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Smallmouth fly patterns? Hatch chart?


Jeff Gunnon
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I've lived and fished northern Ill. my whole life, but I'm new to fly fishing. This year I have made a vow to hang up my spinning rod and only use my fly rod.

I have been fly fishing for trout and salmon for a few years and enjoy tying my own flies, but have always used a spinning rod around home.

 

Does anyone have any good fly patterns for NW Illinois? Hatch chart?

 

I'm new to this site but would love to have a forum that is close to home.

 

Thanks in advance. :P

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Guest One More Cast
I've lived and fished northern Ill. my whole life, but I'm new to fly fishing. This year I have made a vow to hang up my spinning rod and only use my fly rod.

I have been fly fishing for trout and salmon for a few years and enjoy tying my own flies, but have always used a spinning rod around home.

 

Does anyone have any good fly patterns for NW Illinois? Hatch chart?

 

I'm new to this site but would love to have a forum that is close to home.

 

Thanks in advance. :P

 

 

Big, small.

 

Bright, dark.

 

A few minnow patters (Clousers, Trow Minnows) a few crayfish patterns a hellgremite pattern and a top water popper or slider, a swimming nymph are all you need to get started.

 

 

Speaking of getting started: Come to the casting event on the 21st of April. We'll get you started on the right foot.

 

Joseph

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I'm from Dixon and fish the Rock River, as well as a lot of smaller creeks. I usually fish for smallmouth or striper, or whatevers bitting.

I know the clouser and hellgremite as well as a bunch of dry flies. I dont know what time of the year to use them. I mean its obvious to use the clouser when the minnows are in, but I dont know when the stone flies are hatching or when to use nymphs. Any ideas?

 

Where and when is the casting event?

 

Thanks for the reply.

 

By the way, how did you get One More Cast?

Are you also on the Fly Tying Forum under that name?

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Don't worry about matching hatches for smallmouth bass. Spinner baits or Senkos don't match anything in the river and they work well. The same thing holds true for flies. Basic sub surface patterns like clouser minnows and wooly buggers along with wooly bugger variants like Holschlag Hackle flies and Sparkle minnows are a good place to start. Start with minnow patterns tied with white and a darker color and other patterns in browns and olive. Tie them in a sizes that you can toss with the fly rod weight of your choice. It's helpful to have a range of weighted flies for fishing in different conditions. I tie clouser minnows with lead barbell eyes ranging from extra small to medium. Crawfish type flies like the Holschlag Hackle fly are usually tied with heavier barbell eyes.

 

Once the weather warms up, you will want some topwater flies like poppers and gurglers.

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I second what Alan said. Most of the time subsurface to bottom bouncing, vary colors from whites to olive to brown/orange don't foget attractors like yellow madonnas. Hairy Fodder in all colors, poppers work I don't try them enough. The rivers close to Chicago don't have large fly hatches except for caddis the bass don't seem to key on them much. Check the events post & the calendar for outing details. Welcome & post some results when you get out! Feel free to join us on an outing. John

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I'm a top water fanatic. If I can throw a top water anything (popper, diver, hopper, dragon fly), I will, and I don't wait for summer to start. I've caught smallies on top water into November as well. Another misunderstanding about smallies and top water is that you can't throw top water in the afternoon. WRONG! I've found them to strike as readily when it's 2 p.m with a bluebird sky as at sunset.

 

In the recent issue of the Bronzeback Bulletin, Jon Graham talks about color choice. I read the article shaking my head yes throughout. In most circumstances, smallies don't key in to a color, it's all about the opportunity and action of the fly/lure that makes them strike. For example, how many chartruese minnows have you seen swimming in local rivers? All the minnows I've ever seen are muted colors in grays, browns, silvers, olives, etc. But, chartruese Clouser Minnow works well doesn't it? That's more "proof" that matching the hatch isn't necessary in the smallie world.

 

I always think of a feeding smallie as the Fat Bastard character of the Austin Powers movie. Instead of deciding to daintily sip a caddis because it's in season, they sit in a relatively soft flow section of the river saying "get in my belly!"

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