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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Lemon Lime Bugger

A Tribute to Dennis Brakke

For anyone that's been around the Rocky Mountain states for a while and fishes stillwaters, you've likely run into or heard about Dennis Brakke -- whether on the water, at his fly shop, The Fly Desk, or one of his books. Unfortunately, Dennis passed away from short but tough battle with cancer in 2009. He is missed.

For those of us who had the pleasure of knowing Dennis or who were able to spend time with him fishing or talking shop at the Fly Desk, he was a dedicated student of the sport. Whether it was specific materials (I spent a lot of time with him discussing hackle), techniques or patterns, he had things dialed in.

Dennis and another angler on Strawberry Reservoir, 2005


My first exposure to one of his patterns was the "Lemon Lime Bugger". I'd heard good things about a bugger tied in this specific color combination using a special chenille on the body. Dennis told me about several outings to a relatively unknown stillwater in Utah that consistently produced big Rainbows that would devour this bright pattern. I ended up tying up a bunch and headed off to fish. The fly did really well, definitely out-fishing my standard fare of Uncle Ken's Woolly bugs, and earned a spot in my bugger boxes.

Dennis Brakke's Lemon Lime Bugger


Cheech, too, had the pleasure of working with Dennis a lot. He recounts: "I remember the days of dreaming up flies...  Dennis always had the materials to make my flies work out, but more importantly, he always had the time to explain the properties and applications of those materials.  Many of my stillwater patterns are inspired by Dennis' hard work on the water.  He was a true ambassador to the sport, and definitely left a lasting impression on anglers in Utah.


So on a slowish day on the water this fall, I dug into my boxes looking for a pattern that the fish might be interested in. You see I tend to carry way more flies than I could ever need and I'm always tweaking and working on new patterns, so the flies in my boxes have a lot of competition for attention. As I opened and closed boxes and picked through rows and rows of flies, I caught a glimpse of a few trusty Lemon Limes peaking out at me, half buried by a bunch of overdressed leech patterns. One of my first thoughts was the sunrise outing (pictured above) on this same body of water over 8 years prior. Decision made, the Lemon Lime was soon tied and on its way to the water. On that first cast, as the fly slowly descended out of sight, this little Rainbow gobbled it up and reminded me that newer isn't always better and that fish can be like good friends: You don't always see them, but they're always there. 

Lemon Lime Bugger:
           High & Dry Grizzly Hackle Grizzly Dyed Golden Olive  -- Buy Here --

10 comments:

  1. I still have a beautiful dun midge sized Whiting saddle I picked up from Dennis' house and I used to drop by with my dad to his place every once in a while. Definitely a big loss for fly anglers in the Salt Lake Valley

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    1. I hear you. I used to go by with one thing in mind, and end up leaving thinking "how am I going to explain all this stuff to my wife..." I'm still tying on a midge saddle that I bought from him 8 years ago.

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  2. Very nice post, on a gentleman that sounded to be outstanding. Very tough to come by these days. Thanks keep the quality post coming.

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  3. Thank you Curtis for this wonderful tribute to Dennis. He introduced me to Stillwater pontoon boat fishing in 2005 and many Manitoba trips later I still remember how fortunate I was to have met and fished with him. His spirit lingers on in the many other fine people I have met through Dennis. He certainly set a high standard in everything he did and on how he treated and helped others. I guarantee that he is the first one on the water on the other side and has already lined up the best spots for all of us and is ready to share the best flies with us.

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  4. My deepest thanks for the tribute, not a day goes by that I don't think about him and all he taught me. I used to tease him about getting old and trolling in his "boat" pulling a couple flies behind. He raised us boys fishing places like the Gallatin and Clark's Fork in Montana, so watching him kick around was amusing. But, the man could always pull the biggest and most fish out of any body of water he dropped a line into. He's sorely missed by his family and it very touching to see he's still missed by others, truly a testament to his influence on us all. Thank you again

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    1. Thanks for the comments Brian. Your Dad is a great one.

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  5. My best memories are sitting in my dad's fly tying room and pretending to tie with him. Eventually he taught me a couple patterns. Fishing with my dad was one of the few ways we could get one on one time with him and I think of those moments all the time. Not many people could outfish my dad, but I have the pleasure of saying I did once. I haven't fished since he left this earth.... It'll never be the same with out him.... Haha plus he was the one with the pontoon boat.

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    1. Great story. You are probably among an elite few who can claim that.

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  6. Wow! Thank you for this tribute! He was such an amazing person and I knew he was missed by many but I didnt realize how far his reach went. Everyone who knew and loved him is/was truly lucky:)

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  7. Wow great job, I also have a nor vise, you do a good job with your vids easy to understand and a very thorough , and the material list Is always very explanatory, kudos Thanks Mark.

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