Central Oregon can offer epic summer dry-fly action. Depending on where you're fishing, they can also be terribly frustrating. You can match the hatch perfectly, use your go-to-fly, lead the trout like a master craftsman…and still don't even get a head turn. When this happens, most anglers are quick to change patterns, but most people ignore one key strategy - don't change patterns, change your size and presentation.
Sure, delicately throwing that size 22-adams parachute dry fly makes you feel like you're for sure going to catch the trout of a lifetime. Instead, what happens is you catch more than a dozen thumb-sized trout that are feeding off the top, but you're not hooking into trophy fish. If you're in flat, glassy water you're presentation is crucial but so it's size or lifecycle. When the water is perfectly still trout have plenty of time to assess your fly before striking. Trout in still water go after the easy targets whenever they can. Struggling insects are easy meals - they can't dry their wings and fly away; they're vulnerable to everything around them.
Pay attention to the water conditions and make sure you're matching the hatch but also realizing the potential of making your fly look helpless. Cripple patterns are amazing in still water. There's nothing trout enjoy more than an easy target that provides enough calories to make spending energy worth it. This pattern, tied in the video by Tightline Productions, is called the Last Chance Cripple Hendrickson and is a great way to get big trout to take on calm water.
If tying flies isn't your thing, most fly shops carry cripple variations of the most popular patterns. If you're in Central Oregon and looking to raise bigger trout and the water's calm and clear - cripples are the way to go.