FOTM

BLUE-WINGED OLIVE

fotm february 2017

DAVE HUGHES

Translated by CARL WUEBBEN

We tie this fly in memory of my very good friend and fishing buddy of mine BOB YANTA who loved to fish a Blue winged olive.

Traditional dry flies have hackle fiber tails, slender bodies, upright paired wings, and collars wound from the best rooster hackle. The shape is based on the form of the natural mayfly dun. The hackle represents legs and wings and it also floats the fly on fairly rough water. The tail, body, and hackle have the same footprint on the water and give the same light impressions as the natural. That’s often more important than an exact imitation of an insect, especially on riffles and runs where a trout doesn’t get a long look at a fly and must make a quick decision to take it or leave it for their neighbors to have. The Blue Winged Olive represents the widest array of hatches all across the continent. This is one of the traditional “Catskill” styles of dry flies.

PATTERN

HOOK – Standard dry fly sizes 12 – 20
THREAD – Olive 6/0 (140 denier) or 8/0 (70 denier).
WINGS – Blue dun hen hackle tips.
TAIL – Blue dun hackle fibers.
BODY – Olive fur or synthetic dubbing - can use Superfine.
HACKLE – Blue dun – rooster neck.

NOTES

  • May also use dubbing wax for dubbing material.

HOW TO TIE

  1. Debarb hook – mount in vise – start your thread in about one eyelet from the eye and wrap rearward to just about the halfway mark (make a thread base). Now chose two blue dun hen hackle tips and pair them up to the length of the hook and pull off the excess fibers from the lower half of the feather. Now using a soft loop and a few good turns going forward to tie the wings in one-fourth the shank behind the eye (tips rearward butts forward). With your fingers prop the feathers upward and use a few thread turns behind the wing to prop them up and use your bodkin to separate the feathers then a figure eight of thread between them to keep them separated. Clip off the excess wing stems (butts).
  2. Now using your thread wrap back to the bend of the hook making a close thread base. Even up the tips of five to ten long blue dun hackle fibers and peel or clip them from the stem then measure them the length of the hook and while using a soft loop, a few turns of thread going forward to tie the tails in at the bend of the hook and keeping the tail straight out from the hook shank while wrapping the butts down and going forward to about the midpoint of the shank, then clip off the excess tail fibers (butts).
  3. Bring your thread back to the tail area close to the bend of the hook (put dubbing wax on thread if you want to now) then grab some olive fur or synthetic dubbing and make a tapered dubbing noodle about 1 ½ to 2 inches long (thinner by the hook the fatter downward) – this is done by twisting the dubbing tightly between your thumb and forefinger (in one direction only). Now wrap the body noodle forward from the base of the tail to the wing – it should be slender and tapered but leave a gap between the end of the dubbing noodle and the wings about one turn will do – this will help you tie in the hackle.
  4. Select a blue dun rooster neck hackle feather with fibers the length of two hook gaps. The hackle should be just a little shorter than the wing tips when wound. Strip off the webby fibers from the base of the feather and tie it in by the butts with the concave side facing you and with the stem between the wings then take two turns of thread behind the wings then pinch the wings together and tug them upward and take five to six turns of thread in front of the wings. Clip off the excess stem.
  5. Grasp the tip of the hackle with your hackle pliers then take two or three turns (of the feather) behind the wings then three or four more in front of the wings (close wraps) leaving enough room for the head – tie off the hackle with three or four wraps of thread and clip off the excess feather tip. Gather all the hackle fibers back from the eye with your other hand and take a few wraps of thread up against the hackle to hold the hackle back and to form an even base for the head. Whip finish and clip the thread then apply some head cement to the head.

TIE UP A DOZEN OR TWO – AND GO FISHING*** But remember to practice C.P.R. (CATCH – PICTURE – RELEASE)

Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear Nymph
Translated by CARL WUEBBEN

A few fur nymphs form the core of any successful sunk-fly collection. I would be hard to imagine venturing out to any trout water without gold ribbed hare’s ear nymphs lined up in rows in your fly box. Like any of the best searching flies, they work so well because they are roughly the shape and colors of a wide variety of natural food forms. This is one of the greatest searching flies of all. Try tying it in olive also and with a bead head.

PATTERN

HOOK – Standard nymph sizes 10 – 16.
WEIGHT – 10 to 15 turns of lead wire (can use non lead instead) or a beadhead instead.
THREAD – Black 6/0 (140 denier) or 8/0 (70 denier).
TAIL – Hare’s mask guard hair –can use pheasant tail fibers.
RIB – Oval gold tinsel
ABDOMEN – Tan hare’s mask fur (can use light prepackaged rabbit dubbing).
WING CASE /SHELLBACK – Treated (see note below) mottled turkey feather section – omit on sizes 16 and smaller.
THORAX – Dark hare’s mask fur, with guard hair (can use prepackaged dark rabbit dubbing).

NOTES

  • Can use a bead head instead of the lead.
  • May want to buy a complete mask.
  • May also use dubbing wax for dubbing material.
  • Prep the turkey feather with some soft-tex (spread on) or feather tuff (spray on) the day before you’re going to tie (should be dry) this keeps the feather from splitting.

HOW TO TIE

  1. Debarb hook – if using a beadhead put this on first then mount in the vise – exclude lead if using a beadhead or wrap ten to fifteen turns of lead wire around the shank, center it between the eye and the beginning of the bend of the hook. Standard weighting calls for lead wire the diameter of the shank (can underweight one size) start your thread behind the eye and wrap a small tapered dam in front of the lead then jump your thread over to the rear of the lead by loosely wrapping rearward then form a small tapered dam to lock it in at the rear of the lead also. You can put some zap-a-gap on the thread dams if you feel a need to.
  2. Clip a small amount of hare’s mask fur from the cheek. Remove most of the underfur from the longer guard hairs. The tail should be rough so leave some underfur. Tie it in at the bend of the hook one-half or two – thirds the length of the hook shank. Layer the thread over the tail butts to the back of the lead wire, and clip the excess there. Tie in two or three inches of oval tinsel behind the lead wire then wrap the thread rearward over the tinsel to the base of the tail (this will be your ribbing later).
  3. Clip fur from various parts of the hare’s mask (lighter color), remove most of the guard hair’s, and mix it in a blender , or you can buy it premixed in a package then dub a noodle of dubbing (thinner and add another noodle as needed) onto the thread by taking a little bit of dubbing and twisting it onto the thread fairly tight between your thumb and index finger – some people like to use dubbing wax on the thread before putting the dubbing on as it helps the dubbing to stay on while you wrap it on the hook. Wrap the dubbing noodle from the base of the tail to just past the midpoint of the hook shank (tapered from the tail (thinner) to midpoint (thicker) let the fibers stick out don’t clip them off you want it rough. Now take the ribbing that you tied in on step two and take three to five evenly spaced turns over the fur but with reverse wraps (counterclockwise) to hold the fur in place and tie off at the front of the fur then remove the tag end by putting your thumbnail from one hand at the base of the wire and with the other hand grab a hold of the wire and give a tug while wiggling the wire from side to side.
  4. Clip a section of your treated turkey feather (see note on how to treat) about one hook gap wide. Tie the thicker or butt end of the feather in just in front of the abdomen and wrap back up against it with the shiny side or marking side facing down and later we will bring it forward and the shiny side or marked side will be on top. Wrap it close to the abdomen so you won’t have a gap between the thorax and the abdomen (the fur segments). Now clip off any excess butts of the turkey feather
  5. The thorax should be darker, fatter, and have loose fibers sticking out to represent the legs of the insect, blend a mix of hares mask fur that that includes more darker underfur than the mix for the abdomen, leave in most of the guard hairs or use the prepackaged darker rabbit fur. Dub a loose and fibrous section of this fur onto your thread but not too much on the noodle as you can just dub another noodle till you get the amount you want on the hook. Now wrap your noodle forward and start by making sure your thorax is up close to the abdomen (Abdomen = back of body & Thorax = front of body) going forward and with a tapper toward the eye – fat in the rear of the thorax (middle of the hook) and thinner to the front (behind the eye of the hook) stop about one eyelets space behind the eye to leave space to tie in the wing case and build a thread head.
  6. While gently using your fingers or bodkin to push up the wing case (turkey feather) at the base of the feather, slide it forward and along the sides, go slow so it won’t split and tie it in behind the eye of the hook-clip off the tag end – now form a nice slightly tapered (thin in the front and fatter to the rear) thread head-whip finish-clip your thread off then apply some head cement to the head. If the fibers of the thorax are not loose and spiky at this point, use your bodkin to tease out the fur to the sides and bottom, like legs on a natural insect. You can also tie it in an olive color too.

TIE UP A DOZEN OR TWO – AND GO FISHING*** But remember to practice C.P.R. (CATCH – PICTURE – RELEASE)

Peacock Doctor

fotm october 2015

Originator is unknown but first tied around the 1920’s 

Edited by CARL WUEBBEN

 

The origin of this streamer is vague, but it appears to have been created in the early 1920’s or late 1910’s. Pat Barnes relates on a plate of his favorite flies, now owned by his son Charles that he “fished this fly extensively in prohibition days.” One of his favorite places to use it was Ennis Lake, known in those days as Meadow Lake. In prohibition days, Barnes, who began fly fishing at the age of twelve and as a teen-ager like Most Montana fly fishers favored presenting wet flies in the 1920’s. Pat was no exception.

PATTERN

 

HOOK – Mustad 79580, or equivalent, size #4 - #8
THREAD – Black 6/0
BODY – Flat silver tinsel
UNDERWING – Red bucktail under medium blue bucktail or calf tail
OVERWING  Six or eight peacock sword herl (Don’t use regular peacock herl

 

HOW TO TIE

 

  1. Debarb hook – mount in the vise – start your thread in just a little bit behind the eye of the hook then tie in your silver tinsel on top of the shank and with very close wraps so you make a smooth underbody and using the tinsel to help you – wrap back to the bend of the hook with the thread and the tinsel then again with very close wraps bring just your thread forward and stop just about 4 of 5 eyelets from the eye.
  2. Wrap the tinsel forward keeping each edge real tight to the other (touch wraps) and stop where your thread is now and tie off and clip the tag end of the tinsel off.
  3. Now grab some red bucktail about the thickness of two hook shanks and one hook gape longer than the entire hook shank and tie in where your thread is now (4 or 5 eyelets from the eye) and on top of the shank (tips facing rearward) – this will be the bottom part of the of your underwing, clip off your tag ends of the bucktail at an angle so you will have a nice tapered head.
  4. Grab some medium blue bucktail about the thickness of one hook shank and the length of the hook shank then tie it in on top of the red bucktail (tips facing rearward) – clip at an angle again for that smooth tapered head.
  5. Tie in six or eight peacock sword herls (pull off of sword feather – don’t use regular peacock herls cause it’s not as vibrant and full) on top of the blue bucktail with the tips facing rearward and extending one gape length past the red bucktail – tie off then clip off your tag ends.
  6. Using the thread build up a tapered head to cover all the material tips and make a nice looking head – it should be about four or five eyelets space from the eyelet. Whip finish – clip off your thread then put some head cement on the head.

 

TIE UP A DOZEN OR TWO – AND GO FISHING*** But remember to practice C.P.R. (CATCH – PICTURE – RELEASE)

Royal Coachman Bucktail

fotm august 2015
Dave Hughes
Edited by Carl Wuebben

 

The golden age of streamers lasted two or three decades, ending in the 1960s. But these beautiful flies represent things that trout still eat, and they still catch trout. If you’d like to be armed to fish the full array of trout tactics, in order to take fish in all sorts of conditions, a few of these traditional dressings should be kept ready in your basic fly boxes. When you find big trout pursuing baitfish, you can coax them to these minnow like imitations and to little else. Traditional streamers also make excellent searching patterns. In early spring when the water is still high, unclear and cold, then again in fall, when the water is low and clear but cooling, trout are interested in feeding but don’t find much available in the way of natural insects. A streamer fished slow and near the bottom will entice them into a take if you place it where they can see it. Streamers are usually thought of as big flies, sizes 4 and 6; but I recommend that you tie them in sizes 8 and 10. You might be surprised at the results these smaller streamers bring.

 

PATTERN

HOOK – 6X long, TMC 300 sizes 6-8-10-12
THREAD – Black 3/0 (210 denier) or 6/0 (140 denier)
TAIL – Golden pheasant tippets
BODY – Peacock herl, red floss, peacock herl
HACKLE – Brown
WING – White bucktail

 

HOW TO TIE

  1. Debarb hook – mount in the vise – grab about eight fibers from a golden pheasant tippet then start your thread just in front of bend of the hook and then tie in the pheasant tippet (about ½ the size of the hook shank).
  2. Tie in about 2 or 3 strands of peacock herl at the back of the shank just before the bend of the hook. To reinforce the peacock herl, make a rope with it on the thread; twist the peacock clockwise around the thread, just about 3 or 4 turns should do. You can put more of if needed. Now wrap the rope forward about 3 or 4 turns or ¼ of the hook shank length; now tie down and clip of the tag end.
  3. Tie in some red floss up against the peacock and wrap it forward with close wraps to just a little past the half way mark on the hook shank, then tie off and clip the tie end off.
  4. Tie in some more peacock herl using the herl rope again (3 or 4 strands). Wrap forward again but stop about 4 or 5 eyelet space from the eye and tie off and cut the tag ends off.
  5. Find a hackle feather with the fibers about a gap and a half to two gaps long. Then you can do one of two different ways to tie on:
    1. Strip off a bunch of fibers from the stem of the feather and using the pinch knot/ soft loop (loop pinched between your thumb and index finger) tie it on the bottom of the shank right in front of the peacock herl but on the bottom of the hook shank, keeping some fibers out to the side also. Tie down or clip tag ends off.
    2. Using the whole feather, strip out the fuzz and tie it on by the butt and on the shank up against the front peacock with the concave side toward the shank, so the fibers will sweep back. Wrap forward 3-4 wraps then tie off and clip tag ends off. With a pair of sharp pointed scissors, clip off the sides and top hackle fibers as close to the stem as possible.
  6. Now grab a small bunch of white bucktail and comb out the under fur and tie it in just in front of the peacock that’s in the front hook area extending it over the top of the fly to just about even or just past the end of the tail.
  7. Make a nice bullet head (tapered thread, small in front, larger to the rear). Whip finish and apply some head cement.

    TIE UP A DOZEN OR TWO – AND GO FISHING*** But remember to practice C.P.R. (CATCH – PICTURE – RELEASE).

The Royal Flush

fotm september 2015

Skip Morris

Edited by CARL WUEBBEN

 

 The royal coachman dry fly stands as the flagship for all “attractor” fly patterns, flies designed not so much to imitate fish food as to satisfy flights of the imagination and the Royal Coachman is well known to any serious fly fisher and it has a record of over a hundred years of catching trout. So it was a great model for the Royal Flush nymph. Fanciful as it clearly is, the Royal Flush is arguably not entirely unnatural. The mayfly ameletus’s three nymphal tails are tipped with contrasting color along the lines of the Royal Flush’s golden pheasant tippets and the white wing case could remind trout of a whitish nymph having just shed an exoskeleton, as mayflies do numerous times throughout their underwater lives. The dark and shining herl body is a long proven approach to artificial nymph design, as is the brown hackle half-collar. Still, nothing is going to explain away that golden bead. Perhaps attractor flies work precisely because they look unlike anything a fish ever ate. No one knows for sure. But attractors do work, sometimes far better than solid imitations.

 

PATTERN
HOOK – Heavy wire, 1x long (standard nymph hook), humped shank is optional, sizes #16-#10
BEAD – Gold metal, 3/32 – inch for size 16 hooks 7/64 – inch for size 14, and 1/8 – inch for size 12 and 10
WEIGHT – Lead or lead – substitute wire, 0.015-inch (could go larger on bigger hooks)
THREAD  – Black or red 6/0 (140 denier) or 8/0 (70 denier). Try the red sometime it kicks up the brightness factor a solid notch.
TAIL – Golden pheasant tippets.
RIB – Fine red copper wire over red flashabou.
ABDOMEN  – Two or three peacock herls
WING CASE – Clear stretch flex, scud back, or medallion sheeting, 1/8 –inch wide (this clear strip is optional), over white duck primary, goose shoulder, or any white feather section.
THORAX  – Same peacock herl used for the abdomen.
HACKLE  – Brown hen neck, as a half-collar

 

HOW TO TIE

  1. Debarb hook – put the bead on the hook (small hole first) - mount in the vise then wrap your lead or none lead wire on up the full length of the shank. Make the ends tidy by pushing the ends up against the shank. Push the lead firmly into the rear of the bead. The lead and bead will now cover about two thirds to three quarters of the shank.
  2. Start your thread in just before the bend of the hook and behind the lead wraps. Tie in a small bunch of pheasant tail tippets on top of the shank (tips hanging rearward), at the hooks bend where your thread is now, this will be your tail and it should be half to two thirds the length of the shank. Wrap the thread up the fibers and shank to the rear of the lead. Trim off the butts of the fibers closely, so they lie right up against the lead.
  3. Tie in some fine red copper wire at the rear of the lead wraps to the bend of the hook. Hang the larger end toward the rear of the hook and put it in your material clip to get it out of the way for now. Keep all your materials right up against the lead wire for a smooth underbody.
  4. Double a full length of red flashabou over the thread then bind the doubled end against the rear of the lead (on top of the shank) and then down to the tail.
  5. Grab three peacock herls (two for smaller hooks) and align the tips, then clip off about a half inch of them (tips). Tie the herl in by their cut tips right behind the lead wrappings and wrap back to the tail again for that smooth underbody. Spiral wrap the thread forward to about a little past the halfway mark. Wind the three herls together halfway up the shank- toward you over the top and away from you beneath the hook, (counter clockwise) the opposite of the usual direction- and then bind them there, but don’t cut them.
  6. Put a couple more wraps on the herl then pull them back and put a few thread wraps on to hold them back. Now where your thread is now (mid shank – right in front of the peacock) tie in a strip of clear stretch flex or the like. On top of the clear strip tie in a section of white duck primary or any white feather will do. Make it slightly smaller than the hook gape wide and tie them in good and trim off any tag ends but remember to keep that smooth underbody.
  7. Spiral wrap the thread to the rear of the bead. Now wind the remaining herl to the rear of the bead also but remember to wrap in the reverse direction like before (start it close to the other herl).Tie off the herl behind the bead then clip the herl tag ends as close as you can.
  8. Pull the wing-case materials up and forward; then with a couple loose thread wraps bind them down (temporarily) behind the bead head. Now with one strand of the flashabou that’s at the rear of the hook (the second one is a backup strand) spiral wrap forward in three to five turns to the rear of the wing case (clear strip and feather) and going in a normal direction (clockwise) when you’re at the wing case back off your thread holding the wing case and lift the wing case up so you can continue wrapping the flashabou to the bead in two or three turns. Tie it down and trim off any tag ends. If all went well, trim off the second, back up, strand at the bend or if the first broke you get to use the second one.
  9. Pull the wing case materials forward again to temporarily hold the in place with a couple loose wraps. Now with the wire at the tail wrap over the flashabou, tightly, right in its tracks, to the wing case. Now back off the thread wraps holding the wing case and continue wrapping the wire over the flashabou all the way to the bead, then tie off and clip off the tag ends (wire or flashabou).
  10. Select a hen hackle appropriate to the size of your hook using a hackle gauge or just hold up to the hook shank and fold it over to see if it’s about a gape and a half size. Strip the fibers off the hackle base (butt side), and tie the hackle in by its bare stem up against the bead (butt side facing to the bend) and the main part of the feather facing forward over the bead and eyelet. Wrap the thread backward about three close turns and trim off the butt tag ends.
  11. Wind the hackle back in three close turns, then wind the thread forward, through the fibers to the bead (rock the thread back and forth as you wrap so you don’t lay down any feather fibers). This makes a very strong hackle collar – its stem is crossed and reinforced by thread three times.
  12. Pinch down the hackle fibers firmly, so they sweep back. Part the hackle fibers on top so they go to each side and then pull the white feather section forward and down – tie off behind the bead. Now do the same with the stretch strip and tie off on top of the white feather and behind the bead head. Trim off the tag ends of stretch strip and feather – whip finish – clip your thread – add head cement to the whip finish and your done.

    TIE UP A DOZEN OR TWO – AND GO FISHING*** But remember to practice C.P.R. (CATCH – PICTURE – RELEASE) 

Carrot Nymph

fotm july 2015 1   fotm july 2015 2

fotm july 2015 3   fotm july 2015 4
Rube Cross
Translated by CARL WUEBBEN

 

Rube Cross remains a legendary fly tier among catskill anglers. Living from 1896 to 1958, his flies and tying methods are still discussed and emulated. Although he was better known for his sparsely tied dry flies, like all master anglers, cross also tied and fished nymphs. The original name for the fly was the Carrot Ant Black Nymph, which was more commonly called the Carrot Nymph. Orange bodied wet flies have always been favorite patterns and the Carrot Nymph is an easy-to-tie pattern that is a good choice if you want to experiment with an orange nymph or wet fly. Leave the full hackle collar if you’d like to tie it a dry fly, or trim the hackle on the top and bottom to create a pattern with the profile of a nymph.

 

PATTERN

HOOK – Mustad 9671 or equivalent, size #14 to #12
THREAD – Black 6/0
TAIL – Brown hackle fibers
ABDOMEN– Carrot floss (orange) or dubbing
THORAX – Black chenille (Standard)
HACKLE – Dun hen soft hackle, clipped on the top and bottom

 

HOW TO TIE

  1. Debarb hook – mount in the vise – Start the thread at about half way down the shank and make a thread base to the bend of the hook, now tie in your tail (one hook shank long) using about four or five brown hackle fibers and wrap the butt ends down on the shank with close wraps so your abdomen will be very smooth then bring your thread back to the rear of the hook shank. Clip off your tag ends of the hackle fibers .
  2. Tie in your floss then with close wraps bring your thread forward to a little past mid shank . Tie off and clip off the tag end of the floss. TIP= Twist the floss a bit to keep it together and you won’t have any gaps when you wrap it forward
  3. Now tie in some black chenille and wrap forward to about one and a half an eyelets space from the eye of the hook. Tie off and clip off the tag end of chenille.
  4. Select a hen feather with fibers one and a half the gape size and tie it in front of the chenille, then wrap it forward about two or three times and tie off and clip your tag end off ( leave enough space behind the hook eye to make a small head).
  5. Make a small head – whip finish and clip your thread. Add a little head cement to the thread head – then trim the hackle on the top and bottom leaving the fibers hanging to the side.

Try it in different color bodies also

TIE UP A DOZEN OR TWO – AND GO FISHING*** But remember to practice C.P.R. (CATCH – PICTURE – RELEASE).