Skills

Dark Spruce Fly

  • By: A. K. Best
  • Photography by: A. K. Best
Sprucefly.jpg

IF I WERE PLANNING AN EXOTIC TRIP TO someplace south of the equator, among the first patterns I’d put in my fly box would be Dark Spruce weighted streamers in sizes 2 through 6. I have an affinity for this fly partly because it’s one of the first steamer flies I learned to tie and, more important, because it always seems to work no matter where I fish it. To me an exotic trip equates to catching really big fish using big flies. Coq de Leon saddles solved the problem of tying large Spruce Fly streamers. The feathers have rounded tips and are long enough to easily tie size 2 or even larger, if you wish. Find one with furnace markings and dye it medium brown if it isn’t already dyed for you.

Flash Fly

  • By: A. K. Best
Flash Fly
  1. Attach the white thread and tie in a small clump of pearlescent Krystal Flash. Lash the clump to the end of the hook shank and bring the thread forward to the starting point. Taper the tailing tips. Tie in the pearlescent Body Braid above the thread starting point, and lash it to the top of the hook, to the start of the hook bend. Bring the thread forward and wind the Body Braid forward to create a slight taper to the rear of the body. Tie down and trim off the excess.

The New Chrome

  • By: John Larison
Chrome

Only 60 years ago, West Coast steelhead streams churned with silver-plated natives. Waves of naturally reared steelies ascended their natal rivers, hellbent on reaching the same gravel beds from which they had emerged four or five years before. A modern steelheader need only read the accounts of such early anglers as Roderick Haig-Brown and Enos Bradner to appreciate how truly aggressive and plentiful these fish were.

Fly Philosophy

  • By: Jeff Mishler
Fly Philosophy

The first steelhead fly that fell from the tying vise into my 10-year-old palm was a standard Skunk tied on a 2X heavy Mustad, down-turned eye, sproat, size 4 hook. The tail was an irregular clump of webby red neck hackle fibers, tied in too short, like the tail of the green Woolly Worm I'd finished a few minutes before. The body was medium black chenille over-wrapped with oval tinsel, one size too thin, followed by a thick black saddle hackle so spiky that the first four wraps were about four sizes too small; the fifth and sixth wraps grew progressively two sizes too big. The tips of those last wraps lay back beyond the ragged red tail when I preened them to clear a space for the wing.

The Absence of Color

  • By: Chico Fernandez
Absence of Color

I've been using black flies in salt water for so long I really don't remember the first time I learned about them-probably more than 40 years ago. Today, every couple of trips to the brackish-water world, I find a situation that, whether because of low light levels or murky water, it's best to cast a black fly.

State of Our Trout II

  • By: Ted Williams
state_of_trout.jpg

Last issue I promised and delivered some good news about the recovery of the West's imperiled trout, though in the case of Paiute cutthroat recovery-aborted for the fourth time by retired macroinvertebrate researcher Nancy Erman and her troupe of loud, aggressive, fish-stupid chemophobes-you had to look hard for it. Herewith, good news that- once you get past some discouraging elements-is more obvious.

Tying Tap's Bug

  • Photography by: Ted Fauceglia

Tap's Bug is one of the all-time great fly-rod bass bugs. Let's tie one. (Please be patient—it may take a minute or two for all of the photos to load!) Start the thread on the hook shank. Tie in the bucktail tail. Trim the front end of the clump of bucktail and make a nice taper with thread on

A Better Bugger

  • By: A. K. Best
  • Photography by: A. K. Best
WoolyBugger

Attach the thread behind the hook eye and wind to end of the shank. Tie in the wire above the hook point, wind behind the hook eye as shown here, trim the tag, apply a liberal amount of head lacquer to the wraps and cover with two spiral wraps of thread. Clip of a small tuft of black-bear hair, remove the underfur and tie it on the hook immediately behind the lead wraps.

The Trout Ring

  • By: Jeremie Hollman
Hooked up to an Elk River bull trout

An encounter with a bull trout leads to a disappointing midcurrent loss.

Staying on Top

  • By: Darrel Martin
Modern flotants include pastes  gels  liquids  powders  beads and fumes

Keep your flies floating where the fish want them by using today's flotants in the most effective ways.