Andrew Roth

Andy Roth is a fly angler and also a conservationist. His experience with fish and fly rod is international, but his concentration lies within the watersheds of the Midwest.

Posts about Fishing Techniques

The Fly and the Fly Angler

Posted by: Andrew Roth Updated: July 20, 2009 - 3:54 PM

As a fly angler, one of the aspects I most enjoy is tying flies. This art form of creating imitations of food that fish feed on is not only creative, it is a valuable part of the education process while learning about fly fishing. Without a general understanding of fish forage, I believe there will be a missing piece in the bigger puzzle of becoming a successful fly angler.

In nature, the insects and other forage that populate our waters are the food sources that fish depend upon to survive. Fish forage exists in all shapes, sizes and colors and is distributed in wide variation throughout the different cold, warm, flowing and still water environments where fish live. Because the basic premiss in fishing is to fool the fish into eating the meal that is attached to our line, anglers in general should be interested in the identification and life cycles of fish forage, to become more successful at catching fish.

In the world of fly tying there are literally millions of patterns designed to imitate the insects, crustaceans, terrestrials, leeches and minnows that fish eat. Using a combination of natural and artificial materials that are either tied on or wrapped around a hook, anglers from all over the world strive to create just the right imitation of forage in their local waters to outsmart their targeted species of fish. These patterns have specific recipes so they can be copied by anglers seeking new imitations for their own waters or to prepare for travel to fishing destinations they are unfamiliar with. There are no machines that tie flies, so each is a hand made creation.

Fly tying often times lures anglers into researching and understanding more clearly the importance of a question often asked in fly fishing, and in all fishing for that matter. “What are they biting on?” Having the answer............... is the key to your success.

Fly tying classes in the Midwest begin after the first of the year. When the onset of winter is apparent, fly tiers from all over the region begin to prepare their arsenal of flies for the upcoming season. Once the tools and skills are acquired, fly anglers generally tie all season long enabling them to create just the right imitations any time, any where, in hopes of fooling their most challenging adversary.

Keep an eye on Gray Goat Fly Fishing for the upcoming fly tying classes,,,, at a location near you.

Pop the Top

Posted by: Andrew Roth Updated: July 7, 2009 - 7:40 PM
July marks the beginning of my favorite time of year for top water bass fishing with the fly rod. Yesterday’s trip to the Upper St. Croix River would once again prove why our warm water rivers are quickly becoming known by fly anglers as a destination to some of the best smallmouth bass fishing in the country. 
The day started with the normal dropping of the shuttle vehicle at the down stream landing and the launching of the boat. In the last ten years fly anglers have transitioned to western style drift boats to navigate the wide, lower water sections of our larger rivers. These boats are designed to be highly maneuverable around rocks and draw little water. The drift boat also eliminates the need for gasoline engines and the noise created by them. The power source is the strong shoulders of the helmsmen, the current of the river, and the pulling of oars. This factor alone unlocks a sense of adventure from a time long past.
After 5 pattern changes my first fish came on a large yellow popper. This top water fly was cast to bank side targets and quickly “stripped” or “popped” creating an audible bloop, bloop, bloop. The fly imitates a frog or other struggling fauna which can trigger explosive strikes....and it does.  There were bass that leaped from the water and drove the fly down from above, There were bass that suctioned the fly from underneath with no discernible disruption to the waters surface, and there were bass and pike who would wake 6 feet across still water to chase down and slash at my yellow popper. I stuck with the popper the rest of the day. 
We alternated between floating and wading on this day since many of the targets under the shade of trees and along bank side grasses were unreachable from the boat. This added another pleasurable twist to the day with the cool waters of the St. Croix providing comfort to us from the heat of the day. There are few thing that I enjoy more when it comes to fly fishing than the ability to hunt and stalk from my hind legs. Wade fishing is total immersion and focus becomes hypersensitive.
When the boat landing came into view we were all tired and happy.....As it should be.  
      

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