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Terrestrial Bootcamp

-- Terrestrial Bootcamp --

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Skittle Scud

The Griffin Montana Mongoose

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Moodah Poodah

The Chimera of Dry Flies

Moodah Poodah Collection
The Moodah Poodah is one of the more wacky names we've stuck to a fly pattern, but it lives up to its uniqueness with a penchant for hooking a lot of fish. In fact, it got its name even before the pattern itself was designed. While I won't go into the gory details, it all started with a post-fishing stop to eat some grub and a run-in with a not-so-friendly waitress who hardly said a word to us the whole meal. And if you know some rudimentary Spanish, you might understand where the name came from.

But funky names aside, the pattern here, similar to the Chimera fly, was designed to imitate a variety of bugs in all sorts of colors. The color shown in the tutorial is black which can pass as a Cicada, drowning ant, cricket or any other blackish insect that might happen along. Throw in olives and browns for drakes or other mayflies and a crazy purple version and you can see the color options are really endless.

And beyond the pattern's devilish good looks, the other part of the design here was intended to allow for a smallish dry that could support droppers without sinking so quickly. Not only that, but the Klinkhamer style hook allows the body to hang below the surface -- an attribute on dry flies that I personally think is a huge attractant. We throw in some irresistible Ice Dub for the body and it makes for a crazy-effective pattern.
Chunky Rainbow caught on the Green Drake version

I've caught fish on this pattern imitating all sorts of insects and in all sorts of colors from smaller mayflies to bigger drakes to cicadas, damsel flies and many others. So get a bunch of colors of foam, Ice Dub and rubber legs and you'll be set. The variations are as endless as the food at the Golden Corral. I've found you need only tweak the sizes and the colors, so my boxes usually have these color variations along with sizes from #10 down to sometimes a #14. Anyway, here's a few of those favorite variations and then the material list & tutorial following...

Moodah in Black

Moodah in Brown

Moodah in Olive

Moodah in Purple

Material Lists

Black Moodah (cidadas, beetles etc)

Hook: Daiichi 1160 #10 - #12  (BUY HERE)  *(Also, the Daiich 1167 is a good choice )
Thread: UTC Ultrathread, 70 Denier, Black  (BUY HERE)
Hot Spot: Ice Dub, UV Hot Orange  (BUY HERE)
Body: Ice Dub, UV Black  (BUY HERE)
Ribbing: Krystal Flash, Pearl  (BUY HERE)
Under-Wing: Nature's Spirit Select Cow Elk, Black  (BUY HERE)
Head: 2mm Crosslink Foam, Black  (BUY HERE)
Legs: Neon Orange Barred Rubber Legs  (BUY HERE)
Post: Para Post Wing Material, Fl Orange  (BUY HERE)

Brown Moodah (Hoppers, Brown Drakes, Callibaetis, Caddis)

HookDaiichi 1160 #10 - #12  (BUY HERE)
ThreadUTC Ultrathread, 70 Denier, Gray-Brown or Tan  (BUY HERE)
Hot SpotIce Dub, UV Hot Orange  (BUY HERE)
BodyIce Dub, UV Brown  (BUY HERE)
RibbingKrystal Flash, Pearl  (BUY HERE)
Under-WingNature's Spirit Select Cow Elk, Brown  (BUY HERE)
Head2mm Crosslink Foam  (BUY HERE)
LegsCentipede Legs, Speckled White/Brown, Med  (BUY HERE)
PostPara Post Wing Material, Fl Orange  (BUY HERE)

Olive Moodah (Green Drakes, Hoppers, Caddis)

HookDaiichi 1160 #10 - #12  (BUY HERE)
ThreadUTC Ultrathread, 70 Denier, Olive  (BUY HERE)
Hot SpotIce Dub, UV Hot Orange  (BUY HERE)
BodyIce Dub, UV Light Olive  (BUY HERE)
RibbingKrystal Flash, Pearl  (BUY HERE)
Under-WingNature's Spirit Select Cow Elk, Olive  (BUY HERE)
Head2mm Crosslink Foam, Olive  (BUY HERE)
LegsCentipede Legs, Speckled Yellow/Olive, Med  (BUY HERE)
PostPara Post Wing Material, Fl Orange  (BUY HERE)

Purple Moodah (Hoppers, Gen Attractor)

HookDaiichi 1160 #10 - #12  (BUY HERE)
ThreadMFC Tying Thread, 6/0 Purple  (BUY HERE)
Hot SpotIce Dub, UV Hot Orange  (BUY HERE)
BodyIce Dub, UV Gray or Purple  (BUY HERE)
RibbingKrystal Flash, Pearl  (BUY HERE)
Under-WingNature's Spirit Select Cow Elk, Med Dun  (BUY HERE)
Head2mm Tying Foam, Purple  (BUY HERE)
LegsCentipede Legs, Speckled Purple, Med  (BUY HERE)
PostPara Post Wing Material, Fl Orange  (BUY HERE)

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Crack-Back Aero PMD

Learn to Paint Cracks

pmd nymph crack back
Crack Back PMD -- Aero Style
My first exposure to "crack back" style flies came about mostly by observation of the naturals I was seeing in the local tailwaters I fished. As I'll get into a bit later here, when I ultimately dialed in the pattern, I remember a couple of times fishing a stretch of productive PMD water that ran along side a highway that was under construction. For the few days my fishing time coincided with the lunch break of the construction workers, I entertained them with sight-fishing to PMD-munching brown trout. But more importantly, I found a pattern that would end up a staple in the PMD section of my box.

Pale Morning Duns, or PMD's, are sometimes an overlooked bug on a lot of rivers I've fished, but it's still a good idea to have a variety of imitations for these common and important mayflies. Not only do they bring a lot of fish to the surface at times, but unlike the Baetis hatch, my experience early on showed me that trout often focus more on the emerging insects which turned my focus more towards a good variety of emergers and soft hackles. In fact, one of my favorite PMD patterns is a floss bodied soft hackle pattern a friend of mine ties. Between that and seeing how distinct the naturals showed their bright yellow bodies as the wing-case would begin to split open, I worked to come up with a good material to use for the "crack". I went through almost any yellow or chartreuse material you can imagine. Most would lose their color brightness when wet. I ultimately settled on some antron but more recently converted my updated Aero-Baetis style mayfly nymph into this crack back we have today.

The key here is that with Baetis or PMD nymphs and emergers you need to keep the body slim and the taper consistent with the natural. And because I'm a big believer in crack-back style emergers, I've taken that concept and applied it to this pattern, albeit a bit differently than others you might have seen. Which probably means it won't work and you'll waste your time tying this horrible pattern.

Material List

Hook: Partridge Czech Nymph #18 - #16  (BUY HERE)
Bead: Tungsten 2.0 - 2.4mm, Gold, Copper or Black Nickel  (BUY HERE)
Thread: UNI 8/0, Dark Brown  (BUY HERE)
Tail: Partridge Feather Fibers, Brown  (BUY HERE)
Body: Veevus Holo-Tinsel, Brown, Med  (BUY HERE)
Ribbing: UTC Ultrawire, Brown, Small  (BUY HERE)
Wing-Case: Skinny Skin or Fino Skin, Brown (or mottled Gold or yellow)  (BUY HERE)
LegsPartridge Feather Fibers, Brown  (BUY HERE)
"Crack": 3D Fly Paint, Yellow (bright, metallic or regular -- up to you)  (BUY HERE)

Friday, May 15, 2015

Terrestrial Bootcamp 2015: June 11th to the 14th

Take your terrestrials up a notch or two

June 11th through 14th 2015

Hey all, we're excited to announce an ongoing series of unique themed fly fishing and tying
"Bootcamps" we're arranging and hosting. We've been working on this concept now for a while and we're excited to get it started here really soon in June. Our inaugural bootcamp is going to be based around terrestrials. We know it's super-short notice, but we've been busy making arrangements to get this first event setup and running. We had talked about an Alaskan or salt water or even Chile or Argentina destination (and those will likely come down the road), but we've found the ideal setting a lot closer to home.

Piggy Bow who ate a Grumpy Frumpy
We've teamed up with the great folks at Savery Creek Fishing, in south-central Wyoming, to provide an incredible opportunity to fish a remote and unique small stream that has enormous fly-friendly Rainbows and some pretty Colorado Cutts to boot. Plus, they have a great hunting and fishing lodge on the banks of this stream where we'll all be staying.

**Note from Cheech-   Savery creek will spoil you.  On our last trip there had been some pretty serious rainstorms, but the creek ran clear both days that we fished it.  The second hole that I tossed a streamer into yielded one of the biggest and hottest rainbows of the trip (~ 23" and 5-6 pounds).  There were several others that were in this size range, and lots of other obese fish that were willing to eat big huge foam terrestrials.  This creek is nothing short of amazing.  

So here's how it's all going to work. The bootcamp will run from Thursday night June 11th through Sunday morning June 14th with two full days of fishing in there. Rather than this being just a stay in a lodge with some guided fishing, we're going to focus on learning about terrestrials, tying some awesome terrestrial patterns with hands-on instruction, learning strategies and best of all -- taking what you learn and putting it to use on this small stream catching some of the biggest river or stream Rainbows you'll ever see. How about getting a 24 inch fatty rainbow to slurp up the Cicada or Hopper pattern you tied the night before? Yeah, it's like that. Just the fact that you will be fishing juicy terrestrial patterns to huge fish all day should be enough to get your motor running. Forget New Zealand, this is dry fly Shangri La.

Big Fish -- Big Hopper
You'll spend each of the two days out on the water with me and Cheech and some of our other guides. In the evenings or other free times, we'll tie flies together and shoot the breeze in between the awesome meals prepared by the Savery Creek team. If you're not into tying flies, no worries. Hang out on the patio, enjoying the cool mountain air while you watch bald eagles fly around, deer scamper through the meadow or Elk gliding up the mountainside.

A few things to note:

  • We have spots for 6 to 8 anglers. First come, first served and based on initial discussions we've had, spots should fill up fast.
  • The cost will be $1400 per angler for three nights lodging, two days fishing (with guides), food, fly tying materials and flies (if you don't want to tie or want to save the ones you tie).
  • We will provide a few vises but if you have a vise and tools that you can bring, it will be helpful. We will provide all materials. Again, the fly tying part is totally optional. But if you want to get one-on-one instruction from Cheech on how to tie his Project Hopper, it can't hurt.
  • We advise bringing your own rod, but if you don't have a suitable one, let us know and we can make arrangements. We suggest a 5 or 6 weight. You could get away with a 4 weight, but a 23 inch 6 lb fish full of fight will appreciate a beefier rod. 3X or 4X tippet is great.
  • 50% deposit will hold your reservation. Email me: to snag a spot.
  • Contact us for travel suggestions, but you can fly into Rock Springs, Wyoming; Laramie Wyoming or even Salt Lake City, Utah.

If you have any questions, let us know!! In the meantime, here are a few of the terrestrial flies we might be tying...

Blingnobyl Ant

Project Hopper
Moodah Poodah

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Bullet Head - Stonefly Edition

Add some ammo to your big dry fly box

Several years ago I was tying at an expo when I was challenged to tie a fly out of Rainy's Tube Bodiz stonefly bodies.  I put it on a hook and added a pretty pronounced bullet head to create what is now the Petite Sirloin Stonefly.  More importantly, that was about the time when I decided to challenge myself to tie better bullethead flies.  At first I'd tie them just to have a really cool fly tied out of mostly natural materials, and I didn't love to fish them because the head would explode at the sight of a trout tooth.  Truth be told, those cool looking natural flies were very fishy, attracted wary trout, and it turned out that I could make the head last quite a bit longer with the proper glue.  It's really not a hard pattern to tie once you practice it a little bit.
Bullet eating trout

This particular bullet head pattern can be fished as a golden stone or a tannish yellow hopper.  On a recent fishing trip I fished it as a hopper and got plenty of attention from hopper seeking Rainbow Trout.

~ Cheech

Also... Come fish terrestrials with us!  Details HERE


Golden Stone / Hopper
Hook: Daiichi 1280 #6-10 (BUY HERE)
Thread 1: MFC Premium Thread - 8/0 lt. brown (BUY HERE)
Thread 2: Veevus GSP - White 150 denier (BUY HERE)
Tail: Nature's Spirit Turkey Biot - Tannish yellow (BUY HERE)
Dubbing: Nature's Spirit Snowshoe Hare's Foot Dubbing - Golden stone (BUY HERE)
Hackle: Whiting - Dark barred ginger (BUY HERE)
Under-Wing 1: Nature's Spirit CDC - Amber (BUY HERE)
Under-Wing 2: Nature's Spirit Stimulator Deer Hair - Gold (BUY HERE)
Bullet Head: Nature's Spirit Select Cow Elk - Natural (BUY HERE)
Legs: Grizzly Rubber Legs - Yellow (BUY HERE)
Indicator Post: Para Post Wing - White (BUY HERE)

Hook: Daiichi 2461 #2-1 (BUY HERE)
Thread 1: MFC Premium Thread - 8/0 Dark Brown (BUY HERE)
Thread 2: Veevus GSP - Black 150 denier (BUY HERE)
Tail: Nature's Spirit Turkey Biot - Black (BUY HERE)
Dubbing: Nature's Spirit Snowshoe Hare's Foot Dubbing - Rusty Orange (BUY HERE)
Hackle: Whiting - Coachman brown (BUY HERE)
Under-Wing 1: Nature's Spirit CDC - Dark slate dun  (BUY HERE)
Under-Wing 2: Nature's Spirit Stimulator Deer Hair - Brown (BUY HERE)
Bullet Head: Nature's Spirit Select Cow Elk - Black (BUY HERE)
Legs: Grizzly Rubber Legs - Orange (BUY HERE)
Indicator Post: Para Post Wing - White (BUY HERE)

Hook: Daiichi 1280 #6-10 (BUY HERE)
Thread 1: MFC Premium Thread - 8/0 Olive (BUY HERE)
Thread 2: Veevus GSP - White 150 denier (BUY HERE)
Tail: Nature's Spirit Turkey Biot - Olive (BUY HERE)
Dubbing: Nature's Spirit Snowshoe Hare's Foot Dubbing - Olive (BUY HERE)
Hackle: Whiting - Grizzly (BUY HERE)
Under-Wing 1: Nature's Spirit CDC - Dark slate dun (BUY HERE)
Under-Wing 2: Nature's Spirit Stimulator Deer Hair - Olive (BUY HERE)
Bullet Head: Nature's Spirit Select Cow Elk - Olive (BUY HERE)
Legs: Grizzly Rubber Legs - Olive (BUY HERE)
Indicator Post: Para Post Wing - White (BUY HERE)

Tools etc. used:
Dr. Slick Razor Scissors
Peak Hex Hair Stacker
Hard as Hull head cement

Monday, May 4, 2015

Klinkhamer Variant

What bend is on YOUR hook?

I don't think the Klinkhamer Special is any secret, so I won't go into details about the original design of the pattern.  BUT...  the hook is really what makes this pattern so effective.  It's a hook that starts out with a straight eye, a straight shank, and then the whole thing gets dropped down to China town.  The idea is that a parachute style fly will sit with the parachute out of the water, and the rest of the fly down in the water mimicking an emerger struggling to get fully emerg-ized.  There are many hooks that are built for this purpose:
You can mix and match the colors and dubbings for this fly, but we have been using a lot of Nature's Spirit snowshoe rabbit foot dubbing due to how easy it is to work with, and the buggy profile it leaves behind.  Make sure you make room for these in your box because they are proven patterns in fooling picky fish that only want to eat the easy pickings.

~ Cheech


Baetis (BWO) 
Thread: Uni 8/0 - Olive (BUY HERE)
Body: Nature's Spirit Snowshoe Rabbit Foot Dubbing - Gray olive (BUY HERE)
Ribbing: Coats and Clark sewing thread - Brown
Thorax: Nature's Spirit Snowshoe Rabbit Foot Dubbing - Muskrat gray (BUY HERE)
Parachute Post: Para Post Wing Material - White/orange or light gray (BUY HERE)
Hackle: Whiting cape or saddle - Grizzly or dun (BUY HERE)

Caddis (tan or green)
Thread: Uni 8/0 - Tan (BUY HERE)
Body: Nature's Spirit Snowshoe Rabbit Foot Dubbing - Caddis Green or Tan (BUY HERE)
Ribbing: Coats and Clark sewing thread - Brown
Thorax: Nature's Spirit Snowshoe Rabbit Foot Dubbing - Hare's ear (BUY HERE)
Parachute Post: Para Post Wing Material - White/orange or N. Woods special (BUY HERE)
Hackle: Whiting cape or saddle - Grizzly or dark barred ginger (BUY HERE)

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Landing Fish - A Tale of Heroism and Tippet Size

Yeah... fought him for like 30 minutes.

Curtis battling a beast rainbow trout

Jay and I were on the way to the river with a more accomplished angler than we were.  We had been fishing for two whole years now and it was paying off because we could readily catch fish on our home river.  We got out of the car and started rigging up our heavy nymph rigs with appropriate bobbers when the more experienced fella sees us and exclaims "It's Summer time you guys!"  "Throw dry flies!" We were ridiculed for wanting to nymph and for fishing anything but 6x tippet.  I had never really thrown anything less than 4x, but I guess I needed to get to my local shop to get some lighter cable.  I was sure that I was going to break off on 6x, but hey - that's what the cool kids were using.

This was the first time that I started paying attention to tippet sizes because now I had a complex about it.  Would lighter tippet really help me catch more fish?  Would I be able to land fish on this lighter tippet?  Will lighter tippet help me make friends and influence people?  I was intrigued. This is also about the same time that I started to pay attention to comments like, "Yeah, all I use is 7x and a 3 weight." "I like to really feel the fish that I catch."   A few months later I was wading up the river and there was a middle aged gentleman hooting and hollering like he had just caught a Rattlebass.  He was looking around to make sure everyone saw that he had a fish on, and he took his sweet time landing it too.  A few dramatic false runs of the fish, and the hurried footwork of a guy landing what was sure to be the next world record led me to believe that this guy was on the river to put on a show!  I watched.  I was entertained.  After he netted and unhooked his 13" trophy, he held it up so all could see and then went right back to fishing.  I had met a hero folks.  But - that hero likely killed that fish.

Land your fish people!!! I'm writing this because there really is no point in using lighter tippet than necessary, and there surely isn't any reason to fight a fish longer than you need to.  Here are a few things that might help you save the life of a fish.

  • Use the largest tippet you can get away with.  One of my fishing mentors, Mickey Anderson
    3x cable strapped to this hopper
    uses 4x tippet for most of his trout fishing.  It's plenty strong to make a quick fight and release the fish before it's too worn out and full of lactic acid.  I'll Euro nymph a lot with 2 or 3x tippet, but there are also times that I need to drop down to a lighter tipper in order to get proper drift with smaller flies.  6x is the smallest I have on my tippet system, and I really only use it when I'm fishing very small dry flies.
  •  Use a net.  Yes, I get it that nets are made for sissies, but if you hook even a 16" fish that is full of red bull n' skittles, he won't be keen to lay down and relax while you get the hook out.  Instead of tiring out the fish until he plays nice, get a good net with a rubber bag so you can capture him while he still has some spunk.  That spunk will be needed to recover from the fight.  
  • Like Johnny in Karate Kid, "FINISH HIM."  Get your fish to the net as quickly as the situation allows.  I get it - if you catch a huge fish on a dry fly and light tippet it might take you more time to seal the deal, but in most cases you should be able to quickly fight your fish so you can let them go.  The longer you fight your fish, the faster you should focus on getting your fish back to freedom.
  • Keep them wet as much as possible.  I have no problem with a good fish picture, but you
    A sissy net and a beastly brookie
    should really try to only lift the fish out of the water for a few seconds at a time.  Curtis and I have a system - I'm the hand model, and he's the photographer (It's not because of his mad skills with the camera.  I just have very good looking hands.) He has the camera dialed in to the settings we need to use for the current lighting so he can take out the camera and take a few shots in a matter of seconds.  Remember that the fish is more important than your picture...

To sum it up...  Don't fight a fish longer than you have to just to prove a point.  Rope those suckers with cable, give them a proper fight, and then turn them loose. Unless you are catching your fish to eat them.  If so, ignore all of the above.

~ Cheech

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Dubbing Emerger: Crazy Good Mayfly pattern

Ridiculously Easy

mayfly emerger nymph
Dubbing Emerger - Blue Winged Olive Version

When I worked in a fly shop during college 20 plus years ago, I was enamored with the fancily tied Barr Emerger patterns that we seemed to sell hundreds of. They were (and are) such a fine buggy pattern that I found myself tying a lot of them. However, as I began to use them in my personal as well as my guide stash, I found them far too labor intensive to be used as a high-volume "guide" fly.

So began the process of peeling off features to see how well the stripped down "easy" versions would do. First gone were the legs, followed by the wing case and finally the tail. In none of those versions did the effectiveness of the pattern experience any fall-off. None. In fact, that little pattern was so effective during a float with a couple of guide buddies down the Green River (Utah) that by the time we made it back to the lodge and fly shop, my friend and shop owner Denny Breer (RIP) came out and asked me to show him this "magic" fly. And for the next number of years, this fly was pretty much my go-to mayfly nymph and emerger and I kept calling it a bead-head Barr emerger. That is until a day a few years years ago fishing with Cheech when he asked what fly I was using to work magic on some Green River browns. I told him it was a bead-head Barr emerger, he took one look and said that's not even remotely close to a BHBE. He suggested something that simple needs a simple name -- and he dubbed it the "Dubbing Emerger". The name stuck and it has and always will be on the varsity team.

The beauty of this pattern is really in its simplicity. Now for those of you who see our other "fancy" patterns that are much more complex, we're not saying that level of pattern is a waste -- we still tie complex stuff and always will, so it's not always about how simple or fancy a fly can be. And even though we're not intent on simplifying all patterns down to one or two materials, it's still important to have a few guide patterns up your sleeve. You can tie them by the hundreds and the fish eat 'em up like Cheech downs cotton candy from the gas station.

So here's the deal. It's basically hook, bead, thread and dubbing. That's it. You can use one color of dubbing if you'd like, but I normally go with two colors of contrasting shades -- especially for emerger situations. When I'm fishing to imitate smaller flies, obviously downsize the hook and I usually go one size down to begin with. So let's say you have a size #18 natural mayfly, I'll tie it in a #20. I also use as small a bead as I can on the hook -- especially when using this as a dropper.

Speaking of using as a dropper, that's the most common way I'll fish this. Pair it with your go-to mayfly adult pattern and drop this. Even during the height of a hatch, you'll still catch a good 50% or more of your fish on this little guy. Beyond the dropper method, it's a killer nymph as well.

Material List

Hook: Partridge Fine Czech Nymph #18  (BUY HERE) (smaller go with Daiichi 1130)
Bead: 2.0 to 2.4mm Tungsten, Gold  (BUY HERE)
Thread: MFC Premium, 6/0, Brown  (BUY HERE)
Body: Nature's Spirit Fine Natural Dubbing, BWO  (BUY HERE)
Thorax: Nature's Spirit Fine Natural Dubbing, Gray Olive (BUY HERE)