Thursday, August 28, 2008
Not a lot of folks fly fish for Goldeye. For that matter, not a lot of folks even know what a Goldeye is. I'm not going to go into much detail about the characteristics of the Goldeye but if this is of interest to you, I linked to a page with good information on the Goldeye at the beginning of this post or you can just do a google search. What I will tell you is that they will readily rise to a dry a fly, they have piranha like teeth and smaller mouths similar to a whitefish. Now as far as information on catching Goldeye on the fly, there is very little information available. Here are some bits of information that I have heard about fly-fishing for Goldeye and my responses to them.
They are most active at dusk. From what I have observed, this is true. We usually get to the river about two hours before dark and at first, you can see the Goldeye occasionally rising out in the middle of the stream and out of casting range. As it gets darker the rises become more frequent and the fish start to move in towards shore. By the time the sun has completely set, the rises are everywhere including behind you at the shore line.
Goldeye won't take your fly unless it is twitched or on the swing. It all depends on what is hatching. If there is a thick mayfly hatch on, this may not be true but for the most part from my experience, Goldeye like to see some bit of movement on the fly.
Tie on a stimulator or an elk hair caddis and your guaranteed a good time. Although both the stimulator and the EHC patterns work incredibly well, that is not an entirely true statement. From what both myself and Phil Rowley have experienced, Goldeye are opportunistic feeders but according to the hatch, they will become selective. Twice now, Phil and I have seen hatches of small mayflies, once with what we believe is a mahogany dunn hatch and then again with tiny white winged blacks (tricos). The mahogany mayflies were about a size 14-16 and the tricos were about a size 22 -24. When fishing while the mahogany hatch was on, other fly patterns (stimulator, EHC, mayfly patterns, etc) would work as long as the size was close. But when the trico hatch was on, the Goldeye seemed to be very selective in both size and shape of our presentation. The week before I saw that mahogany hatch, my buddy Joe and I had experienced another mayfly hatch but these were much bigger in sizes 10-12. We believed these to be brown drakes but they may have also been mahogany mayflies. When this hatch was on, we were using larger flies in different patterns and doing well but as the the hatch went on we also had to to go down in size and change patterns to a mayfly imitation.
Goldeye are definitely fun to catch on a dry fly. They fight pretty good due to their profile and now I know they are not as easy to catch as I had previously thought. If you're lucky, a stimmy or an EHC will get you good results but you may still have to work for them and yes... "match the hatch".