There was a time not that long ago when there were only two flies to choose from…and they were not a Humpy and a Copper John. Most fly boxes (or wallets, I think) were full of wet flies—some beautifully ordained with hard-to-find furs and feathers from now endangered birds—and maybe one row of “greased” dry flies. That was it…wet or dry. Then we fly fishermen entered the self-imposed era of over-thinking everything. We now have nymphs, pupa, larva, stillborns, cripples, duns, spinners…and every single momentary stage of life of every single insect to ever fly or crawl less than 40 miles from a body of water that once was known to hold trout. Yeah, I’m poking fun at all of you…and myself. Hell, mainly myself. I’m the one who spends every night hovering cross-eyed over a sweat-tarnished Renzetti thinking I can revolutionize the fly fishing industry. Whatever…the point I’m trying to build to is that we may have gotten too carried away with detailed perfection in the flies we use. We have fallen into a wax-museum mentality. These flies look sweet on the cover of Fly Tier magazine, but look stiff and robotic while drifting down a trout stream. Trout, I have found, are more impressed with a bug that looks alive than with one that has a painted-on sphincter and exactly six elbows.
So, it is an old trick that I propose trying the next time you are on the water. It is deep into caddis season and there are few flies that can mimic the shape and movement of an emerging natural than the ironically named New Trick soft hackled wet fly.