Friday Fly Day - Big, Bad and Unweighted

By Chris Dore (sourced from

In cooler, fuller early season rivers my flies are generally of two weights: heavy, such as the Simons Ugly or Iron Maiden, or unweighted.

The reasoning behind unweighted patterns in the spring is that we are often looking for fish in the slack, knee deep edgewaters. Any weight at all and you will hook up on the streambed almost immediately, yet you often need a decent sized morsal to be seen, and tempt often sullen fish to eat.

You can easily adjust the sink rate of your flies by splitting your tippet & adding shot, or trailing behind one of the aforementioned heavier patterns when weight is required. Checking out my article Better Nymphing will also give you some ideas on how to get flies deep.

Larger sizes of more robust morsels can be used, for increased early season flows are powerful enough to dislodge many creepers, larger caddis and stoneflies. Brighter colours will offer more of a visual presence on the often darker days & runoff conditions of October, and hotter colours or those brighter than the naturals will catch the trouts eye: and never be afraid to move your nymph during your drift to grab attention.

Go big and have fun!