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 --