Late Summer McKenzie

After throwing a spey line ten hours with the guide I thought I would head to the upper McKenzie for some 3 weight action. A Parachute Adams with a natural color Mercury Pheasant Tail off the bend of the hook was the ticket. The fish would explode out of the water for the Pheasant Tail. Unfortunately I had only tied two and when the second one was gone the fishing slowed to a crawl.

Can you spot the fish?

Can you spot the forceps that I dropped in the river and couldn’t find/reach*? I took a photo to remind myself to check next time I go back. Hopefully the water will be lower, or I will take a snorkel mask so I can spot them easier through all the sticks.

These are the size of fish I was getting to hand. The largest fish of the day is the one that broke off my last Pheasant Tail. Next time I will head back  with my small arsenal of newly tied Pheasant Tails!

* hint: the forceps are in the upper right. If you can’t spot the fish in the other image up top you may want to take up tennis.

I wonder

I used to wonder why I never caught any fish and then I found the broken fly below in a bag I used years ago. Hmm, I wonder why I didn’t catch anything. An easy give away should have been the piece of nylon braided rope to attach your fly. Ok, ok, it isn’t that bad but it does feel like 20lb test line. Oh well live and learn. I still thought it was funny though.

Charlie’s Store is on the Web

Oh man! Charlie Craven’s store now has a web presence. There goes all my money. Yeah you could call him before, but if you didn’t know what you were asking for or couldn’t see what they had it didn’t really help. If you have not been to his store you have not been to fly tying nirvana! And he sells the 100 count boxes of Tiemco hooks. BTW: His fly tying recipe section is off the hook.

Here fishy

I have to get out and catch a good size trout. I try to bide my time through winter by tying flies, but now that the weather is getting spring like out the itch is getting bad. I may even run out to a lake this weekend and see what I can find.

I have been tying some great flies though. The most recent are a stock up of Parachute Adams in 14-18 with a great goose biot body that makes them super light and the biot will not hold as much water as a fully dubbed fly. I will try to get up the recipe and instructions for tying as soon as I can.

My dad’s flies

I started tying flies at the start of 2009 and by Christmas was feeling like I had gotten pretty good so I figured I would whip some up for my dad for Christmas. I ended up tying him:

8 – Craven’s Poison Tung

24 – Brassies (beadhead and mercury versions)

16 – Quick Descent Trico Spinner (they have quick descent dubbing on the thorax to get right into the film)

12 – Amy’s Ant size 6 and 8 in olive (there the big ones on the left)

and a few RS2 thrown in for good measure.

I hope he enjoys them and catches lots of fish. Now I have to start busting out some flies for myself—March is just around the corner and I have to be ready come spring.

Holiday tying season

I finally got a new rotary vise! What a great Birthday gift, huh. Its a Renzetti Traveler 2200 with a material clip on the vise arm. Thats a small size 20 parachute BWO with a goose biot wrapped on the tail.

Since I had the new vise and was in Colorado I went to Charlie Cravens Fly Box and WOW! I have never seen such an impressive collection of fly tying gear. All quality products—I didn’t have to dig through dozens of bags of deer hair to find a good bunch. To top it off Charlie Craven himself was helping me and just from the information he was telling me while I was gathering supplies I feel like I had a lesson on fly tying. The goose biot BWO that is in the picture up above is from his large collection of online fly tying recipes. Switch out the BWO colors for adams grey and  you have an impressive parachute adams. Also, the biot on the parachute fly makes the parachute fly really light and super waterproof as compared to the dubbing down the whole body (wait until you see the these Alex. We are going to have a blast with ’em).

Shuttle weave fun

This is one heck of a indestructible pattern for a fly. It’s a little confusing to tie in the beginning but once you get a used to the shuttle weave (also known as polish weave) they come off the vise pretty quick. I was using two strands of brassie size wire on each braid but medium wire would have worked better. This seems like a solid alternative to the harder versions of caddis flies that I have been tying. Those were the OH MY GOD! I LOST ONE! S**T! type of flies and when you are nymphing hard for trout and loose several flies in a day that is probably not the best type of flies to be tying. I am going to tie some of these in larger sizes to use as stoneflies also—maybe a nice golden stone, hmmmm. Just need to run to the fly shop for larger wire first.

It photographs terrible but in real life it look great. The Mylar tinsel under the wire really makes it shimmer. You could also under coat the body with Ice Dub and that could be really cool.

Shuttle Weave Nymph
Hook: Daichi 1150 size 6-18
Bead: Gold (sized to hook)
Thread: Uni 6/0 (use one of the body colors, I used olive for this fly)
Body: Two contrasting strands of Ultra Wire
Under body: Mylar Tinsel, Large and a few wraps of Lead Wire
Thorax: Dubbing (I used Ice Dub)

There is a good photo tutorial here and a video here:


I just got six free 1/4 ” Unibobbers from Caddis Fly Shop so that I could enter a fly pattern for their contest. If anyone out there has an idea for a fly that is in dire need of a small bobber being attached to it for extra float drop me a line or leave a comment.

By the way, Hareline (maker of the unibobber), you really should market these as a UniFloats. I think lots of fly fisherman are just turned off of them because they have bobber in the name. Just like fly fishers don’t want to use a San Juan Worm because it has the name worm in it.

Teach your children well

I found this image from a few months back that I thought I had lost. I was tying flies with my daughter and my wife snapped this quick photo of us. The whole time I was tying with her I had Teach Your Children by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young in my head, not that I understand the lyrics of the song, the title just seemed to fit and I filled in the rest with some humming. She is now a few months older and would never sit still enough to let me tie a whole fly with her. Maybe she will grow up to have a mean hand whip finish like her dad.