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· powell riverite
371 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i was just wondering how many people(if any) use the riffle hitch technique and if so when they use it, i know they use it often on atlantics but didnt know about it for steelhead?what are its bennifits and whats its downside?
and if any one has a link to the knot used id be very greatful

· Registered
55 Posts
riffle hitch

I have used this technique both on wet fly and waking or skating patterns for summer steelhead on Vancouver Island and on some of the larger river systems that hold summer fish in both the USA and Canada, notably the Clearwater in Idaho and the Thompson and Skeena river tributaries in BC. The upside is that under the right conditions this method can be very attractive to the fish and can trigger very agressive responses, I had one fish on the Clearwater come to a riffled hitched wet fly that really sticks in my mind, this particular fish totally cleared the water and took the fly on the way down, the only steelhead adult that has ever done this to me although I have seen this response more often from steelhead pre migrants.
The downside for me at least is that the hooking and landing of fish using this method is very uncertain, whether this is a result of the angle of the hook from the leader when hitched or the style of the hook used I am not sure. However for this reason I now generally use a fly designed for creating a wake without the use of hitch when I fish on top. Hope this helps.

· Premium Member
2,132 Posts
I've found that trout like this sort of thing as well. I've never done it on purpose, but I have caught fish on flies that have had wind knots located over/on the head of the fly that creates the same effect.

Using knot shown in the diagram on purpose certainly is more artful, and implies a level of intended skill, but I didnt mind when my stimulator skated at a different angle as a result of the wind knot over and through the head and hackle, and trout decided that it was lunch time :) It was a mess to un-do after since my accidental riffle hitch overlapped the hackle about 2mms down from the head of the fly, but this fish liked it and that's all I cared about.

When choosing or tying flies for this technique, I read somewhere that you should try to have enough steel between the head of the fly and the eye of the hook to tie the hitch, otherwise you may crowd the head too much, allowing the hitch to slide off the front, defeating your purpose by leaving a knot in your line; or the line may cut the head cement and destroy the fly.

Another thing worth experimenting with is which side of the fly to tie the knot.

I read someplace (FlyFusion I think) about how most people try to have the fly angled towards the far bank as it skates, so the knot is on the near side of the fly, making it pull away from you; but there was also discussion of the opposite, angling the fly towards you as it skates.
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