Fly Patterns
What should I use while fly fishing in upstate new york?

I recently started fly fishing and I am heading out with a couple friends to a river. I don't know what type of fly I should use because alone I have had no luck. My father fishing with a spincaster and is catching browns, walleye, a northern, and weve seen trout. I don't care which Icatch I just want to know what flys I should use/ what line!

You might be getting a little ahead of yourself. There is no one fly to use when fly fishing, and it will be difficult for someone who is not familiar with the water you're fishing to tell you what fly to use.

In fly fishing, you have to read the situation and then decide what to use "on the fly" so to speak. You base your approach on the conditions, and the conditions may change within the course of a single day. The trick is to know and constantly observe the water, fish, weather, etc. The best thing you can do is to observe feeding fish and either see what they are eating or try to figure it out. There are lots of ways to do this -- look at the surface of the water for one thing. If you see lots of the same kind of insect floating or moving on the water's surface, and you see fish rising to them, find a fly that looks like that insect and cast it to rising fish. You can also get down in the water, kick over some rocks, and see what kinds of critters scatter -- might be little shrimp/scuds, caddis larvae, or pollywogs. You might observe minnows or other small fish in the water -- if there are little shoals of minnows skittering around near the banks, you can bet that the fish are picking some of them off, so imitate them.

A big part of fishing is knowing your gear, your lures, your tackle, but another part of fishing is knowing the fish and the water. What do they eat? When do they eat? What kinds of food are in the river? Where is food available? How do conditions change throughout the year? To be good at fly fishing you have to figure all that stuff out. The bad news is... it might take the rest of your life to figure it out. The good news is... it might take the rest of your life to figure it out. Heh heh. A little fishing humor there.

Oh, and I almost forgot -- ask the locals. If you see fly anglers fishing, politely approach them and ask for advice. They might not tell you everything they know, but any decent angler will help you out. Fly shops and sporting good stores can also be good sources of information -- fly shop clerks are usually pretty good anglers who don't get to fish as much as they'd like, so they'll at least talk to you about fishing...

In this situation, because I don't know what what you're fishing (and I've never fly fished in New York State, anyway) the best I can do is give you very general advice on what to fish. I know that mayflies are still hatching in the east, so you can try those. Baetis and quill patterns will work almost anywhere east of the Mississippi. However, if you don't see fish feeding from the surface, dry mayflies might not do you any good. You could also try mayfly nymphs and emergers -- these patterns often work better than dry patterns. Aside from those, you might try the usual arsenal of attractors and all-purpose patterns, such as minnows, Woolly Buggers, leaches, scuds, Hare's Ear, Pheasant Tail, Wullf's, Adams, and Humpy's.

In general, the smaller, dead-drift type flies (like mayflies or small nymphs) are more likely to attract the the trouts, while bigger, more actively fished flies will get the attention of the walleye and pike. However, your mileage may vary.

Good luck to you. Catch a few for Y!A.

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