The Renegade Dry Fly

The renegade dry fly can be used on both river and lake. An excellent pattern for cutthroat trout. It was devised in Wyoming by Taylor "Beartracks" Williams around the late 1920's.

Renegade Dry Fly pattern for Rainbow and Brown trout fishing

DRY FLY PATTERNS. Hook size 10 12 14 16 18 20 - $US each

DF23 Renegade Dry Fly Hook Size 10   - Quantity: 
DF23 Renegade Dry Fly Hook Size 12   - Quantity: 
DF23 Renegade Dry Fly Hook Size 14   - Quantity: 
DF23 Renegade Dry Fly Hook Size 16   - Quantity: 
DF23 Renegade Dry Fly Hook Size 18   - Quantity: 
DF23 Renegade Dry Fly Hook Size 20   - Quantity: 

Ernest Hemingway enjoyed fly fishing and is quoted in saying, "Taylor Williams came to work in Sun Valley (Idaho) in 1937 (as hunting and fishing guide). He was an excellent dry fly fisherman. He always said that he was responsible for the renegade fly." Some patterns make us wonder what trout see in them. The renegade is one such pattern. It works in smaller sizes as a mating midge cluster but also works in larger sizes as an all around dry fly attractor for those times when you feel like fishing a dry but nothing is rising. The fly works as to the trout it looks like something edible. What I am not to sure but they seem to like it. I use a small renegade during midge hatches as it looks like a couple of mating midges. Midges or gnats are the staple diet of most trout. These tiny insects are found on most rivers, lakes and streams. They have small dark bodies and whitish wings.

How can a flyfishing angler make sure he is fishing when the trout are feeding? Most humans wake at or just after dawn and are most active throughout the day. They become sleepy at sunset or just a few hours after that. A lot of fishermen go fishing after breakfast and return home at teatime without regard for when the trout are actually awake and feeding. It is generally assumed that trout are always on the lookout for food.

This is not true. It has been identified that there are certain periods in a day when trout feed more enthusiastically than during other times. There are certain times when trout are actively looking for food, periods when they will be prepared to feed and other times when they are completely uninterested in food. It stands to reason that the best time to catch fish is when they are hungry and looking to feed. To keep fishing with the fly when the trout are not interested in taking either the natural insects that are floating in front of their face can have a detrimental effect. If the trout gets accustomed to seeing your flies when it is not hungry you are in danger of educating them as to what is real and what is an imitation. If you keep casting over fish that are not interested feeding you run the risk of disturbing them and ruining your chances of catching them when they do decide to start feeding. Natural fly hatches develop as the light fades. More and more trout begin to feed at or close to the surface. Yet this is the time when many fishermen are not on the water, but in their cars going home for the evening meal. This is crazy

Many flyfisherman on a fishing holiday enjoy a big fry up breakfast at the Lodge, bed-and-breakfast or rented holiday house to prepare them for the day's activity. When they get to the water's edge, they find that the water surface is flat and still, not one fish is breaking the surface. They may see the locals heading back towards their cars or the Lodge with a full catch of trout in their bags. They will often be greeted with the words from the fishery owner or bailiff, "you should have been here earlier, at dawn the water was boiling. Trout everywhere". As a general rule of thumb most fish feed very early in the morning and start again late afternoon to late evening. This is the time when you should be on the water. Set your alarm early and get on the water just as the sun rises. When the fish have stopped feeding that is the time that you go and have breakfast. Come back out late afternoon.

This is only a general rule of thumb. The times that trout are prepared to feed do vary according to the time of year, the weather and condition of the river, the location of a particular beat in the river system and whether the trout are hungry. When the river is in spate and after the trout have spawned, many fish move downstream to deeper less turbulent waters. This is why some headwaters can at certain times of the year be almost devoid of trout. During the early months of spring trout will begin to move back upstream. If you fish these waters before the returning migration you could be wasting your time because the water holds no fish.

Tactics to use when there are beetles about.

I use the Renegade fly pattern as floating beetle imitation. It is easy to dismiss the humble beetle as an insect worth imitating. It is not a Mayfly and many people think trout fishing is all about serving nymph, dun and spinner imitations of these aquatic insects that are often on the top of a trout’s menu list.

Trout and grayling eat beetles. In the UK there are over 5,000 different species. Most are land based beetles that have a habit of falling or being blown onto the water surface, but there are also a number of aquatic beetle that become trout fodder.

They come in many shapes and sizes, ranging from tiny iridescent green ones best imitated on a size 20 hook to huge stag beetles. It is a nightmare trying to identify all species of beetles. Luckily the fly fisherman does not have to. All he needs to do is match the size of the floating beetles he see on the water near his position.

A ‘fall’ of beetles onto the water can be expected from February to October. They can be found anywhere in the world. They are a global species. They ‘fall’ onto the water by being plucked from the land, bush, branch or twig by a strong gust of wind.

When you arrive at a lake or river take a few moments to look at the surrounding trees and bushes. Has the prevailing wind bent them into shape? This will give you a clue where you should start fishing. You want the wind behind your back.

In more exposed areas the wind is capable of shifting flies and beetles over long distances. You do not necessary need an insect fertile water to enjoy a day of dry fly fishing. This is particularly so on high altitude mountain lakes. On waters such as this the trout take more food from the surface than their cousins in lakes on the valley floor.

When they spy a beetle banquet they leave their meagre aquatic pickings for the chance of enjoying a more substantial meal. Beetles active in the early part of the season often go unnoticed. They are equivalent to a Renegade fly hook size 16 or smaller. They are hard to see on the water. Before you start fishing explore the river or lake bank on the windward side. This is where all the drowned beetle bodies will be blown towards. On the opposite bank near where you will stand with the wind to your back, check out the spider’s webs and inspect them for trapped beetles. Match the size of beetle you find with your fly.

Carry some scissors in your fishing kit. Be prepared to trim the hackle on your renegade fly to match he legs of the beetle and how it floats in the water. It is the undercarriage of a beetle that the trout see. Some beetles float high whilst others float with only 20% of their body visible above the surface.

Don’t always expect to see hordes of beetles blown onto the water surface. They tend to trickle onto the water. Bankside features also affect the way they are deposited. Large trees or clumps of bushes act as wind breaks. You will find there are more beetles blown on the water opposite more exposed, vegetation free, stretches of the bankside.

You can get concentration of beetle deposition caused by gaps in vegetation cover and nearby steep small valleys that have the effect of funnelling the wind. During the early stages of a beetle fall the leeward sheltered bank would be the best place to start fishing. What I mean by early stages is when the wind strength first starts to pick up or the morning of a windy day.

I normally add a dropper under the surface Renegade dry fly as it helps search the water at depth in the absence of rising trout. A Gold Ribbed Hares Ear nymph or Pheasant Tail nymph is ideal. I always try to fish my flies in the direction of the drift. If positioned with a crosswind blowing, rather than cast across and downwind, I pitch the flies 45 degrees upwind to produce a more natural presentation. Your fly should land behind the area of beetle deposition and let the wind and current take your artificial fly into the feeding zone.

The same principle, except with a more parallel cast to the bank, can be achieved on the leeward shore later in the day. Do not cast directly into the strong wind coming towards you. That is hard. It is much easier to cast across the wind. You may have to change you location to get your fly to drift into the desired patch of water.

If you are fishing in a location where there is a crosswind that is depositing beetles in front of you cast 45 degrees into the wind and let the current and wind drift your Renegade fly naturally amongst the floating beetles.

The plop sound of a beetle landing on the water can be the trigger that causes a trout to rise and investigate what just landed on the water. Although it goes against every teaching, it often brings good results present your fly forcefully rather than trying for a gentle landing. Many beetles try to struggle out of their watery doom before they drown. This movement also attracts feeding trout. A quick twitch of your line can imitate this and act as a spark that grabs the fish’s attention.

If you are boat fishing search out those quiet bays where the wind blows into a corner. Beetles will accumulate on the downwind shore. Subjected to wave action they are tossed about and quickly drown. Cast into this area and wait for a take.

Gregor Fulton McGregor wrote: I would also agree with virtually all of this, but would add a couple of caveats. I have spent a lot of time in the past two years flyfishing in Hokkaido, Japan (4 1/2 hours from HK, so 'near'!) In May, fishing March Browns and Mayfly, you could set your watch by the hatches: 1100-1300 they would come off in clouds when the temperature was right, then nothing as it began to fall - rather like Peter's experience in Labrador. Many of the beautiful virgin rivers there are fed by thermal springs and the flow and temperature are constant, making the river easy to read. But many are violently fluctuating spate rivers fed by snowmelt in the spring from the 2,400 m mountains. On a cold day the levels drop in a trice and the fish - rainbows, arctic char, brownies - react immediately by dropping right down the system to deeper water. Time to go back to the lodge for some hot sake!

Peter wrote: As a general rule of thumb I agree with you that you are right. but it depends on many things as you say however where I live in Western Labrador the temperatures early in the morning are to cold for fish to be feeding on insects because at o degrees to maybe plus three in early morning no flies are on the water. Now if you sleep in down here and not go fishing till ten o'clock or closer to eleven that is when the fish are feeding on insects on the water and where the temperatures cool rapidly as the sun is sinking you are going to catch most of your fish a couple hours before the sun sets.

My 12-year-old son made his way out onto a log that protruded into the lake. He sat down and started casting one of your Renegade Dry flies. A couple of minutes later I heard him call out, "Dad! I've got one. I've got one." He had caught his first Trout, and held it up with pride. He then sat on that log and caught fish after fish. I did the same as I worked the shorelines with a fly rod. A simple renegade fly on or just under the surface was all you needed. I put a renegade fly three feet behind a casting bubble and started to catch them. They hit eagerly and fought with spirit. Lots of fun. I happened to be in the right place at the right time. Richard Hurd, Utah.

Renegade Dry Fly pattern for Rainbow and Brown trout fishing

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