Big Fly, Big Fish

Myth 27 Fly Fishing Western Wyoming

Big Fly, Big Fish

I’ve heard this since almost the day I began fly fishing 40 years ago!

My observations are as follows:

  1. Everything being equal, a big fish will move farther for a big meal than a small meal.
  2. If a size 26 midge pupa passes in front of even the biggest fish, it will eat the midge.
  3. A big reason why more big fish are not landed on tiny flies is not so much the fact that big fish don’t eat small food items. It is more the case that few truly big fish are landed on 6x tippet! Often we only know “God, that must have been a big fish – it broke me off in a heartbeat!”.
  4. Even the biggest fish will eat tiny food forms if there is a dense enough hatch. I’ve even witnessed big redfish selectively eating tiny ½” long crabs to the exclusion of bigger food forms.
  5. At the same time, big stripers (20+ #) on the Guadalupe in Texas will most often be caught on big (9”) streamers because their primary diet item is planted rainbow trout. In this case, you are using 20lb tippet, have a huge hook, and the fish will move a considerable distance to eat big fish. (My bet is more than 1 big striper has eaten a size 16 pheasant tail, but the angler never knew it!)
  6. On the Hams Fork we routinely hook fish over 24” on tiny (size 22-26) flies. We don’t land many! The average angler only lands those fish when using bigger flies and heavier tippets.

Conclusion: There is a lot of truth in this myth but as always, there is “the rest of the story”.

It’s way too early to predict summer water levels or even run-off dates. What we do know is that we have high groundwater levels and the reservoir is full. Even a moderate snowpack should leave us with plenty of water for the summer.

Last year we fished the Hams Fork on June 5th. The flow was at 1400CFS and while wading was challenging, the fishing was awesome. This year we’ll be in Wyoming and ready to fish by June 10th or so. We plan on staying until October 15th. We’ll be taking the first two weeks of August off for filming and the first two weeks of September off for a trip to Mongolia. Related to the latter, if you are interested in world history, a great book is Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World! Amazing and insightful read.

I’m in the process of posting more videos on YouTube at Check them out! At some point, I need to offset the cost of production, so I’m in the process of figuring out how to market/pay for them. If you find them helpful, I hope that when that happens you’ll continue to view them! We’ll keep you posted. We are also updating our Website (Fly Fishing Western Wyoming) and would very much appreciate it if those of you who have enjoyed our trips could send us a reference/testimonial we could include. Thank you!

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