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There is a quote that gets banded about quite a bit amongst anglers. It’s from a river keep giving advice to anglers fishing his beat. He said something along the lines of “Use any fly you want as long as it’s small and black.
There is a an element of truth here, when we turn over the rocks or kick sample a stream most of the food in the river is small and dark. Often dark browns, olives and blacks with the odd splash of yellow or other brighter colour.
It is a very good piece of advice indeed, especially if you cannot see what insects the fish are feeding on. Fishing small and dark will often result in a take.
General patterns such as hares ears, pheasant tails and daiwl bachs are all available in small dark variations and are well worth a shot fished upstream on the river or retrieved back on still water.