Whether you are using Streamers, Nymphs or Dry flies, its a good idea to give the fish double trouble. Whether you are fishing for brown trout or steelhead these tactics are the same, By using 2 flies at once you are doubling your chances. Before I get into the different ways to use this age old tactic, I will try to clear up a little confusion.
Which way is Best To Connect your 2 Flies?
Both of these rigging methods will work, but option #2 on the right is far superior.
There are 2 popular ways to connect your flies together. Notice the Diagram on the left. One way (the traditional way) is done by tying either two knots through the eye of the first flies hook, or leaving an extra length of tag end during your initial knot.
The best way in my opinion is the method on the right. There are several reasons why it is better.
Why option 1. is the least effective
The fish going after your fly could actually push it out of the way, if the extra line happens to be in between the fish and the fly.
It takes way too long to tie compared to tying directly on the bend of the hook.
Your first fly will end up floating and hanging sideways. This often leads to severe twisting of your line during casting and causes tangles.
Now that we have cleared up that confusion on the double fly rig, we can move on to the different ways to make the most of multiple fly rigs.
The Double Streamer Rig
This is an extremely effective technique. On those days where the fish are following your streamers, but not quite taking them, this will sometimes work. It also gives you the opportunity to try 2 different colored streamers at once. This is great to figure out what the fish want on that particular day. Often times by having a smaller fly at the back end of your tandem rig, it will trigger strikes from fish that otherwise would not have been caught.
The Double Dry Fly Rig
Of course its a good idea to fish with 2 dry flies at once! The nice thing about using 2 dry flies is you can use a standard dry on the front, and an Emerging Pattern (emerger) on the back. There are some major benefits of using 2 dry flies, especially if you have trouble seeing smaller dry flies. You can put a large and very visible fly on the front, and a smaller fly on the back. This way you will be able to locate the first fly, and get a very good idea the area where your second fly is even if you can’t see it. Many times you will just see a hit in the vicinity of the first fly, (or whichever one you happen to see at the time) This will be enough cause to set the hook. Without having two flies, that is a fish you never would have caught, because you wouldn’t have seen the hit.
Hopper Dropper Rig
The hopper dropper rig is very effective in the summer when there are a lot of hoppers around, but it also works well in the western us during the Salmon fly, and golden stonefly hatches. If the fish happen to be not keying in yet on the dry flies, you can cover the entire water column with this. It is very simple to fish, and it is 100% guaranteed to catch you more fish, than with the dry fly alone. To effectively fish the hopper dropper rig, just watch the floating fly closely. Treat it just as you would a strike indicator (because that’s what it is). When your top fly goes under it is time to set the hook!
Don’t be afraid, you can use these rigging techniques to drop more than just one extra fly. Just make sure the top fly and each consecutive fly weighs the same or less than the one before it. You cannot tie a heavy fly onto a small fly and expect to not get tangles. Always layer them from largest on top, to smallest on bottom.
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