Posts Tagged ‘Stick Fly


Fly Tying: Fore & Aft Patterns

I am by no means a fly pattern historian. I leave it to others to delve back through the annals of fly tying. The fore and aft style fly pattern is reputed to have originated in England over a century ago. Most patterns (save those with new synthetic materials) probably had multiple originators in the far corners of the fly tying/fishing world.

The fore and aft is often offered up as a midge cluster. Well, that seems fine for a very small pattern, say size 16 to 20, but my experience with say the Renegade pattern is it has done amazingly well in B.C. lakes as a Caddis pattern beneath the surface. I recall a small, remote lake near Wavy L. that to this day afforded some of the most amazing fly fishing I have ever experienced. The Renegade pattern was in tatters, with the tinsel and rear hackle trailing behind. There were no chironomid/midge in sight. Only, Caddis/Sedge were emerging and skittering. As tempting as it was to put on a large dry Caddis pattern, the sunken Renegade was intoxicating to the fish and to me. I will never forget the fly line zipping through the water as the Kamloops took the fly and jetted off across my path. 

Whether the body in tied thinly or rather plump, like the Renegade, experiment with the fore and aft hackling on a pattern. Try it as a searching pattern where exact dry fly /emerger pattern presentations are not called for. Lakes and busy surface streams would be good choices. The hackles can be the dry fly quality feather or even a softer hackles for a busier look. I have include a Renegade I tied and a Stick Fly (midge) pattern that shows Ostrich Herl for the hackle. 


Stick Fly (Chironomid Cluster Pattern)

I previously wrote about this pattern (7/15/08) and found reference to it again as a stillwater pattern suggestive of a cluster of midges/chironomids that have hatched or are hatching and clustered together. The Griffith’s Gnat is often suggested as such a pattern and I have caught nice trout with that little morsel. However, I am going to fish this pattern more and suggest you do also this Winter.




IMG_1698SThis is a straight forward pattern….simple enough without adding even more embellishments. In the July 08 post I added an ostrich herl wing on one and I am not sure it is necessary. The dubbing brush bristles with spiky animation and you can see in the brushes a lot of glint.

I start the thread at the eye and wrap back to cover the shank with the thread wraps. At the bend I tie in the brush while allowing a quarter inch or so of the brush to extend toward the rear. Once the brush is secure, I lift the brush upward, then pass the thread underneath and wrap the thread back up to the original tie on point behind the eye. Then I lay the brush down across the top of the shank and apply thread wraps to bind the brush down. I cut the brush leaving an equal extended portion to the front as in the rear. Tie off the thread and done. No ribbing. If the wraps are secure the pattern will not shift on the shank.

This is an in the film pattern that can be twitched a bit during the hatch or in rolling waves. Otherwise, I would not impart too much movement on calmer surfaces. These dubbing brushes are nice for all manner of nymphs and I know some make there own brushes or scoff at the idea of a brush. But, the beauty is the wire core that gives the material strength to extend fore and aft, and remain bristled. Fly Tying Specialties Jan Siman Ltd.


Stick Fly (simple, suggestive, don’t over think it)

Stick Fly~1
Stick Fly~1


Stick Fly~2
Stick Fly~2

 Stick Fly~3


Stick Fly~3

I first read about this from a past Westfly contributor and excellent flyfisher/flytier, Jeff Morgan. He wrote about the Stick Fly. At the time, I thought..’Geeez, must be hard up for something to write about’ A Stick Fly? Well, I am here to tell you that it shines in streams and rivers, cast along the seams of slow and faster waters. I have tied it in several variations. Stick Fly 2 was based upon a Peeking Caddis (at the bend and not so easy to make out). It has worked ok, but the protruding larva needs to be more pronounced/contrasting. The Stick Fly 1 has been good in streams and lakes. I have only experimented with it in a size 12. The ostrich at the front and rear adds just enough movement regardless of direction to give it life. Stick Fly 3 is a newer variation that I am experimenting with as a Midge Emerger. Simple to tie for the beginner and suggestive of life, top to bottom. The fore and aft ostrich and the small extensions beyond the bend and eye are even more complex than the simple dubbed shank that I have seen. I believe it is worth tying up a half dozen in tan, black and green to see what happens.

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