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Multiple Emerger Rigs

With these patterns, we will be letting our rigs sit on the surface and also drop down below the film line to imitate these Emergers as they move into their next stage of life.

TRANSCRIPT

In this lesson, we will go into specific rig setups and fly combos that you can use when you’re on the water with your Nymph Frenzy and Emerger Swing Fly Box sets. Don’t worry if you didn’t purchase the Emerger Swing Fly Box Set; you will still land MONSTER trout. But if you’re ready to take your fly fishing to the next level, go ahead and use your members’ discount on the Emerger Swing Fly Box Set in the shopping section of the Members Portal.

As we learned in lesson 10 of the beginner tutorial, an Emerger pattern is when the fly starts to come out of the water and gets ready to fly and mate. With these patterns, we will be letting our rigs sit on the surface and also drop down below the film line to imitate these Emergers as they move into their next stage of life.

We learned in the previous lesson how a good portion of these can be used in a nymphing scenario for success. During this lesson, we will introduce combos that can be used on top of the water with trailing patterns that mimic those flies coming to the surface.

Unlike our nymphing rigs, these combos will be fished without an indicator or weights. This is commonly known as dry fly fishing. I try not to use this term during this lesson because these flies are just as successful right below the surface as they are riding the top.

But before we dive into specific fly setups, let’s discuss how to set up a multiple rig with your Emerger Swing Fly Box Set. A multiple Emerger fly rig requires first attaching one fly to your leader using the Improved Clinch Knot. You can find this knot in lesson 6 of the beginner tutorials.  

Then, attach tippet material to the hook of your first fly with another Improved Clinch Knot. You should have no more than 8 to 12 inches of tippet before your next fly. The viewing window for a fish is narrower on the surface than when they are down low, so having flies close together helps.

As before, I recommend 6x or 5x fluorocarbon tippet. Of all the new technology that has been developed for fly fishing in the last 20 years, the single greatest game changer has been fluorocarbon tippet. It is virtually invisible to fish.  

Then attach the second fly using the Non-Slip Loop Knot. This knot can also be found in lesson 6 of the beginner tutorials.
 
When we set up our rigs, we will have our largest fly on the top and then work our way down to our smallest fly. This will insure that the front of the rig pulls the rest of the flies through the loop of your cast, with the lighter flies following behind it for a soft presentation.

Dry fly fishing is an equal mix of spotting and presentation—half spotting the best location for trout, and half presentation on how the flies get to that trout. In the advanced lessons, we will go into tracking down MONSTER trout, but for this lesson I want you to be comfortable picking the appropriate combinations for optimal success.

Remember, with the Drifthook Fly Fishing System, you have access to a seasonal chart in the download section of the Members Portal. It’s a good guide for selecting the most optimal flies to use during a particular time of the year.

The most successful months for using the Emerger Swing Fly Set are typically March through November. In the colder months, trout are less likely to chase a meal unless it is directly in front of them. That’s not saying they won’t take these patterns; it just means it will be harder to entice them than during the warmer seasons.

Let’s break down the months and the combos that we recommend starting with, so you can land MONSTER trout with your Emerger Swing Fly Box Set. We will focus on March through November. I want you to be successful on the water, and if you are lucky enough to be fishing in December and January, I recommend using a combo from your Nymph Frenzy Box Set. If you didn’t get a chance to go over these combos, they can be found in the previous lesson.

With the Drifthook Fly Fishing System, we start with a larger indicator pattern as the first fly, followed by an Emerger or smaller dry fly on the tail.

The reason behind this is that you have a good visual key on the larger fly. Most of the time the trout is going to take your second fly. So we use the first fly not only as bait but also as an indicator (similar to your bobber when nymphing).

MARCH and APRIL

During the warmer days in March is when you will start to see hatches on the water. Mayflies and Midges are the most productive during these beautiful days on the water. Towards the end of April, you might start seeing Caddis patterns as well.

During the spring season, you will start to see water levels rising with spring runoff. Typically the trout will be pushed to the banks for feeding, so look for hatches in the clearer waters next to the bank.

To set up our rigs for this time of year, we will start with a larger Mayfly pattern followed by a Midge or an Emerger Mayfly pattern. If you’re new on the water, make sure the first pattern is one that you can easily see. Because most of the fish that you catch will be on the second fly, you will need to easily be able to see if the first fly makes any natural movement that could represent a subtle take from a MONSTER trout.

Top Fly
Mayflies:
Parachute Adams, #14
Trico Dun, #18

Caddis Patterns:
E-Z- Caddis — Olive, #16
Hot Wing Caddis — Olive, #16 or #18

Bottom Fly
Midges:
CDC Midge Pupa — Olive
Crystal Midge — Black
Crystal Midge — Olive

Mayflies:
Baetis Barr Emergers — Plain
Barr Emergers BWO Bead-head
RS2 Emerger — Olive
RS2 Emerger — Gray
Last Chance Cripple BWO
Baetis Dun


MAY, JUNE, JULY

The runoff water should be receding by the warmer months and the hatches should be more prevalent.
The Caddis should now be out in full force, along with Mayflies and Midges. Starting in June, you will find Pale Morning Dun Mayfly hatches. PMDs typically hatch in late morning, so if you are on the water early, start with Midges and Caddis and work your way into the PMDs when you see them off the water.

Top Fly
Parachute Adams    
E-Z Caddis — Olive
Hot Wing Caddis — Olive
Elk Hair Caddis CDC — Olive
Graphic Caddis Pupa — Green
Spotlight Caddis Emerger — Olive

Bottom Fly
Midge Patterns:
CDC Midge Pupa — Olive
CDC Midge Pupa — Red
Crystal Midge — Black
Crystal Midge — Olive

Mayfly Patterns:
RS2 Emerger — Olive
PMD — Pale Yellow
PMD — Pale Yellow
Comparadun PMD
PMD Spinner — Olive
Barr Emerger PMD


AUGUST, SEPTEMBER, OCTOBER

Some say that these three months can produce the most successful dry fly fishing of the year. Longer days leading into cooler nights usually means numerous hatches of species. In the Mayfly category, you have all three sets that the Drifthook Fly Fishing System uses hatching throughout the day—PMDs, Tricos, and BWOs.

If you remember from the previous lessons, we like to adjust our pattern color based on seasonality. During these months, we are moving away from our green-colored patterns into our natural and reddish-tone patterns for optimal success.

Top Fly
E-Z- Caddis — Tan
Hot Wing Caddis — Tan
Elk Hair Caddis CDC — Tan
Goddard Caddis — Natural
Graphic Caddis Pupa — Tan
CDC Caddis Emerger
Spotlight Caddis Emerger — Tan

Bottom Fly
Midges:
CDC Midge Pupa — Red
Crystal Midge — Black

Mayflies:
RS2 Emerger — Gray
Trico Dun
Trico Spinners
PMD — Pale Yellow
Comparadun PMD
Barr Emerger PMD
Last Chance Cripple BWO
Last Chance Cripple Callibaetis — Brown    
Baetis Barr Emerger — Plain
Barr Emergers BWO Bead-head
Baetis Dun

So that might seem like a lot to remember, but don’t worry, you don’t have to. Just download your seasonal guide, and follow the patterns in your labeled boxes.

You can see that the bars on the graph represent the color of the fly. So if you don’t remember what a pattern is called, you can always just find the species that matches the month that you are in and look for a corresponding color.

And it’s worth repeating: Remember the “Green Yellow Red” stoplight approach regarding fly colors: Green in spring, Yellow in summer, and Red in fall and winter.

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