As any fisherman who travels a lot knows, one must evolve his/her tactics, flies, and frame of mind to consistently catch fish in a variety of locales. More often than not, this puts the travelling angler at a slight disadvantage, as compared to locals who have their tried and true techniques and have spent years on the water. However, in some cases, the \"importation\" of fly patterns from separate regions of the country/world can actually be incredibly productive. It makes sense...some patterns (as productive as they may be) just don't garner the sort of national attention that they deserve. Thinking outside the box is no secret for the sport of fly fishing, and experimentation is essential.
For that reason, I always try experimenting with my \"home water\" favorites on foreign water. For me, the most recent example of that proving effective came while fishing a nymph called a Pink Squirrel on the rivers around Bozeman. Many Midwestern anglers know the pattern well from it's fame around the Driftless spring creek region of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois. This is the area I fished most in the years before I moved to Montana. The Pink Squirrel is a pattern developed by John Bethke, a Wisconsinite, and though it is by no means a secret fly around the Midwest, you don't see a whole lot of people fishing it in Montana or throughout the West. It is a very simple pattern, but seems to provide just the right amount of glint, color, and depth to fish very well when the water is a bit off-color or cooling down (such as in the fall).
People from out of town stop into the shop all the time claiming that their favorite pattern from back home is just crushing it on the Gallatin, Madison, or other nearby waters. Much of the time, their enthusiasm can be taken with a grain of salt, but once in a while, they may have been doing something just different enough to warrant significant consideration.
Whether it is the Pink Squirrel or some other alien fly pattern from your corner of the fly fishing world, don't be afraid to cycle through the anomalies and head-scratchers when fishing a new area. It just may the spark that gets them eating!
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