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I've recently read a couple articles on best nymphs for catching whitefish. One article included the results of an angler survey where they asked a few hundred fly fishers what nymph pattern is best for whitefish. The answer was Hare's Ear and Prince nymph.

A few years back when I was doing a little professional fly tying, I had an older gentleman send me a sample fly with a note asking if I could reproduce it for him. He said it was the best whitefish fly he had ever used and the local shop was out and were not getting anymore. I recognized the fly immediately. It was a LaFontaine Tan Sparkle Pupa. He said he was not a traditional fly fisher and used spinning gear with a little weight and a bobber to cast the fly out. I tied a couple dozen and sent them to him. He liked my work, and for a few years, he would send me a couple orders every fall and winter. I received an order or two from one of his friends too. Eventually, I believe both men became too old to fish and both have gone around the bend in the river now.

I mention this story because these two gentlemen who were not traditional gear fly fishers had figured out a way to fish a fly with other gear. And more interesting to me is how they determined the tan sparkle pupa was all they needed out of all the nymph patterns out there. I don't think I ever asked them. I assume they tried a few patterns or was told by the shop owner to give the sparkle pupa a try and they had success. I remember the gentleman that sent me the pattern had no knowledge of the history of the fly and the theories behind it when I shared both with him.

Kind of makes you want to go out and fish one and see how the whitefish respond.

What nymphs have you found that seem to be the whitefish's favorite?
 

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I have to agree with the hares ear and prince nymph being good at both whitefish and the trout in our local steams. I have had luck with a size 14 ugly and a size 10 or 12 Montana nymph also.

I haven't fished a stream in a while but I can remember whenever I fished a hole and the fly drifted through the slow water without a hit I would let it continue downstream in the faster water and that was where I picked up most of the whitefish. They are tough cookies, the fast water doesn't bother them, even in the winter.
 

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I just ordered a few of every type of fly mentioned here. I love whitefish as a meal, simply put a filet on some foil, sprinkle on some parmesan cheese and broil for a few minutes. Amazingly simple and very good table fair. I ice fish a lake with alot of whitefish but man the are annoyingly frustrating to catch. They'll come up and look over a presentation but rarely bite. I'm hopeful some of these flys might work... I'll try anything new at this point to increase a chance to catch rates.

Limit is 10... most I've caught is 6 in a day. Seems people have better luck in rivers catching them.

-DallanC
 

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I just ordered a few of every type of fly mentioned here. I love whitefish as a meal, simply put a filet on some foil, sprinkle on some parmesan cheese and broil for a few minutes. Amazingly simple and very good table fair. I ice fish a lake with alot of whitefish but man the are annoyingly frustrating to catch. They'll come up and look over a presentation but rarely bite. I'm hopeful some of these flys might work... I'll try anything new at this point to increase a chance to catch rates.

Limit is 10... most I've caught is 6 in a day. Seems people have better luck in rivers catching them.

-DallanC
I like to eat them occasionally too! They are also great smoked. They do seem to be a bit easier to catch in rivers in my experience also.
 

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Lightning bug with the brown collar. oooooh it gives me shivers just thinking of that white lightning grabbing my size 20 nib. Definitely caught my fair share of whiteys on an 8 ft medium light spin setup with fly on a drop shot rig over the side of a drift boat high sticking in 20 ft of water.
 
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