Saturday, March 31, 2018

Ginger Quill Variant

Ginger Quill Variant

The Ginger Quill is traditionally tied with Mallard wing, but I much prefer Mallard flank for this application as with most all of my dun-winged Catskill patterns. I substitute Dark-barred Ginger hackle for the tail in this pattern as well. One of my favorite patterns to tie, and timeless when it comes to performance on the water. 

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Tying the Original Foam-Butt Caddis

Foam-Butt Caddis

The FBC was originally tied in this version as a cricket pattern for trout, It has since morphed into an extremely effective warm-water pattern as well. However, the version shown here has continued to hold a spot in my trout boxes throughout. Skate or skitter across tailouts and fish it tight to the bank. 

FBC Recipe

Hook:  #14-10 3x Long Dry
Thread:  Black 6/0
Body:   2mm Black Fly Foam
Hackle:  Black Dry (One Size larger)
Legs:  Brown Medium Centipede Legs
Wing:  Dun Elk Hair

The Foam-Butt Caddis

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Ralph's Grizzly Pupa

Ralph's Grizzly Pupa

The Grizzly Pupa is a consistent performer for me both as a single pattern fished off the bottom and swung to the surface, or as a dropper below a Caddis dry.  The thorax quickly sweeps back when wet and encases the abdomen.

RGP Recipe

Hook:  #14-18 Caddis Emerger
Thread:  Black
Abdomen:  Grizzly Hackle Quill (Brown Marker)
Thorax:  Grey Squirrel / Black Ice-dub

Friday, March 23, 2018

Quill Gordon Variant

Quill Gordon Variant

The Quill Gordon walks on water....both literally and within the fly tying community. Here is a variation that I often tie, using Greenwell hackle and CDL tailing.

Quill Gordon Variant

Hook:  #14 2x Long Dry
Thread:  6/0 Black 
Tail:  Medium Pardo CDL
Abdomen:  Peacock Quill
Wing:  Lemon-barred Wood Duck
Hackle:  Greenwell

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

March Brown

March Brown

With March going out like a lion and the third Nor'easter in as many weeks dumping on us outside, it felt proper to turn a little attention to the comfort of a Catskill pattern.

March Brown

Hook:  #14 2x Long Dry
Thread:  6/0 Dark Brown 
Tail:  Medium Pardo CDL
Abdomen:  March Brown Hareline
Wing:  Lemon-barred Wood Duck
Hackle:  Cree

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Blue-Winged Olive Emerger Replacements

BWO Emergers

This is one of the few Pheasant Tail patterns I tie. I admittedly have never been a fan of the PT Nymph. I know, calm down, I get the same reaction from most of my fishing partners as well.  It's just that over the past 50+ years the PT and I have never bonded.  But when I do tie them, its in the form of this emerger pattern. I was down to 6, so I bumped the count back up to an even dozen.  

BWO Emerger 

Hook:  Orvis #18 curved shank
Thread:  Olive Dun
Tail: Pheasant Tail
Abdomen:  Pheasant Tail
Rib:  Fine Copper Wire
Thorax:  Peacock Ice Dub
Wing-case: Dun-Dyed Turkey Flat
Legs:  Pheasant Tail

Friday, March 16, 2018

Sulfurs....And The Fish Who Love Them

Sulfurs....And The Fish Who Love Them

If you are like me, as the buds begin to show themselves and the air gets that small kick of an extra 10 degrees, your mind wanders to hatches.  Can't be long now, right? I enjoy them all, from the vise to the stream. I begin filling my boxes and picking out the tattered soldiers from last season in order to make room for new recruits, and each year I find the same situation. The bins that house my Sulfur patterns are either empty or contain 1-or-2 raggedy-ass flies. The Sulfur hatch is my favorite hatch. Mostly due to the fact that it comes off on the vast majority of Pennsylvania streams, is best in the evenings (for those who work), and can be fished "top-to-bottom".

By identifying  patterns for the main phases of this hatch, you can effectively fish "Sulfurs" all day long, and long after the main hatch has ended.  I carry 4 patterns, all on #16 but varying style hooks.  For me, they work and are all I need. For you? Well, that is for you to decide, but here they are. 

The C2C Sulfur Nymph

The C2C is a variation of the hares-ear. But tied much slimmer and with no Hares-ear. The original C2C is tied with all Ginger dubbing. The Sulfur variation is tied with natural dun Hareline. 

It is my only nymph when fishing sulfur water. Particularly in the early evenings. A heavy nymph that sinks fast.

The Sulfur Lite

The Sulfur Lite is truly lights-out effective for me in the very early stages of the hatch when fish are beginning to rise but won't seem to take anything you have.  I fish this pattern with a greased tippet done leaving the first 6" of tippet above the fly ungreased. It is unweighted and you want it to drift freely just under the surface.

Sulfur Light Recipe

Hook:  #16 Curved Nymph
Thread:  8/0 Olive Dun Uni
Tail & Abdomen:  Pheasant Tail
Wing-case:  Pheasant Tail
Thorax:  #8 Hareline Pale Yellow
Legs:  Lemon-Barred Wood Duck


The LTD "Long Transitional Dun" was tied in 2000 for the Sulfur emergence on the West Branch of Pine Creek in North-Central Pennsylvania, and published in FlyTyer Winter 2009 Edition. It is the most productive Sulfur emerger pattern I have fished to date, and fishes well through the duns and into tail-outs on cripples after the hatch. If I needed to carry one fly in my box for Sulfurs...this one is it. I go to it as soon as fish begin to actively feed.

The Sulfur Thorax

This variation of the Thorax is the only dun pattern I fish for the hatch.  It sits low in the film and I like to go to it as dusk settles in and just before it's getting too dark to follow my LTD, or if they begin to ignore the LTD.  

Those are my Sulfur bins and they allow me to fish productively through the entire hatch.  

Try them on your water. 

Monday, March 12, 2018

Tying Ralph's Benton Caddis

Ralph's Benton Caddis

The RBC is my favorite variation of the Benton Caddis for early season prospecting. 

Tying the RBC

Saturday, March 3, 2018

My Favorite Crossover Pattern

Little Crappie Fly

The LCF had its beginnings as a Crappie streamer. A task that it has been very successful at. But probably more than any other pattern to come out of my vise, the LCF is a true cross-over pattern. It not only crosses over from warm to cold water fisheries, it also crosses over in application. 

It is by far my favorite spring Speck pattern, sunk deep and stripped in as a streamer. 

For gills it  is a killer nymph pattern on a floating line and twitch retrieved

For bass it is effective twitch retrieved alone or on a dropper under a bassbug

And back to a streamer  on a floating line and a varied retrieve for Pickerel

And then on a winter trip for trout I tied it on as a nymph drifted beneath an indicator

The results were better than expected

On most any water I fished, the LCF proved effective


The little panfish streamer has become one of my favorite high water nymphs. 

Give it a try

And let us know what your favorite crossover pattern is.