes with it. For new lake fly fisher, current also provides a familiar fishing ally.
Likewise outlets are often good fish holding areas. Outlets generally are full of insects and wary fish. Generally shallower and offering less cover fish in these areas are usually skittish. If one is lucky to be fishing a lake with a deep outlet, that area is likely to offer great fishing time and time again.
Virtually all lakes have channels at least part way through them. Manmade lakes will have old river channel through entire length of lake. Channels can be hard to locate, often one can spot them only in calm late fall days, when lake is at its lowest level of year. Large well fished lakes will often have maps available that will show channel.
Channels will offer their best fishing late summer, when fish seek cooler water, nymphs will also congregate there, giving fish a ready food source.