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The Sickada: A Foam Cicada Fly Pattern

The Sickada: A Foam Cicada Fly Pattern

A more realistic body profile In honor of the epic 17-year Cicada emergence this year, I was on an R&D mission for a new fly design. First, I went back over a few older Cicada fly patterns I'd tied in the past. Then I looked at resources online as well as some field research looking at actual bugs. The one below was found and photographed recently here in Utah while I was hunting bugs waiting for Cheech to bring his fat butt upstream. This Cicada is a little more bland than some of the other bugs I've seen but it still fits the mold of what I was planning for the fly pattern. In the end, I fine-tuned a couple of different fly patterns I'd tied in the past (for both crickets and Cicadas) and ended up with this Cicada fly pattern concoction. Looking at the photo below (thanks magicicada.org), you'll see the more tapered underside profile with a definite striped segmentation. Coloration varies from mostly black to black/orange/yellow to the more t

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Bluegill on Poppers

Bluegill on Poppers

Aggressive topwater takes Big male taken on a popper over a weed bed. If you've spent any time at all chasing the biggest-little-fish, the ubiquitous bluegill, you've no doubt seen their tendency to attack flies, fish and even an unlucky Go-Pro here and there. So when you can find them in a surface attack mode, it can be some killer fishing. The big guy featured above was taken from a group of fish that was swimming in and out of some weeds and were not shy about hitting whatever invaded their space.  The fun thing about bluegills is when they're looking up, they aren't usually too picky about what they hit. I have found times where color and size can make a difference, so I usually come prepared with a variety of poppers and foam jobbies (like the foam dragon featured here and shown below). Really any dry fly can be a good bluegill pattern, but I usually fish with poppers because they can drum up the attention of fish that might be closer to the bo

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Comb-Over Minnow

Comb-Over Minnow

When you need to go deeper and get jiggy When you're tying flies that will imitate any sort of baitfish pattern, there are a few factors to consider. Among these factors is buoyancy, lifelike action/look in the water and also "castability". The Comb-Over minnow is an example of how to incorporate a few of these aspects. A number of years ago, when the EP fibers first hit the market, I tied up a bunch of chub minnow imitations to fish on a local stillwater where the trout would actively hunt down the little chubs. I was all stoked to be throwing such awesome looking minnow imitations, so I whipped out a fly and hucked a cast into the water. Lucky for the fish, my fly would have been a much better floating dead minnow imitation than a life-like trout-attracting fly pattern. I had done a few things wrong with this pattern. First off, I had waaaay too much material. Second, I didn't stop to consider how I'd actually fish the pattern. Had I been using a sinki

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What kind of fly tyer are you?

What kind of fly tyer are you?

I've been tyin' flies fer a hundred years... Curtis demonstrating how to tie with hot dog fingers. In reading various internet bulletin boards and working in a fly shop I always heard about the number of "years" someone had tied flies, or how many "years" someone has fished.  Of course this is important information to know so we can assess the ever important fly tying and fishing virtual resume that we all MUST have... (<--- that comment was a joke.  Queue rolling of eyes here.)  If years are so critical, I'm an expert at lawn care, motocross, sculpture, and sword fighting.  Regardless of how many years one has been doing something, it is all about how invested they become, or how passionate they are about it.   The floor after two days of demo tying For example, In fishing, there are people who have done it for 25 years, but only get out 3 or 4 times per year.  In contrast, there are people who have fished for 3 years, but put 1

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Green Spot Pheasant Tail

Green Spot Pheasant Tail

A quirky variation on the standard I was asked the other day about some of the patterns I'd found to be effective so far this spring. I rattled off a few patterns and then remembered several good fish that I'd taken on this nifty little PT variation. Nothing super-fancy, but a fun tie and it has a good little hot-spot. Plus, it incorporates some cool green dyed pheasant tail fibers. Anyway, here's the skinny on it... Hook : Gamakatsu R10-B #16 Bead : 2.3 mm Tungsten -- Buy Here -- Thread : UTC Ultrathread 70 Denier, Black   -- Buy Here -- Body : Green Dyed Pheasant Tail   -- Buy Here -- Over-body : Holo-Tinsel, Black (Med)   -- Buy Here -- Ribbing : UTC Ultrawire, Copper Brown (Small)   -- Buy Here -- Thorax : Arizona Synth Dubbing, Peacock   -- Buy Here -- Legs : Coq de Leon or Hen Hackle fibers Hotspot : Glo-Brite Floss, Orange Wingcase : Holo-Tinsel, Black (Lrg)   -- Buy Here -- Coating : Clear Cure Goo Hydro

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Tenkara Fly

Tenkara Fly

Sakasa Kebari -- For those of you that have been hiding under a rock or living in a bomb shelter for the past few years and hadn't heard about Tenkara fishing, get busy with Google. Regardless, I think the Tenkara style is something that is worth consideration. And while I haven't personally bitten the bullet to get setup, I can't help but try out the "backwards" hackled fly patterns. This was a recent attempt that came out of a combination of new materials I received from the crew at Hareline that screamed "Sakasa Kebari".  The Sakasa Kebari (which means something like "Frozen Eyelashes" in Japanese) style Tenkara flies are a thing of beauty, while at the same time non-descript and fairly simple (my example here bucks the norm, just FWIW).  In all seriousness, these reverse hackle style flies are as effective as they are cool looking. Google up Tenkara style fly fishing or go see our buddies over at Tenkara Guides if you'

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Deep Dish Callibaetis

Deep Dish Callibaetis

A breakthrough stillwater callibaetis pattern I think we've all had those days when the fishing was so-so until we dialed in either a fish holding location or found a bug the fish were really keying on. On a recent trout-hunting trip, the lake we were targeting was known for a veritable buffet of aquatic life for the fish to chow down on. The fishing started relatively so-so, with only a few fish to net in the first hour or two. They were definitely into chironomids (of course, how often are fish "not" into Chironomids?) and I wasn't in the mood to switch up much. However, I remembered a "new" callibaetis pattern I had been working on for the past week or so. [Queue lengthy blog detour into the background behind this pattern...] This pattern was one of the more "error"-prone results of my trial and error tying sessions the week before as I tried to come up with a better callibaetis pattern. I ended up with easily a dozen "failure&

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Bullet Heads For Bugginess

Bullet Heads For Bugginess

Break away from foam every once in a while Buggy and natural colors A few summers back I was fishing one of my favorite little streams with eager cutthroat and brookies, when I realized that my typical offerings were not producing as well as they should.  I typically fish big gnarly foam bugs ( like this ) due to their durability and their ability to float through the riffles between the pocket water.  The issue with foam flies is there typically aren't as many moving parts as a more natural fly.  I soon tied on a little bullet head stimulator variation made with moose, elk, and scraggly dubbing, and I was back into the fish.  This taught me a valuable lesson to either fish buggy natural flies more, or to add more buggy elements to my cookie-cutter foam flies. ~ Cheech Mostly natural components  This fly is more a concept than anything, but it DOES catch fish.  Nothing super groundbreaking here. Recipe:  Hook: TMC 2312 (or any 2X long dry fly hook like a Gam

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Streamer Love

Streamer Love

Small Stream Aggression If you read the posts on the website here and on our other media spots, you'll see we post up a few streamers now and again. So Saturday, we had the chance to get out and do some field testing on a few new streamers as well as some old standby's like the Cheech Leech . And while we normally equate big streamers with big fish, it's also important to note that even small stream fish can have a very big-fish attitude in the way they attack and devour streamer patterns. Check out this small guy that busted a larger "El Sculpito" pattern Moral of the story...don't think small fish in small streams (or their larger friends) won't take to bigger streamer patterns. Plus, the small stream can give you more visual action to help you hone your meat-chucking ninja skills! And here's a quick video to show what we're talking about...

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Frisky Damsels

Frisky Damsels

The Double "D", Mating Damsel If you've ever fished during a damsel hatch, you've likely seen the aggressive nature of the fish pursuing the insects. If you've never witnessed this, it's high time you head out to most any stillwater and see what's up. Most often, especially on higher elevation lakes, you'll not only see the fish hunting down the emerging damsels, but you're very likely to see them slashing, slurping and propelling themselves out of the water to snag a tasty adult damsel. Even better, they seem to key in on the mating damsels as they can get the 2-for-1 lunch special. This pattern is a great one because it floats well, but still keeps to the slender profile of the natural insects. I like to fish it with a damsel nymph dropper for some added insurance, especially before the fish start to really key in on the adults. I will say that the fly tends to get torn up after a few fish, but I'm cool with that considering the

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Arizona Prince

Arizona Prince

Another change to the royal family The Royal Family Like most experimental flies that I tie, I'll whip up one or two and have them sit on the bench until either I remember where I put them in my box, or I run into a situation on the stream that calls for them.  The Arizona Prince was kind of both...  I was Czech nymphing a section  of stream this spring and broke off my last Masked Marauder when I decided to just experiment.  Like always, the trusty Masked Marauder had caught plenty of fish that day, and I was OK with ending the day experimenting with a new pattern.  Even though the Arizona Prince really isn't all that innovative, there is always some question when you replace peacock herl (arguably the most fishy material on the planet) with dubbing.  On it went, and I saw multiple fish move out of their way to eat it that afternoon.  After a few fish I made sure to get a good mental picture of the fly because I only had one of them...  Yep. I broke it off.  Lu

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