Well I haven't made it to the river much. I drove South the other day and despite the rain, the trusty chalkstreams were holding their clarity. My local rivers unfortunately cannot boast the same. With another deluge forecast for tomorrow, it could be a few more days before I venture out. Although, at least, summer-low-flows will hopefully be replaced by decent water volumes.
Anyway, whilst awaiting a window of opportunity, it seems there is time to share some useful patterns. Whilst the summer allows dry fly to reign supreme, it would be short-sighted to forget the usefulness of nymph fishing. I used to reserve tungsten-furnished nymphs for the depths of winter; now they grace the fly box all year around. Here's a pattern that I picked up from Paul Procter (Thanks Paul!) - and it is similicity itself.
Hook: Your choice of grub hook #16 - #22
Thorax: Tungsten bead
Tail: Rooster hackle fibres
Tie with a build up of thread infront of and behind the bead.
I like to give the whole fly a thin coat of varnish too. Change the thread and bead colour to suit.
This is my first choice when fishing New Zealand style (with a length of mono tied from the bend of the hook). I tend to start with this tippet at about 24-36 inches and adjust as necessary to suit the water in front. A Klinkhamer or Elk hair caddis pattern is my choice of dry.
Another simple (but hugely effective!) pattern is a simple tungsten-headed nymph. I take great enjoyment from tying and sharing these quick-tie, useful nymphs. It's amazing how quickly two-dozen flies appear from the vice's jaws.
Hook: Grub Hook #16 - 22
Tail: Rooster fibres
Abdomen: Olive thread (Powersilk or Sheer are my favourites)
Thorax: Hare's mask
Head: Tungsten bead, black
When fishing water of very changeable depths, I will employ a sliding dropper upon which the dry is tied:
Also I have had some great success with fishing the dry on the point and hosting a spider or light nymph on the dropper. This 'washing-line' style can be highly effective on rivers as it is on still-water. Be prepared to experiment, and reap the rewards. When fishing allows, two nymphs and a dry (Trio) also work well and can really help seek out the fish when they are playing hard to get.