Stillwater Fly Fishing: How Often is Too Often to Change Flies?
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Stillwater Fly Fishing: How Often is Too Often to Change Flies?

We’ve all felt it.  Pure desperation, that helpless feeling of somehow not being able to get one single fish to eat the wrong bug, fly fishing can downright hurt your feelings sometimes.  The fish show up on the sounder and the occasional sound of splashing on the surface assures you that surely they do exist, but it just isn’t happening.  It’s easy to put blame on your fly choice, and sometimes it takes many changes to find “the one”, but how often is too often?

I am a firm believer that confidence is crucial to consistent success in fly fishing.  If you have confidence in your approach or your fly, you will fish it much harder for longer periods of time than something you lack confidence in.  I have a chironomid pattern that I am convinced if there is one fly that will work, that is the one.  Is it really the end-all-be-all pattern? Not at all, but having full confidence in it means it spends more time in the water.  Recently we had a look at approaching trophy stillwaters, where it is way too easy to get caught up in thinking that you are doing something terribly wrong when in reality the odds are stacked so hard against you that you need to cut yourself a break.

How Often Should You Change Flies?

This is a question that comes up very often when teaching chironomid fishing courses, there is no right or wrong answer but I believe a fly should spend a minimum of fifteen minutes in the water before you consider changing it.  Yes, there are times where you put a new bug down and immediately know you have found the one they want, but it’s important to give each fly a fighting chance before getting swapped out for a new one.

I believe it is crucial to have patterns you have developed confidence in, they may not even work as well as some others but they will spend more time in the water than a fly that you are unsure of.  If you have any questions or comments on this article, please drop me an email and thanks for reading!

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Richie
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I’d love to see your go to chironomid 🙈