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The secrets of using the Blue Dot method for urban fly fishing, with Devin Lancaster

Description: Last week we looked at urban fly fishing in the Rockies. This week we venture into the American south with Orvis Atlanta fishing manager Devin Lancaster for an expert look at how to find and catch interesting fly-rod species within your own city limits by using a method he calls Blue Dotting. You'll need to listen to the podcast to find out exactly what that is.
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Podcast Transcript:

Tom: Hi, and welcome to the "Orvis Fly Fishing Podcast." This is your host, Tom Rosenbauer, and my guest this week is Devin Lancaster, who is the fishing manager at Orvis Atlanta. And we're going to be talking about blue dotting. Now, you've probably heard about blue lining, [00:00:30.029] which is looking for little tiny mountain streams by looking for the little blue lines on a topo map. This is blue dotting, and this is a method for finding great fisheries in urban areas within your own city or suburb.
You know, with the trout streams in North America becoming more and more crowded, lots of us are [00:01:00.543] finding fun ways to fish where we're relatively isolated and even in the middle of a city and not elbow to elbow with other anglers. There are so many cool fish species that we can chase with a fly rod, and Devin's going to tell us a little bit how he uses this blue dotting technique and then, you know, what kind of fish he finds in the area. It's a great way to get out with your fly rod [00:01:30.835] more often than just your monthly trips or yearly trips to a trout stream, and I think you'll enjoy the podcast. And before we get into the fly box, a question part of the podcast, a couple of products that you may or may not have heard of that are relatively new.
One is, one of my favorite newer products, is Scientific Anglers [00:02:00.524] Absolute Fluorocarbon Trout Supreme. It's quite a mouthful. And this is a spool of tippet that cost five times as much as regular super-strong nylon tippet. Now, is it five times better? No, it's not. But is it twice as good? Yeah, I think it is. This tippet material is the strongest [00:02:30.331] tippet I have ever used. It's a cofilament where you have a... It's 100% fluorocarbon, but it's a cofilament where you have a core of extremely strong fluorocarbon tippet, and that's coated on the outside with a slightly softer fluorocarbon. And the advantage this gives you is that the stuff has amazing knot strength.
Now, the tensile strength may not look that much better than other [00:03:00.302] tippet material, but once you knot it, you lose very, very little knot strength. And the stuff is amazing. It really is. I'm using it for nymphs, for streamers, for saltwater, and actually for dry flies, just because it's so strong. You know, if I'm going to go to 6X or 7X with a dry fly, that really fine tippet is not going to sink my dry fly. And if you have to go to 7X and you have some halfway [00:03:30.745] decent trout, you can put some real pressure on these fish on 7X. So it's expensive, but if you really care about landing that very special fish, I think it's worth it.
The other thing you might be interested in is something that's less expensive. These are the Oros Extra Small Strike Indicators. Now, we've been selling the Oros indicators for a while. They're a soft foam. They float all day [00:04:00.938] long without any kind of floating or anything. And they screw down, two halves screw together and pinch your tippet without damaging the tippet or putting any kinks in it. But they stay on the tippet, and they don't move. And there's a new size, extra small. And these are great, particularly, for summer fishing where you don't want a big indicator landing on the water and scaring the fish. They land very lightly. [00:04:30.639] It's almost as good as a dry dropper. But if you are going to indicator fish during a summer, during low water, these extra small Oros Indicators are really terrific, and they're tiny.
You can even use them for Euro nymphing to give yourself a little assist on the strikes by just holding your rod high and having the tippet or your leader go right to the strike indicator without any line on the [00:05:00.092] water. So they're great. And they float all day long, and they're tiny and don't create a big commotion on the water. Also a couple things. I still have some spots on hosted trips. I love doing hosted trips. I've been doing more and more of them, and I really enjoy it. I really enjoy getting out there and meeting customers and fishing with them. [00:05:30.933] And I also get to fish some really cool places. And I don't do any hosted trips on places that I don't love.
So I have a trip at Three Rivers in Idaho, September 28th to October 5th. This is trout fishing, still hopper time. Should be some blue-wing olives. A lot of dry fly fishing and should be some big browns moving so there'd be some streamer fishing as well. And it's at a wonderful ranch in [00:06:00.907] Idaho, a very historic ranch. Then I have a couple of trips to Chile in February. I'm going to be at Magic Waters, February 8th through 15th. And then I'm going to be in a combo trip where three days are spent at Cinco Rios and three days are spent at Estancia del Zorro, February 15th through 22nd. These are both amazing locations. Patagonia is probably my favorite [00:06:30.179] place in the world and would love to see you there. So information on these is all available on the Orvis website. I have a couple other hosted trips but they're full. So I'm not even going to mention them. So my trips typically do fill up, so if you're interested, I would get in touch with Orvis Travel.
All right. Now, let's do the fly box. This is where you ask me questions or pass on a tip to other listeners. And I read all the [00:07:00.241] questions. I don't answer them all but I do read all of them. And you can send me your question by sending me an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Either just put your question in the body of your email or you can attach a voice file and perhaps I'll read it on the air. The first question is an email from Dave. "My [00:07:30.236] schedule usually lends itself well to a lot of fishing midday. With the warmer weather we've been having, where I'm in central Vermont, I've been enjoying using the same jig streamers I usually type for trout to target smallmouth bass and the miscellaneous warm water species that are found in the lower sections of the same streams I usually fish. I have two questions.
These sections are also known to hold a mix of stocked, holdover, and wild trout in addition to warm water species. With [00:08:00.552] water temps above 68 to 70, is it not a good idea to fish these sections of water at all since there might be trout around? I'm thinking that by fishing streamers, any trout that are feeling stressed by the water temperature wouldn't be interested anyway. But I also feel like it's a matter of time before a grumpy brown wants my fly out of its face and takes a bite.
Second question. A lot of these spots are also heavily wooded with zero backcast room, so I often can't take more [00:08:30.182] than a step or two into the water due to a mix of the depth dropping off and the substrate being pure muck. I've had some success working the banks by casting parallel to the shoreline, and I can sometimes find a gap in the trees just wide enough to make a longer back cast. But I can't shake the feeling that I should be using a spinning rod in these situations. Any advice for getting a little further out? I'm using a 10-and-1/2-foot 4 weight and a 9-foot 6 weight for these [00:09:00.525] fish." So Dave, those are good questions, and that's a really interesting question about fishing streamer flies in smallmouth bass water where there might be some trout. It does happen. And it's good that you're concerned about those fish.
Now, trout, you know, they're not really stressed at 68 to 70 until we [00:09:30.215] start jerking them around on the end of our line. So they're going to be feeding pretty actively even at 70 degrees. It's just that we don't want to stress them any further. So they will take your streamer probably. What I would suggest is first of all use a barbless hook so that you can get the fish off quickly and keep them in the water if you do happen to hook a trout. The other thing is [00:10:00.845] by choosing your spots carefully, I think you can stay away from the trout. So typically, where trout are mixed with smallmouth bass, trout are going to be in the more highly oxygenated water in the main thread of the current in the faster water, and the bass are going to be off to the sides and in the tails of pools and in slack water, especially when they're hunting for prey. So I think if you stay away from the fastest water in these [00:10:30.717] streams, you probably will be able to avoid hooking those trout.
Now, regarding your heavily wooded areas with backcast room, I don't know if you are fishing a larger river or a smaller stream. I think I know where you're fishing, and I think it's a bigger river. So here's my suggestion. One is to use a roll cast. Roll cast will get [00:11:00.660] you out there in pretty good shape with either one of those rods that you have without worrying about backcast room. Also the thing that I often do is water load. We talk about this for fishing nymphs a lot, but you can water load a streamer or even a high floating dry fly by just letting the line drag downstream of you and then pointing your tip at where you want to put the fly and just flick [00:11:30.686] it upstream instead of having a backcast, so you're keeping your line in the water. So roll casting or water loading may help if it's a smaller stream.
Now, if it's a bigger river and you just don't have any backcast room because you're up against the bank, you might want to try swinging for smallmouth bass. You can use various two-handed casts like the [00:12:00.785] Snap-T or the Double Spey. You can do this with a single-handed rod pretty well, particularly that 9 foot for a 6 weight. Or you might want to try a lighter 2-handed rod like one of those 11-foot-4-inch rods for either a 3 or 4 weight line. They'll actually be able to cast the same size flies that you're casting on your 6 weight. And a lot of people have now been swinging with two-handed rods for smallmouth, and you [00:12:30.767] don't have to worry about any backcast room. So those are two things you can try. And I'm sure one way or another you can get into those tight spots and catch those bass.
Here's an email from Steve from Napa, California. "I've been following you now for three years that I have been fly fishing since I picked it up during the pandemic. I've learned a lot through your podcast and the videos through the Orvis website and YouTube. During these [00:13:00.890] past years, I picked up some observation when fishing lakes, streams, and rivers. I do a majority of my fishing locally from the banks of a couple lakes. My local lake has bluegill, crappies, largemouth bass, and rainbow trout. During winter, mainly December through March, not much are biting due to colder water temperatures. I'm assuming the fish go deeper, to deeper waters due to cold temps, and casting from the shoreline is relatively much shallower, no more than 15-feet [00:13:30.720] deep. In April, I start getting bites from crappies and largemouth bass as they are spawning.
In May, the largemouth bass move to deeper areas of the lake, I fish only on the shoreline. In late May, when the water temperature starts rising, the crappie bites start to slow down and the bluegills start biting. Currently, the first week in June, I've only caught bluegills, some quite large at 9 to 11 inches, but no bass. Is this typical of lakes with multiple species of fish? This type of fishing, I generally hook more [00:14:00.931] fish strip setting than I do trout setting. Granted, I don't catch a lot of trout in this lake. Mid to late summer, I start fishing the creeks and rivers of the Sierras. I mainly catch trout, both rainbows and browns. Since I normally strip set in the lakes, it is my preferred method of setting the hook. I do trout set, but for some reason, I lose more trout this way. Strip setting is my preferred way to hook a fish, regardless of what species I go after.
My question is this, why is trout setting [00:14:30.718] the preferred method of catching a trout? In my experience, I tend to lose more fish trout setting than I do strip setting. I have access to creeks and rivers, but lakes generally give me a better catch ratio with larger variety of species available. I like catching bass, crappie, and bluegills, as they tend to fight much harder than a trout for the same size in general." Well, Steve, to answer your first question, yeah, that situation is defined [00:15:00.845] if you're fishing from shore, that's typical where various species will move in and out depending on when they're spawning and the water temperature. So that's exactly what I would expect in any lake with that mix of species. So quite typical.
Regarding strip setting versus trout setting, we really should come up with a term other than trout setting, because trout setting is kind of a derogatory term that [00:15:30.675] saltwater guides use when somebody raises the rod tip to set the hook. I'm not going to suggest a different way of naming this, but it's just an overhead set versus a strip set, so you raise the rod tip to set the hook. And it's not specifically for trout fishing, because if you're fishing a streamer for trout, you do want a strip set. If you're stripping a nymph [00:16:00.731] in, moving it in a stream or a lake, you do want to strip set. If you're swinging a wet fly, you don't want to set the hook at all, you want to wait until you feel the pressure of the fish on the hook and then gently tighten.
However, if you're fishing dry flies or nymphs, a couple things are going to happen. One is by strip setting, you're probably not going to get a good enough direct hook set when fishing dry [00:16:30.856] flies and nymphs. And also, you're going to make a lot of commotion by either ripping your dry fly across the surface or ripping an indicator across the surface by strip setting. So, in general, if you are retrieving a fly, you want to strip set, and if you are drifting a fly, as you would with dry flies and nymphs, you want to overhead set or trout set. And this is regardless of the species you're fishing for. [00:17:00.958] So you said that you don't do well with a trout set in trout fishing, I suspect you may be fishing a streamer. If you're strip setting with a dry fly or a nymph, well, if it works for you, go ahead and do it, but I think you're better off using an overhead set in those situations.
Let's do a phone call. First one's from Farmy. And you may know Farmy as Farmington River on Instagram. He's very funny, and he has [00:17:30.695] actually not a humorous phone call, but a good suggestion.
Farmy: Hey, Tom. It's your friend Farmy from and Farmington River on Instagram. Now that it's wet waiting season, I wanted to expand on your recent tip that was posted on Instagram. Oftentimes, when fishing sandy areas like a beach, I get sand between my neoprene sock causing friction that leads to blisters or open wounds. To prevent that, I've begun wearing a pair of wool [00:18:00.977] socks underneath my neoprene socks. This creates a barrier between the sand and my skin, making me a lot more comfortable, especially on longer walks on the beach. It also has the added benefit of providing a little more warmth for my feet and fills out my wading boots a bit more, increasing my overall comfort. I hope this helps some folks increase their comfort while wet waiting this summer, and wanted to say thanks for all that you do for the fly fishing community.
Tom: Well, thank you, Farmy. That's a great one. You have to make sure [00:18:30.914] that your wading boots are large enough to accommodate both neoprene sock and wool socks, but if they will accommodate that, that sounds like a great idea. So thanks for the tip. All right, let's go back to an email. This one's from Vincent. "Hi, I've [00:19:00.627] just started listening to your podcast, and recently, I was wondering if you have ever targeted walleye on a fly. I am from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and I spin fish the rivers there quite often. I was wondering if you have any suggestions or tips for getting started with fly fishing for a walleye."
Yeah, Vincent, I do. As a matter of fact, I did a podcast on fly fishing for walleye. If you go to the Orvis Learning Center and search the podcast on the word walleye, you'll find a podcast I [00:19:30.980] did with Ted Putnam on that very topic. But, in general, walleye are mostly bait fish feeders, and so you need a streamer fly. I've had my best luck with standard Clouser Minnows, and you're probably going to need a sinking line because walleye are generally a bit deeper than the other things we chase. So if you can find walleye, if you know where they are, put on a streamer fly, try [00:20:00.789] various colors, I don't know if it matters that much, and use a sinking line and try to get your fly fairly close to the bottom. Often a sinking line plus a weighted fly, I found to be good for walleye, and they can be quite aggressive on a fly rod. So once you find them, fish deep with a streamer and you should be able to catch them.
Here's an email from Andrew. "Question on fly tying material choice. The flies I'm tying are for trout. I'm planning on making [00:20:30.615] some beadhead soft tackles such as Guide's Choice Hare's ear, blowtorches, emerging caddis, soft tackle, pheasant tails, etc. Why do some fly recipes call for CDC collars while others call for partridge or Hungarian partridge? Is there a pro-con for each feather type? I'm just not sure why some fly recipes call for different materials for the collars. I'm sure in the end it's just a small detail, but any insight would be great." Well, Andrew, yeah, [00:21:00.916] I mean, you could probably interchange the CDC for partridge feathers on a lot of those patterns. I wouldn't be slavish as to the type of collar you put on your beadheads.
In my way of thinking, if you're trying to imitate an emerging fly, let's say it's a caddis hatch or mayflies are emerging and you're fishing a nymph, the CDC kind of imitates the emerging wings, and it holds air [00:21:30.887] bubbles so it may look like the air bubbles inside an emerging fly, and so CDC would be a good idea. Whereas a partridge collar, in my way of thinking, more so, imitates the legs of an insect. The movement of the legs of an insect and the speckling on the legs. So if you're fishing deep and there isn't any hatch or aren't any [00:22:00.797] emerging insects, maybe the partridge would be better. And if you're trying to imitate an emerging insect, then maybe the CDC would be better. But honestly, I would try both. I would try one and then try the other and see how well they work. And again, perfectly okay to substitute CDC for partridge or substitute partridge for CDC in a lot of those patterns.
[00:22:30.896] Here's an email from Brian in Bend, Oregon. "Recently was on our third annual three-day, two-night float for the stonefly hatch on the Deschutes. Always a bit nervous going into some of the rapids, so paid particular attention to your interview with Ralph Cutter in April before that trip. It ended up saving my life. We flipped on the last rapid of the trip as we broadsided a large rock at the end of a narrow wave train. Spent more time than I wanted to [00:23:00.918] underwater before surfacing with life vest. I was swept into the main current and downstream for about 400 yards with waders, with belt and heavy boots. Swam hard, head first, and made it to shore with only about water up to my knees and my waders, plenty. Other guys fell close to shore with little issues. We all ended up being okay. Lots of gear missing though. Thanks for thinking of us all."
Well, Brian, I'm really happy to hear that [00:23:30.700] you narrowly escaped a bad situation and that that podcast with Ralph Cutter helped. That makes me very happy to hear that. Here's an email from Sneaky Pete. "So the newest Helios is stated to be four times more accurate. Sounds awesome, and I believe it. But is this true only for the classic 9-foot 5 weight or another permutation? All of them, some of them? Do they [00:24:00.869] test a few key permutations and assume the models in between will be close enough to four times more accurate to publish?" Well, actually, Sneaky Pete, we measured the 9-foot 5 weight and published that because that's the most popular rod we sell and most rod manufacturers sell. So 9-foot 5 weight is a good one to compare if you're going to compare exactly.
However, the same design parameters apply to all [00:24:30.939] the rods. So they all are, in our estimation, four times more accurate than their previous Helios three models. And these are all, you know, completely redesigned rods from the Helios 3. And it's all about how you utilize the materials to dampen the vibrations in the taper of the rod. The materials add some [00:25:00.906] accuracy, but it's really about how the materials are used and how they're blended to get that increase in accuracy.
Here's an email from Chad from Malmö, Sweden. "I have a question about using cork as a fly tying material for dry flies. I know cork is used for poppers, but it seems to be not used much at all in dry flies. The only thing I've seen is a caddis pattern by a tier here in Sweden, which is used for grayling. I cut up a wine cork and tied a few up, and [00:25:30.739] really liked using the cork. It shaped nicely and caught the thread well when tying a size 16 caddis imitation. A quick Internet search left me empty handed for other patterns or uses other than some references to old late 19th century unknown patterns in England. Mostly, the discussion was talk about cork patterns as in patterns from Cork in Ireland. Can you give me the rundown on using cork for dry fly bodies or any other atypical uses for this [00:26:00.937] material?"
Well, Chad, I think, you know, cork used to be used a bit. And I think for the most part, it's been replaced by foam. They didn't have foam in the 19th century. Foam is easier to handle and easier to incorporate into a fly pattern without a lot of bulk. And I don't know of many, any modern dry flies that use cork. But back, I think it was maybe in the '70s or early '80s, there [00:26:30.975] was a pattern, an ant pattern and beetle patterns called the McMurray Ant. And they were pretty deadly. They were just little tiny pieces of cork glued to a hook and then painted up to imitate a beetle. And they worked quite well. I think that you can really get the same effect with foam, and it's much easier. But, you know, if you want to use a natural material, you can [00:27:00.802] certainly use cork for your beetle bodies.
Here's an email from Zach in West Virginia. "Recently, I was fishing a local stream with spinning gear and had a situation that got me thinking. I was working a curly tail grub on a jig upstream through a pool that is fed by a very small waterfall. And by small, I mean the creek is only about 15-feet wide and 1-feet deep above, and next down to 2 spots on either side of a rock only about 2-inches wide each to drop about a foot into the [00:27:30.792] pool. I had a fish come from directly under the fall to chase my jig right at my feet and obviously spooked before disappearing from being so close. My question is, obviously, positioning to not spook would be a given, but as far as technique goes, how would I be able to get a fly deep enough in that fast water at the head of this pool? It's roughly 3-feet deep at the spot in question and obviously moving pretty fast from being condensed to such a small area to flow through when [00:28:00.906] entering. I haven't come up with a solution to get something that deep and faster water like that, so any suggestions are welcome."
Zach, that is a tough situation, but I think you can accomplish almost the same thing you would as a jig. I mean, some of the some of the streamer flies that we use today are as almost as heavy or as heavy as jigs you would use with ultralight spinning. So my suggestion would be to get a heavily weighted [00:28:30.630] fly, Clouser Minnow is a perfect fly, and use a floating line and a long leader, fairly long leader, you know, 2X, 9-foot 2X or something like that. Maybe add a few feet of more 2X tip material on to the leader because the thinner the tippet, the easier it will sink. And what you want to do is get downstream of that [00:29:00.723] position and fire your fly right into the head of the pool or just above the head of the pool with a tuck cast. And if you don't know how to do a tuck cast, you can look that up online, but it's basically overpowering a cast and then kind of twitching your rod at the end to make the fly dive down into the water before your leader or your line hits the water. And that should get that fly [00:29:30.929] down pretty quickly into that pool. It may not get it 3-feet deep, but I think it'll get it deep enough to interest those trout. So give that a try.
Here's an email from Charles from Searcy, Arkansas. "Way back in the day, I purchased a Power Matrix-10 907 from a sales advertisement in the back page of the very informative Orvis newspaper. A beautiful medium fast saltwater rod with a dark green blank and fighting [00:30:00.756] butt. Unfortunately, a few years later, the tip was broken. After sending the rod to the Orvis rod shop for repair, I received a call from a gentleman explaining that because the rod was out of production and there were no tip sections remaining for that particular rod, a proper repair was not possible. As an alternative, I accepted his offer of a discount on a new Orvis T3 907. Another beautiful saltwater rod with a tip flex, dark blue blank, and polished aluminum fighting butt. [00:30:30.672] With you being the all-knowing guru of Orvis equipment, would you mind elaborating on the history, quality, and performance of both rod series and models? And whether you had much experience with the rods?"
Well, Charles, in my 49 years at Orvis, I've seen a lot of rod models come and go. And invariably, the next iteration of a rod is going to be a better rod. It's going to be lighter, [00:31:00.936] stronger, more accurate. And I've seen that over the years. The Power Matrix-10 was not one of my favorite rods. I didn't enjoy that one as much, particularly when the T3 came out. The T3 was a great rod. The T3 was a very powerful tip flex rod. They were great for saltwater. Not as good as [00:31:30.793] the current rods, not as pleasant to cast and not as strong, but for their time, they were the best Orvis rod we had made in a long time. So that's basically what I can tell you about those rods. You know, rod models come and go. And, in general, as I said, the rods are going to be better with each iteration.
Here's an email from Trev from Alberta. "I've been powering through the back catalog after coming to this podcast a couple months ago [00:32:00.766] or so. And I have a series of questions unrelated to each other that I've been thinking about, some for a while and some more recently. One, you've answered many times that a perfection loop doesn't quite hold in tippets lighter than 2X, is a double or triple surgeons loop a fine substitution? Two, I recall reading before that long shank hooks give the fish an advantage in throwing the hook over short shank hooks. Does shank shape matter as well? For example, does a curved shank dry fly hook like you might use for a [00:32:30.670] stimulator cause any problems compared to straight shank hook of the same dimensions?
Three, I would like to learn to fish wet flies, but most trout streams, in my neck of the woods, I can find time to fish are small free stone rivers 10 to 25-feet wide in central Alberta. A lot of the technique for swinging and free drifting wets from people like Davy Wotton seem to imply larger waters like the Bow River in the south. Are there special considerations in fishing wet flies in smaller [00:33:00.943] waters? And number four, and lastly, a comment in an old podcast. I recently listened to you, once again, said that children can handle longer rods and that short rods limit fishing in many ways. I've learned to fly fish in 1998 when I was 10 with my dad's heavy fiberglass 9-foot 7-weight hardware store special and got on just fine. No niche rod needed."
Well, Trev, first of all, thank you [00:33:30.848] for reiterating that tip, that you don't need a special kids rod. Kids can handle any rod that adults can handle because they don't weigh that much. They will weigh a couple ounces most of them. Regarding your questions, yeah, I just I don't have any scientific tests, not so very difficult to test, but I don't believe, just in my experience, perfection [00:34:00.858] loop doesn't hold well in tippets lighter than 2X. I think a double or triple surgeon's loop is a good substitution. Honestly, if I need a loop, like, in the end of a sinking line or sinking leader, and I want to put a permanent loop on the end of that, I will use Bimini Twist, and then do either a perfection loop [00:34:30.981] or a double surgeon's loop. Because Bimini Twist doubles the line over, and so instead of having 2X, you really have twice the strength and twice the diameter. And I think by doubling over with a Bimini Twist, you can get away with a perfection loop. But that's a harder knot to tie. And I think triple surgeon's loop is probably a good substitute.
Regarding your hook shank question, I don't know if a curve [00:35:00.954] shank causes any problems compared to a straight shank. Remember, many years ago, reading a study that the late Datus Proper did on hooking qualities of hooks, and I think what he found is as long as the hook eye is in line or parallel to the hook point, it really doesn't matter. And I found that to be true. I don't see any hooking problems [00:35:30.985] with curve shank dry fly hooks at all, like you'd use for a stimulator. And regarding your swinging wet flies and small streams, yeah, it is difficult because you really need to get across from a fish to swing a fly properly or you need to get slightly upstream. And the problem with small streams is if you get slightly upstream of the fish or across from them, you might spook them. I reserve swinging wet flies and small streams to places that are maybe a little [00:36:00.967] bit more open and have a long riffle. And you can sometimes swing a wet fly in a small stream if you have a long riffle. But other than that, you're probably better off sticking to upstream technique with dry dropper or nymph or dry fly.
Here's an email from Jim from Ohio. "Hi, Tom. Now that I'm older, it seems that everything in life is evolving or changing. Now that we have official Euro rods, tenkara, Troutbitten, and new techniques [00:36:30.816] from people such as Devin Olsen, are the days of casting fly line and 9-foot tapered leaders going away? By the way, you are my go to for all things fly fishing, you're truly one of my favorite authors, I still have books." So, Jim, thank you for that compliment. No, I don't think the days of casting a fly line and 9-foot tapered leaders have gone away. That's the way I still fish 90% of the time, [00:37:00.947] although I use a 12-foot leader instead of a 9-foot leader most of the time.
But no, it's not going away, it's just that we have alternatives, we have other things we can try if we want. You know, sometimes you might want to fish a Euro rod, sometimes you might want to fish tenkara, sometimes you might want to fish a mono rig. It's just, I think, we have more options, which I think just makes things more interesting. And there's a lot of cross pollination between [00:37:30.916] traditional kind of standard fly fishing and these other ways of fishing a fly. And I think that you will learn more about using that fly line and 9-foot tapered leaders by experimenting with tenkara or a Euro rod or a mono rig. And I think you'll find things that cross over and will help you if you don't want to bother with these alternative ways [00:38:00.667] of fishing a fly.
Matthew: Hey, Tom, Matthew here from Colorado. First and foremost, thank you, of course, for everything you do. I have a tip and a question. My tip is from the latest episode about polarized sunglasses during the fly box, Gus had a question about braided leaders. And I'm wondering if a George Harvey leader is the same thing, and if that's what the conversation was about, you can buy them. My first [00:38:30.729] resource for leaders, especially monofilament rigs, is Troutbitten with Dom Swentosky. I believe you've had exchanges with him in the past, but they do sell hand tied Harvey leaders. Unfortunately, right now, Troutbitten is sold out, I just checked. But you there are other resources. So you can check out Etsy or even eBay. But I think a George Harvey leader might be what Gus is referring [00:39:00.817] to. Highly, highly recommend them. They are wonderful to cast during the dry fly season.
My question is, as we get into June and July and get into the hopper dropper or dry dropper season, there is a knot that you can utilize to tie your dropper onto the bend of your dry. And it's removable. And I'm wondering if you know [00:39:30.891] what knot that is and how much you trust it. It's very, very handy because you can change depths very quickly if you have extra spools, loom spools or just foam spools or even one of the dropper foam boxes. But it's very handy to change depth quickly without having to cut off your tippet, you can change flies quickly. So I'm wondering if you know what knot that is. Honestly, I'm being a little lazy to not look it up but also wanting to [00:40:00.980] give the benefit to your other listeners of hearing what knot that might be. So thanks, again, and hope you're having a wonderful start of your summer.
Tom: So Matthew, first of all, George Harvey leaders are not braided leaders. Braided leaders are made from a bunch of tiny filaments that are braided and tapered together. Although it does serve a similar purpose, the George Harvey leader allows your leader to land in looser coils and is [00:40:30.902] a decent way of avoiding drag. These are really easy to make yourself. In fact, my little pocketbook on leaders, lines, and tippets has formulas for the Harvey leader in it, you can also find the formulas online, but it's basically just tying a bunch of tapered sections or a bunch of level sections with knots to make a George Harvey leader. And they're just limper in the butt in the [00:41:00.909] midsection so that they don't straighten on purpose. But they're really easy to make, so I wouldn't worry about them being out of stock right now.
I'm not sure what knot is used to hang on the bend of a hook that is removable. It's probably the uni knot that you [00:41:30.715] saw. That knot can be either tightened or loosened to form a loop, and then the loop tightens when you put some tension on it. So it might have been a uni knot, but I just use a standard clinch knot for tying the tippet to the bend of a dry fly when I'm using dry dropper. And you'll find that in a standard clinch knot, if you want to remove [00:42:00.914] it, you can just take your fingernails and slide the coils backwards, and that knot will untie quite easily. It'll hold fine, but it's really easy to remove it just by pulling backwards on it. So anyway, I think, you can use the uni knot or you can just use a clinch knot to make that dropper removable if you want to do it.
All right. That is a fly box for this [00:42:30.993] week. Let's go talk to Devin about blue dotting. Well, my guest today is Devin Lancaster, and Devin is the fishing manager of the Orvis store in Atlanta. It's in, you call it, the Peachtree area, right?
Devin: Buckhead area.
Tom: Buckhead area. Yeah, you're on...
Devin: Peachtree Road.
Tom: ...Peachtree Road. Okay, yeah. I've been there. I should know.
Devin: [00:43:00.859] Yeah, not too long ago. It's okay. That's okay. I forget stuff every day.
Tom: Okay, well, yeah, wait till you get to be my age? Anyway, one of the things that Devin was talking about when I was down there is something...well, I'm not even going to mention the term because you want to trademark this term, right? So Devin, tell us about the [00:43:30.992] term you have because I love it.
Devin: Okay, yeah, I'm glad you liked it. It's something I kind of developed based off of another fly fishing term that a lot of people should know that is called blue lining. And back before my Orvis days, I dabbled a little bit on guiding people on the blue lines in North Georgia for native brook [00:44:00.918] trout and some wild ray brook trout and stuff. And so this term, I both developed from the term blue line but also kind of pulled it out of thin air and you just happened to like it, and I'm glad you did. It's something that we as people who live in more urban areas do somewhat out of necessity and looking at a map looking for the blue dots.
[00:44:30.932] And so the term blue dotting, if you will, kind of just came to me. And what that is, is like I said, just looking at a map and trying to find blue circles and checking to see whether or not the green circles next to them are public and whether it's accessible to the public. And you'd be surprised once you start doing that how many really, really cool places you can find with some really cool fish [00:45:00.876] in them, whether it's panfish, or even there's some places that you might find a trophy largemouth bass. And with all of the amazing efforts that we're doing to clean up our waterways, a lot of our bigger lakes don't have largemouth bass. They kind of need that murky green water and so smaller lakes and ponds and stuff are really good habitat for our native largemouth bass. So you can really find some cool [00:45:30.940] things.
Tom: Blue spotting, blue spotting people. You've heard it here first.
Devin: Blue dotting.
Tom: Blue doting. I keep saying...
Devin: We can change the name if you like.
Tom: No, blue dotting is better than blue spotting. Blue dotting. Okay. So, you know, this is interesting because you have in Atlanta, very unique situation. You have wild trout in the middle of the city, right in the Chattahoochee.
Devin: We do. If I didn't mention that, then my [00:46:00.914] very good friend Chris Scalley that owns River Through Atlanta Guide Service would probably come to my house and get on to me. But, yeah, we do have wild brown trout right here in Metro Atlanta, one of three rivers in the world that goes through a major metro area of a million or more people and supports wild trout, the only one in the U.S. of that category. And they do need our attention and our protection and our waterway, the Chattahoochee [00:46:30.850] River that comes right through Atlanta. Here at Orvis Atlanta and Orvis Alpharetta and Orvis Dawsonville, we kind of partner with Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. We have done for quite some time now for our quality Hooch Campaign. And you'll see that from Orvis Giveback Days to a lot of different fundraisers that we do to raise money to sustain our watershed, not only for the fishing but clean drinking water and recreation.
And [00:47:00.933] there are two different type of people in the Metro Atlanta area, you have inside the perimeter and outside the perimeter, the perimeter being Highway 285. It's a circle goes around Atlanta. And I fall into the category of people who grew up outside of the perimeter. And what I've learned from working inside theperimeter is those who live inside the perimeter, they don't like to drive very far. You'd be amazed that people look at me sometimes, they go, "You come all the way from outside the [00:47:30.931] perimeter just to work." I'm like, "Yeah, it's only like 30 minutes." And they're like, "Oh my God, that's a long commute." And so by blue dotting, we're kind of encouraging people who come in and they get this awesome Helios F 9-foot 5-weight ride to go trout fishing with, but, you know, maybe they only get to go trout fishing once, twice a month. Maybe the kids have soccer practice that [00:48:00.791] they have to go to in the evenings after work. They don't have the opportunity to drive 25, 30 minutes to, what I would call, our very local trout fishery.
Tom: Now, is the Chattahoochee inside or outside the perimeter?
Devin: So it does flow through the northwest corner of the perimeter. And during the fall and winter, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources does stock it with trout. But there are [00:48:30.988] two different dams. You have Buford Dam under Lake Lanier. And then we have Morgan Falls Dam in Cobb County. And below Morgan Falls Dam, that's the part that goes through the perimeter. And in the summertime, that's a fishery for warm water species, more so than trout. But maybe 25, 30 minutes from where I'm sitting right now in Buckhead, you can be on year round wild trout water. So it is a little bit of a [00:49:00.906] to do for people to drive a little bit north, just barely north of the perimeter to get on wild trout water.
But maybe they live in the neighborhood that has a pond, or maybe they pass one of these blue dots on their way home from work, or maybe their kids practice baseball at a park that has a pond. I know you met one of my coworkers here, Hunter, our fishing lead at the store. His son used to [00:49:30.846] practice baseball at a park, and he saw a pond there, and he would go catch 60 bluegills while his son was practicing baseball. So there are fishing opportunities in your backyard if you're just willing to look.
Tom: Well, let's give people some direction. Then let's say, maybe you don't live in Atlanta, maybe you live in another city in the south and you got a fly rod and you love to fly fish. But as you said, you can't always find time [00:50:00.827] to drive for a couple hours to find trout water. So how do you find one of these it dots? Blue dots.
Devin: Blue dots. That's the terms that we're going to have to stick with one or the other.
Tom: Dots, dots, dots, dots, dots.
Devin: Yeah. So if you're looking for one of these places to fish, I know that in Georgia, our Department of Natural Resources has...So one of the [00:50:30.825] ways that I've used Department of Natural Resources in Georgia, they have an app. And on that app, there's a section that has a map of fishing spots that they stock. It's a public entity, government entity. We pay for those fish, and they are nice, kind enough, and transparent enough to show us where they're putting our fish. And so that's a good way to find a DNR [00:51:00.915] supported stocked pond by just looking at that particular map. That's a pretty easy way to find it.
Tom: Now, what are they stocking? What do they stock in these dots in the Atlanta area?
Devin: So, typically, they're going to be warm water species. They're going to be bass, bluegill, white and black crappie, and catfish. That's most of what I've [00:51:30.765] seen. They also do post where they stock trout as well, but those aren't going to be in these warm water ponds. It's going to be mostly largemouth bass, bluegills, and catfish, and white crappie. Any of the warm water species that you would find.
Tom: But there's probably a lot of places where those things reproduce naturally too, right? That aren't on this list.
Devin: [00:52:00.842] There are, of course. And that brings me to my next point. So that would be the easiest way is to find where the DNR is stocking these species. And those are going to be the more popular areas, but there's going to be fish there. To find places where they're reproducing naturally, just look at...I use my Apple Maps. It does a really good job of showing you [00:52:30.801] park hours or whatever the case may be. But any creek that flows into a major body of water that has a dam on it for a pond, those areas are really, really good to fish. Some of them you may even have to hike into. I know here in the city, there's one that I've seen, and I'm not going to mention the name of it...
Tom: No, we don't want a hot spot here.
Devin: [00:53:00.602] Yeah.
Tom: Blue spot not hot spot.
Devin: Blue spot not hot spot. There we go. Yeah, it's got like 8-pound largemouth bass in it. And you have to make maybe a mile to it, but there's no parking right next to it. So the less parking that there is right there next to that place, probably the better off the fishing is going to be. It kind of seems like that's a general theme with fly fishing. The harder you have to work for it, the better the fishing is.
And then, of course, there is your neighborhood [00:53:30.809] pond. And, of course, just putting eyes on bodies of water. Like if you drive past this small lake that's got a little aerator fountain out in the middle of it, if it's in a neighborhood, I am not encouraging trespassing in any way, shape or form, but if there's no fishing signs or no private property signs or anything like that, it might be a good place to check out. If someone asks you to leave, then you don't want to cause any [00:54:00.815] issues. So, yeah, just having physical eyes on the water can also be another great way to find a place to fish.
Tom: What do you look for in a body of water? You drive by this pond, what makes it tasty? What makes it look interesting?
Devin: Usually, if there is an inflow and an outflow, especially in this part of the world. As far as [00:54:30.717] Metro Atlanta goes, I don't see a lot of spring ponds. Down south of us in Florida, there are a ton of spring fed ponds that are really, really good fishing. But you typically don't see a ton of those here. And if you do, they're typically pretty shallow, and they don't really have deep holding water. And the less manicured that the banks are on these lakes and ponds, typically the better the fish are going to be comfortable in that [00:55:00.779] habitat. The place that I was talking about with the really big largemouth, it's really, really hard to get a cast because the trees overhang the banks. There's some undercut banks, rock ledges, but you'll see fish cruising right up on the bank, right under the tree line. So the less manicured it is, normally the better it is, but it's kind of harder to fish.
Tom: How do you deal with that, Devin, where you have a [00:55:30.727] place that's really brushy, what do you do? What cast do you use, and what rod do you use?
Devin: So sometimes you kind of have to bow and arrow cast. If you've got fish cruising right up on the bank, standing back away from the bank and using a bow and arrow cast to get a small popper or a grasshopper pattern or a small Clouser Minnow up under that tree line, can be a good, effective way to target those fish. I do have some friends that [00:56:00.733] will... It's kind of funny to see going right through the middle of downtown Atlanta, somebody on one of those bird scooters with a backpack that has...what is it? A belly boat on their back with a fly rod. That's kind of funny to watch.
But there are a lot of belly boat guys. There's a lot of inflatable paddleboard people. But for [00:56:30.988] the most part, we're going to walk the banks, and getting a cast done right up on the bank if there's a lot of overhang. Using a roll cast, sometimes if you get a little clearing, you can use a roll cast and kind of tuck it up against the bank underneath some cover. Or just using a low angle cast with the rod out over the water can help you get those flies up under the overhang.
Tom: What's your go to rod for if you're [00:57:00.999] exploring a pond, a dot you don't know what's in there? What's your go to rod to take with you?
Devin: So my favorite, most versatile rod in my arsenal is the 9-foot 6-weight Helios D. I love it because it [00:57:30.901] has enough punch to turn over bass poppers, but it also has enough delicacy to lay a hare's ear nymph on a bluegill bed. Now, that being said, I want my customers here at the store...this is another way to get people to use the gear that they buy. And so you can use your trout gear. You can use your 9-foot 5 weight. You can use your 7'6" [00:58:00.828] 3 weight. You can use that Helios F8 4' 3 weight. That's a lot of fun on panfish.
Now, if I'm looking for those trophy largemouth bass and I'm tossing something like a dead Ned crayfish or a big popper, a big rattle and frog, something like that, that new 8-foot-5-inch 7 weight in the Helios D, that rod is a stick. It's [00:58:30.610] featherweight, but it'll pack a punch, and you can feel every head shake on a largemouth bass on that rod.
Tom: Yeah, and that rod, for a short rod, it roll cast really well, I've found, too, with a big fly.
Devin: Yeah, and does a really good job of making low angle casts. You don't have as much rod to deal with.
Tom: Okay. Next question is, you found a dot, you don't know what's in [00:59:00.873] there, you have no idea what's in there, so you're exploring, what fly are you going to put on first?
Devin: Yeah, typically any fly will work as long as it is a black Clouser Minnow.
Tom: Okay.
Devin: That joke is trademarked by Henry Cowen.
Tom: The great Henry Cowan.
Devin: But no, if I don't know what's in there, I'm probably going to throw a size-6 [00:59:30.980] Clouser Minnow. Depending on what the water color is, it's going to be what fly that I pick out. Darker, murkier water, I'll use black or I'll at least start with black until it doesn't work. Clear, brighter day, I'm either going to use gray and white or chartreuse to start with. That's just a good starting point. An olive woolly bugger is never a bad option to explore with. Sometimes I'll go for broke and throw a [01:00:00.840] popper, just to see if something comes up and takes it. And sometimes that's even more effective, especially if you've got a deeper pond and you need to make some noise to draw those fish out, then popper dropper. Maybe a big popper with a smaller bait fish underneath it is a good way to prospect that water.
Tom: Yeah, that's a good idea. So do you just tie the dropper to the bend of the popper or do you tie it to the eye...?
Devin: I personally [01:00:30.910] do. But I don't think it really matters one way or the other whether you tie it off of the eye of the hook or if you tie your dropper tag off the bend of the hook. Personally, it's easier for me to tie it off of the bend.
Tom: Okay, yeah, me too.
Devin: And the way that I keep my rods rigged, it's hard for me to describe, I'd have to show this. But I'm hooking my bottom fly on one of the eyes, and then I'll break my rod down in half and use the real [01:01:00.822] case to strap the top half of the rod against the handle. And I ride around with at least one rigged fly rod pretty much all the time because if I have an hour on my way home from work to go hit a pond, that's my way to decompress after my long day.
But the reason I mention that is you're asking off the eye versus off the bend of the hook. If I were to tie it off of the eye of the hook and I have a dropper [01:01:30.977] tag, so I'm hooking the bottom fly to the rod, if I do that and then I reel it tight, then that hook is sticking out away from the rod and there's a better chance when I reach back in there to get my rod out that I'm going to get hooked, so tying off the bend kind of keeps everything tight and up against the rod, so there's less of a chance that I'm going to hook myself when I reach in the backseat for it.
Tom: Okay, yeah, good point. Good point. So what are some of the species, what kind of [01:02:00.907] fish are you going to find in these dots?
Devin: Yeah, mostly there's going to be a lot of panfish, especially in warm water. And we actually do have some really, really pretty bluegills and shellcrackers and pumpkinseeds in the Atlanta area. I don't know why their coloration is so pretty, but they are really pretty. There's a lot of them. They love to eat, and they're a lot of fun, especially if you have kids, it's a great [01:02:30.900] way to get kids into fly fishing. There's also going to be a lot of largemouth bass. Sometimes you're going to find carp. And I realized that that might make you run out today and buy a plane ticket and get down here just because I said the C word.
I haven't been able to catch carp out of our ponds. I'm sure there are other people in the Atlanta area that are going to come and go, "Oh, I know how to do it." And so if anybody knows, come by the Atlanta store and bring me with you. [01:03:00.923] But the carp flats that are here in the city are pretty world class. But as far as ponds go, I haven't been able to catch the carp that I've seen in ponds. It's pretty tough. My favorite is the largemouth bass that we have. We grow them big and especially the ponds that most people don't hit, even retention ponds. If you have access to a retention pond and you're not trespassing on private property to do [01:03:30.898] it, those can hold some pretty big bass, especially the deeper ones.
Tom: Is there a best time a day to fish for these urban bass?
Devin: Low light conditions are what I have found... And keep in mind, everything I'm saying is just stuff that's worked for me. I could be proven wrong tomorrow, but typically low light conditions are what works best for me. So whether that means getting out early in the morning on the way to [01:04:00.768] work, late in the evening on the way home from work, or just a cloudy day, darker clouds typically tend to fish better from what I've seen than those lighter gray clouds. Don't know why that is, I guess, just less light.
But just like trout, their predators come from the sky, eagles, ospreys, hawks. We have a lot of hawks, blue [01:04:30.706] herons. And so the less of a chance that one of those one of those predators is going to see the fish, I think the more comfortable they are coming out and inspecting a popper or chasing down a bait fish and feeding on it. When that sun starts to get high, I tend to find that the deeper areas of a pond, especially closer to a dam, that's typically going to be your deepest area on a pond, bouncing your crayfish [01:05:00.937] off the bottom or getting it pretty deep tends to work better when that sun gets high.
Tom: Yeah, that makes total sense. Makes total sense. How about the panfish, are they pretty active all day long?
Devin: Oh yeah, yeah. Again, they're going to be better in low light conditions. But panfish, if you find them, you've found a million of them, especially when they're on the bed. [01:05:30.743] I don't love the idea of fishing for spawning fish, but they reproduce like rabbits. You're not going to keep those fish from reproducing. Higher sun is more fun to fish, in my opinion, because you can see those fish better and get a cast in front of them and kind of act like you're permanent fishing on a really, really small scale. Yeah. And it makes you happy when they eat. So that's typically more fun for me.
[01:06:00.943] And using a size-12 Flashback Hare's ear, I've fished ponds all over the southeast. I don't make trips. I used to have a different career that I had to travel a lot for, and so I took my fly rod everywhere. Pretty much everywhere I've gone, if I want to catch bluegill and I'm not having luck on any other fly, a size-12 Flashback Hare's ear tends to work for me. So just look for them in those shallow areas and put a nymph in front of them, they're probably going to eat.
Tom: Yeah, I've [01:06:30.999] found that as well. It's fun to catch them on a little popper, but boy, it's hard to beat a Hare's ear nymph for sunfish.
Devin: Yeah, they're aggressive. I've always told people if bluegill were any bigger, I don't think trout would have as much glory as they get.
Tom: Yep. Catfish. Do you ever [01:07:00.852] target catfish on a fly rod?
Devin: I don't necessarily target them. I'll catch one every once in a while when I'm fishing for bass, using bait fish patterns and get that really close to the bottom. I've pulled out the occasional catfish. I haven't caught any that were that big, you know, maybe a pound at the most. Some of these ponds do have them. Typically, I've caught them in grassier areas where you would expect a largemouth to be. And it's usually [01:07:30.738] just something I've caught by accident, but they are in there. And I'm sure that you can find a way to target them pretty easily. But I haven't found a way to actually target catfish on purpose on these ponds.
Tom: How about crappie? They're a little bit different in their habits and habitat than bluegills.
Devin: Oh, sure. Yeah.
Tom: How do you target them?
Devin: Yeah, the areas that I've found them in, [01:08:00.841] they kind of just take over the entire body of water from what I've seen. So if you have a private pond on your own property, it's probably not a good idea to put them in there if you want other species in there. But public parks that get pressured really heavily, they're good for that fishery, in my opinion, obviously not good for the ecosystem. But if you're looking for fish to catch, if there's white crappie in there, they've [01:08:30.994] probably taken over that piece of water. And once you find one, you're finding a lot of them.
Tom: Interesting. Are they native to Georgia?
Devin: I feel bad that I don't know the answer to that. I want to say yes, but I'm actually not sure about that.
Tom: Yeah, I'm not either.
Devin: I'm sure that somebody's going to tell us in the [01:09:00.912] comments, so we'll depend on everyone's Google knowledge.
Tom: Well, we can look it up too later, but nothing important. I was just curious. Largemouth are native, I know that, to your area.
Devin: Yes, they are. And as pretty and amazing and as special of a place in my heart that the native brook trout have, especially here in the [01:09:30.862] southeast, obviously they need more of our attention and nurturing and protection because they are wiped out of so many places. But what's to say that a native largemouth bass is not or is any less than a native brook trout? I mean, they are a native fish. They are an important part of our ecosystem. And they're cool because unless you're fishing these smaller ponds in our area, the spotted bass has kind [01:10:00.819] of taken over our larger reservoirs.
They're deep, they're clear, and largemouth need shallower water, warmer water, murkier water. And because they do live in these shallower areas, they kind of need that water that's not as clear for their protection from predators. So, yeah, they are a special fish, and they are in less places than they used to be. So for anyone [01:10:30.981] listening, don't feel bad about catching a largemouth bass instead of a wild trout. They're a special species, and they are native.
Tom: Do you have bowfin down there or gar in any of your type of fish?
Devin: We do have gar. I haven't seen them in ponds. I love fishing for them. I've hooked a lot of them. I haven't brought any to the net yet. They are really bony. But they're more in the rivers, and they're a lot of [01:11:00.793] fun. There's a lot of them. But bowfin, I have not seen around here. They're more in South Georgia. And there are a lot of them down toward the Okefenokee. If you're wanting some information on bowfin, then Wes McElroy that works at Unicoi Outfitters in Helen, Georgia, any kind of weird fish like that, that's his thing.
Tom: I have a friend like that.
Devin: [01:11:30.718] Yeah. No, they're cool though. But no, we don't really have them around here.
Tom: Okay. So any other suggestions for blue spotting?
Devin: Come see us, and we'll show you how to find a spot. If you come into Orvis, Atlanta, we'll give you some of our public park [01:12:00.973] access areas. I'm happy to do that. That way you can kind of see the conditions that you're looking for, when you're fishing areas that are not maybe a well-known public park. Like I said, look for creeks that are dammed. Early in the day in low light situations, fish the end flow. That's typically going to have some little peninsulas and flats that come into the pond that you can walk out on. Then that's going to [01:12:30.713] be where most of your fish are during low light periods, during periods of high sun, more water clarity. They're probably going to be deeper, closer to a dam.
And just make sure you're not trespassing on anyone's property. If it's private property, ask first. I'm not affiliated with onX at all, but that's a good way to see what's public, what's private. And if you live in a neighborhood [01:13:00.870] that has a pond, go fish it. There's no reason... A lot of my customers keep a rod rig beside the back door that after they eat dinner, they're going to go fish for an hour before they go to bed. So I guess if there's no other takeaway than this, don't just reserve your fly rod for that one or two times a month to go trout fishing. You saved up for it, and you should have the opportunity to use it. And a lot of people don't even [01:13:30.973] realize that you can fly fish for things other than trout, and it's by no means limited to just trout.
Tom: Yeah, it's still amazing, our obsession with trout and when we have other fish that are almost as much fun or as much fun in our backyards.
Devin: Of course. And sometimes they can be even more fun, 8-pound largemouth bass. [01:14:00.906] If you hook into one of those, then that stocked rainbow trout isn't going to feel as special anymore.
Tom: No, it sure isn't. Oh, you know what I wanted to ask you? You said, in your previous life, you traveled a lot in the South. Give me some examples of other cities where you've found some great urban fishing.
Devin: Yeah. So a little bit of background on me, I don't want to go too far into this. Former life, I used to be a private [01:14:30.907] investigator, and I had to travel the southeast a lot. We had a lot of clients around the southeast, Mississippi. Jackson, Mississippi, there are some really, really big largemouth bass. Tampa, Florida. I actually used to take my...I'm not advocating doing this, but I used to take my 6-weight trout setup and fish for redfish and sea trout and some of the little estuaries that would come from [01:15:00.970] Tampa Bay. And I would wade the flats and stuff. But everywhere around the Tampa area, there are so many little spring lakes that you can fish and find some really cool bass and panfish.
I haven't been able to find anywhere that has bowfin or snakehead that you can fish from, like, the bank. So that's one of the things I would like to find. [01:15:30.914] And, of course, any of the higher elevation stuff like in Tennessee and North Carolina, that's going to have some good fishing in it. Sometimes you'll find some smallmouth that has been kind of landlocked, especially closer to the Smoky. There are some ponds up there that I don't know if they were hybrids or pure smallmouth, but there are some of the smaller ones up there. [01:16:00.637] And, well, I've been everywhere, Alabama, that's always going to be good for bass. So Birmingham area, Montgomery or closer to South Alabama, you're going to find some bigger fish, typically in the areas that are warmer, seems to have bigger largemouth bass. I'm trying to think of...
Tom: And, of course, all these are going to have bluegills, right? All these warmer water places are going to have bluegills [01:16:30.832] and shell crackers.
Devin: Absolutely. Some of them have tarpon. And like in South Florida, Miami, if you find a pond that has inflow coming from the canals or the ocean or flats or something like that, some of them will have tarpon coming in through just a culvert. Some of them also have [01:17:00.856] sea trout, snook, peacock bass. Peacock bass are a big one. And Mayan cichlids, those little guys. That's one of the hardest fighting fish I've ever hooked in my life.
Tom: A cichlids?
Devin: Yeah, Mayan cichlids. Yeah, it's like a bluegill with a bad attitude. Yeah, they're a lot of fun and super aggressive, and peacock bass are as well. They will try to eat the fly out of each other's [01:17:30.783] mouth.
Tom: That's going to be mainly in the South Florida area, right?
Devin: Yeah, Miami area. South Florida. Yeah. And there's not any barren water down there that I've found. Just watch out for your backcast, sometimes you're casting into traffic, but it's a lot of fun.
Tom: And alligators, right?
Devin: You know, I've never had an issue with alligators. [01:18:00.991] I've seen them, but they tend to leave you alone as long as you leave them alone. I know there's YouTube videos that are going to disagree with me, people on golf courses and stuff. But any wild animal, I mean, it doesn't really say it... I've never seen it be an issue when I'm fishing. If I see a snake or whatever, just stay away from it. Alligators, I haven't had them bother me, but I also don't fish at night. [01:18:30.823] I'm well into my 31st year of my life, and I'm too old to be staying up late and fishing after dark.
Tom: That's kind of young to give up night fishing.
Devin: Well, you know, I need my bedtime.
Tom: I guess at my age, maybe I should give up night fishing, but I haven't quite yet.
Devin: It can be [01:19:00.884] fun, but my brother is digging into that. He's younger than me, but he'll float at night, and not on the Chattahoochee, that's illegal. But, yeah, he'll want to go night fishing. We'll go fish dark lights every once in a while.
Tom: Yeah, that's fun.
Devin: But I'm usually not staying up that late.
Tom: All right, Devin. Well, that has been a great overview [01:19:30.790] of urban fishing in the southeast.
Devin: Yeah, I really enjoyed it. Thank you for having me. It was great to see you when you visited. I hope to see you back soon. And I still have an IOU for you on a carp trip. Come back next spring, and we'll go chase some carp.
Tom: I'm in. I'm in anytime, anytime. All right, Devin. And if you want to talk fishing with Devin, you can reach him at the [01:20:00.771] Orvis Atlanta store. And what days of the week are you there, Devin, generally?
Devin: It changes by the week. But if I'm not here, then our fishing lead, Hunter, who is awesome, will typically be here as well or any of the fishing team back here. We have a really, really good team at the store and a lot of people who are very knowledgeable. So even if I'm not here, anybody that's here is going to be every [01:20:30.977] bit as knowledgeable and passionate as I am. So, yeah, give us a call. Come see us. We have the busiest airport in the entire world. So we have a lot of people that come through from out of town. I'd love to see anybody that travels to the area. And I'm sure that the rest of the team here would love to see you as well.
Tom: Yeah, you have a great crew. I can vouch for it. A very fishy crew, and very welcoming crew.
Devin: [01:21:00.955] Well, thank you for that.
Tom: All right, Devin. We've been talking to Devin Lancaster of Orvis Atlanta. And thank you for coining the term blue spotting. I'm sure it's going to be used more often now.
Devin: So it's blue dotting, Tom.
Tom: Oh God.
Devin: Just remember that Devin is the one that coined the term and my name starts with a D, and so blue dotting.
Tom: Okay, I got it now.
Devin: [01:21:30.660] You're more experienced than I am. You've written more books. If you want to change the term, I'm all for it.
Tom: No. Blue dotting is going to be it. Blue dotting is it, if I can ever remember.
Devin: Well, you're going to have to help me write a book on it.
Tom: Okay.
Devin: All right.
Tom: Deal.
Devin: Have a good one.
Tom: All right. Thanks, Devin. Thanks for listening to the "Orvis Fly Fishing Podcast" with Tom Rosenbauer. You can be a part of the show, have a question or a comment, send it to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. in the body of an [01:22:00.840] email or as a voice attachment. You can find more free fishing tips at