Fly Fishing for Trout has always been a combination of art and science…presenting imitations of various inescts or bait fish that are naturally a part of the trouts diet, that are made from  precisely tied pieces of fur and feather…a pursuit that has roots going back thousands of years.

              In my own evolution as an angler I have become enamored with using materials from other outdoor pursuits…hunting, and just hiking the hills around where I live. I have been retaining feathers and hides for not only decorative ornaments remembering a hunt or trek, but also providing some special material for me to make up flies to use angling. In recent years I have focused a lot on these types of materials for making up my own patterns…

 

wind river nymph_2 copy

         

       The “Wind River Nymph”, my newest stone fly nymph pattern  I am working on…using some wild turkey fan for the segmented body wrap…I stripped of the barbs and saved them…I soaked them a bit too soften them up…its patterend after a” bug” a friend showed me from that Part of Wyoming…this is a size 18…as small as I can tie this sort of “bug”…

 

buffalo_brown3 copy

  

         The “BuffaloBrown”wet fly is probably one of the oldest most fished patterns in history…I tie my version with buffalo wool from our ranch…and a hackle from a”yard bird” , turned Sunday Supper…

 

golden may fly1 copy

     

        This is a mature May Fly pattern I also have the corresponding nymph done too…they both use the same body & tail. dyed Mallard flanks, Elk fur & some rooster hackle for the dry…and some pheasant tail for the wing case on the nymph…

 

no.19a

 …”The Trilogy”…a trio portraying the nymph, emerger or “still born” and Adult May Fly…

       Tying flies and fishing them now has a much greater meaning for me…my Native American friends have reminded me that these practices are very much a part of their culture too…and that using these special materials brings a special luck and blessing to your pursuit… I do  similar things with the other gear I make too…so its just a completion of that bigger “circle of life” that this is really all about for me.

 

pws_bronze1

         

This is an adult caddis or sedge pattern…made entirely from harvestes etc…The “Pocket Water Sedge”…a favorite fly when the caddis hatch is going off…Bronze Mallard for the wings, Buffalo wool for the body dubbing, Mule Deer fur for the veil and some rooster hackle for the legs…its fun not having to resort to the “little baggies” all the time…if ever…

           Here are some patterns I devised for my own use to utilize materials from my ranch…or other hunting harvests..I call the “homegrown” , sort of my own “organic” approach to fly tying… 

 …I add to this page regularly…and will be making up at least one SBS every month…

…see the  the “pattern of the month” page for the current and upcoming SBS’s…

elk_prong_caddis1

              

…the basic Elk/Pronghorn caddis imitation…great for the summertime caddis hatches in the Rockies & Eastern streams too…a great” first fly” to tie…varying colors of fur are used to imitate the different color phases … Elk, Pronghorn, Mule Deer and even Caribou…all have perfect colors to match up various hatches of these abundant insects that trout love…Since the fur from “Ungulates”, members of the deer familys have hair that is hollow, it is a natural material that floats excellent…

 

march_brown4 copy

  

         This is a “super simple” March Brown maylfly imitation…”The St. Patricks Special”, two bufflehead feathers for the wings…a few turkey fan barbs for the tail,  a little buffalo wool dubbing for the body and a ginger rooster hackle…its tied on  nymph hook to help the fly float upright…

                

pocket_water14 copy

 

      “The Amber Caddis”…on this pattern I use a small piece of gray sealed foam for floatation…it is tied on the hook shank in lieu of dubbing…the hackle is wrapped around it…I leave a segment of foam hanging behind the hook curve, hidden by the body featers…I also added two moose mane quills for the antennae for some more realism…this is a pattern I use in very still waters, with very weary trout…short casts and stalking style…turkey fan barbs can also be used for the antennae…a bit more dyrable, however the moose mane has some realism that is worth trying…

    pocket_water12

        

              In more modern times tying flies has taken on a “life of its own”, transcending its origins, and becoming an artform pursued by many. The detailed study of entamology, or the study of insects, is at its center…either by design & intention of some, or inadvertently by those just trying to “match a hatch” of aquatic bugs to lure in a nice trout.

 

amber_caddis7 copy

 

… realism like this is a real asset when pursuing weary trout…that are used to seeing lots of flies pitched at them…

 

amber_caddis6 copy

                

…the “Pocket Water Sedge”…I delete the antennae on this version, since it is normally fished in areas that the rougher current and riffles tear off the more fragile antennae I tie on some…a shorter piece of turkey fan barb would be a good choice if you wanted them…

 

gray_sedge2 copy

       

                The “Clear Creek Slayer”…the darker sedge version…I use this tie on the still water spots near “seams” or the edges of current…the gadwall feathers for the wing are a perfect match for the adult caddis…especially the darker phase we have in places in waters out west…

 

gray_sedge1 copy

           

            The “Clear Creek Slayer”, this is a pattern that is really the result of matching up some materials from nature to match a hatched mature sedge or caddis adult…the Mule Deer fur has that darker gray color to it…really adding to the realism …

 

pws-fez copy

 

          Here is another take on the adult caddis pattern…using something different…some Pheasant for the wings…the interesting “hump” pattern with the dark boundary…the amber golden color is a match for some hatches too…

 

fly_pics_surface1-900

  …the Mule Deer fur is not only for the floatation, but also ading a lot to the contact points of this pattern on the waters surface…the moose mane antennae add a touch of reaslism that is very much noticed with this fly when its really sill water spots …the “convex” contact points or “dimples” this pattern makes this pattern very realistic…

 

curt_gowdy1 copy

         

        The” Curt Gowdy Special” in size 20…a personal hero of mine growing up…watching his show “American Sprortsman” back in the early & mid 60’s when I was a boy, was a real spark for me and fly fishing…he hunted and fished with everyone from Captain Kirk to Teddy Williams…A Wyoming Native that among other sports was partial to pitching a dry fly…so this one is in memory of him…a great human being & fellow angler!

      The Curt Gowdy”, is a super easy “one feather” tie using a single hackle and the leftover tip…this fly uses a thread body, with the lower section of hackle trimmed to help a proper disposition floating…the weight of the hook &  the lack of hackle underneath helps it “right” when it lands on the water casting.

 

curt_gowdy2 copy

 

     This is a super simple “one feather” pattern I tie a lot in various colors from size 16-20…a little buffalo wool for dubbing and a single rooster hackle for the wing wrap and tail…just because its so simple and easy…does not mean its not a producer…here is a version tied up to imitate the “March Brown” version of the May Fly…

 

drop_tine_dry1 copya

 

                This picture shows this pattern in another color …note the details in the projected shadow…something I did not even see until I put the camera on my computer…simple is good!

 

 

           …another super simple yet effective pattern…especially on  atailwater…the “Fuzz Buster” scud…buffalo wool and a piece or turkey fan feather w/ some gold .015 wire…

 

mosquito_1 copy

 

                Here is a size 20 mosquito imitation using a single grizzly hackle and afew pieces of a dyed mallard feather for the tail…this fly is a super floater, and is a great fly in combo as the trailer  with a larger dry or attractor in a “Hopper/Dropper rig”, I use a strip of 5X flouro carbon that is “greased” with ginks here…about 20-22 inches long.

 

black_stone_nymph1 copy

          

            Here is a Stone Fly Nymph tied to imitate this aquatic insect in its final stage before “emerging” with its airborne wings…the back section is a bit rumpled…the turkey fan feather that is used to stretch over the thorax area was just “picked out” a bit to imitate a stone fly nymph about to “emerge” into its next phase as an adult fly…the next step is even more pulled out, when it is really called an “emerger”…many times patterns at the “in between” state can be real producers…its always a good idea to have all the different phases tied up…something that really is an asset with tying your own flies…shop bought patterns are usually either fixed at certain stages..and not the gradual degrees of transition…

 

black_stone_nymph2 copy

       

   This is a shorter version of the black stonefly nymph…this fly is weighted with lead wire in lieu of the typical cone head many use…the hackle is tied off underneath the wing sheath…however I tie this with a standard hackle too sometimes spun arund the hook eye…I use this fly a lot in dropper rigs as the top fly…

 

brown_stone_fly1 copy

           

        I use pheasant body feathers for the wings on this larger stone nymph…it has a cool pattrn that shows up well after waxing the feathers good…goose biots for the tail and antennae show up well too…the hacke is tied off underneath the wing cases… I also tie up a version of this with an amber brown body to mimick the “golden stone” when Iam fishing a spot that has that variation of this aquatic insect…Cheesman Canyon in Colorado is one such place…

 

buffalo_brown3 copy

 

…The “Buffalo Brown”…the pre cursor to the March Brown Mayfly pattern…

 

buffalo_brown1 copy

               

…probably one of the most fished & tied  patterns in the world…this is my own version using bufalo wool from the herd I managed…the ginger hackle can be replaced with black or gray too…also the dubbing can be a variety of colors  too, tan,black , olive…to match the variety of nymph you are trying to imitate…

 

march_brown1 copy

                 

    …a super simple “March Brown” mayfly pattern…a dubbed buffalo wool body with some turkey fan barbs for the tail…two Bufflehead wings and a brown hackle for float and legs…I tied this one on a size 16 nymph hook…the longer hook helps situate the tail down in the water better than a typical dry fly hook…and getting the tail down is desirable…

 

march_brown2 copy

          

         After seeing a pic of March Brown perched on a rod’s winding check…I got a good perspective of the actual posture of this newly hatched bug…and wanted to try and duplicate it, in a very simple tie…and of course try and utilize dome of my materials from some harvests…I have a bag of Bufflehed feathers I had been putting off organising …and realized while I was doint it the gray wings of the march brown in that pic were  the same color as whet I had…this is a tie that takes just a few minutes at best…and has some real appeal…

 

two hackle stone_1 copy

 

                   …the “Twin Hackle Stone” a simple dry of the adult stone fly…size 4-12…this pattern imitates an adult stone fly laying eggs…a vulnerable time for a predator to attack…This pattern works great for the  “californica”  , or  giant stone fly hatches in spring and early summer…it can easily be tied 2-2 &1/2″ long on a size 2-4 hook…that’s what is featured in the pic above…

 

83_sized 72dpi

           

              The “Elk Creek Special”…a favorite pattern using elk and deer furs …a great fly for imitating the drake hatches of mayflys…various species of furs can make all the different color phases of the drake patterns…above is a basic “gray drake”…using mule deer fur for the body, elk for the ‘chute…a grizzly hackle and a canada goose quill for the tail sprigs…a super great “floater” that lands perfect in an upward fashion almost every time…

 

gray drake1 copy

 

…the Elk Creek Special…

 

shellback_stone1 copy

 

              …the “Shell Back Stone”…another version  of a mature Stone Fly…geared for the Gunnison hatch in early june…or in May on the Deschutes…this one is tied “large” to imitate the californica species…this bug stays dry pretty well, and is my favorite when the crazy giant stone hatch is going on. Plenty of ginks helps the large hackle  float well…  

        39_sized 72dpi

                 one of my favorite spots…Cheesman Canyon on the South Platte…pocket water paradise..good caddis and mayfly hatches…also a great spot for its golden stone and caddis dropper’s in late spring… 

              Here are some patterns I use for Trout that use these types of materials…some are copied after some existing patterns to an extent, and modified a bit to accomadate the things I have to use…most are patterns that I came up by myself just to fill a need or copy something I found seining or pumping a trouts stomach before releasing it…and in some cases the materials themselves create the design for me…Nature provides some incredible patterns and colors that imitate various aquatic bugs and creatures…most times without exception , all the bugs I found were in cream,brown,amber and gray colors…something not fucused on enough in my opinion…Some feather patterns are so intricate, that manmade materials can in no way rival their beauty and incredible details both in intrinsic patters and colors found in them…making them perfect candidates for use in tying flies…

 

P&Y_1 copy

        

   The “Pope & Young…a cream colored variant of a patternI use a lot…a super simple pattern to tie using Elk mane, Gadwall for the wing and Buffalo wool for the dubbing…here I used some very rare wool from a white Buffalo we had on our ranch…I tie this with black, dark & light brown  wools too…

 

P&Y_7 copy

 

…here is the P&Y in a hackle and mallard wing version…one of my favorite wet patterns…

 

154_sized 72dpi

               

               Elk & Pronghorn Caddis…this caddisfly imitation is tied with Elk & Pronghorn fur and some rooster hackle…and a buffalo wool dubbing for the body…I tie this in sizes 14-18…a perfect pattern for summertime caddis fly hatches. I also have a larger caddis or “sedge” pattern I make with larger wings …

 

                   pocket_water6

            

 Here is a larger “sedge” or caddis …”Pocket Water Sedge”, my version of a bigger caddis adult, that uses Mule Deer,in a darker phase, along with mallard for the body/wing…also a brown guffalo dubbed body with a cinnamon colored rooster hackle…this fly has a real good”on surface” visual…giving the profile of the larger wing, and still having a “three point” presentation…not making total contact with the water, but only a few points, giving a sense of realism..something so important when fishing dry flys.

 

tailwater_caddis2

          

  …The “Tailwater Caddis”…in a darker “sedge” version, using Mule Der fur to achieve the gray color…the variating black and white tips add some special realism here…

 

tailwater_caddis3

      

   …here is the same basic pattern, but using Elk fur for a lighter color phase of this bug…white Tail or Pronghorn can add even a lighter cream or white…a little more body hackle to hold it off the water a bit more too…

 

 

…the “Pope & Young” trout version… 

             This is a pattern that was one of the first ones I ever tied using materials from harvests…Elk mane for the tail, buffalo wool for the body dubbing. and a gadwall feather for the wing…this pattern can take on many different looks by just switching materials…this one is tied on a cadis hook wih a humped back…it is a favorite of mine for the top fly in droper rig, a stle of nymphing I do a lot in the fall…

 

rocky_1 copy

            

       ”Rocky” the flying squirrel…it can be fished wet or dry..dry with a good “ginks” treatment as a caddis…or wet as a small minnow…gray squirrel,grizzly hackle and a little of his friend Bullwinkle too…some moose mane for the tail…and a simple thread body…two turkey fan barbs can be easily added for the antennae…

                  This is a Mule Deer , Elk & grizzly hackle gray drake imitation…when a mayfly hatch is on this is my “go to”, it is an excellent pattern that imitates a Gray Drake…it can be tied with furs from creamy white to dark gray to match many different hatches…by just adjusting the fur used…Mule Deer for the grays, Elk and White Taail for the browns and dark tans…and pronghorn for the lighter shades of tan and off white…

 

paris hilton copy

               …”Paris Hilton”, my little worm imitation in hot pink…

              Occasionaly I use some materials that arent necessarily from nature too…but utility things,…like yarns or fabrics from everyday life that can also be used effectively…here is a simple aquatic worm imitation that uses some pink yarn…when snow melts and creates some run off conditions…bright colors can be a real charm…

 

ph_1 copy

   

        Ive tied this up with cut rubber bands before with great success… “The Gumby worm” has a  texture and action from the rubber band material that is really authentic…just as with egg imitations, when I tie these up I use barbless hooks since they can be really taken in as food sometimes…the barbless hooks are a lot easier to remove so the fish can be released unharmed…  

 

here is a supplier I use for my hooks and  other tying ingredients…also a few great resources for  materials…fur and feathers…

  here are some suppliers I use for my hooks and  other tying ingredients…also a few great resources for  materials…fur and feathers…AO Feathers a place that has quality materials, and some hard to find items like double hooks and items used by those devoted to classic patterns…a small family business. Aaron has become a friend, and shares the same faith as I do…Fly Fishing The Sierra a great site for not only purchasing quality materials for tying flies…but also a great library of patterns with a list of mterials needed…something Steve sells too…this is probably one of if not the most complete fly angling sites out there. Everything from detailed fliy patterns(and materials available) but also tactics, basic angling knowledge and even a campsite directory…great job Steve!   here are some links to sites that offer excellent SBS’s or youtubes…  a few folks  whom I consider master tyers ,and some step by steps to tie flies…or  with you tube videos…also just some good resources worth looking at… 

Charlies Fly Box ,  Charlie Cravens siteArvada, Colorado…I sold a lot of his patterns in a shop I worked at in Colorado…he is not only creative, but also a super tyer, and a great guy…the original, Mr SBS himself…

Hans Stephenson from Dakota AnglerRapid City , South Dakota…Hans is a great tyer and has the youtube thing down very well…many new styles and materials…

Davie McPhail….an oustanding tyer from Scotland…all manner of trout and salmon flies…he has many youtubes done on all sorts of patterns…a real magician… 

Fly Anglers Online is a great resorce for tying tutorial’s for all manner of flies…trout to salmon…here is a very good link for tying Dee Style flies…browse their pages for a lot more…

Salmon Fly.Net… this is an all around great resource for fly tying and fishing in general for Salmon and Steelhead…I get a lot of ideas from studying these pages…

 
 

Copyright © 2013. All Rights Reserved.