When it comes to fresh stillwater fishing for trout, I have a couple of handfuls I always make sure to have. Most of the flies I always have with me are based to a certain degree on the natural prey available to the fish. These can of course vary slightly from water to water, but some are present everywhere.
Gammarus, sticklebacks, midges, sedges and damsels. I’m stocking up on my damsel imitations. They certainly don’t hatch all year, but the nymphs are active most of the year and of course less when it’s really cold.
I use two damsel imitations exclusively. Arden’s Damsel and my own Furled Damsel. I use them all through the season, but in different ways. The Arden Damsel is an excellent searching pattern that I vary in size and weight. I dint think I ever use anything else than a 10 and a 12, brown and light olive. Olive in the spring and summer and brown in the cold months. The different weights are of course for different depths of water and for getting a particular depth at a particular speed of retrieve. Good profile and excellent mobility because of the marabou tail.
Over low water in the spring and early summer, I prefer my one Furled Damsel. I weight these lightly or not at all. Bead chain eyes or plastic dumb bells. This fly I only tie on olive and I use it for stalking shallows or even casting to fish I spot. Fishing it blind over shallow water also works well. The rubber legs vibrate on sharp pull of the line and the fly has a very credible profile. There arre video on how I tie it here (excuse the music in advance. I know some people believe that a true gentleman is one who can play the banjo, b ut refrains from it).
I needed Arden Damsels for next weekend and also felt like tying some Furled Damsels in 12’ and 14’s.
Maybe I should continue this FP following up with my other essentials for stillwater trout? I have an excellent slim zonker stickleback imitation, a nice gammarus, an easy dry sedge and my midges are just midges. The dry ones are of course Shipman’s, because Paul says that’s all one needs. And I tend to agree.
Have a great weekend,