|Hook:||Mustad 9671 or TMC 200R, sizes 10 to 16|
|Thread:||6/0 Black, waxed|
|Tail:||Longer guard hairs from a "Gray Tiger" cat|
|Abdomen:||Dubbing from same cat|
|Wing case:||Prepared section of natural gray mallard quill|
|Thorax:||Same cat dubbing - picked out for a rough look|
I really did a double-take when I saw this pattern name in a Gary LaFontaine book. Curious, I looked it up - with visions of big triangular shaped flies in my mind. But no, of course this pattern was talking about using natural cat fur for the dubbing on a standard Hare's Ear- type fly. This got me to thinking; fly tyers use a lot of these "found materials" with good success. Another fly I have heard of is tied using the family's friendly Chocolate Lab's underfur for dubbing. Now we're not talking about going after the faithful family pet with a pair of sharp scissors here, but after a brushing session, using the brushed out fur as a fly tying material. If the color and texture is what you are looking for - use it. Which brings up a point; how to take care of found materials.
Around my bench it is zip-lock city, everything in its own separate zipped shut bag. Be it store-bought or found material. Treat all found material in this manner - clean materials of any noticeable grunge then seal in a zipper bag, then put in your freezer (label it - you do not want any strange surprises around dinner time here) and freeze it for a week or two, this will kill any micro-bugs.
The material can then be filed in your tying bench, always keeping it in a sealed bag. This way if there is a problem, the individual bag can be tossed. I treat all tying materials in this manner, of course you should not have to freeze the fly-shop bought materials. When friends and family discover you are learning to tie flies, they are apt to start bringing you all sorts of stuff - large pieces of elk maybe, or whole pheasant skins - this is a great resource. If you use the zip-lock and freeze method, these materials will remain useable and more likely to be used. This really is a good fly.
To tie the cat's ear;
- Start thread, sort out then tie in a bunch of longer guard hair for the tail
- Dub for the abdomen, keep fairly slim
- Prepare wing case by coating mallard quill with head cement before cutting section
- Tie in wing case, at mid-point
- Dub for the thorax, larger diameter than the abdomen
- Bring wing case forward, over the thorax, tie down, build head, whip finish
Julie - Mar 2008
Mysis Shrimp (live)
|Hook:||TMC 200R size #18 -# 20|
|Tails:||Natural mallard flank|
|Eyes:||Clear Larva Lace, standard size threaded
with black poly yarn
|Shellback:||Clear Midge Larva Lace|
|Thorax:||White ostrich herl|
|Rib:||Pearl Flashabou Accent|
|Body:||Clear Midge Larva lace, over tan thread|
I came across this mysis pattern in a book titled Frontier Flies, interesting book and good looking fly. Check out the eyes, really different.
To tie: Begin by making the eye material. Thread the larva lace with black yarn, use your bobbin threader, (the blue dental floss type or a needle threader) as Larva Lace is hollow. I used black poly yarn, do about an inch or so (this makes quite a few eyes) Don't cut this stuff up, it's easier to trim to size on the fly.
Start thread; tie in mallard flank for tail, tie around the bend so that the tail drops. Using a figure eight, tie on the eye material, it should be directly above the point of the barb. Trim eyes to proper size. Tie in length of Larva Lace for shellback and body. Tie in the ostrich herl and wrap herl forward to mid-point. Stretch shell back over top and secure at mid-point. Tie in a strand of flashabou accent, then wrap clear larva lace forward to head and rib with the flashabou. Whip finish.
Julie - Feb 2008
HUNTER'S WET FLY
|Hook:||Mustad 3906 Size # 12 - #16|
|Thread:||Black 6/0 waxed|
|Tails:||Golden Pheasant Tippet fibers|
|Ribbing:||Fine Oval Gold|
|Body:||Dark olive floss|
|Hackle:||Brown hen hackle|
|Wings:||Mottled duck quills|
I love old style wet flies, just something about tying and fishing them. Wet flies can be very productive, although you won't find them in many Fly Shops (that's why we tie flies). This pattern is a new version named after my Grandson, Hunter. So, tie and fish this little fly and think about a future fisherman.
Start thread, select and tie in small bunch of golden pheasant for the tails. Keep about 1 shank length. Tie in fine oval gold, also the olive floss (use all 4 Strands) Wrap floss forward, keep smooth, rib evenly with the oval gold. Select a nice hen hackle, tie in and give a few turns. Keep this hackle fairly sparse. Prepare and cut a matched pair of speckled mallard sections for wings. (To prepare, I smooth a very thin layer of head cement over quill section before cutting, this makes tying easier, but more importantly, this step makes the fly much more durable for fishing.)
Tie in this prepared set of wings, keeping length to the end of the body or at the longest, mid-way through the tails.
Julie - Jan 2008
|Hook:||TMC 2457 sizes #14 - #16|
|Thread:||8/0 Waxed, color to match body|
|Tails:||Mallard flank, dyed wood duck color|
|Body:||Larva Lace, size midge|
|Legs:||Single strand ostrich herl, natural gray|
Start thread, tie in a few strands of mallard flank, tie this as a short tail, about 1/2 shank length.
Tie on Larva Lace and ostrich herl at back of hook. Be sure you are far enough back - the thread should hang down and touch the point of the barb.
Take one wrap around the hook with the Larva Lace, then take one wrap with the ostrich herl around the Larva Lace - counter clockwise.
Keep the ostrich herl under the hook as much as possible. Then another wrap around hook with Larva Lace, then another wrap around the Larva Lace with ostrich herl. I know this sounds strange, but it is a rhythm.
Just continue this wrapping all the way to within an eye width of the hook eye. Tie off materials at this point, build a head, then whip finish. What this does, is to form the ribbed body using the Larva Lace, but by wrapping the ostrich herl only around the body material and not the hook itself, keeps the fuzzy looking shrimp-legs on the under side of the fly.
This is a good shrimp-scud pattern, I like to tie it in tans and olives, maybe a few dark rusts.
Once you get the hang of keeping the ostrich underneath, it ties up fast.
Julie - Dec 2007
|Hook:||TMC 2457, sizes 14 to 20|
|Thread:||To match body, 8/0 waxed|
|Abdomen:||Darlon yarn, twisted into a rope and wrapped tightly|
|Ribbing:||Fine silver wire|
|Head:||Caribou hair, spun and clipped to shape|
What a cool little fly. This fly can be fished a couple of different ways. You can add a few wraps of lead wire to the abdomen, this will cause the fly to drift in a downward angle. When rod is lifted, fly rises. If you add floatant to the leader the deer hair head will allow to fly to hang in the surface film (un-weighted, of course).
Start thread, tie in length of Darlon and length of silver wire. Twist the Darlon tightly to form a rope. Wrap the rope forward to within one eye-width of hook eye. Spiral the ribbing forward, lay the ribbing wraps between the rope wraps. Tie on the caribou, taking care to position on top of the hook. Secure the caribou well, pull caribou fibers out of the way, then form head and whip finish. Trim caribou to shape, a rounded head and angled back is the correct shape.
A couple of notes:
This fly was tied in red - very popular- but can be tied in a lot of colors, think olive, gray, yellow etc. Darlon yarn was used, this is great stuff. A Zelon or Antron yarn could also be used.
Julie - Nov 2007
Ghost White Buzzer
|Hook:||TMC 100 sizes #16 to #22|
|Thread:||8/0 Black waxed|
|Tails:||Small bunch of white hackle fibers|
|Ribbing:||Fine silver wire|
|Body:||White rayon floss|
|Feelers:||Small bunch of white hackle fibers|
Start thread at mid-shank. Mount tails, these should be short, 1/2 shank length or less. Walk thread back, these tails will start about halfway down the bend of the hook. Tie in ribbing and floss for the body. Wrap floss forward covering about half the tying surface. Bring ribbing forward, use a nice even open spiral.
Tie in two strands of peacock herl for the thorax. I flip one strand over so the peacock herls are laying in 2 directions - this creates uniformity. At this point, also tie in small bunch of white hackle fibers for the feelers, the feelers should be about the same in length and density as the tails. The good fiber tips will extend over the hook eye.
Take the thread back to mid-point (front of body) and make a peacock herl rope. I smooth both strands of herl down, then wrap the peacock around the thread. This forms the rope, it will make the peacock more fuzzy and also a lot stronger. Wrap the peacock rope forward and tie off the head, being really careful of the feelers. This is a good category of little midges, and can be tied in lots of colors - olives, browns and black.
Julie - Oct 2007
|Hook:||Standard dry fly, sizes #12 to #18|
|Tails:||Grizzly hackle fibers|
|Body:||Moose mane-one white and one dark, wound at the same time, for segments|
|Wings:||Grizzly hen hackle tips|
|Hackle:||Grizzly dry fly hackle|
The old mosquito, what angler hasn't heard of and fished this fly? If you think about it, it is more of a wide range fly than a specific one, the adult insect isn't really on the water in quantity to provide a reliable fish food, but it works quite well all the same. In fact, according to "Trout and Salmon Fly Index", this pattern came to the colonies with the English, Jeez, no wonder it's familiar. Although it's tied in many ways, this is my all time favorite.
To tie: Start thread at mid-shank. Gather and tie in a small bundle of grizzly hackle fibers for the tail. Keep the proportions correct; the tail should be one hook shank in length. Tie in the tail at mid-shank, then walk the thread back to the point of the barb, this will reduce tail flare. Tie in the moose mane fibers and wind forward covering 2/3 of the hook shank. Select a nice pair of grizzly hackle tips, I like to use small hen hackle for this. Position them back-to-back and tie securely. These wings should be as tall as one hook shank length. Select a top grade grizzly hackle, sized for the hook you are using and wind equal wraps behind and in front of the wings.
Julie - Sep 2007
Platte River Special - (bead head)
|Hook:||Mustad 79580 # 10 - #2|
|Thread:||6/0 waxed, black|
|Tail:||Yellow hackle tip|
|Body:||Medium or Large flat gold tinsel|
|Wings:||2 Brown saddle hackle over 2 Yellow saddle hackles (( ))|
|Hackle:||Brown saddle hackle or hen hackle|
The Platte River Special is a regional fly pattern, the sort of fly that is very familiar to the fisherman that uses it and have great faith in it. This is a southern Wyoming fly, (Maybe into Northern Colorado as well) The only fly tying book I have found this pattern in is a small book titled Flies of Southern Wyoming. It is listed as well as several variations. It is shown here as the regular tie, with the exception of the addition of the bead. I love to tie this fly as a bead head; the extra weight gives a good up and down motion while stripping the fly in.
Another really good variation is to use red front hackle, also known as the Platte River Red. You know, this is a very good reason to tie your own flies. Regional flies can't be ordered from the big off shore (out of country) outfits, they come from the place they are used, the Rivers and Lakes where they work best. Keep tying.
Start thread at mid-shank, tie in a yellow hackle tip (about 1/2 shank length) for the tail. Tie in gold flat tinsel, wrap forward tightly for the body. Match 2 yellow hackles, concave sides together. Over this match 2 brown hackles, also concave sides in to create the overwing. Secure the wing, keeping them vertical. Tie in and wrap a brown hackle at the front. Whip finish.
Julie - Aug 2007
|Hook:||Mustad 94840 or TMC 100 #12 - #16|
|Thread:||Black 8/0 or 6/0|
|Body:||Natural deer hair, spun and clipped to shape|
|Antennae:||Brown hackle stems, stripped|
|Hackle:||Brown dry fly hackle|
This is Caddis season around here and in many parts of the country. I like this fly as a caddis imitation; it floats like a little cork.
When working with spun bodies, the first thing to consider is material selection. For these smaller type flies, it works best to use small fibers. I use either Coastal deer (smaller animal = smaller fibers) or I like to use Caribou hair. I know, huge critter, but the hair is easy to work with and a good, multi color.
When spinning hair a few things make this task easier: Start thread at the back of the hook, keeping most of the tying area clear. Work with small amounts of hair, fewer is easier to work with than a big clump. So.. Start thread; cut small clump from skin, (try using 10 to 15 strands) position hair parallel to hook, natural tips to the rear. Take a snug wrap of thread at mid-material. Hair should flare, Take another wrap, again snug. Let go of the hair clump, take a few more snug wraps. The hair will spin all the way around the hook, bottle brush style. Take a wrap of thread in front of the spun hair. Now, compress this hair with your fingernails (watch out for the hook point) the object is to crowd as much hair on the shank of the hook as possible. Cut another clump, and spin in the same manner. Cover the back 2/3 of the hook shank, compressing the body after each addition.
When no more hair will fit between the point of the barb, and the 2/3 point, whip finish. You now have a strange looking fly. Take this caddis body out of the vise; clip evenly into a caddis shape. Put back in the vise, re-start thread in front of the clipped body. Prepare and tie in 2 stripped hackle stems for the antennae (adjust the length later). Tie in and wrap forward a good brown hackle. Whip finish; trim antennae to proper length. Spun hair flies take a little extra time but are worth it. Start with a larger size till you get the hang of it.
Julie - July 2007
|Hook:||Mustad 94840 or TMC 100 sizes #12 - #18|
|Thread:||Rusty Dun 8/0, prewaxed|
|Tail:||Medium blue dun hackle fibers|
|Body:||Gray muskrat fur|
|Wings:||Natural gray duck quills|
|Hackle:||Medium blue dun hackle|
A good old fly and a stand by in many fly boxes. A few things to keep in mind about dry flies:
Quality of hackle is directly related to quality of fly. A good dry fly hackle is easier to work with, ties a better fly. Which fishes better. In other words, use the good stuff for your dries. Keep your proportions correct, standard rule is: Tail is one shank length, Wings are one shank length tall, Hackle is properly sizes (use a hackle gauge) Body takes up 2/3 of the shank, leaving 1/3 for the wings and hackle. Wings should be centered in the hackle wraps (2 wraps of hackle in back of the wings 2 wraps in front of the wings for example) Body should be slim and tapered at the back, building slightly for a thorax.
Proportion and hackle quality is the key to better dry flies.
Anyway, all that said, this is a straightforward fly. Measure and tie in hackle fibers for the tail. Dub for the body; bring forward to 2/3 point. Prepare and tie in a matched pair of duck quills for the wings. These will be upright and naturally divided. Tie in a blue dun hackle; wrap a couple wraps behind the wings, a couple wraps in front of the wings. Leave room for a small, tidy head.
There ya go, a good dry fly feels so light in your hand, and lands and sits lightly on the water.
Julie - June 2007
|Hook:||TMC 2457 Sizes #14 - #18|
|Thread:||8/0 Rusty Dun, Uni-thread|
|Wings:||Pair natural grey mallard quills|
|Thorax:||Tan Fine and Dry dubbing|
It's the time of the year to start thinking Caddis..I know, it is a little early, but it doesn't hurt to be ready. Besides the season is shaping up to be a little early around here.
Start thread, move back to the point of the barb. Tie in a piece of the Darlon (you could use Zelon, or poly yarn also). Bring thread to about mid-point. Twist the Darlon tightly into a rope. Wrap the rope to mid-point, this makes a nice ribbed body, the technique is also known as twist and wrap.
Cut a pair of wings from the duck quill; tie in to extend to the end of the body, pointy tips up. Take a turn of Hungarian partridge - keep this sparse. Finish with a little dubbing for the thorax. Build a small head and whip finish. Tie a dozen of these, in different sizes and colors - try olive with peacock herl for the thorax.
Julie - May 2007
|Hook:||TMC 2487 size #20- #22|
|Thread:||8/0 Unithread, Black|
|Extended Body:||Rayon Floss, 2 strands, red|
|Thorax:||Small amount of fine and dry dubbing, black|
A customer brought this one in the shop, I thought it would make a good Fly of the month - a chance to talk about this extended body technique.
This is quick and easy to tie, the technique works well on lots of other flies. Plus, what a great little fly.
Start thread mid-shank, keep thread at this point. Tie in 2 strands regular floss, twist the floss tightly until it folds back on itself. The length of the body adjusts at the fold point. Tie down the end at the same mid-shank point. Dub a very small amount of Fine and Dry for the thorax. Whip finish.
This pattern calls for rayon floss, but you can also use Darlon, Zelon or poly yarn to get the same effect, but you get more floatability. Any fly that calls for an extended body can utilize this type of material. Think dry damsels, or large hopper patterns. How about other small, dry mayflies? The Darlon comes in lots of colors, and is easy to work with.
Julie - April 2007