Category Archives: flies

2016 Fly Swap – jrs’s Pink Squirrel Variant

PinkSquirrelVariant-jrs

submitted by message board member jrs – here are the details:

Pink Squirrel Variant — John Stoeckel (jrs)

Except for the tail, all of the components of this fly have been changed from the original Bethke Pink Squirrel. But it still looks like a Pink Squirrel and it certainly evolved from the Pink Squirrel. The main changes have been inspired by the European / competitive nymphing community with an emphasis on making it a hard bodied, fast sinking “anchor” fly.

Hook: European / competition style jig hook #12
Thread: standard thread in black and orange
Weight: Gold brass or tungsten bead, 1/8”
Tail: 2 strands pearl Krystal Flash, split
Body: Black Ultra Wire, size BR
Collar: UV Pink Ice Dub

1) Slide the bead on the hook.
2) Wrap the black thread back to above the barb (if there was a barb)
3) Tie in a piece of Krystal Flash at an angle to the shank. Then fold back the long end and wrap it down at an angle on the opposite side to form a “V”. Trim to length.
4) Wind the thread back to the collar area and tie in the wire. Snip the black thread. Put a layer of cement on the hook shank. Wind the wire rearward in tight, touching wraps to the base of the tail (this is easiest with a rotary vise), then wrap the wire forward in an open spiral back to the collar area.
5) Tie on the orange thread. Secure and trim the wire.
6) Dub a short, tight noodle of UV Pink Ice Dub on the thread and wrap the collar.
7) Tie a whip finish and apply a drop of cement.

Comments:
1) The competition style jig hooks are available from a number of brands – Allen J100BL, Umpqua C400BL. They are a slightly longer than a TMC 3769 hook of the same size with a 60 degree bend at the eye and a wider hook gap. They are also barbless, so if you use a trailer fly, you probably want to tie it to the eye of the jig (rather than the bend) so that it doesn’t slip off.
2) As with the Copper John, you can vary the color of the wire as you like. I’ve used black, gold, and red wire. I’ve also used two colors of wire – eg, black and gold – wrapped together to get a striped effect.

2016 Fly Swap – Troutchaser’s Tequeely Streamer

TequeelyStreamer-Troutchaser

Submitted by message board member, Troutchaser – who is the author of a new book, Fly-Fishing for Trout in Southeast Minnesota which can be found at www.troutchasers.net

Tequeelly Streamer . . . for big trout (or smallmouth)

Hook: 3XL streamer, sizes 2 down to 8

Bead: Copper or Gold Cone or Bead
(or you can use dumbbell eyes to ride hook-point up)

Thread: 6/0 black, tan or orange

Tail: Yellow Marabou and Black Marabou

Body: Copper Crystal Chenille or Root Beer Cactus Chenille

Legs: Medium round yellow rubber

1: Tying is pretty straight-forward. De-barb hook and slide on a cone or bead.

2: Wrap a thread base from the cone to the bend and back and then return to the
bend to tie in a clump of yellow marabou. Bind down marabou stem and fluff to the
back of the cone. Tail should be shank-length.

3: Repeat with a black clump of marabou, and then on top of the black, add a clump
of yellow marabou. Binding down along the shank gives the body some bulk.

4: Tie in the Crystal Chenille behind the cone and bind it down to the bend on top of
the hook. Take the thread back to a 1/3rd point (above the hook point).

5: Wrap the Crystal Chenille to this 1/3rd point and clip a heavy hackle pliers to it so
it stays put.

6: Take two 2” lengths of rubber, bend around thread, and tie on together loosely,
slide one to the rear side, and tighten down with two tight wraps. Advance thread
to the 2/3rd point, and then wrap the Crystal Chenille to this point, passing it
between the “X” of the rubber legs as you do so.

7: Repeat the process for a second set of legs, move the thread to just behind the
cone, and repeat the process for a third set of legs. Whip-finish twice and clip the
thread. Tweak the legs so they are horizontal and shorten the leg length if necessary.
8: Run this fly through deep holes, especially rip-rapped banks near roads, downed
trees, and other big-trout hide-outs. Dusk and dawn are always good.

Notes for tying: Tequila was involved in the creation of this streamer.
If you are using a cone, tuck a few wraps of lead inside the cone to stabilize it.
Chartreuse marabou is a good option to the yellow marabou
Reminder: Trout turn piscivorous once they are 5” long.

2016 Fly Swap – TFO5wt’s Foam Hopper

FoamHopperTFO5wt

Submitted by message board member TFO5wt. Here are his notes:

Foam Hopper

Hook: TMC 2312 size 6
Thread: Olive Uni 8/0 (smaller thread creates better abdomen segments and it’s all superglued in the end)
Body: 2 mm thin foam (green in this case) and 2 mm thin foam (yellow) for indicator. Cut two green strips approximately width of hook gap and 1 1/4 the length of hook for under and over body. Cut a chunk of yellow the same width and 1/2 the hook length.
Legs: Back are small green foam strips (slivers really) and front are barred olive rubber legs
Wing: yellow Puglisi EP fibers (craft fur, Antron, poly, etc)

Pictures of materials, various steps, and finished views: http://imgur.com/a/Qhrg3

1. Wrap thread to bend of hook
2. Cut the last 1/4 of green foam strips in a triangle for tail. Tie both on hook bend just after end of triangle.
3. Lift up strips and wrap thread 3-4 wraps forward, then wrap secure underbody foam strip, repeat twice to form segmented abdomen with three sections. Stop just a bit forward of the half way point on hook.
4. Tie in each foam leg slivers on top of tied down underbody abdomen foam strip for back legs(these will be sandwiched between two body segments)
5. Tie in second foam strip (overbody) over foam legs
6.Tie in wing material on top of underbody/leg/overbody sandwich
7. Tie in yellow foam piece for indicator on top of wing/leg/body sandwich
8. Lift foam and wrap forward to create thorax section (roughly 2/3 the size of abdomen)
9. Tie down underbdy foam strip
10. Tie in rubber legs
11. Tie down overbody and indicator foam strips to create another foam sandwich
12. Lift remaining unsecured foam (head), wrap to the hook eye, and whip finish
13. Use a dab of superglue gel to stick three foam strips in head together. Cut to foam strips to make even head.
14. Use another dab of superglue to stick tail sections together.
15. Use a small bead of superglue on the underside to secure thread to hook.

Some notes on the bug: Overall body size can be changed (longer, fatter, slimmer, etc) without changing hook size. I also tie this in two-tone yellow underbody and green overbody, and tan. All work. Back legs create a great profile and stability. It always lands and rides correctly. When tying don’t worry about top of bug not staying completely centered on hook, just make sure underbody is not twisting and staying centered. Fish see the bottom not the top. It floats like a cork, just grease the wing from time to time. Hang on cause it gets hammered.

Fly: Pink Squirrel

This basic, easy to tie pattern has become a staple for a lot of driftless area trout anglers. The fly was created by John Bethke from southwest Wisconsin. It’s a good winter season fly and can be tied in many variations.

The version I tied here is a little different, using a pink brass Bug Collar instead of pink dubbing.

pink squirrel

In case you’re unfamiliar with this pattern, here’s the recipe:

Hook: Size 14 Scud
Head: Brass Bead 1/8″, pink brass bug collar 1/8″ in this case, otherwise pink dubbing is usually tied in behind the bead head
Thread: pink or tan. I used tan since I wasn’t tying off at the pink dubbing but at the end of the squirrel hair dubbing
Tail: pearlescent krystal flash
Ribbing: Hot Orange, size: BR
Body: squirrel hair dubbing

Today’s Tie: Zoo Cougar

This is my crappy version of a popular streamer from the mind of Kelly Galloup. I watched this video to get a little refresher…it’s been a couple years since I’ve tied one up.

Ingredients:
Hook: Size 4
Thread: I just used the thickest thread I could find…happened to be tan
Tail: Yellow Marabou
Body: Gudebrod Flash Braid
Underwing: Calf tail is called for, but I had a similar, artificial white hair
Wing (not really a wing, but it’s behind the head and extends to the tip of the tail): Mallard Flank Feathers
Collar and Head: Yellow Deer Hair

Not as much mess as usual…I could do better.
Messy Tying Desk

I did alright with the collar
ZooCougarHalf

…and really not too bad with spinning the head…
Spinning Deer Hair

but I struggle a bit with shaping the head well without chopping off too much of the spun hair.
Zoo Cougar

Still…they’ll fish. T-minus 6 days to trout camp.

Today’s Tie: Shillinglaw Emerger

This is a pattern based off of, but somewhat varied from the Shillinglaw Emerger pattern in Ross Mueller’s book Fly Fishing Midwest Spring Creeks.

Here’s the recipe I used for this fly today…note it’s not going to be exactly like the pattern in the book, nor is it as pretty, but we’re in the ballpark. This fly is intentionally “buggy”. (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it)

Hook: standard nymph, size 18 (I’m out of size 16 hooks today, otherwise I’d have gone that size)
Thread: dun or olive or black or neon orange (maybe not the orange)
Tail: wood duck or mallard flank fibers
Ribbing: strand of pearl krystal flash (or wire, or french tinsel, or something else shiny)
Wing: CDC or Dun Z-lon
Head: Dark and buggy…these were tied with a dark flash dubbing, but the recipe in Mueller’s book calls for “australian opossum”. Black nymph dubbing works fine, too.

Thread hook, tie in the tail.

Shillinglaw Emerger

Tie in rib, dub thread, wrap thread forward leaving room for the wing, and tie down ribbing.

Shillinglaw Emerger

Tie in the wing, secure with a couple wraps, and dub the head. Half-hitch or whip finish…done.

Shillinglaw Emerger

I did a little variety today and trimmed amounts of z-long in the wing so some were bushier than others. I also varied between a dark rainbow dub and a plain, black nymph dub.

Shillinglaw Emerger

Shillinglaw Emerger

Crappy Fly: Griffith’s Gnat

Still sticking with some of the basic essentials at the desk lately… Sitting at The Disaster in my basement is a tad cold recently, so I only coughed up a few flies today. Stupid arctic airmass + old house = cold basement.

Griffith’s Gnat. With only a hook and 3 elements, this should be easy.

image (18)

I tied the hackle, then the peacock herl near the bend…

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Wrapped thread up to behind the eye…

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And then wrapped the hackle over the herl up to the eye and then tied off. Okay…

image (21)

Acceptable, but a little crowded around the eye…hopefully that’s not going to interfere too much with tippet, so I trimmed as well as I could before putting in my pile of flies to be fished.

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Of course the herl wasn’t always cooperative. I hate you sometimes, stupid peacock herl. Yeah, yeah…should have wrapped that herl around the thread first, or just been a bit more careful with my thread.

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I tied a few of these up and they’ll fish. The hackle is a little oversized for the fly – I was using size 20 hooks but working through my grizzly hackle from a size 18 100 pack of Whiting’s. On a couple flies I substituted peacock ice dub for the peacock herl when things didn’t work out as well as they should have.

Griffith’s Gnat
Hook: TMC 100, size 20
Thread: Gray (12/0 Sheer Gordon Griffith in this case, but any lightweight thread will do and I don’t think color is critical)
Body: Peacock Herl
Hackle: Grizzly

Today’s Fly: Tan Chironomid (Midge)

This is a midge larva pattern, and it’s easy to tie…very easy.

photo (53)

Here’s my recipe…

Hook: TMC 200R size 16
Head: Glass bead – I used black, translucent purple, red, and clear…just to be safe, I guess
Rib: Silver wire
Body: Tan thread – Uni-Thread 8/0 in this case
Fuzzy-buggy part of the head: Black nymph dubbing

Put bead on hook, thread in behind the eye, attach wire just behind the eye and wrap thread over it to the back bend of the hook to avoid the “big butt” look…especially since the body is merely thread and it’s hard to put spanks on that bugger to trim its hips. Once thread is wrapped back to the bend and it’s a good starting place for the wire rib, wrap the thread back up to behind the dirty-nymphing bead, then wrap the ribbing back up to the thread, and trim the wire. Dub the thread, wrap around just behind the bead as needed, and half-hitch. I trimmed the dubbing back a bit, but merely so it didn’t look absolutely ginormous in the close-up picture, it’s probably not necessary, but from the chironomid pictures I found through googling, it doesn’t appear they’re really “leggy” in larva form.

Fly: Soft Hackle Pheasant Tail

This is my shot at a Soft Hackle Pheasant Tail Nymph – with a shiny, glass bead.

photo (52)

image (11)

I tied a little over a half dozen in my downtime Monday, and they’ll fish, but they’re not great. Since I didn’t have any partridge hackle handy I just used pheasant fibers as hackle and tied it on both sides of the head, just behind the bead.

image (12)

I’m looking forward to tying these with a more appropriate wet fly hackle, namely partridge, but for now this’ll do for a fish-able fly.

Today’s recipe:
Hook: TMC 200R, Size 16
Bead: Pearlescent “glass”
Thread: Olive 8/0 Uni-Thread
Tail: Pheasant Tail
Body: Pheasant Tail
Ribbing: Copper or Silver, Brassie Size
Wingcase: Flashback or Flashabou or just something Flashy-flatty-ish, c’mon man!
Thorax: Peacock Ice Dub

Today’s Tie: Skinny Nelson

We’ve had a discussion re: Simple Baetis Fly patterns and recipes revolving around such. The Skinny Nelson and minor variations of it have been part of the discussion, so I sat down to tie that one in particular. I think I’ll tie enough to fill up a row to keep as a staple fly, and after this round will tie the simple pattern discussed at the top of the thread next.

Here’s my go at it:

First attempt…not bad, it’ll fish, but I don’t like that my tail is too long and the head ended up too block-headed behind the eye making the thorax look a bit too big.
Skinny Nelson - Attempt 1

After a few tries I ended up with something I’m a bit more happy with – better tail dimensions and tapered front. Don’t get me wrong, the other versions will still make my fly box and I’m sure they’ll catch fish, but I’m working on tying better looking flies.
image (8)

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Here are the details:

Skinny Nelson (bead optional):
Hook: Size 18 Mustad 3906B Wet Nymph Fly Hook (because I found a box on my table), otherwise I’d use TMC 3761 size 18
Thread: Thin black, 8/0 or Black 70 denier
Tail: pheasant tail, or brown or black hen hackle fibers,
Ribbing: Gold or copper ribbing, I used both x-small and brassie
Wingcase: Pearl (or other) flashabou
Thorax: Peacock Ice Dub

Following the recipe and instructions here, I tied this a little differently than I would my typical PT-style nymphs, and may continue to follow this route since it seems, intuitively, that it would offer a more even look along the fly body and more durability. I’m not sure if that’s the case, but I’ve been tying in ribbing right at the tail and not securing it along the length of the shank in the past, which gives the fly more junk in the trunk, and who likes a fly with a big butt?

Tie in thread behind the eye
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Wrap thread back toward the bend, tie in the tail, then wrap thread back up to the eye, then tie in the ribbing behind the eye.
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Wrap thread over the copper wire toward the bend of the hook along the shank of the hook, then wrap thread back to behind the eye once again.
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As you can see from the image above, that is where I tied in the flashabou wing case near the middle of two strands. Then, grab both ends of the flashabou, pull toward the back of the hook, and tie over the flashabou, toward the back of the hook, to secure it as the wingcase. Dub thread with peacock ice dub, wrap to behind the eye, and tie flashabou over the dubbing. Cut the excess, half-hitch or whip finish, and you’re done.
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