Thursday, July 19, 2018

Tying the Bluegill Belly Bean

With our local trout streams at their usual summer levels and warm temperatures, we turn our attention to warm water species - bass, bluegills and, sunnies.  Here's a great video with Tim Flagler tying our friend Paul Beel's Bluegill Belly Bean pattern.   We recently featured another of Paul's patterns here - his FrankenFrog. This is a fairly simple pattern to tie and by all accounts it's a fish getter.  Tie some up!
       

Sharpen your hooks!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Green Drake - Sweden

The Green Drake, or the Ephemera danica, is the largest mayfly in Sweden. When it hatches, a short period in late May to early June, the trout goes crazy. Even the biggest trout come out and feed on the juicy insects, and when that happens the fly fisherman should be on the river bank.


Sharpen your hooks.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Tying Flies for Montana

It has been many years since I first went to Montana for the first time with a good friend, Don, to fish the Madison River and the surrounding trout waters, and I still get just as excited today as I did then.  This year I'm going with the usual crowd, albeit without my son and a couple of the others.  We going to be spending half the trip on the Madison River, and the other half up on the Missouri River.  In preparation, I'm tying all the flies I typically use when on those waters in late July.  

Here's my Sawyer's Pheasant Tail nymph.  For me, this is a must have fly as it aptly imitates the PMD nymphs so common and available just about anywhere in Montana in July.  I typically fish it by itself on the end of a long leader casting it straight upstream at the heads of pools and in the riffles; depending on the water depth and speed, I may put a split shot or two on the leader above it.  It works great.       


This is Kelly Galloup's Improved Blue-winged Olive nymph, which is a variation on the Sawyer Pheasant Tail nymph.  It has a peacock herl thorax and gills of a white, sparse dubbing material.  I used Senyo's Laser Dub here.  This fly has been very effective for me the last few years both here in the East and in Montana.    


Here's the Iris Caddis, which as you may know is one of my very favorite patterns.  It was introduced to me that first year I went to Montana by Don, and like many of you, it took a few years for me to recognize its full potential.  I tied the thorax with touch-dubbed hare's mask, but the original is tied with the hare's mask just dubbed on the thread.  I like the touch-dub method because it give the fly a buggier look and the wax helps improve the way the fly floats without the use of floatant.    


Here's a Pale Morning Dun snowshoe rabbit dry.  The body here is dubbed with a mixture of yellow and light olive beaver fur mixed 50/50.  The lighting in the photo makes it appear bright yellow/olive, but its really a paler yellow/olive.  I like beaver because its a natural fur that holds its color very well even when wet.  


Here's a PMD sparkle dun side and front view.  Make sure you are using a high quality deer comparadun hair for the wing - short black intact tips like you see in the front view. If the hair tips are broken or long, don't use it, it is likely dried out and brittle or won't float very well.    


Front view of PMD sparkle dun.


Here's a fairly good photo of the colors I mix for the PMD dun for reference.


Sharpen your hooks!

Monday, June 25, 2018

The FrankenFrog


Our Friend from Indiana, Paul Beel aka FrankenFly, has come up with a great looking frog imitation that I want to share with you all.  Paul is a fellow fly tyer/fly fisherman who has developed a number of trout and warm water flies and shares our passion for improving fly designs to overcome tough fishing situations and hatches.

One of the primary reasons you might design a fly is to solve a particular problem. Many times, as a fly designer, there are various products that may give you an idea for a fly that you may not have thought of otherwise.

Through the years I have tried many times to design a frog fly. I was really trying to solve a problem which is to have a top water fly that resembled a frog, so bass would go crazy over it. I never was happy with what I designed for this type of fly or it didn’t swim or pop to my liking. Eventually I abandoned the thought of designing a frog and any time I wanted to fish this type of fly, I would just throw a larger popper.

Read the whole story on how Paul developed this pattern on his blog: FrankenFly

You can purchase this fly as well as his others here: FrankenFly Fly Shop

Nice job, Paul!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all of the dads out there!

I had an early Father's Day last weekend with my son, Hunt, who came down from Boston to fish with me and some of our friends in the Catskills.  Hunt worked until 5 before driving down so Friday evening I fished with Steve on the East Branch of the Delaware River.  It was a beautiful time to be on the river with barely a breeze, warm at first, and clear.  As the dusk settled in, the air cooled and sulphurs, isonychias, gray fox, green drakes and caddis hatched sporadically but the fish didn't cooperate beyond a bunch of one-and-done rises that were little more than a tease.  When the sun dropped below the mountains, the sky above us filled with march brown spinners.  The spinners hadn't dropped to the water by the time darkness set in so we packed it in and went to get some dinner and get back to the cabin before Hunt arrived.

(Click image to enlarge)
Here's a march brown spinners that greeted us under the cabin lights.  Check out the length of those tails! 


We were also greeted by this giant cream pattern-wing sedge - Hydatophylax sp. These are very large caddisflies - this one is a good 1.5 inches long! Over 2" including antennae.


Saturday we fished in the morning hitting many pools on the Beaverkill, but the bugs were sparse and with that very few fish were rising.  Being June, we had no interest in fishing nymphs so by early afternoon we called it quits and went back to the cabin to tie some flies for the evening and catch up with Hunt on the last few months in Boston and his new job.

Saturday evening the bugs really didn't get going until dusk, but when they did the fish responded and we took a few nice browns on Iris Caddis fished in the film.

On Sunday morning we fished a bugless Beavekill.  We hit a bunch of pools and all were pretty quiet.  We saw very few anglers as a result.  In the early afternoon though, we noticed a couple of fish working right off the far bank of a wide, flat pool and Hunt decided to see if he could reach them with a biot body/cdc wing cornuta spinner.  He worked hard, making 50' + casts, and over about 20 minutes or so managed to get a couple of soft takes but no hook ups.  Determined, he changed position to get above the fish a little more and after a short while he got a solid hook up that he brought to net to finish up a great weekend.


The only thing missing were Hunt's two sisters, Megan and Leigh, who are always with us in spirit when we fish.

Hunt, Leigh, Captain, Michael and Megan
Have a great day everyone!

Monday, June 4, 2018

It's Green Drake Time

It's hatch time all over the Northeast and our buddy Vinnie got in on the action Saturday catching a couple of nice browns on a green drake emerger while fishing the Upper Delaware River system.


Sharpen your hooks.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

It's Dry Fly Time!

Sorry for the lack of posts here in recent weeks - lots of working, fishing, social crap and tying, but not much time for blogging, although I'd rather be writing than doing the social thing. Not that I don't like people, I just prefer them in small quantities and doses.  And besides, I would much rather listen to the chatter of the birds mixed with the sounds of  the river with no one in sight.   

Locally, things have warmed up nicely and the rivers are at good levels and clear.  The sulphurs have been hatching great this past week with evening spinner falls that rival those of memories past.  There are also good numbers of caddis about, including the egg laying grannoms mixed in with the sulphurs at dusk. Most of the sulphurs are a size 16 and and 18, with some of the larger size 14 mixed in. Here's a great shot of an orange sulphur or pink lady, Epeorus vitreus taken by our friend John Collins, aka Electric Tyer.  This fly looks very much like the pink cahill (Stenacron interpunctatum) that also hatches around now, both a size #14, but with the cahill the fore-wings have distinct dark markings/mottling along the forward edge, and the wings have a pale creamy-yellow cast to them.  For the angler, the pink cahill covers both flies nicely.  


During the day the sulphur nymphs are very active before they begin hatching and fishing a pheasant tail nymph or sulphur nymph can be very productive before hatching begins typically in the early evening.  With all the different caddis hatching right now, an iris caddis fished wet during the day, and as a dry in the film in the evening if nothing else is hatching, can also be very effective.  This fly has become one of my most productive flies over the years fished wet or dry.  I highly recommend it.

Up in the Catskills and in the Poconos, the rivers are fairly high but clear with all kinds of bugs hatching.  The march browns are showing along with the ever present blue-winged olives, particularly on overcast or showery days.  The little dark grannoms (#18) and the lighter of the species, the apple caddis, have been hatching well.  Lighter tan caddis (#14-16) are also about in good numbers.  In the evening be prepared with some egg laying caddis near dusk as some evenings the fish will take them over all the other bugs floating over their heads. AND if you are on any river in the region make sure you have rusty spinners in #12-16 as there have been lots of them showing on the calmer evenings.

The walk to a lesser known pool in the Catskills in a soft rain.

Sharpen your hooks!