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Lumber_Jack 11-08-2011 08:23 PM

Dry Dropper Setup/Technique
Ok I've asked similar questions before but I think this is slightly different. When fishing a dry and dropper I am having a hard time getting my dry to float longer than a couple feet. I use frogs fanny floatant, with the dropper about 8-10" below the dry.

1)Is the dropper too close?

2)is my drift causing it to sink quickly?

3)can I use a strike indicator to continue the dropper drift after the dry sinks, or is that just silly?

Thanks for any advise

Hugh Hartsell 11-08-2011 08:55 PM

dry/ dropper
It sounds like you might have too much weight on your dropper for the dry to support. You can use a larger more heavily hackled fly or a slightly less weighted dropper. I don't really suggest using a strike indicator along with the dry dropper combo. Lot of possibilty for a tangle. If you see that they are taking the dropper consistently, then just use a strike indicator and the bottom fly and not fool with redressing so much.

joe a 11-08-2011 09:05 PM

I agree with Hugh. You need a small fly as the dropper and something with a lot of hackle up top to keep it afloat. I've seen many questions regarding length of dropper from the top fly on here and I would encourage folks to take into consideration the water they are fishing when determining that length. I fished some calm clear water this weekend and needed to have a nymph on the bottom but a splashy indicator was too much. I had a prince nymph dropped four feet off of the dry. I caught some nice fish.

WVfish72 11-08-2011 09:30 PM


I would say that drift is off. Or it could be that your dry is not big enough or buoyant enough to support your dropper. I try to have my dropper a couple of hook sizes smaller that my dry. For example I will drop a nymph no larger than a 16 off a 12 dry fly. You have to also consider the water you are fishing. If the you are fishing pockets or riffles you need something like a Stimulator or Wulff or a hopper. On calmer water you can get by with a comparadun or a parachute. Good luck. Hope this helps.

WVfish72 11-08-2011 09:34 PM


One other thing I thought of was the type of floatant you are using. I usually don't use Frog's Fanny up front. I usually start out with a Payette floatant by Loon. When the fly get wet I go to the FF or I use Topride, also by Loon.

Lumber_Jack 11-08-2011 10:08 PM

That's great info guys, I will try these tips and see how they work. I suspect I am using a too small and little hackle dry. Thanks again

NDuncan 11-09-2011 10:22 AM

neversinks and other foam-based dries will support heavier droppers (comparable and sometimes even larger hook sizes) without much trouble.

BigMax 11-09-2011 10:47 AM

about the dry?
Not to take over the thread but im curious what kinds of dry-flys yall use when fishing the tail waters?

i have never caught a fish on a dry any bigger than a 18 on the clinch.....for that reason i only throw a dry(no dropper) or a indicator/dropper rig.

im sure some terrestrials fall into the tailwaters but i have never seen large flys or bugs hatching????? do any of u have luck with size 16, 14 drys? or hoppers?

Hugh Hartsell 11-09-2011 11:51 AM

Dry fly sizes on tailwaters
I hope that Lumber Jack will tolerate us for getting into more depth about flies used on the tailwaters.
If you fish the Clinch, or the Holston, below Cherokee you will find Sulfurs hatching strongly every late Spring and into early summer. I love using a fly that I tie called the Tan Wulff because of it's ability to float high and support a dropper. I fish it in sizes #14-16 as the season progresses. If you fish the South Holston or the Watauga Rivers you can use the same Tan Wulff for Sulfurs or other patterns that match the Sulfur Dun. On the Watauga River there are lots of Caddis that go up to size #12-16 as well as several other dry fly patterns. The Elk Hair Caddis or several foam type bodies work well here. On the Holston, below Cherokee we have at least 2 types of Caddis that we try to imitate and the popular sizes for them are #16-20-22. Being able to identify insects on the water and match them is really helpful.
Yesterday on the Holston, below Cherokee I made my first trip since July and there were quite few small Caddis hatching at mid river.

The water temps at mid river was 59 degrees and 62 degrees at the dam. I hope this gives some insight.

Lumber_Jack 11-10-2011 08:59 AM

No worries Hugh, good info. Carry on.

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