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Home Trout Foods The Six-Color Imitator System

The Six-color Imitator System

 

 The Six-Color Imitator System 

 

Light Cahill

 

 

 

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     The large majority of fly fishing books presently in print emphasize the need to carry a selection of flies that imitates the prevalent hatches in a given area as closely as possible. While there is certainly merit in this approach, most of those books are written by fly fishermen who normally fish large streams on which the aforementioned hatches of specific species of insects hatch at the same time each month (and even at the same time of day!) every year. However, such is not the case with the small, mountain streams here in western North Carolina. Instead, our hatches are  irregular and sporadic. So, instead of focusing on selecting specific fly patterns to match individual species, you may want to try using my "Six-Color Imitator System" instead. With this system, you choose fly patterns in six basic colors consisting of cream, yellow, green, gray, brown, and black. Thus, by carrying a selection of dry fly patterns in these six basic colors in sizes 12 and 16, you can usually match any hatch you may encounter in both color and size closely enough to catch trout rising selectively to any May Fly or Caddis Fly hatch. Therefore, my preferred selection of dry fly patterns to use for this system are: Light Cahill's, Sulphur Dunn's, Adams Female, Blue Winged Olives, March Browns, and Black Gnats. Also, if you have hatches of large Green Drake May Flies in your area, then you might want to carry some Eastern Green Drake patterns in a size 6 or 8. In addition, most swiftly flowing streams harbor large populations of Caddis Flies. Thus, a selection of Elk Hair Caddis patterns in cinnamon, yellow, olive, gray, brown, and black is also very handy to have. In addition, it is helpful to realize that this three-color system can also be applied to nymphs in order to help you locate actively feeding fish that will not respond to a dry fly. For instance, in order to create a six-color imiatator system using nymphs, I would choose a Light Cahill nymph, a Pheasant Tail Sulphur nymph, a green Golden Ribbed Hair's Ear nymph, an Adams nymph, a March Brown nymph, and a black Golden Ribbed Hair's Ear nymph.


     In addition, while I am aware that there are numerous types of fly boxes available from numerous manufacturers ranging from purely utilitarian to fine works of art, over the years I have developed a particular affection for Myran fly boxes. Not only are they relatively inexpensive, they are lightweight and yet nearly indestructible (I have had mine for over fifteen years). But, I especially like the clear plastic divided into individual compartments because the clear plastic allows me to view my fly selection without having to open the box and the individual compartments allow me to carry more flies in a smaller space. In fact, I can generally fit a dozen of each pattern into each compartment without damaging the hackle which is more flies than I can place in a foam box of the same size. Consequently, I like to use an eighteen-compartment Myran box to house the size 12 dry flies that comprise both my "Three-Color Attractor System" and my "Six-Color Imitator System" as well as a twelve-compartment Myran box to house my size 16 flies in the same patterns. Thus, by carrying the above mentioned patterns in both size 12 and size 16, I can generally attract even wary Browns during non-hatch periods and match most any hatch closely enough to fool the trout during prolific hatches. Consequently, for your convenience, I have listed below my two preferred configurations for my Myran dry fly boxes as well as a couple of possible variations of each:

 

 

Picture of my Six Color Imitator Systerm

Myran 18 Compartment Fly Box


 

Preferred Version (all flies in size 12) -

 

Black

Gnat

Blue Winged

Olive

Black Elk

Hair Caddis

Green Elk

Hair Caddis

Tennessee 

Wulff

Green Stimulator

March

Brown

Sulphur Dunn

Brown Elk

Hair Caddis

Yellow Elk

Hair Caddis

Carolina

Wulff

Yellow Stimulator

Female

Adams

Light Cahill

Grey Elk

Hair Caddis

Orange Elk

Hair Caddis

Royal

Wulff

Red Stimulator

 

 

Variation #1 (all flies in a size 12) -

 

Black

Gnat

Blue Winged

Olive

Green Elk

Hair Caddis

Tennessee

Wulff

Green

Wulff

Green Stimulator

March

Brown

Sulphur Dunn

Yellow Elk

Hair Caddis

Carolina

Wulff

Yellow

Wulff

Yellow Stimulator

Female

Adams

Light Cahill

Orange Elk

Hair Caddis

Royal

Wulff

Red

Wulff

Red Stimulator

 

 

Variation #2 (all flies in size 12) -

 

Black

Gnat

Blue Winged

Olive

Green Elk

Hair Caddis

Tennessee

Wulff

Green

Humpy

Green Stimulator

March

Brown

Sulphur Dunn

Yellow Elk

Hair Caddis

Carolina

Wulff

Yellow

Humpy

Yellow Stimulator

Female

Adams

Light Cahill

Orange Elk

Hair Caddis

Royal

Wulff

Red

Humpy

Red Stimulator

 

 

Variation #2 (all flies in size 12) -

 

Black

Gnat

Blue Winged

Olive

Black Elk

Hair Caddis

Olive Elk

Hair Caddis

Green

Wulff

Green Stimulator

March

Brown

Sulphur Dunn

Brown Elk

Hair Caddis

Yellow Elk

Hair Caddis

Yellow

Wulff

Yellow Stimulator

Female

Adams

Light Cahill

Grey Elk

Hair Caddis

Cream Elk

Hair Caddis

Red

Wulff

Red Stimulator

 

 

 

 

Myran 12 Compartment Fly Box

 

Preferred Version (all flies in size 16) -

 

Black

Gnat

Blue Winged

Olive

Green Elk

Hair Caddis

Tennessee

Wulff

March

Brown

Sulphur Dunn

Yellow Elk

Hair Caddis

Carolina

Wulff

Female

Adams

Light Cahill

Orange   Elk

Hair Caddis

Royal

Wulff

 

 

Variation #1 (all flies in size 16) -

 

Black

Gnat

Blue Winged

Olive

Green Elk

Hair Caddis

Green

Wulff

March

Brown

Sulphur Dunn

Yellow Elk

Hair Caddis

Yellow

Wulff

Female

Adams

Light Cahill

Orange Elk

Hair Caddis

Red

Wulff

 

 

Variation #2 (all flies in size 16) -

 

Black

Gnat

Blue Winged

Olive

Green Elk

Hair Caddis

Green

Humpy

March

Brown

Sulphur Dunn

Yellow Elk

Hair Caddis

Yellow

Humpy

Female

Adams

Light Cahill

Orange Elk

Hair Caddis

Red

Humpy

 

 

 

 

 

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