Social Icons

twitterfacebookInstagramgoogle plusrss feedemailyoutube

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Amphibious Damsel

A fly meant to be fished both dry and wet.

Amphibious Damsel

I had tied this fly for a recent trip to some lakes with large numbers of damselflies hoping that we would find fish feeding on adult damsels.  After a day of mostly fishing chironomids and callibaetis nymphs, we were walking back to the trailhead along the shore when Curtis told me that he had done well in a certain bay last year with hoppers.  When we passed that bay, instead of a hopper, I tied on the amphibious damsel and decided to toss it out.  In three casts, I had three aggressive takes, even though I only landed one of them (rookie mistakes...).  After all of the aggressive fish had eaten, I decided to swim the fly right under the surface after letting it sit for about 10 seconds.  I lost count of the takes using this method, but it opened my eyes to a technique that I had not tried very much.  I knew that damselflies deposited their eggs under the water, but I never really tried to fish an adult this way.  Lesson learned.

~ Cheech

Material List

: Allen N203 BL, Daiichi 1130, or Gamakatsu C12 all in size 10 or 12
ThreadUTC Ultrathread 70 Denier Black or Blue  -- Buy Here --
Eyes: 50# mono burned ends
Tail: Adult damsel body braid --Buy Here-- (Stripes made with black sharpie)
Wing: Medallion sheeting - buggy light dun, clear or white  -- Buy Here --
Legs: Grizzly hackle. Try the new Hebert Miner Capes for these. Awesome price!!
Floatation: 2mm tying foam, Blue.  -- Buy Here --

Friday, June 28, 2013

Build a better bugger

Versatility meets durability

Black Wooly Bugger

I think that most fly fishers will agree that the wooly bugger is one of the most versatile flies that can be fished, and it it responsible for catching many different species of fish.  In this version of the bugger, I focus on making the fly have more movement in the water, and have better durability for multiple fish days.  I first started tying buggers like this when I would fish Strawberry Reservoir in Utah a lot.  There are HUGE Bear Lake Cutthroat with pretty big teeth in there, and if I didn't reinforce my buggers they would rarely make it past two or three fish.  This method is nothing new, but it is a simple way to build a better bug.


Here is the video...

New Updated Recipes:

Midnight Fire

Hook: Daiichi 1710 # 8 (+)
Thread: Danville's 70 - Black (+)
Tail: Black Wooly Bugger Marabou - Black (+)
Hackle: Schlappen - Black (+)
Body: Speckled Chenille - Midnight Fire (+)
Rib: UTC Wire - SM Red (+)

Lemon Lime

Hook: Daiichi 1710 # 8 (+)
Thread: Danville's 70 - Fl. Green (+)
Tail: Black Wooly Bugger Marabou - Olive (+)
Hackle: Schlappen - Olive (+)
Body: Speckled Chenille - Lime Olive (+)
Rib: UTC Wire - SM Silver (+)

Also, Uncle Ken has his own way to tie an awesome and innovative fly...  The wooly bug.  See the video here.

Uncle Ken's Wooly Bug

Thursday, June 27, 2013


what happens when a hopper and a stonefly become amorous?

Tan Stoneflopper

I carry WAY too many flies when I fish, and it's always a struggle to decide which boxes go in my main pack vs. which boxes stay in the backpack vs. which boxes stay home.  I guess it's a good problem to have, but sometimes there is so much happening on the water that it's hard to decide what fly to tie on.  I had just successfully hybridized the Royal Wulff, Madam X, Humpy, and cripple in the Grumpy Frumpy pattern, so why not try this with other flies.  Next on the list was something that would fish like a big leggy, foamy, buoyant bug such as a stonefly/hopper hybrid.  To the vise I went, and out came the fly now known as the Stoneflopper.  Testing done, and I knew that I had a fly that would puncture fish.  Field testers would send back images of flies that were chewed up like crazy, but still producing.

Stoneflopper fish caught by angler Jake Taylor

Stoneflopper photo courtesy of Kevin Lackey

Stoneflopper photo courtesy of Kevin Lackey

I fish two primary colors.  Tan and cinnamon.  There are slight variations that I make per batch, but the general concept of the fly is the same.  Typically I just mess with the color and type of foam, dubbing, and legs.

Chris Barkey has probably fished this bug more than me, and here is what he has to say about it.  
The Stone Flopper, if it is not an original sin, it should be. I garnered a few from Clark about 6 years ago to sample and boy am I glad I did. The pattern, done in various color combos, hits the water at least 6 months of the year imitating various stones then merges into a hopper/beetle for the end of summer and into fall assault. It's buoyancy keeps it on the line as the hopper in the hopper/droppering technique, usually tagging it's fair share of fish. It is an easy tie and is fun to admire after a day of puncture wounds from big rises. Learn the pattern, change the colors and enjoy. Chris
Cutt on Stoneflopper courtesy of Chris Barkey

Brown on Stoneflopper courtesy of Chris Barkey

~ Cheech


Hook: 2xl hook (doesn't need to be light wire) like a Gamakatsu S10 #6 or Allen S402 #6
Thread: Uni 6/0 or UTC 140 to match color of foam
Tails: Round rubber or sili legs to match color of foam.  I like natural colored round rubber barred with a sharpie.
Overbody: 3mm craft foam, or 1/8" Rainy's Evazote foam
Body: Dubbing.  I typically use ice dub, fine dry fly dub, or AZ synthetic dub.
Rib: Bug wrap from flytyer's dungeon, or spanflex.
Wing: Deer hair.
Head: 2mm craft foam
Indicator: Whatever you want.  I usually do 2mm craft foam or yellow round foam.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fly Tying with UV: Introduction

Part 1: Introduction

This is the first in a series of posts on flies we're going to feature that incorporate materials that have certain UV characteristics. However, before we get too far here, there are a few things to consider to lay the groundwork going forward with these patterns:
  • The impetus for this series of posts and flies is primarily the book by Reed F. Curry, "The New Scientific Angling - Trout and Ultraviolet Vision".

    I found this book to be very informative and really opened up my eyes to some considerations in fly design that I hadn't really thought about. So based on this book, some discussion with some of the fly tying materials companies out there and some study we've done on our own, we believe incorporating primarily UVR materials into patterns here and there is something to definitely consider.
  • UVR vs UVF: Read the book for a much better description. But in a nutshell, UVF or Ultraviolet Fluorescence is what most fishermen and tyers are familiar with. The example of shining a black light onto a white shirt or some bright orange thread and having it glow is what is often touted as the type of effect that will attract fish to our flies. However, with few exceptions, there aren't many instances of fluorescence in the natural trout world. UVR or Ultraviolet Reflectance is the ability of a surface (insect, feather, fur or otherwise) to reflect, not fluoresce, UV light. In nature, there are ample examples of animals, insects and fish using UVR to both attract mates as well as hunt for food. This deserves some additional consideration.
  • For the fly tyer, many natural insects and baitfish exhibit UVR characteristics to varying degrees. Given that trout can see UVR, it's reasonable to assume UVR can and does play a part in a trout identifying and selecting its food. Again, this is all very nicely explained in the book, so refer to that resource if you'd like additional information. The flies in this series will loosely focus on these UVR "signatures" as explained and photographed in Mr. Curry's book. 
  • We're, by no means, saying definitively that incorporating UVR materials into your flies will result in you catching more fish. However, there is some pretty compelling evidence that it might actually make a difference. We'll leave that up to you and the fish to decide. Either way, we think this topic and aspect of fly design deserves some attention.
Another push to get us more involved with this topic is the awesome line of UV-centric materials from Spirit River. Their "UV2" trademarked series of materials found here include an enormous variety of materials that exhibit these same traits we're focusing on. More will come later on those, but read about it here. Through a few instances (see part #3) we've actually found that there are some distinctive properties on this UV stuff that you would be wise to try out. The drake pattern featured in that third part is a good example of a fly that really just plain caught fish when other patterns would not.

With that said, let's move onto the first fly that we'll feature here.

The first fly in this series is more of an accidental design that incorporates UVR materials. The Deep Dish Callibaetis has produced a great number of fish for me this year on our stillwater outings. 

deep dish callibaetis nymph UVR ultraviolet reflectance

It wasn't until I read the above-mentioned book that I realized I was applying some of the principles of the insects' UV Reflectance signatures in the fly design. In this case, the mylar underbody (high UVR) combined with an alternating not-so-high UVR material in the Ostrich herl would make sense why the pattern did so well and especially early in the morning and/or in deeper water. Again, as stated above, we can't scientifically prove this is the case, but it would fall in line with the principles outlined in the book. And we know the fish were really keying in on the pattern, no question.

rainbow trout fly fishing deep dish callibaetis nymph

Monday, June 24, 2013

LaFontaine's Emergent Sparkle Pupa

A Great Fly from a Great Guy

As the dog days of summer approach, they bring with them some of the best opportunities to fish the popular summer-time insect hatch, the caddis fly.  This post starts a multi-part series on caddis patterns, so what better to start with than one of the most popular and effective caddis patterns out there, created by one of fly fishing's all-time greats:  Gary LaFontaine's Emergent Sparkle Pupa. 

lafontaine emergent sparkle pupa

Gary, who unfortunately passed away in 2002 from Lou Gherig's disease, was the consummate student when it came to insects, trout and fly fishing.  He was the author of several influential fly fishing and fly tying books and articles throughout his life.  His passion for observing, learning and analyzing the entire spectrum of fly fishing from insect hatches to trout light sensitivity is evident in the legacy he left the fly fishing world.  The Emergent Sparkle Pupa caddis pattern is just one example of this.  During his studies, much of it involving scuba gear and countless hours under water observing his subjects, he realized something very important.  Gary said "When a caddis fly pupa emerges it fills a transparent sheath around its body with air bubbles.  These globules of air shimmer and sparkle as they reflect sunlight, creating a highly visible triggering characteristic. This sparkle is the key to imitating the emergent caddisflies."

The key to this pattern is the sparkle yarn and the way it creates that "sheath" around the body of the fly.  Because of that, it's recommended that sparkle yarn or wool antron (not pure antron) be used in this pattern.  You typically want to fish the pattern in the surface film or possibly just below.  If you need to use floatant, a desiccant type product is recommended over a gel style.  Stay tuned for next week, we'll focus on a pattern that can be fished a little deeper.

Hook:  Daiichi 1150 #12- #18
Thread:  UTC Ultra thread 70 Brown
Tail/Body Shuck:  Sparkle Yarn (color to match naturals)

:  Sparkle Yarn mixed with
 U/V Hare's ear dubbing
Wing: Deer Hair (color to match)
Thorax: Fur dubbing (color to match)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

5 Tips for Tying Cleaner Flies

Tidy up your tying

Stonefly tied on a jig hook
I started tying flies about 14 years ago in a call center of all places.  I was a college student needing work and sat all day taking phone calls in Spanish, but most of the time I was wishing I was outside fishing.  With the extremely low call volume, there were a few team members who would fill the time doing things other than work, and one employee decided to bring in his fly tying kit.  I remember tying my first wooly bugger that was blue, red and black.  The tail was about 5 times too long, the hackle was too thick, and the head was super crowded.  I thought it was awesome.  Later that year I got a tying kit and started on my own journey to where I am now.  About 5 or 6 years in to tying, I decided that I really wanted to focus on good looking flies, and if a fly didn't come off right, I would cut it off the hook and start over.  I went through a lot of exacto blades that year.  I would take my time, and envision myself tying flies for a big company like Rainy's, Umpqua, or Orvis.  If they wouldn't accept my fly, I wouldn't either.

Synthetic 20 incher variation

I have heard it many times...  "But the fish don't care.  They will still eat it."  I think Charlie Craven summed it up best when he said something like, "if we didn't care what the fish ate, we would be throwing dough bait and salmon eggs."  There is something about having a very nicely tied fly that is both fishy and artistic.  Here are 5 ways to start tying cleaner flies.

Uncle Ken fails at proportion.  
Click HERE to see how not to tie clean flies.

1. Learn about proportion.

  • This is especially key in learning how to tie smaller patterns.  One way to learn this is to make sure you have the actual fly pattern, or an actual bug to look at.  That way you can tell if your tail is too long, or your body is too fat etc. etc.  After you tie in a material, make sure you look at it to make sure it fits correctly.  If not, untie it and change it for the material with correct proportion.
  • Common areas of concern are dubbing and hackle.  With dubbing - less is more (you can always add more if you didn't get enough, and if you get too much, it comes off the thread just like it went on the thread).  With hackle - get a hackle gauge or hold it up to the fly to see how it will work proportion wise.  Don't be afraid to unwind it and start over.
  • Hook gap...  Make sure that the fly that you spent so much time tying and fishing is actually going hook a fish when it eats it!  As a general rule, try to leave the bulk off of the bottom of the fly, and don't wrap your curved shank hooks so far down the bend that the hook won't penetrate.  If you have a killer pattern that eats up the hook gap, don't change the pattern - just tie it on a different hook.
  • Don't crowd the eye.  This is easier said than done, but it's all about just leaving space for nothing but a whip finish.  

2. Minimize thread wraps.  Make your wraps tight.

  • Too much thread is always a clean fly killer. When you dress your bare hook, just barely put enough to cover the metal up.  Dressing the hook isn't always critical, and many times I don't even dress the hook at all.  It is also key to learn how many wraps of thread will hold your material - once you know this, don't add one single additional wrap.  Additional thread wraps waste time and critical space on your hook shank.  You will be surprised how solid two good wraps of thread can be.
  • Make sure you are comfortable with the breaking strength of the thread.  If you are unfamiliar with this, just wrap some on a hook and pull until it breaks.  Tight thread wraps will increase the durability of your flies more than any glue.  It will also help you minimize the amount of wraps you use to tie something in.
  • Choose the right thread.  I typically try to tie with the biggest thread I can without making the fly look too bulky.  That being said, I typically tie with thread in the 70 denier range for 75% of my flies.  

3. Good lighting.

  • I can't stress this one enough.  If you have great lighting, you will be able to see where you are placing materials.  It is amazing what one little lamp will do for your tying.  Right now, I have a huge fluorescent light hanging directly above my tying desk and a portable LED lamp right above the vise.  A good lamp is almost as critical as a good vise in my opinion.
  • This doesn't mean that you have to go out an buy the fancy lights that show you colors exactly as you would in the sun light.  Most of the lamps I have had are about $15 from Home Depot.  If it makes light, it's good.  I usually have two lamps at my tying station at all times.

4. Change bad habits.

  • This one is easier said than done, but we all have certain quirks that we do that affect how clean our flies turn out.  If you watch someone else tie, you will see lots of differences in the way that they do things.  I like to go home and try them all out to see if it is easier, faster, or resulting in a better fly.  My latest bad habit was that I typically twist the dubbing the same direction for all of my dubbing needs.  I finally bit the bullet and started alternating the direction based on the effect it would give.  It was HARD to train my fingers to do it, but I did, and the results have been great.  YouTube is your friend on this one.

5. Get feedback.

  • How will you know if your flies are hitting the mark?  I like to send bugs out to people who will give me real feedback about my flies so I can make them better.  One of my regular customers will flat out tell me if my flies suck, so I make necessary changes.  If I wanted positive feedback on my flies, I'd send boxes to my Mom (she thinks they are all really cute.)  The more criticism you can get on your flies, the more you can improve them.  As far as giving criticism, don't give it unless you are asked.
Surely I missed some critical points.  What have you all done to improve your tying?  Please add comments as you see fit.


Monday, June 17, 2013

The Deflectinator: A Must-Have Bass Fly Pattern

To conquer all bass in the tri-state area

(the above must be said in the voice of Dr. Doofenshmirtz)

Usually when I come up with a "new" fly pattern, it 
Deflectinator: Olive/Black
takes a while before I can definitively say "it's a keeper". The excitement of a cool looking fly is usually tempered by field testing where oftentimes the testing doesn't go as well as I would have hoped.

This particular pattern was developed after a number of trips with my hard-core bass buddies that throw gear most of the time. We were throwing into very weedy and reedy spots that made it difficult to get a lot of my fly patterns effectively in front of the faces of the hungry/angry bass in those areas.

So back at the vise, I needed something weedless, something not overly heavy and something that had as good, if not better, movement than the plastics the gear guys were throwing. (SIDE NOTE: I travel with and do fish baitcasters when I need to, so I'm not a pure FF guy when it comes to bass, however I needed to solve a problem here).

End result was a tube fly that I could attach a weedless wacky worm hook to and a very off-balance front-heavy fly that moves in the water like nobody's business. My first few outings produced some good fish and its effectiveness was nothing short of amazing. 

effective bass fly pattern large mouth deflectinator

Not only that, but the fly actually remained fairly weedless because the Monster cone up front would tend to deflect away from the weeds and such as it was pulled through the water and up and over vegetation. My buddy, a fan of Phineas and Ferb and amazed at the action of the fly, coined the "Deflectinator" name and so it was born. We've been tying it in a number of different styles and colors and it's been my top bass producer ever since.
effective bass fly pattern large mouth deflectinator
Deflectinator bass fly pattern with reversed cone

deflectinator bass fly pattern
Deflectinator does great in the weeds.
Largemouth Bass caught on a deflectinator. (Angler: Jed Stewart)
Bottom line, the pattern has proven itself many times over and has actually been productive on streams and lakes for trout as well. Try it for yourself and see....

Hook:  Gamakatsu Finesse Weedless #1
Thread:  UTC Ultra thread 70 Olive
Tubes:  Canadian Tube Flies Tube
 with colored flex tube
Under Body:  0.20 Lead Free Wire
Body: Olive Rabbit strip, Olive & Black UV Polar Chenille (Hareline)
Legs: Olive silicon skirt material
Collar: Black Senyo Laser Yarn
Cone:  Canadian Tube Flies Monster Cone

And the video tutorial: 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Snorkel Hopper

All Hoppers float... Right?

Snorkel Hopper

Several years ago I was in the middle of what seemed like the perfect fishing to work ratio.  See, I was laid off, so there was no work and mostly fishing.  It was late summer, the hoppers were abundant, and I could usually rely on catching at least one hopper out of each fishy spot in the river.  After the first fish was caught, the following fish were much more difficult to trick with my A-team stuff.  They would come up and give the foam offering a thorough look over before descending to the bottom of the small, but deep, hole.  

So what we have here is a fish that is active enough to make it to about 6 inches under the surface, but not commit to eating that floating cheeseburger.  Time to get to the tying bench.  I had been fishing with good friend and certified Fishologist Bryan Gregson, who concurred that I needed to invest some time on the vise to create a super sink hopper pattern.  

Tan Snorkel Hopper

My inner bass fisherman came out and I started with a 90 degree jig hook and barbell eyes to make the sucker get down fast and ride hook point up.  I also used materials with NO buoyant properties, and from there, I just started throwing stuff on a hook.  It looked like a hopper with a snorkel popping out of the top, so I named it the Snorkel Hopper, now available through Rainy's flies.

I still love to fish hoppers dry, but when the window shopping begins, this baby gets tied on.  It also works really well as an anchor fly on a Czech nymphing rig.



Hook: Gamakatsu 111 90 degree jig hook
Thread: Uni 6/0 - tan or olive
Barbell: Allen Flyfishing barbell eyes - size to match hook
Hot Spot (Tail): Fly Tyer's Dungeon shuck yarn - orange
Body: Nature's Spirit fine natural dubbing - callibaetis for tan, baetis for olive
Ribbing: Fly Tyer's Dungeon bug legs - brown
The wing has 3 layers
Bottom layer: 4 strands of pearl krystal flash
Middle layer: Pheasant tail
Head: Same dubbing as the body

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Adamsbuilt Scissors Review

A quality tool at a good price

For anyone that follows this website and the tying snobbery that goes on from time to time, you'll no doubt know that we are VERY particular about the scissors we use. So we wanted to give a shout out to the guys at Adamsbuilt fishing. They carry a variety of good scissors at great prices.

From their Razor scissors to their extra fine tip detail work scissors, you can find what you need to meet your tying needs.

We ran through a variety of cutting scenarios and these scissors actually did quite well. In fact, I'd say they performed better than other scissors we've seen in the same price range. Net-net, you get a lot for what you pay for here, so if you don't feel like plunking down serious cash for the bigger names, these guys will work nicely.

FlyFishFood  Review
Adamsbuilt Scissors

Performed well in most cutting tests.
Very worthwhile on the overall prices for the value you get
Great all around tying scissors with a good variety to fit tying needs.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Why do you fish?

Different strokes for different folks

Czech Nymphing in a beautiful canyon

Is it about fun?  Is it about competition?  Is it about putting meat on the table?  Is it to go out and look good with high end gear?

Cheech and Cheech Jr.
I have gone through several phases of fishing my life, and I don't think there is one "phase" that trumps all others.  I completely realize that it might not be the same for everyone else, but for me, it's about being fun and exciting.  Right now, I'm infatuated with learning the different types of nymphing, and I'll find myself nymphing right through a nice hatch.  Three years ago, you would have found me spending every waking moment pouring lead jigs, tying skirts, and punching and flipping to largemouth bass with a baitcaster (note that the title of this post isn't "Why do you FLY fish?").  One thing that is constant for me is that I'm always looking for a better fly or lure.  I know that this disorder has kept me from catching more fish at times, but in the back of my mind I'm always thinking about the other 1,500 flies in my pack.  Maybe I need to stop tying so many variations of everything, but creation and art are why I tie flies.  I know that I can go out with a Parachute Adams, Hare's Ear, and a Pheasant Tail and catch plenty of fish; BUT that isn't new and exciting to me.  There is always a new dubbing, a new color of rubber leg, a new hook, etc. etc.  

So with this fishing thing; why do you do it?  Here are some possible ideas
Dry fly fishing in a meadow
    A rare sighting of Curtis Fry "the man behind the lens"
  1. Because you like to be outdoors.  Every time I think of this type of fisher I can't help but think of the song by Primus... "Nature Boy."  You will hear this person say "I don't care if I catch fish, I just like to be out in nature."  (My $0.02 - If I'm not catching fish, I'm pissed.)
  2. Because you are an apex predator.  It is a challenge of man vs/ beast.  Who will prevail?  If it's man, he will kill his prey and EAT it.  I have no issue with keeping fish as long as they are state bred frankenfish that are meant to meet the Wunder Boner (Don't worry... I won't make you google that one.  The link takes you to a Youtube video showing a trout DE-bone-er in action.)
  3. It's all about fun.  Recreational activities should be fun in my mind.  If you are a die hard fly-or-die dude, but you get a taste of a big ol' bass through 3 feet of weeds on a baitcaster, you look in the mirror and say "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and dog-gone it THAT WAS AWESOME."
  4. It's a living.  I have big time respect for guys who can row people down a pristine river and watch other people catch fish all day.  I couldn't do it.  I'm not good at yelling "set...  
    Winter midge fishing
    set... SET... SEEEET.!!!"  I'd be like "Hey, uh... have you ever rowed before?"
  5. It's the cool thing to do.  Some may have watched a certain movie in the 90's, others might see it as the new hipster thing to do.  I once got roped into a trip with two guys that looked more like the backstreet boys than fisherman.  They fished like it too... even though they each had $1,500 of gear. (Don't get me wrong...  I fish like a backstreet boy sometimes, and I LOVE gear.)
  6. Tradition.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it.  
    Chironomid fishing in a lake
    Grandpappy fished a Royal Coachman, Daddy fished a Royal Coachman, and if they ain't bitin' a Royal Coachman I'm going home.  For some guys, they learned a certain technique on a certain water, period... the end.  
  7. To be the best around.  Another song pops into my head...  For some guys, they have to be the best  fisherman, have the most expensive gear, tie the best flies, catch the biggest fish.  It's always a competition on the water with these guys.  It's OK to be good...  It just doesn't mean that everyone else sucks.
What are we missing here?  Please add comments to fill us in!

~  Cheech

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Salmon Fly Hatch Pursuits

Big Bug Bombers

giant stone fly salmon fly pteronarcys californica

giant stone fly salmon fly pteronarcys californicaIf there's one hatch that a good majority of fly fishers aspire to time "just right", it's likely the Salmon Fly hatch. These big bugs, AKA Pteronarcys Californica, are the largest of the stonefly order (plecoptera -- which literally means "braided wings") and incite large migrations of fly fishers from around the world as hopeful hatch-matchers descend on the Western rivers that host these giant bugs and their legendary emergences.
I've had the opportunity to chase these bug a few times in my life and it's usually more hype-and-hope than rope-a-dope fishing. But there are a few places I know of that can produce consistent enough hatches that's it's at least worth a shot or two every year. Last year, I hit the particular section of river and found a few bugs but not many fish interested. This year, thanks to a tip from a good friend, the stars aligned and we hit it good.

 The first thing we noticed was how localized the hatch was. Not that it's a river-wide hatch to begin with, but this time a mere 1/2 mile or less separated sections of intense bug activity and bug-less water. Not only that, but the hatch had been moving rapidly upstream on a daily basis.

The areas with the highest concentration of bug activity were literally crawling with these giant lumbering beasts. They were on trees, bushes and even taking up roost on my hat.

giant stone fly salmon fly pteronarcys californica

giant stone fly salmon fly pteronarcys californica

Once we found a good spot with lots of salmon flies, the fishing was great. Presentations that ended in a big "SPLAT!" usually got the most aggressive takes. That's what makes the salmon fly hatch so much fun.

giant stone fly salmon fly pteronarcys californica brown trout

 The fish were definitely keying in on these gigantic stoneflies and anything big and somewhat resembling the naturals was engulfed within seconds of hitting the water.

giant stone fly salmon fly pteronarcys californica petite sirloin
Cheech's "Petite Sirloin" Stonefly took many a brown trout
And when the hatch was over, the fish still had a hankering for the big salmon fly nymphs

Here's a video I did a couple of years back on a nice little pattern 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Ninja Pupa

This fly will sneak up behind you and break your arm.

This jungle fish fell victim to the Ninja Pupa

I had been on a caddis fishing kick one summer, and I wanted to some up with something that would fish great and that I could easily change colors to match the many varieties of caddis that hatch.  I don't even know how this fly came to be, but it just popped out one night on the vise.  All I know is that the fish eat it so I stopped messing with it too much.  The original version used several coats of head cement to give it the glossy effect, but now that Clear Cure Goo has blessed us all with Hydro, this fly is a lot faster to tie.  Other popular colors are amber and cinnamon.  The olive and amber bug are available through Rainy's flies.

Dead drift it, swing it, fish it on lakes under an indicator...  This is a pretty versatile bug.

~ Cheech

Ninja Pupa


Hook: Mustad C49S #14
Thread: UTC 70 white
Bead: 2.3mm tungsten
Body 1: .015 lead
Body 2: Uni Stretch - white*
Flash: UTC holographic tinsel - chartreuse
Wing Pads: Medallion sheeting - dun
Antannae: Lemon wood duck
Collar: Arizona synthetic dubbing - hare's ear

*Body is colored with chartreuse, olive, and black sharpies.

The video...

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Bearded Lady has left the circus

How big is too big?

What respectable fish wouldn't appreciate the eyelashes?

I won't bore you all by writing too much about how much I love to chase bass with baitcasters and huge offerings, but I do...  I was once fishing a lake that has a really good population of 2 to 4 pound largemouth and ducks...  yes - baby ducks.  I was flippin' a jig under some trees and hooked a nice 3 pound fish, and when I was taking the jig out of it's mouth, I saw two little duck feet hanging out.  HOW could this fish justify eating a 1/2 oz. brush jig if it had a gut full of baby duck.  I couldn't help but quote the movie Step Brothers... "I got a belly full of baby duck, and now you lay this SH#$ on me?"

Also, in the traditional gear world, HUGE swimbaits are all the rage right now, and anglers are throwing 7 to 12 inch lures at normal sized bass.  What this means for fly anglers???  There is no such thing as too big.

The bearded lady is pretty big compared to some bass flies, average sized for musky, but I think I'll mostly target bass with it due to my tendency to chase them for the majority of the year.  The heavy hook makes it ride nice and low in the water, and the synthetic yak moves great in the water without absorbing water and making it a bear to cast.  In regards to casting, a straight 4' section of 20# monofilament will make it turn over with minimal twist.  No, the bass don't care about the big leader (I typically throw topwater stuff with #50 braid).

And to sweeten the pot to help you tie this pattern (and others on the site), Lazer Trokar has stepped up to provide us a crazy good discount on their super-duper-sharp hooks. Go to the Trokar website and enter "FLYFISHFOOD" as the coupon code at checkout for 40% off!!


Hook: Lazer Trokar TK10 #4/0
Thread: UTC GSP 100 denier 
Tail: Cascade Crest synthetic yak, and holo-blend
Body: 2-3mm craft foam 
Legs: Do-it molds bass skirt material
Underbody: Cascade Crest mirror wrap, Spirit River UV2 bucktail
Beard: Senyo lazer dub
Eyes: Clear Cure Eyes

VERY IMPORTANT****  This fly will only work if you put lipstick and eyelashes on it.

AND...  the video tutorial