Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Emerging Olives

The mild winter combined with low, clear water throughout the New Jersey, Eastern PA area, as given us some great winter dry fly fishing this year.  The trout have had a steady diet of little black and brown stoneflies, midges and blue-winged olives (Baetis tricaudatus), the last few weeks.

When these small, brownish-olive mayflies reach the water surface after drifting up from the bottom below, they tend to drift for some distance in the film as they expand their wings and fill them with life-giving fluid, before flying off into the air.  This behavior makes them an easy target for hungry trout looking up for a meal, and an accurate imitation of this stage can be the ticket for a good winter day's dry fly fishing.

Although I will use thorax style patterns and snowshoe rabbit foot emergers to imitate this stage, the pattern that is the most consistent producer for me is the floating nymph.  I came across this pattern many years ago and have used it successfully since.  I don't know who the originator was, but I do know that there have been several other similar patterns that have come along.  John Goddard tied his using a small, styrofoam ball held in place with a piece of nylon stocking wrapped around it that was then tied to the hook shank in the same location as the polypropylene ball I use here.

Hook: Standard dry fly #18 -24
Thread: 6/0 Olive Danville
Tail: Dun hackle fibers
Body: Mixed brown and olive
Wing bud: Gray polypropylene
Legs: Dun hackle fibers

Simple and very effective.

And sharpen those hooks!   

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Doc Of the Drakes

Doc is an 84 year old, retired physician with Parkinsons disease who loves to fly's the rest of the story.

Doc Of The Drakes, Short from Silver Creek Outfitters on Vimeo.

Monday, February 20, 2012

PA Fly Fishing Show and Fishing

Spent the last two days in Lancaster, PA, at the Fly Fishing Show, and had a great time tying flies, doing my PPT presentation each day, and I even signed a few books.  The show was very busy Saturday, and so-so on Sunday.  The venue was new this year, and very nice, and I would think if they keep it here each year it will grow.  I had no idea what to expect, and was pleasantly surprised that my presentations were very well attended both days.  I tied a hell of a lot of flies, as did the rest of the tyers, and gave most of them away to the folks watching and asking questions.  We, the usual tying suspects at the shows, also found a new and improved use for my Dell laptop carrying case.......a beer cooler.  It holds a dozen bottles of beer and keeps them cold so you can enjoy them with your friends at the end of a long day at the Fly Fishing Show.

Sharing the tying table with me was Shawn Davis, of Davis Fly Designs.  He ties/creates flies like no one I've ever seen using hand crafted 18 carat gold hooks, feathers and even pearls.  Here is one of my favorites.

My good friend Micah, from Knee Deep Fly Fishing was there doing a show for the first time.  He was tying flies and promoting his guide business, and generally driving us nuts.....not really.  If you are in the D.C. area and want to fish, call Micah, he knows his stuff and serves it up with a good dose of laughs.

Today I was in Bethlehem, PA, in the morning, and took advantage of being in the Lehigh Valley by fishing the Little Lehigh Creek this afternoon.  The air was cool, and felt colder thanks to the wind, but the sun was bright and the trout active.  I took a bunch of fish, all of them on a size 20 Matt's Gnat tied to a long tippet of 6X.  Most of them were rainbows, with a few browns mixed in.  All of them were brightly colored, strong, and happy to swim away after a hands-free release.....I just reached down and grabbed my fly, backed it out, and they swam away unharmed.

Here's the the fly that took every fish I caught today.

Sharpen those hooks.      

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tying the MONSTER Bugger

Here's one of my early season patterns for high water and/or turbid water conditions.  Its the rare occurance when I go to streamers or woolly buggers, but sometimes you have to adapt if you want to catch fish.  I carry only a few streamer patterns when I'm on the water, not because they are ineffective, but becasue I prefer to fish nymphs or dries and only go to streamers when I feel I have no choice.  I'll have 4 or 6 of these, and maybe a couple of standard buggers or SLF buggers, and that's it for streamers.  I don't even have a box for them, I just keep them in a small pocket of my vest and dig one out when there's a need.  You can tie them in just about any color you prefer.

As you can see, its just a variation on a common theme and its nothing new, but its definitely worth knowing how to tie.

Matt's Monster Bugger from Tightline Productions on Vimeo

Come to think of it, I carry very few different nymph patterns, too, when I fish.  I carry a lot in terms of the number of flies, but maybe only a dozen different patterns, all in one box.    But that's fodder for another day.

No matter what kind of fly you fish, sharpen your hooks, and you will hook and land more fish.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Few Flies for February

The trout fishing has been good in recent weeks despite the erratic weather.  We'll have a couple of days of warm, early spring like temps, and then a few that are much colder and windy.  The one constant has been the river levels and clarity, which have been great for this time of the year.  It also helps that there is almost no snow on the ground or ice on the waters.  The lack of ice or snow allows river temps to rise a little during the day, which compels the bugs to become active, and in turn, the fish to feed.

The hot fly right now has been a chimarra caddis larva (see our recent post/video on my pattern).  There are also lots of little black stones moving about the water column, and on bright sunny days on the banks and in the air.  And finally, on some waters we have been seeing some good hatches of blue-winged olives - Baetis sp. - mostly in the afternoon.  All of the aforementioned will continue to be active for the next several weeks or more.  And don't forget midges, they will hatch even on the coldest days and will at times bring the trout up to the surface to feed on them.

Here are a few of my little black stone fly subsurface patterns.  One is a simple black pheasant tail and starling soft hackle, the other is a variation of my pumpkin head - here we use a black bead head and black pheasant tail, other wise the pattern is the same.

Here is one of my favorite blue-winged olive dries - a no-hackle style pattern that sits low in the surface film much like the naturals.

And I received this photo of a nice rainbow that Mr. Q took yesterday on a hare's ear nymph - so much for matching the hatch!

Sharpen your hooks!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tying a Single Wing Flatwing Fly

Today we have a saltwater pattern tied by our friend Joe Cordiero, the flatwing king, showing all the details to get the perfect silhouette.  As usual, Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions, knocks this one out of the park. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mr. Zug Made a Bug.......a Zug Bug it Was

Here's another fly tying video we made with Tightline Productions, of a very popular nymph that you all should be familiar with.  I tie it a little differently than you may have seen in the past, but I do so because it makes for a very durable fly. 

With this being Little-black Stonefly season, now is a great time to fish this ubiquitous imitation.  As for the deep, dark secrets Tim refers to in order to consistently obtain a thick peacock herl body, like most fly tying methods, they're really quite simple in practice. The issue really, is that it is very hard to translate the techniques clearly through video due to the subtleties that make that difference.  Keeping in mind that this is just fly tying, our perspective may be just a tad overstated, and our tongue in cheek is not to be ignored.  We'll figure it out, make a kick-ass video, and we'll send it along when we do.


Thread: 6/0 Danville Black
Tail: Peacock sword
Body: Peacock herl
Rib: Medium silver flat or round tinsel
Hackle: Dark mottled hen
Wingpad: Mallard or Woodduck flank

The original Bug tied by Mr. Zug, was tied with brown hackle fibers for the throat/hackle, and mallard flank for the wing.
Tie some up and fish them with confidence. 

Sharpen those hooks!