July Fly Selection-Dry/Dropper Combos
By JD Miller

Dries
Swisher's Original PMX, size 10
Pearl Crystal Stimulator, size 12

Droppers
Miller's Electric Prince, size 14
Red/Yellow Hotwire Prince, size 14

Fishing two flies is nothing new in the angling world; people have been doing it for over 50 years. Yet I am always amazed when I see how many people do not take advantage of this technique on the water. July's fly selection features 4 of the hottest new patterns to use in the dry/dropper set up and how to fish them effectively.

The main advantage to fishing a two fly rig is that it gives an angler the opportunity to cover two different forms of food the trout may be eating. While two fly rigs can be used in just about any fishing situation you may find yourself in, one of the most effective during the summer months is the general "attractor" dry/dropper combo that imitates several different food forms at once.

The first step is to make sure you set up the combo correctly. For most situations, I like to use a 9' 4x tapered leader to attach my dry fly on. From the bend of the hook, I attach 18"-24" of 5x tippet via a clinch knot and tie on my dropper. However, that setup can change depending on the type of water I am fishing. The biggest mistake I see people make when fishing a dry/dropper rig is tying on their dropper fly too short. You need to make sure your dropper has enough slack to be able to sink close to the bottom for the fish to find it. As a general rule, the slower and deeper the water is, the more line you need between your dry fly and dropper. The faster and shallower it is, the less you need. Experiment with lengths until you find the right combination for the water you are fishing. For instance, if your dropper is getting constantly hung on the bottom you are probably fishing too deep and need to shorten the length. Conversely, if you have fished an entire run without so much as a hang-up from your dropper, you may need to lengthen your tippet.

It is also important to remember that your dry fly is also acting as your strike indicator for the dropper. If, during the drift, the fly suddenly dips under water, jerks to one side, or pauses be sure to set the hook because a fish has most likely just taken your dropper.

This month's featured flies are the Kaufmann stimulators with and without rubber legs. This fly imitates a number of foods trout eat and offers superior visibility and silhouette on the water. With its down wing and rubber legs, this fly can be fished as a hopper, stonefly, or caddis and often works better than more exact imitations. Because of its bulk, it holds a BH dropper well without sinking or losing its action. I like to fish this fly close to the bank on a dead drift with an upstream-and-across cast. If I don't get a take after a few good drifts, I will give the fly a small twitch or two to impart the action of the rubber legs and try to get an instinctive strike from a fish.

If you haven't already done so, give the dry/dropper rig a chance this month when you are out on the water. Done correctly, it will often increase your catch rate and sharpen your hook set and drift control. As always, the expert staff at Front Range Anglers is always here to answer questions about fishing dry/dropper rigs or any other questions you may have.