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Need tips for fishing tenkara flies during tiny midge time

Need tips for fishing tenkara flies during tiny midge time

Postby achilles38 » Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:41 am

I went to Hot Creek near Mammoth, CA for a half day a few days ago, and the fish were keying on size 20-22 WD40s, baetis midges, etc, mostly black and tiny. It was very windy, cold (45), and the river is skinny (10-20ft wide) and shallow (3"-6" deep in most, a few deeper pockets). I didn't have anything small since most of what I have is tenkara flies. It's a very heavily fished area with fish that are geniuses. Only about a 1 mile stretch of river. Any suggestions on how to fish a water like that with a tenkara fly? I'll be back there in June and don't really want to go out and get a bunch of 20-22 midges. I prefer to use tenkara flies. I tried Ishigaki Kebaris and Sakasa Kebaris and fished it like regular riffles, but the fish wanted nothing to do with me.

Gear I used:
Amago
15' 3.5 TUSA hi viz
3' 5x tippet
Ishigaki Kebari, some midges size 18
kept tight line, fly near bottom, manipulated through water, fish dodged :lol:

Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: Need tips for fishing tenkara flies during tiny midge ti

Postby erik.ostrander » Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:54 am

Try longer tippet, smaller flies, and focus on a drag free presentation. The fish dodged your fly because it didn't look natural.

The bugs should be bigger in June, but my philosophy is always be prepared. I've used very small flies year round.
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Re: Need tips for fishing tenkara flies during tiny midge ti

Postby tsegelke » Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:00 pm

I was doing Tenkara fishing last fall with my Ito and Amago during the fall midge season on home river. I was using only Tenkara Flies to land fish up to 5 or 6 pounds.

The differences I found was:
1) I had to use tippit longer than earlier in the season when water was plentiful. This was due to fish being spooky, and had to be sure I was getting a good drift. I was able to achieve this with longer tippet and/or shorter traditional line. These two items promoted the most control of the drift.

2) I have always liked using CDC, and I believe it is more effective on smaller and/or dry flies. I used flies using CDC instead of wet fly hackle. To fish CDC in the middle of the column, all you have to do is spit on it and it gives a great buggy emerging look. To go back to top water, just shake/dry it off and you back in business.

3) Lastly I do believe that fish do know the size of the food available. I did find that sizing down can make the difference. I was working a spot that had a lot of fish slurping linkers and they would look but not take my Kebari. I changed my drift, twitched, skated, sank, etc. Tried everything. Once I downsized, bam! 5 Pounder.
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Re: Need tips for fishing tenkara flies during tiny midge ti

Postby GregM » Thu Mar 28, 2013 6:37 pm

tsegelke wrote: 2) I have always liked using CDC, and I believe it is more effective on smaller and/or dry flies. I used flies using CDC instead of wet fly hackle. ... bam! 5 Pounder.


I'll buy you a beer if you post a picture of your CDC size 20 fly.....
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Re: Need tips for fishing tenkara flies during tiny midge ti

Postby John @ Tenkara USA » Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:28 pm

I've done very well pulsing a normal size kebari (#12) through midge eaters, but I'll admit they haven't been the most sophisticated trout. It seems to work better when I can cast slightly down and across to the fish, and twitch it just as it comes across the fishes window. I don't think they're taking my fly for the naturals, it's just triggering a strike.

I've fished to midge hatches on the Gallatin the last two evenings. Last night they wanted a twitched fly, and tonight they wanted a dead drifted fly. The fish were actually rising much more steadily last night, but they wanted a more "natural" presentation tonight. Go figure.
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Re: Need tips for fishing tenkara flies during tiny midge ti

Postby achilles38 » Fri Mar 29, 2013 12:24 am

Thanks for the tips. I was getting some decent drifts just like you were saying, but the wind was real gusty and would go from still to 20mph instantly, and there goes my drift, haha. I'll have to try a shorter level line with longer tippet next time, and hopefully the wind will be more manageable. I had to look up CDC, haha, still new to fly, and not yet fly tying. If I had a small CDC nymph I figure I would have caught plenty since I saw several fish eating near the surface, but not off it.

@John: I tried a lot of fly manipulation, but the wind usually killed the presentation at just the perfect time. A guy I ran into that was catching some browns said it was very technical water with smart fish, only a 1 mile stretch of river that his very heavily fished and has tons of food sources so the fish are super picky and spook easily.

thanks a lot for the info. I did see another guy leaving with an Iwana and talked with him. He said he had caught nothing all morning, wind was too gusty. I did catch a brown later that day on the Lower Owens River based purely on fly manipulation so I felt ok at the end of the day. :D
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Re: Need tips for fishing tenkara flies during tiny midge ti

Postby John @ Tenkara USA » Fri Mar 29, 2013 7:48 am

Yep, the wind has killed plenty of my presentations too. If you didn't already, you might try a low rod tip anchoring the line in the water during the wind, especially when pulsing the fly. I have a hard time with that technique, but I've seen Daniel and Dr. Ishigaki catch fish that way.
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