Posts Tagged ‘Fish Food


Fly Tying & Fly Fishing: “Must Have” Scuds

“Must have” patterns both annoy me, and as they should, simplify things. A ‘must have’ pattern can be a trap. Tie it on and go. A ‘must have’ pattern must work all the time, anywhere?

Such is the case with scuds. Most articles are like every one was originally issued a press release from the Fishing Guru 25 years ago and every writer feels obligated to issue the same chopped release/phrases for their region. It smacks of an obligatory inclusion on the last page of a book.

As with any outing, it is better to do some research first re a stream, lake, etc. before going blind. Research on line for info about hatches and when they most often appear (May to June; late afternoons; overcast days best). Also, how to fish them is critical. The presentation of the fly. How would the real ‘insect’ or critter act in the water?

You might be able to gather some meaningful info from your fly shop and a pattern or two to use.

Such is the case with scuds, the ‘must have’ pattern. You will find this must have pattern: drifted and jerked in rapids and riffles with a split shot 6″ above; also you will find it fished deep in stillwaters and the slower, backwaters of rivers beneath a strike indicator with no weight save the fly’s/hook’s weight.

The ‘must have’ scud seems capable of being in all waters and anywhere in those waters according to the varied articles and posts. As with many things for the beginning fly fisher/tier the signs of certainty and clarity are confusing re scuds once you read past ‘must have’.

I won’t propose to be an expert re scuds. I have fished them on tailwater fisheries and done well in quieter, weedy side waters drifting slowly near the bottom. In stillwaters in B.C. and near home, I have fished longer leaders on a floating line and let the fly sink down amongst the weeds and worked the pattern near the bottom, moving it in a slow jigging motion (and yes getting tangled, so a slip strike indicator may be in order…query upper right in search box re slip strike indicator).

I tied the patterns from size 18’s to size 10’s. I like Orange ( a common color for a dead or supposedly egg laden female), tan, and my favorite olive.. Some patterns can be tied with the traditional scud/Czech-Caddsi Pupa configuration as below here:

Both of the above patterns have the back strap of plastic material that is tied in at the bend with ribbing material (wire usually). The body material is either dubbed up the shank or wrapped up the shank (micro chenille and a sparse hackle wrap or two). Then the back strap is pulled over and secured at the eye with the ribbing following to hold the back strap in place. This tying sequence is used in one form or another for Czech, Polish, Caddis, Scud patterns. Large or small.

Another pattern, less sophisticated and still worthy is one I use for Scuds for sizes 10 to 14. I use an Estaz material that is a synthetic (plastic) chenille material. I tie on and wrap up and simply trim the top bristly material away and that is it. It is a great pattern. It can be slightly weighted. I don’t put on a bead, but you could for a Caddis Pupa pattern.

  So, to recap on ‘must have’ Scud’ pattern: research your waters you fish. Do they have scuds? Where are they likely to live in your waters? How would you present the pattern to best put it where they live and maybe move it to suggest life? How would I tie a pattern that looks close in size, color and movement to imitate the real life scud. Research Estaz as a fly tying material and look at the sizes. It is not the same as Sparkle Chenille.

Not to confuse matters more, for the heck of it do a little research on sow bugs as well as they are often linked to scuds (freshwater shrimp) in stream habitat. See if they reside in the same parts of the stream’s holding waters. Good luck and as usual have fun!     


Fly Fishing: Under Water Ways & Insect Survival

Above, on a late September day, I am studying the dry, early Fall, outlet stream of Strawberry Lake. What I recall about the moment are two things: the outlet was a bone dry rock strewn bed about ten feet wide and more interestingly, you could hear running water. Not a trickle, but a stream, well below the dry stream bed. This was the first time I came upon this phenomenon.

I imagine we all hear of water tables and realize they reach way beyond a creeks pathway. I was perusing the FlyFishUSA site’s weekly newsletter (12-19-10) and came upon a very fascinating post by  Rick Hafele re underwater/under stream bed water ways and how they influence insect life survival, especially after high water scouring.


Fly Fishing: Mountain Whitefish Eggs

In the Western U.S. & Canada that pesky, much maligned Whitefish is spawning for the next several months. Trout will feed on the drifting pale eggs. So, as long as they are there in those cool streams, you might as well include pale, yellowish eggs in your Winter arsenal for the next several months. Weather yarn eggs or beads, the pale yellow/peach, the size of a pea, is an option for fish holding below the spawning Whitefish.

Whitefish Eggs (FlyfishUSA-Welches, Or)

Whitefish Eggs (WorleyBuggerFlyCo)


Fly Tying: Worms @ Fly Fisherman’s Cafe (musicarskikafe)

Wormulje (Musicarskikafe)



Fly Tying: Starling & Black Hen Hackle

Starling & Black Hen Hackle Nymph (SwittersB)

A dark nymph pattern on an over sized hook (size 14). Thread is 8/0 black. Tail: Black hen hackle fibers. Body: Black ostrich herl tied in at tie in point for tail and wrapped forward to form abdomen. Wingcase: longer, webby black hen hackle barbs tied in where abdomen tied off (about half way up shank). Starling feather tied in by tip and densely wrapped forward to form thorax portion. Wingcase feather fibers pulled over top of wrapped Starling feather and tied off and thread head formed. A more traditional straight shanked nymph hook would provide nicer lines for this pattern. Was experimenting here. I like the fuzziness of the wingcase.


Eco News: Catch A Whale? Plastic Bags, Sweat Pants or Golf Balls

“According to Cascadia Research Collective, 50 gallons of stomach contents were sorted through. Most of it was real food – algae and other bits common to a gray whale diet – but also included were more than 20 plastic bags, small towels, surgical gloves, sweat pants, plastic pieces, duct tape, and a golf ball.

If there were any doubt before, there is none now – the ocean has become a landfill. However, if there’s a bit of a silver lining, the trash made up just about 2% of the total contents, and it doesn’t seem to have been the cause of death. But what Cascadia Research points out, “It did clearly indicate that the whale had been attempting to feed in industrial waters and therefore exposed to debris and contaminants present on the bottom in these areas.”  Tree Hugger

Ok, maybe not he cause of death, but none the less interesting that the whale was vacuuming along in Puget Sound and gathering such diverse stuff. I imagine the guy hitting golf balls from his roof top condo had no idea his pilfered driving range ball would end up in a whale’s stomach.


Mayfly Life Clycle: A Trout’s View (Cool!)

A really cool underwater video documenting the life cycle of the Mayfly

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Thank you Fly Fishing Reporter


Trout Aquaculture for New Zealand?

Federated Farmers backs restarting aquaculture (NZ)

“Strategically, aquaculture has major economic potential for New Zealand that needs to be harnessed in order to grow our economy.

“20 percent of the diet for some 2.6 billion people is made up of fish protein and over the next four decades, the world’s human population will expand by some 3.7 billion people. That’s a big reason to give our farmers the legislative means to realise the opportunity,” Mr Nicolson concluded.   NZ Aquafarming


Matuka Style Streamers

Matuka Style Streamer Pattern (Overlayed Feather Wing)

Matuka’s, Zonker’s, Streamers in general. I will get to it…    Rabbit Overwing     Matuka Feather Overwing      Streamers


Blue Wing Olive’s (Quill Body…fumbling about)

BWO Nymph (SwittersB)

BWO Nymph (SwittersB)

The lens shows how much my assumption was correct as I fumbled about wrapping the quill body over the underlay of partridge fibers (an extension of the tail fibers). I tried to space the wraps and felt I smothered the body with too thick & too stiff of a quill. The thorax was rabbit fur, olive color, and again the guard hairs were a bit much beneath the clear wingcase material. scraggly is generally ok with me given my impressionistic bent in fly tying.; an excuse for my lack of exactness perhaps?  This is a size 16 pupa style hook. I probably should darken the wingcase (per a previous suggestion by Planet Trout). A felt marker would do the trick.

BWO Parachute (SwittersB)

BWO Parachute (SwittersB)

I copied this pattern from one I saw at a Sportsman’s Warehouse in Medford, Oregon. Simple in looks, I frankly struggle with the parachute portion. The tail is a few strands of pearl Krystal Flash, the body is  turkey feather fibers wrapped and coated with clear nail polish (I have used pheasant feather fibers and stripped quills too). The post is white Z-lon (or Antron) wrapped with a light dun dry fly quality hackle. I over hackled in this instance and the brown thread finished off the thorax and head to cover up the post tie in point and hackle tie off points. This was tied on a size 16 hook and I tied maybe a dozen. My patience for such ties is nil of late, but the BWO’s are now beginning to come off in the afternoon on cloudy days. So, my yearly tie of BWO’s must commence.

BWO Emerger w/ Quill Body (SwittersB)

BWO Emerger w/ Quill Body (SwittersB)

This one looks better in the abdomen area. I had packaged quills that I soaked and they seemed to wrap in nicer. I tied the quill in at the fragile tip, at the tail or bend of the hook. I broke off this tie in a few times before getting a good connection. The quill and olive thread thorax were again covered with clear nail polish for durability and sheen.  Again a size 16 pupa style hook. The mashed hackle is a sign of my clumsy wraps. It will work, but I will never win a fly tying award. I have noted before that if I had to tie a dozen flies for one of those fly tying silent auctions deals, I would probably struggle through several dozen before arriving at a solid, uniform dozen. Ugh….. Anymore, I am beginning to think a simple tapered thread body with a contrasting thread rib would be adequate for a body. Buoyancy is my only consideration….would it work? I have become to pragmatic in tying to dilly dally about with exact imitations and many minutes per fly… impatience is not a good trait for fly tying. But, I will invest enough time for a functional, productive creation. Nothing more. Hence, I don’t muck about with Atlantic Salmon patterns. Spey tube flies are the extent of my creative bent.

I need to tie a simple nymph dropper. My initial efforts were blah and boring. Back to the drawing board. Simply ran out of patience and hate! size 18 hooks:

Whatever...Enough for Today

Whatever...Enough for Today

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