Posts Tagged ‘mayfly


Season’s End?: Recap the Forgottens

With the best of intentions last Winter, I tied up these Quill bodied, Parachute Emergers (about a dozen) and then put them in a little tin box and set them aside. Today, while sorting through my fly boxes, I found the little tin box beneath some bags of fly tying materials. 

Now fishing has been scarce of late. But, what was my plan for this little gem? Did I just tie to practice using quills or contending with that parachute post and wound hackle? I usually tie more for a purpose and less to perfect techniques. If I was to again teach fly tying, I would be perfecting some techniques that I have let languish. 

So, on closer inspection of this little gem…I really had no plan for it. I just tied up some and promptly tucked them away into lonely fly pattern oblivion.

A strategy, a plan, an awareness of why you tie certain patterns and when they would be of use helps one grow as a fly fisher chasing trout or whatever species. As Summer draws to an end, I will do some lake fishing, chase some Silvers, Late Summer Steelhead, trout feeding on eggs below Chinook redds and I seriously doubt the little gem above will be used for any trout fishing until next year. So now might be a good time to research what I had in mind for this fly back last Winter when I tied them. Then I should put them in fly boxes that make them visible and viable. Better planning and management of fly boxes. What can be so hard managing a gazillion flies?


Marjin Fratnik’s “F” Fly Revisited

I have highlighted Marjin Fratnik’s F fly series before. I think it is a perfect beginner’s fly pattern that has many variations in color, size and applications (caddis, mayfly, chironomid, stonefly). My only personal caveat is regarding cutting the ends of any feather. I would rather spend the time to stack/sort the feathers so they are uniform in length rather than trim them….just my personal choice. None the less, it is a simple tie and the CDC is magical. I am linking to the always helpful FlyForumUk for the step by step (SBS) visual tutorial on tying the F Fly.

Fratnik’s F Fly at The Essential Fly



Fly Fishing: The Water Is Alive

For the beginning fly fisher recognizing your insects can be confusing. On a lake, the insect population is seemingly distinct and more recognizable: hexagenia, callibaetis, dragons, damsels, and of course, the other creatures of scuds (rivers too), leeches, water boatman, chironomids (rivers too) etc. Maybe, at first you might confuse a damsel and dragon. On a river or stream, the puzzle can be a bit more confusing. 

The other night, an associate was fishing the McKenzie River. There were what appeared to be bright yellow, large mayflies out over the water, “as big as a dragon fly”. There were additional yellow mayflies near shore bobbing up and down and almost like a swarm. The fly fisher saw no surface activity from fish.

This is confusing for a beginner and also for the non-beginner. But, this is truly part of the fun of fly fishing! This part of the thinking, observing, planning, deciphering, responding that makes the endeavor so satisfying….at least if you successfully sort out the puzzle. If you don’t observe to start with or if you observe but can’t sort it out then it is daunting. But, don’t let it be.

Keep it exciting and do the research, which has never been easier for the beginner given today’s on line resources: identify the river (or lake) you were fishing. You can do this before or after your fishing. What hatch charts can you find for that water? What insects are present during what months or when you were fishing? Research those insects. Find pictures of the nymphs, duns, spinners for that mayfly lets say (or caddis?).

In my friends case: what were those ‘large’ yellow mayflies? PMD, PED, Yellow Sallys (stonefly), Epeorus, Golden Stones. Color, size, hatch location, stage of life (dun, spinner), hatch method, time of day…can be important in narrowing down the insects you are seeing. Asking the local shop; writing knowledgeable fly fishers who really know that water shed and insects. The resources are there. Then be armed with patterns for several insects from the bottom (nymphs) up to the top. Remember there can frequently be more than one mayfly hatching at the same time and the duns and spinners can be simultaneously present. Recognize the busy egg laying spinners (no fish activity); the hatching duns, different mayflies from spinners (in this case there could have been the hatching Epeorus, hatching Pale Morning Duns, and egg laying PMD spinners.

In this instance, I did a little research and learned something interesting. The larger, yellow mayfly called Yellow Quills or Epeorus is a mayfly that ‘hatches’/’emerges’ beneath the surface and then moves to the surface to view. Now I know that I should have, for that particular mayfly on that river a larger yellow wet fly to be fished beneath the surface. I learned from my friends bewilderment and hopefully you will too.

So, stay patient. Study. Ask questions. Observe and keep notes. Take a picture if possible. And enjoy the puzzle! Then again, I did some more research and in Arlen Thomason’s excellent Bug Water, he and Rick Hafele arrived at Heptagenia solitaria…a PED. All part of the puzzle.


Fly Tying: March Brown Emerger~Cripple

The possible front end of the March Brown hatch could result this month. I have been tying chunky tannish-brown GRHE’s for nymphs and have some dozen or so adult patterns that I tied, but never got to fish last year. I thought I would tie up an emerger pattern and after that I will tie up some wet flies for the March Brown hatches, should I be fortunate enough to land on a stream with the hatch.

I tied this Emerger or Cripple pattern to somewhat follow the Quigley Cripple, but after a half dozen or so, I would not go that far. It seems serviceable enough but is a little chaotic on the front end.

I had intended to add some strands of Z-lon or Antron for a trailing shuck, but like my entire day, I could not locate it. So I used a bit too many Pheasant Tail barbs for a tail/shuck. I then tied in two additional barbs of PT and an ultra fine, copper wire rib. I wound the PT up the shank to the thorax area and tied it off, followed by the wire ribbing, wrapped in the same direction and tied off. I then dubbed a brown synthetic/rabbit blend (I am allergic to rabbit, so nose still runny) for the thorax. I followed this with a small, stacked clump of Coastal Deer hair tied in at the thorax area so the tips extend out over the eye of the hook. I finally tied in a Grizzly hackle and took several turns of hackle (perhaps one turn too many it appears). I whip finished the fly.

So, after a half dozen, the Emerger or Cripple pattern, was a bit too messy near the eye. The 8/0 thread was either to thick or I was using too much of something: deer hair, dubbing, hackle wraps, thread wraps. Sparser would do it.


Fly Tying (Mayfly with CDC~ ‘la collerette en CDC’)


Good tutorial on creating a biot body and spinning/dubbing CDC for the wing material. If you need additional translation beyond the visuals, use Bablefish.



Possie Bugger Nymphamous (How To from OFFB)

img_9372aaPossie Bugger 

Possie Bugger

Possie Bugger

The possie bugger is a hall of fame Oregon fly. I’ve probably caught more fish on this pattern than any other two combined. It’s a good idea to double up the rib on this fly — since it’s going to catch so many fish. This is the guide version — reinforce the traditional Flashabou strands with copper wire. It fishes well as a caddis pupae or cased caddis pattern.



Sulphur Mayfly Emerger

Mayfly Emerger/Dun

Mayfly Emerger/Dun

This fly, when tied as depicted, will ride flush in the film and can be, your choice, an emerger or adult. I imagine if the fly was pulled under or just went under, it could be presented several inches beneath the surface. The overlay of pheasant tail fibers gives the two tone affect that you perhaps have seen with the ‘Skip Nymph’ (Skip Morris originator). The wire ribbing will add weight to the fly and perhaps, if not ultra thin, pull the fly under. Possibly use mono as a ribbing or make certain it is ultra fine wire. The hackle is wound and cropped across the bottom similar to the fan shape of a comparadun. This style of abdomen/tail would work great with the hairwing style also.

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March 2020

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