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3/29/2016 2:08 pm  #1

Fly Fishing - General tips for spring

Hey everybody,

I have been trolling with a spin rod for some time in the park but my fly fishing game is very weak. Would anybody like to share general tips for flat water fly fishing in spring? I have a 6wt floating line set-up and plan to throw bead headed buggers with a slow retrieve.



3/29/2016 6:07 pm  #2

Re: Fly Fishing - General tips for spring

I don't think there are many fly fishermen here. I plan on using streamers and buggers myself


3/30/2016 9:51 am  #3

Re: Fly Fishing - General tips for spring

I guess not! Do you use a sinking line? do you troll with your fly rod?

     Thread Starter

3/30/2016 10:13 am  #4

Re: Fly Fishing - General tips for spring

I have been fly fishng the park in spring for more than 25 years. Some years I take a spinning rod and a fly rod, other years just one (or two fly rods). Lots of ways to do it. In general try presentations that mimic what you do when spin fishing. Trolling streamers has been hands down the most effective technique. One issue you will have is your line. Really, you need a full sink line. I also use a clear intermediate line (scientific anglers Stillwater Line)... Its awesome, and I use it for all lake fishing, spring, summer and fall. My basic trolling approach is to let out the whole fly line and then a bunch of backing. I then place the reel over the centre thwart/yoke, and have the rod tip stick straight out the back of the canoe. Make sure your drag is set appropriately, but this method ensures solid hook sets. I have caught some big lakers in the park, and when they take the streamer the reel just spins against the yoke like a runaway bus. I then quickly grab the rod and line together, which sets the hook firmly, then play the fish as normal. I like using the clear intermediate sink line for early morning or evening trolling along shorelines. It has proven to me that sometimes they prefer a fly over raps and spoons, as my canoe partner is only a spin fisherman and several times I have gotten hits and fish and he has gotten nothing, while we are both trolling the same spots. I have also taken in floating lines in the past but they have limited use in reality. Actually, of course they will work with long leaders and slow trolling but I find wind is always an issue and casting shorelines not always the best or even possible. Also, the clear intermediate lines are super slick and casts like a rocket, so I think its a better fit overall and I would use that line in place of a floater. For flies, streamers as mentioned. I tie my own patterns, but basically deceivers of various colours, with a bit of flash. I often add a stinger near the back. Lakers are notorious followers, and will often nip at the back of the fly, especially when over deeper water. I also like softer materials like rabbit and sheep hair. They both move magically in the water. I have also had success with woolly buggers, generic largish nymphs, and even classic attractor patterns, like mickey fins, parmechene belle etc. One year I used dragonfly nymph patterns and did really well along one shoreline, after we looked in the stomach of a brookie we caught, which was stuffed to overflowing with dragonfly nymphs. Wind is always a factor though so casting shorelines is not always possible. One thing to note is that a lot of info online re. fly fishing trout lakes is based on rainbows out west. Our lakers and brookies are different animals so to speak, and much prefer meat - minnows, cisoes, chubs etc, than invertebrate prey, if its available. One year I spent a ton of time vertically fishing chironomids (midges) over the bottom and it was really not an effective use of my time to say the least.

If you would like, I could post some pics of some of my algonquin patterns. I always wished this site would generate more fishing related posts and info (in general, not talking about specific lake hotspots etc) but for some reason it never does. There are more fly fishers on here than we might expect, as I have noted mention of fly fishing over the years in the odd post or trip report.

Hope this helps.


Last edited by Moonman (3/30/2016 10:19 am)


3/30/2016 1:44 pm  #5

Re: Fly Fishing - General tips for spring

Thanks Moonman. This is very helpful.

I've taken both fly and spin rods on trips before but I never end up using my fly rod that much. I think swapping the fly line to a sinking so I could troll would make a big difference. If you do feel like sharing pics of your algonquin patterns I would happily check them out.


     Thread Starter

3/30/2016 5:25 pm  #6

Re: Fly Fishing - General tips for spring

This is very interesting stuff Moonman. I fly fished in BC extensively out of a belly boat. Had great success. Never really had a lot of luck in AP though. How deep do you figure your fly would be with a full sink line trolled behind a canoe? I would also like to see your streamers if you're willing.


3/30/2016 9:06 pm  #7

Re: Fly Fishing - General tips for spring

Its hard to say for sure how deep but with a full line out and some backing, I think its about 30'. variables being the fly line while sinking (I use a type 6 sink on a 7wt), still has some water resistance due to its thickness. Also paddling speed is a factor, but 30' is what I would say.

As for flies, this one is great and have caught some nice brookies on it especially. Its basically a polar fibre minnow with some angel hair flash:

This is similar but more of a trolling fly. Tied on a daiichi 2370. An awesome hook and my favourite for streamers:

This one is tied with sheep hair, I sometimes tie these up to 5 inches long with stingers to match some of the ciscoes the lakers are eating:

Here is one with a stinger. The hair is curved and bumpy but thats beacuse I just threw it back in the box and it dired that way. Once I fish it again it will look great in the water. Have caught penty of fish just on the stinger:

Generic nymph, I like them buggy looking when lake fishing:

A  dragonfly

These were all tied maybe 6-7 years ago but were all I have on my photobucket account at present. Have been tying up various rabbit strip patterns, some using fish skulls for weight. 

As for your success in Algonquin, if you are on a good lake in spring, almost anything will work. I have lots more flies and pics, just have to load them up to photobucket.



3/30/2016 9:13 pm  #8

Re: Fly Fishing - General tips for spring

That's awesome moonman.  I'd like to see and hear more about your fly fishing exploits in the park, and your patterns.  I haven't tied since I was a teenager and want to get back into it.


3/31/2016 8:11 am  #9

Re: Fly Fishing - General tips for spring

I now understand what you meant by stinger!
Thanks for the photos. They look great.


     Thread Starter

4/01/2016 8:26 am  #10

Re: Fly Fishing - General tips for spring

I have a follow up question for anyone that can answer. Does anybody have a source for shops that sell flies with that second hook? I don't tie my own flies yet and I didn't see much in my local shop.

     Thread Starter

4/01/2016 8:48 am  #11

Re: Fly Fishing - General tips for spring

Sail in Ottawa sells them with the stinger hook. Just bought a few yesterday after seeing Moonman's images.A little pricey at $7.99 each.


4/01/2016 3:32 pm  #12

Re: Fly Fishing - General tips for spring

Hey guys, thanks for the nice words in my flies. When I get a chance I will post a few more pics, I have some really nice rabbit strip streamers that have been awesome the last few years.

Just a note about stingers. They are really only needed if you are using a long fly and trolling. If the fly is smaller, the fish will take the whole thing (usually). Also, if casting and retieving, they tend to also take the whole fly. The key is that when trolling, especially over deep water, they sometimes follow for a while and nip at the fly. This has happened to me lots so I know its a factor. Also, depending on matierials used, the stinger can impede action a but, so thats a factor as well. The traditional east coast vermont/maine trolling flies often have a stinger of sorts, reversed so the hook rides up. Not just to act as a stinger but also to help create a longer profile fly, and the stinger also is 'tied' with materials. Overall, the big thing is finding fish. Most any fly will work if it is front of a fish.



4/02/2016 5:50 am  #13

Re: Fly Fishing - General tips for spring

Holy cow, I tie stingers on regular lures and hooks all of the time.  Just tie a hook on a short piece of mono or fluorocarbon and either tie it to the bend in the lure hook, or through the eye if using something like a jig.


4/02/2016 8:15 am  #14

Re: Fly Fishing - General tips for spring

i get my flies from" reel"
great selections. wet,dry,streamers,buggers ,salt water and more. 
 also a place called "grindstone outfitters " i call them and ask if a staff member could tie me what i want. poof, done , my order shows up in the mail in a week.  i have a private connection for special recipes.
      i tie my own stringers too. i like the small gold roe bag hooks . some times you can place a hook as a stringer by just using a smaller hook, thread the eye though the front hook past the barb with little force (or pinch the barb). the link is made. no line needed. i use this technic for placing a extra hook on a buck tail jig. when finished i pinch the barb.
     my experience trolling with flies. that the trout seem to slurp the fly has it flutters down while the paddle strokes pulse the line. not a hard hit at all. i think a small fly works better. i hope this helps?
       limit your catch, don`t catch your limit
  i have been considering changing my handle to "curmudgeon".  could be a good fit?


4/07/2016 8:15 am  #15

Re: Fly Fishing - General tips for spring

MSR, Swedish, Thanks for the idea of tying on my own stinger. I suppose it is easy enough to add a hook; I haven't tied my own flies so it never occurred to me to alter them.

I've been going to the Drift Outfitter guys on Queen St, Toronto. They are a nice little local fly shop and I could probably get some 'special recipe' flies if I ask.

What size hooks would you use for stingers?

Last edited by holycow (4/07/2016 8:16 am)

     Thread Starter

4/07/2016 9:46 am  #16

Re: Fly Fishing - General tips for spring

I use something similar in size to the main hook, but usually slightly smaller.  As curmudgeon says, you can slip a hook over the existing hook, and in that case, use a long shank hook that puts the throat of the stinger hook near the tail end of the dressing (hair/feather).  I've had too many stingers slide off using that method though, so I suggest tying some kind of stopper on the main hook after sliding the stinger on.  Easier yet, slide on a tiny piece of rubber after the sliding the stinger on.  Btw, I find a stinger even more useful when using bait through the ice for lakers or panfish year-round.


4/07/2016 12:03 pm  #17

Re: Fly Fishing - General tips for spring

stringers,,to stop the hook from coming off if you go without a tie line,, through the eye as above mentioned. then get a rubber band from a broccoli bunch  ( wider bands) cut the rubber band into small squares. them place the band over the hook point and pull it down past the barb,,, there is your stopper. the two hook method non slip , or no lost hooks
    i also use this little rubber band while jigging with a minnow ,, the minnow will not fall off past the rubber. the bait has to be ripped off, i usually hook through the eyes and place the band on after. it works. jigging or mooching  a spoon
    i hope that trick helps
  let`s go fishing!!

Last edited by swedish pimple (4/07/2016 12:06 pm)


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