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THE true theory of the artificial fly is that the fly should imitate as closely as possible the natural insect life of that particular stream the angler may be whipping at the particular time he is fishing that stream. It follows that the fly-fisher should observe as carefully as may be such natural flies as are to be found about and over the water and, in the choice of his cast, see that the artificial bear the closest attainable resemblance to the natural insect life observed. Some anglers, not many, who are able to tie their own flies skillfully, make a practice of first noting carefully the insects upon the stream and then, at the stream-side, dress the imitation before beginning to fish. Naturally, at times, those who follow this plan get a good many trout, far more than the angler who simply depends upon his stock of tailor-made flies. But the American angler who follows the above plan is a very rare bird, however numerous they may be in Merry England.

As a matter of fact it is only in very much overfished streams that exact imitation of nature assumes great importance. In wild waters any of the well-known stock-fly patterns are sure to be successful when the trout are rising; and, when the trout are not rising, quite often, even generally, you can imitate nature until you are black in the face and still have to eat bacon. Exact imitation of nature in trout fly fishing is best exemplified by the methods and flies of the British dry-fly fisherman. This is a subject rather too advanced to enter upon herein further than a few notes under the later subject of dry flies which will be taken up farther on in this chapter, after some of the general principles have been laid down.

Camp, Samuel Granger. Fishing Kits and Equipment,. New York: Outing Pub., 1910. Print.

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