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Fly Patterns

Archives
Gomphus-A Blend of Function and Form
The spun and clipped deer hair body of the Gomphus allows for pedestrian retrieves coupled with sinking lines to mimic the plodding nature of the nymph as it crawls along the bottom.
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The Double Bunny-A Rabbit Sandwich
Scott Sanchez’s Double Bunny is a simple creative amalgamation of two rabbit strips cemented along a hook. Since its initial inception, Scott’s Double Bunny has caught well over 30 species.
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The Jig Is Up
Flies tied using slotted beads and up eye jig hooks offer a number of advantages. From a practical perspective jig nymphs ride hook point up, reducing the risk of snagging and fouling. A good characteristic for any nymph tumbling through snag infested reaches of a river bottom where trout prefer to reside.
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The Rhea Deal
I have always been enamoured by the elegant flowing look of a traditional Spey pattern and in recent years, Intruder patterns featuring supple flowing rhea hackle.
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The Tequila Blob
On those days when trout seem reluctant to play, patterns such as the Blob stripped through the water using brisk strip pause retrieves often saves the day.
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The Miyawaki Beach Popper
The dry fly has been the cornerstone presentation for river and stream trout since the dawn of fly fishing. This allure also transfers to other species and environments too, as Beach Popper originator Leland Miyawaki can attest.
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Split Decision, A Guide to Dividing Tails
The tails on most dry flies intended to imitate mayfly duns or spinners serve two purposes. Suggest the tails of the natural insect and serve as outriggers, stabilizing the fly when sits on the water.
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Waste Troll Leech-Camo
Successful leech patterns must be animated, through our retrieves and the materials we choose to tie them with.
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How to Strip Peacock Herl-The Traffic Buzzer
The Traffic Light Buzzer is an English pattern, named for its distinct shimmering red holographic Mylar and mirage opal Mylar overlay wingcase.
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The Foam Minnow
In order to be successful using minnow or fry patterns it is important to keep your fly high in the water. Line choice helps but having a buoyant pattern is a definite asset.
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The Bone Collector
The basic Crazy Charlie style has spawned countless variations. One of the best is Kenzie Cuthbert’s Eyes-n-Tubes Bone Collector
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The Zonker-The Subsurface Seductress
The late Dan Byford created the Zonker in the mid 70’s. His unique design incorporating a rabbit fur strip secured along the top of a Mylar tube body was a departure from the typical hair wing streamers of the day. Dan’s design has endured the test of time proving itself not only on trout but other species too.
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The Elk Hair Caddis-Don't Leave Home Without It.
Designed by the late Al Troth, the Elk Hair Caddis is a dry fly every fly fisher should have in their fly box, both lake or stream.
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The Evolution of a Nymph
Today, no fly box would be complete without a comprehensive selection of Pheasant Tail Nymphs. A Pheasant Tail Nymph is one of my favorite river or stream patterns. It is also an excellent lake pattern, particularly when Callibaetis nymphs are active. During my travels, flashback versions have also served me well when trout are focused on zoo plankton and small baitfish.
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The Trick is in the Taper
A slender natural taper was one of the critical traits common to all successful chironomid pupa patterns.
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Micro Leeches
Hanging leeches under indicators is now common on most western Canadian stillwaters. In recent years, tiny micro leeches have evolved adding yet another dimension to this deadly presentation option. <br>
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Driving Fish Crazy-The Crazy Charlie
The Crazy Charlie is an easy tie, consisting of three primary components, a pair of eyes, wing and body. Most Crazy Charlie’s are tied on a 1xl straight eye saltwater streamer hook, #2 through #10.
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Skating and Popping for Steelhead
The Ska-opper is another innovative creation from Scott Howell’s fly box aimed at enticing steelhead to the surface. After watching steelhead after steelhead crash traditional Styrofoam floats as they chugged and popped across the surface during the retrieve the die was cast in Scott’s mind. In Scott’s words, “It didn’t take too long before I was trying to match the dink float hatch.” <br>
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Bloodworm Basics
Most fly fishers to use prefer larger or more popular staples; leeches, dragon nymphs and chironomid pupa. But there is one staple that consistently slides under the radar of many, chironomid larva or bloodworm. <br>
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The Polar Popper
When it comes to open ocean coho, Kelly Davison enjoys taking these aggressive predators on top water flies. One, if not perhaps his favorite patterns, is a variation of a Clint Derlago design Kelly christened the Polar Popper.
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Polish Nymphs
I used to use split shot all the time but my philosophy has changed. I now use weighted patterns. By tying a pattern in a number of different weight configurations I can explore various depths and current flows.
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Flies With Eyes
Scatter a handful of flies onto a table in front of a group of curious onlookers and they naturally gravitate towards the most realistic looking patterns. Especially flies featuring a pair of eyes. It seems people are attracted to fly patterns that stare back at them.
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Cast In Stone-Tying Stone Fly Nymphs
The presence of stonefly nymphs in a body of water is a testament to its water quality. Like us, stonefly nymphs need cool, oxygenated water to survive. The kind of water found in fast flowing sections of a river or stream.
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Thunder Struck-Thunder Creek Minnow
In the early sixties Keith Fulsher was dissatisfied with the look of the minnow patterns of his day. He was looking for a simple, sparse, slender design that better imitated the larger head and eyes of the minnows he observed. Building on similar hairwing designs he had seen, Keith settled on a unique bullet head streamer now known as the Thunder Creek Minnow.
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The Squidro
Scott Howell is a renowned steelhead guru, Oregon guide and innovator amongst the steelhead fraternity. Along with fly fishers such as Ed Ward, Scott has influenced the design of many steelhead patterns today, particularly Intruders.
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Pretty In Pink-Foxy AGP
Many pink salmon patterns share one common trait, their color, pink. Although pink patterns take their share of pink salmon other colors such as white, green and blue produce too. Most of my pink patterns lean to the pink side of the color chart, either hot pink or a lighter bubble gum or shrimp pink. If possible, I blend both shades of pink into my patterns so they are prepared for varied water conditions or pink salmon preference.
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Dry Fly Attractors-The Chernobyl Ant
Cruising though the dry fly bins in most fly shops reveals some bizarre looking patterns, Amy’s Ant, the Club Sandwich and the Fat Albert to name a few. Large, unique and unorthodox, these patterns share two common denominators. They float like corks and utilize large quantities of foam. In recent years foam bodied dry flies have exploded in popularity. This explosion can be traced back to one particular fly designed for the Green River in Utah, the Chernobyl Ant.
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Mass Production-Using Weight Creatively for Sinking Flies
It has been said that trout spend up to 90% of their time feeding beneath the surface, often just above the bottom. With this fact in mind it only makes sense to want to get our flies down to the fish. For river and stream patterns this means incorporating weight, and the faster the flow of water is the greater the mass required to get nymphs bouncing and tumbling on or just above the bottom.
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Epoxy Buzzers
Clear water lakes can be tough and along with some of our busier lakes slender realistic patterns in conjunction with refined presentation techniques are often required for consistent success. At times, wary trout seem to avoid beadheads. Enter the epoxy style pupa.
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Creating Crayfish
Trout and bass, brown trout and smallmouth bass in particular, consume large numbers of crayfish. Smallmouth bass love crayfish. They are arguably their favourite food source. If you plan on chasing smallmouth or visiting a river or lake where crayfish exist reserve space in your fly box for a crayfish imitation or two. For those chasing carp on the fly crayfish patterns are fly box staples.
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General Techniques
The General Practitioner or ‘GP’, as it is affectionately known to many, is a staple pattern for many west coast steelhead fly fishers. The GP was originally designed as a prawn or shrimp imitation for Atlantic salmon by an Englishman, Colonel Desmond Drury in the early fifties
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Reinforcing Herl
Peacock herl possesses a beautiful iridescence that fish find hard to resist. Mother Nature’s Crystal Flash, peacock herl offers a wide array of uses including bodies, thoraxes on some of our favourite nymphs. Without reinforcement peacock based patterns such as the Prince Nymph become a tattered mesh, forced into retirement far before their time.
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Beach Flies
At first you might think that successful flies for salmon must be large in order to entice a take. Not so when it comes to beach flies. Beach fly criteria is unique when compared to open ocean flies. Beach conditions have had an effect on pattern development and subsequent success.
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Calamari Anyone?
All five salmon species love ‘calamari’ in their diets as well as bottom fish including the myriad of rockfish species. Both commercial and recreational trollers have used Hootchies, a plastic squid imposter, for years with staggering success. Although proven patterns such as Deceivers and Clouser Minnows are passable squid imitations if you are serious about saltwater you should include your own feather and synthetic Hootchies.
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No Hackle Dries
Breaking away from traditional hackled flies offers picky trout an alternative look that they often take without hesitation. When prospecting for trout in calm, slow moving or still water no hackle dries are tough to beat.
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Antistatic Bag Pupa
Antistatic bag pupa patterns do an excellent job initiating staging and elevating chironomid pupa. Chironomid pupa used trapped air and gases to aid their pupal ascent and final transformation into winged adult. It takes a while, typically 3-4 days, for the pupa to gather enough air and gases for their perilous emergence trek.
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How Do You Like Your Eggs?
Experienced drift fishers who ply B.C.’s rivers and streams in search of winter steelhead understand the value of eggs. Either natural roe or coloured yarn fashioned to represent roe. Fly fishers also know the value of eggs, as a result an omelette of egg patterns and materials are readily available.
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Tube Fly Basics
A tube fly is nothing more than a fly tied onto a tube as opposed to a traditional hook shank. Modern tube flies trace their history back to the late 1940’s, just after World War Two. Actual tube fly history traces its roots even further. Northwest first nation’s anglers used tube flies tied onto feather quills for Pacific salmon. Tube flies are popular with Atlantic salmon fly fishers and have become popular pattern selections for West Coast steelhead fly fishers as well.
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Furled Flies
Ken Hanley, author of the book, Tying Furled Flies for Trout, Bass and Steelhead created his Furled Alevin using Antron yarn. It is an excellent alevin imitation. Slender tapered and compact, furled bodies offer many tying applications besides alevin patterns.
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Ahead By a Hare
There are a number of fly tying materials offering a wide degree of diversity and value to all fly tyers. Peacock, pheasant tail and rabbit fur are three such examples. All are readily available and easy to work with.
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Clouser Deep Minnow-Chartreuse/White
Bob Clouser’s Deep Minnow is probably the best saltwater baitfish pattern in use today; with over 80 species to its credit. Lefty Kreh rates the Clouser Minnow as the best saltwater fly available today, higher even than his famed Deceiver.
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Dry Fly Basics
No fly selection would be complete without a handful of Adams. Although most often thought of a consummate mayfly imitation the original Adams was intended to suggest caddis.
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Buoyant Flies
Since its initial conception the Booby has evolved into a variety of styles and practically any pattern can be 'Boobied' by the simple addition of foam eyes. Upon discovering this pattern over 10 years ago, it has been a constant fly box staple.
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Wired For Trout
Colorado fly fisherman and tyer John Barr created his wire bodied Copper John to plunge and drift amongst the bottom rubble and debris. His brilliant merger of the Brassie, Prince Nymph, and Pheasant Tail Nymph has become arguably the most popular river and stream nymph today.
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Hair Wing Streamers
Hair wing streamers are simple and uncomplicated, consisting of nothing more than a flashy body and sparse hair wing. Original bodies were constructed from silver or gold tinsel depending upon the pattern recipe.
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Mastering Matukas
Matukas are a tying style consisting of 2 or more feathers or a fur strip bound vertically along the body of a fly using wire, tinsel, Crystal Flash or other ribbing material.
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Moals-Steelhead Vermin
Designed and pioneered by American guide and industry sales rep, Derek Fergus, the MOAL features an ingenious combination of a short shank hook for a forward foundation, coupled with a loop of braided line for a core wrapped with cross cut rabbit strips.
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The Gurgler
Jack Gartside first created his Gurgler in 1988. Although now incredibly popular for east coast striped bass and bluefish the Gurgler was actually an evolution of a beetle pattern. Jack Gartside has developed many successful patterns including the Sparrow Nymph, Floating Minnow and numerous soft hackle streamers.
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Talking Turkey
The white turkey offers an array of feathers including flats, biots and wing quills. In a world were natural oak or white tip turkey, partridge, grouse and other wild bird materials are not always available white turkey feathers and plumage do a more than capable job in relief.
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Horizontally Opposed-The Art of Balanced Flies
Hanging or suspending flies beneath a strike indicator is nothing new nowadays. The catatonic presentation technique is a staple in just about every stillwater fly fishers arsenal.
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Czech Nymph's
Participants of the 1989 World Fly Fishing Championships were witness first hand to the short line nymphing skills, techniques and flies of Polish fly fisher Vladi Trzebunia. Vladi obliterated the competition, taking the individual gold medal by storm. Vladi’s performance was nothing short of spectacular as he garnered more points than the next three national teams combined!
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Alaskabou's
The pedigree of northwest steelhead fly fishers realizing advantage of the animated properties of marabou is impressive. Trey Combs, Bob Aid, John Farrar, Mike Kinney, Joe Butorac and George Cook to name a few were all seduced by the magic of marabou. Each of these renowned tiers manipulated marabou in their own way.
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