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Old 06-03-2020, 07:29 AM   #1
team anarchy
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Default Leech Pattern Advice

Getting back into fly fishing after a long hiatus. My first attempt was a Crane with a balanced leech under a strike indicator. Only tried for a short while, but had a take down very quickly. He played with it a couple times and took it under, but very briefly. Never had time to set the hook. Is the normal bite? Or do they hold on longer?

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Old 06-03-2020, 09:21 AM   #2
uhmw
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Default Re: Leech Pattern Advice

I fish a leeach with a stinger hook on a sink tip line with 9 foot leader. I cast as far as I can then troll out more line till I'm close to the backing and then let it sink for 15-30 seconds . I pull it in 1-2 inches at a time till I'm sure its covered in grass at wich point I haul it in clean it off and repeat. The fish tend to slam it just after it starts hitting the grass If the wind is wiping I do the same thing and wind drift with a streamer. This has worked well for me in crane. I always prefer non weighted leeches and woolly buggers because they sink at a slower rate and shed the grass better. I have never used a strike indicator because I lack the patients to keep track of the bobber. Instead I lay back and take in the scenery while slowly keeping tension on the line as it drifts to the bottom far from my tube or kayak. When a crane bow or big brook trout commit to your leech you feel it in your rod tip and many times with the stinger they hook themselves and dam near yank the rod from your hands. That's how I do it.

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Old 06-03-2020, 10:41 AM   #3
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Default Re: Leech Pattern Advice

I use a strip strike when stripping leeches.
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Old 06-03-2020, 10:43 AM   #4
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Default Re: Leech Pattern Advice

Leeches wouldnt be my first choice to fish under a bobber. But if you are going to do that, recognize you have a huge amount of slack in your line and the second you get a take you're going to need to get rid of it in a hurry.
Smaller flies that they wont miss are critical, and getting your line tight quickly upon contact is imperative.
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Old 06-03-2020, 10:57 AM   #5
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Default Re: Leech Pattern Advice

I’ve never fished a balanced leech and indicator rig, but wouldn’t it be most effective with a slow retrieve with pauses, unless there is a chop on the surface to impart action to the fly?
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Old 06-03-2020, 11:20 AM   #6
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Default Re: Leech Pattern Advice

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Originally Posted by Snapt View Post
I’ve never fished a balanced leech and indicator rig, but wouldn’t it be most effective with a slow retrieve with pauses, unless there is a chop on the surface to impart action to the fly?
Basically a very slow moving presentation and yes it needs some wind or chop to impart any action or cover water.
Benefit is you can target a certain depth and fish effectively for long periods. But it is also slow game. kinda like fishing chironomids or watching paint dry
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Old 06-03-2020, 11:38 AM   #7
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Default Re: Leech Pattern Advice

I'd actually never heard of a balanced leech before. It looks designed more for float fishing or slow retrieve. I would think missed takes would be a problem with this type fly more than chironomids under a float because there is so much fly that's not at the hook. When stripping leeches, there's always a test period when you see how commited the fish are to the strike on a given day. If they are whacking it, hook-ups are easy, but if they are taking them softly, a lot of time they are just biting the tail of the fly. Sometimes you have to trim the fly so the hook is closer to the end. With this fly being under a float and the fly not being retrieved in a particular direction, this might not work. You'd also be trimming away some of the natural action that the still fly needs to attract the strike. It's interesting to consider. I've rarely fished Crane, but have fished a lot of leeches on East, Hosmer and Davis. I'm a fan of trying a fast strip when the water's got some chop and slow retrieves, sometimes just the drop, when the water's glassy. I like a type 2 full sinking line in most conditions unless the fish are real shallow, when I like intermediate. A sink tip line won't allow the fly to go as deep and will cause more disturbance on the surface if the water's glassy. Then again, I'm usually giving the fly some action.
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Old 06-03-2020, 11:50 AM   #8
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Default Re: Leech Pattern Advice

I've had very good results using a balanced leech. The big thing, that UHMW mentioned, is to get the leech near the bottom within 6" or closer. I use quick release indicators (requires a swivel or bobber stop between the indicator and the flies so you don't lose everything if you break off). This technique works very well if it's choppy, making the fly bob up and down some. If it's not windy/choppy then you'll have to move the fly a bit. I use short 2-3" strips varying the retrieve speed.

Sometimes the fish are just not on for leeches as you said. They pluck and test. It's time to use a different color leech or fly (chronomids), or technique (sinking/sinktip).

Something I do, when using an indicator, is add a dropper fly like a chrono or a small nymph. When adding tippet I use a triple surgeon's knot. But when adding a small fly dropper, I move the 6-8" piece of fine tippet up the line from the end of the leader (8 to 24") and tie the knot. That gives you a heavy piece all the way to the end and a finer tag end to tie on a smaller fly. The heavy end gets the balanced leech and the finer dropper gets the smaller fly.

Hope this helps. CopperMan.
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Old 06-03-2020, 07:08 PM   #9
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Default Re: Leech Pattern Advice

A balanced leach is a relatively new fly style here (popular in BC). Because the fly is attached mid fly (instead of the head like 99% of flies) it is really ONLY useful under an indicator. If you retrieve you are pulling it from the mid body.

I really enjoy indicator fishing on lakes but you have to put time in and if you are not getting bit it can get really boring. Most guys (me included) won't have the patience to really dial it in and will start trolling or casting after some unsuccessful time with a bobber.
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Old 06-03-2020, 08:27 PM   #10
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Default Re: Leech Pattern Advice

Here's a leech primer from Brian Chan, probably one of the foremost lake fly fishers in British Columbia:


Enjoy, Copperman.
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Old 06-04-2020, 03:37 AM   #11
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Default Re: Leech Pattern Advice

I don't get bored fishing with an indicator because I have a two rod endorsement. Fish one rod with an indicator and the second rod I cast and retrieve.

Don't get bored but you run the risk of missing some strikes on the indicator rod.
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Old 06-04-2020, 08:53 AM   #12
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Default Re: Leech Pattern Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by CopperMan View Post
Here's a leech primer from Brian Chan, probably one of the foremost lake fly fishers in British Columbia:

YouTube

Enjoy, Copperman.
B.C. is the master when in comes to lakes. Literally wrote the book.
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Old 06-04-2020, 10:21 AM   #13
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Default Re: Leech Pattern Advice

Great information Copperman. Thanks.
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Old 06-05-2020, 09:40 AM   #14
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Default Re: Leech Pattern Advice

Brian is an awesome authority on leeches and all you need to do is follow his advise and watch that video that was so generously posted above.
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Old 06-05-2020, 11:38 AM   #15
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Default Re: Leech Pattern Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by JD77 View Post
A balanced leach is a relatively new fly style here (popular in BC). Because the fly is attached mid fly (instead of the head like 99% of flies) it is really ONLY useful under an indicator. If you retrieve you are pulling it from the mid body.

I really enjoy indicator fishing on lakes but you have to put time in and if you are not getting bit it can get really boring. Most guys (me included) won't have the patience to really dial it in and will start trolling or casting after some unsuccessful time with a bobber.
Actually balanced leaches work pretty good without an indicator. I have done well on them. Have you ever seen how a leech swims? A lot of erratic motions.

One of my favorite methods in lakes is stripping a Ruby Eye Leech pattern in fairly quick 6" to 1' strips on an intermediate or heavy sinking line (depending on depth). One side of my big bug lake box is almost entirely Ruby Eyed Leeches or a variation of. The other side is Buggers, Dragons and Damsels, . Since I started using the leech patterns I don't use the flies on the other side much.
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Old 06-06-2020, 01:03 PM   #16
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Default Re: Leech Pattern Advice

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Originally Posted by retreive View Post
Brian is an awesome authority on leeches and all you need to do is follow his advise and watch that video that was so generously posted above.
Brian is an expert on chironomids, not necessarily leeches.

If you have questions or want patterns for the lakes, stop into the Sunriver Fly Shop, the one out by the gas station. They are the experts for the Cascade Lakes and their fly selection is one of the biggest on the West Coast.
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Old 06-08-2020, 09:00 PM   #17
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Default Re: Leech Pattern Advice

If you Google "Underwater indicator fly fishing the leech effect on trout". There's a pretty cool video showing trout eating a balanced leech/chironomid rig. I'm guessing what happens on the vidoe often happens. Where they pick at it. I had a trip a few years back where they would pick at a stripped seal bugger like they were eating a nightcrawler.

BTW-Denny Rickard has some good videos and tips on fishing leeches, it's not indicator fishing, but he has some great info.

I'm like some of you, I can't stare at a bobber for too long, but it's a nice option when the wind kicks up or I get tired of flogging the water to a froth.
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Old 06-09-2020, 11:54 AM   #18
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Default Re: Leech Pattern Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wreckless View Post
If you Google "Underwater indicator fly fishing the leech effect on trout". There's a pretty cool video showing trout eating a balanced leech/chironomid rig. I'm guessing what happens on the vidoe often happens. Where they pick at it. I had a trip a few years back where they would pick at a stripped seal bugger like they were eating a nightcrawler.

BTW-Denny Rickard has some good videos and tips on fishing leeches, it's not indicator fishing, but he has some great info.

I'm like some of you, I can't stare at a bobber for too long, but it's a nice option when the wind kicks up or I get tired of flogging the water to a froth.
Just watched that vid; pretty cool!! DS
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Old 06-09-2020, 01:49 PM   #19
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Default Re: Leech Pattern Advice

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Originally Posted by team anarchy View Post
Getting back into fly fishing after a long hiatus. My first attempt was a Crane with a balanced leech under a strike indicator. Only tried for a short while, but had a take down very quickly. He played with it a couple times and took it under, but very briefly. Never had time to set the hook. Is the normal bite? Or do they hold on longer?
-This is a typical bite for balanced leeches, chronos or nymphs under a indicator. Fish bite quick, tail slap or will drain your indicator. Anything is possible, my experience fishing indicators.. fish dont hold on a long time. They bite realize its fake and spit it out. Balanced leeches can be VERY productive under a bobber. I typical fish a balanced leech and then a dropper fly. More often than not ill pick a fish up on the balanced leech, pump its throat and that will give me a better idea of what to use to "match" the hatch. I usually retie once i find out what the fish has been eating.

- Balanced leeches "tied on a jig style or upright hook or with a pin" fish well under a bobber. Regular leeches fish better on a sink tip/intermediate type line with a strip style retrieve.

Im no expert.... but this is what works for me.
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