Fly fishing books and seminars recommend that you choose a fly that mimics the insects where you fish, be it in a river, lake or sea. The theory is that these tiny, feather and fluff adorned hooks will give trout, salmon, or bone fish exactly what they’re looking for. And with the right fly they’ll buy what you sell.
But the truth is that fly fishing is down to personal preference. For many, sentimentality or even superstition is involved in choosing a bow tie. If you’ve worked in the past, why switch?
Some are reminiscent of the tradition and stick to the famous flies that have been passed down through generations. M.all anglers stay real and go with the local favorites – when the locals share these secrets. Still others believe that if a fly is any different from anything the fish have seen in a given water, it will simply bite the devil.
Here are five stories about favorite flies that were loved by avid fly fishermen in Maine – and the fish they caught.
Brianna Dostie, Cape Elizabeth: Dostie is from Lewiston and has been an angler for most of her 30 years and a fly fisherman half of her life. The registered Maine guide She loves fishing so much that three years ago she started a company called Confluence Collective to improve access to fly fishing for a new target group of anglers.
Her all-time favorite fly is the Gray Ghost Streamer – one created by a woman who broke the traditional fly fishing demographics. Carrie Stevens created the fly in the 1920s at a time when flytiers were predominantly men.
“Carrie Stevens is an icon in fly tying and fly fishing in the Rangeley region,” said Dostie. “What I love about it is that she used chicken feathers. Fly fishing has a dark history of using exotic bird feathers. She used what was sustainable and accessible, what everyone could afford. It works wonderfully to this day. I’ve used it in Montana, Alaska, and Wyoming. As long as you have a bait fish that looks like this, it works in many other places. “
Chris Hayward, Bethel: Hayward is a canoe guide in the wilderness during the summer and experiential learning director at Gould Academy during the school year. Its job is to direct the outdoor fun for others. But when he first moved to Bethel in 1999, a Master Maine guide taught Hayward how to tying flies, which made fly fishing a lot more fun.
“Now that I think about it, it was probably the moment I made a bigger connection and just appreciated the art of fly fishing,” said Hayward, a 30-year-old fly fisherman. “When I tied my own fly and then caught a fish with it, it was amazing. It was the Gray Ghost Streamer. I caught a great rainbow trout on the Androscoggin River. I couldn’t believe I had tied this bow tie. “
Today, Hayward doesn’t spend time tying and the Gray Ghost isn’t his first choice. He has four favorites, with the first two being the yellow-bodied golden retriever and the olive-green Woolly Bugger.
“It’s great to only have four to five good flies in your quiver. But honestly, I catch more fish with these two than anything else, ”said Hayward.
Shannon Leroy, Stockton Springs: An angler for 50 years, Leroy learned how to land a fish as a child in Wyoming from her father and uncle.
After moving to Maine 30 years ago, she and her husband owned the Medawisla Lodge before selling it to the Appalachian Mountain Club. Then Leroy helped make it and started one Fly fishing for women only. In the five years she taught the weekend course, Leroy estimates that she taught about 100 women how to fly fish.
The first fly she caught a fish with was the Royal Coachman, and it remains a staple in her fly box to this day. But Leroy’s favorite is Mickey Finn.
“My father was fed up with opening his fly box and not finding any flies in it. So he sat down and taught me how to tie the Mosquito, the Royal Coachman, and the Bumblebee. Now I always have one of each in my box, ”Leroy said. “But if I want to do a good round trip in Maine, it’s Mickey Finn. It has a bit of red, the attractant for the eye. “
Macauley Lord, Braunschweig: Lord learned to fly fish more than 50 years ago at the age of 13 when his grandparents friend in Kentucky taught him how to fish for bluegill and perch. Today Lord is Flycasting Instructor at LL Bean, author of numerous books and has fished – and taught fly-fishing – all over the world.
Lord threw tarpon in Mexico, bonefish in Belize, and lots of crappie in south and central Maine. His favorite bow tie is one he created himself – most specifically with a non-toxic jig head with a thin feathery tail and a simple lightning bolt that is coiled for the body.
“A few years ago I realized how many fish I couldn’t reach because my flies weren’t deep enough. So I started tying fly fishing jigs, ”Lord explained while fishing in the west last weekend. “I fished on a lake in Wyoming yesterday. The rainbow trout loved this olive colored jig. The great thing about a jig is that as soon as it hits the water, it falls straight down towards the fish. (One) went deep. It was a huge tiger trout. I estimate its length to be 28 inches, which would be a little over 10 pounds for a five-weight fly rod. ”
Kathy Scott, Mercer: Scott has promoted her 40-year-old sport in many ways: once as a Lawrence Middle School Librarian who taught her students how to fly fish, as the author of five books and a member of The Trout Unlimited Board of Trustees. She and her husband David Van Burgel also teach a bamboo fly making course in the Catskills.
Scott not only wants to know where the fish are and how to catch them, but also their personality. This is how she uses the traditional Wood Special.
“The wood is a small fly that is modeled on a brown trout and is a perfect explorer fly when no insects rise and you want to see what is going on in the water, because you can put it in the water and twitch or let it float, and you will really find the brown trout personality that takes it, ”said Scott. “When it drifts by and packs it, you know it is waiting on the other side of the log. It’s an opportunist. If you twitch it quickly and grab it, it shows the aggression in the little brown trout. Brown trout, especially wild native brown trout, are characters. “
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