Baetis Week. Dry-Dropper Rigs

Baetis Week. Dry-Dropper Rigs

Today on the Headhunters Fly Fishing Blog we bring you new science. The dry-dropper rig.

No. Not new. Yet quite effective here on Montana’s Missouri River.

I was not a fan for many years. I had always believed that the nymph would hinder the drift of the dry. So why not put a couple nymphs and a bobber on if you wanted to nymph. And adding a dry to a dry was cool too.

Until the creation of these fantastic slim bodied mayfly patterns grabbed me.

photo-24 copy
One more way to fish for BWO fish.

Baetis Week. Dry-Dropper Rigs

Overcast skies can bring the trout into shallow waters and how should you capitalize on this opportunity? Dry-Dropper rigs. Two-Bit Hookers, Little Green Machines, S & M, Gidget, Magic Fly BWO…and more all with narrow abdomens.

Why the narrow ones? They sink faster. Tungsten heads help too. Tie it off at 12″ or deeper if you wish depending not he depth you want to achieve. Sometimes you may want to go as short as 6″. Some situations demand you go deeper yet.

How about the top fly? Any attractor that you like. I like the big Parachute Adams. We have them in several post colors like pink, chartreuse/pink, grey, black, white, and soft pink. A Wulff type fly will work. Small Chubby? OK. Double Posted Midge Cluster pattern? Yep. March Brown fly? Skwala? Any fly you can see well and can support a dropper fly will suffice.

With the advent of lower water this summer the water depth you are seeking can be slower than normal. Hence the effectiveness of the dropper rig.

How about those faster skinny riffles? Good for searching that type of water as well. Toss it upstream dn find out if there are any feeding fish in there.

Will they eat the dry? Oh yeah. Not quite as often as you wish. If they were really eating the dry you would lop off the dropper portion. I really think it is a good way to fish short and shallow. The Short Leash Nymph rigs are good for a touch deeper zone. Like in the 12″-36″ water column. The dry-dropper rig is great in 12″ or less.

Perfect for all of the shore centric anglers out there…but even better for those who fish the entire river bank to bank.

Baetis Week. Dry-Dropper Rigs
Fishing the dry dropper with success!


What kind of tippet do we tie to the top fly? 3X or 4X. Depends on the size of course. 5X to the dropper. We love a long leader here on the Mighty Mo generally starting with the 12′ RIO 4X and adding a bit of tippet tying on the dry and then continuing to the dropper.

Small droppers work really well this time of year with the advent of the superior BWO fishing.

  • Hey, are there a ton of trout on the surface? Depends on the day and the reach. Yes, and no.
  • Hey, do you fella’s have all those skinny bodied flies in the shop? Yep, you betcha.
  • Hey, can you show me how to tie this up in the store? Certainly.
  • Hey, should I try this upon my next visit to the Mo? Maybe.
  • Hey, this weekend looks like good BWO weather. Do you agree? Oh yeah.
  • Hey, we’ll see you out there with the net out.

Bottom Line: Keep it real by trying all kinds of things throughout the year. So many of us get in a rut concerning our fishing techniques. Those who are fooling around the most usually bump into cool techniques once in a while. Try it, you might like it.

Check out yesterdays BWO Blog here. Tuesdays BWO Blog here.

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