For me, they are one in the same. I would consider my ‘forte’ to be nymph fishing in rivers and streamer fishing in stillwater. I love dry fly fishing, I just catch substantially more fish sub-surface. That all being said, without a doubt, I have caught more fish on a size 18 pheasant tail, with a flash wing case, then any other fly. From the Animas River running behind Wal-mart in Durango to the South Platte in Cheesemen canyon to Taryall Creek above the reservoir I have consitently landed fish on this the most generic of nymphs.
No bead heads pheasant tails. With the exception of large streamers, I hate bead heads. It might of been the days I spent on the San Juan where you’d be laughed off the river, by the fish, if they saw you with a bead head. I figure if they’re not effective on the San Juan below Navajo Dam then why use them anywhere. What I mean is the fish in the San Juan are some of the smartest, pickiest fish in the world and if it works with them then use it all of the time.
Additionally, regardless of the river; if nothing is happening up top, I will use the combo of pheasant tail with brassie dropper as my fish finding rig. Often times this set up is so effective, I won’t have to change the set up all afternoon.
The wolly bugger is potentially the most popular fly ever. I can’t disagree with the masses on this one. I have landed the largest fish (plural) of my life on simple black wolly buggers. I really don’t have much more to say about the mighty bugger. Its one of the easiest to tie and it is simply the best.
Dry fly fishing is tough to beat, I’ll admit it. Its just that a trout’s diet is something like 90% sub-surface creatures. It may be my bad luck over the years but it’s rare that I have the correct fly when a hot hatch is going on. I’m either a size too big, a color to dark or forgot my floatant. If I had to chose a favorite attractor dry fly it would be a close call between a yellow humpy or a royal wulff. (Why not just use a royal humpy??) I will go with royal wulff. Attractor dry flies are a bit of a mystery to me. I can’t understand why they work so well. I am not going to think to hard on it, though. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.