New Flies & Long Winter Musings

by | Mar 5, 2019 | Fly Tying | 2 comments

I don’t remember having such a long winter since I retired in 2013. I mean the first couple of winters were a little tough but at least I went fishing. This year has been too warm in December for the ice, and now for the past 2 months too cold! Not much fun ice fishing when your hands are freezing and the water in your drilled holes is freezing. Aside from the snow factor, so much of it would make it hard to drive on certain lakes. On a beautiful wintery day, sunny and minus 5-7 C is perfect for ice fishing. But the great white North has been in the deep freeze for quite some time now.

Lucky to be blessed

I feel fortunate to be retired for one. But to have so much enthusiasm in so many passions is a gift from beyond. I always said if I make it to retirement I would spend the rest of my life doing things I should have been doing all my life! And here I am feeling like I hit the jackpot! I honestly have no idea how I ever had the time to have worked at a regular job for 34 years and still have had a life! I only wish I lived somewhere I could fly fish all year round.

Winter by design

Normally I would be tying flies and doing woodworking during the winter months. When it became evident it was going to be a very long cold winter I elected to add new elements to my bag of winter tricks. I had been toying with the idea of adding blogging as part of my fishing and fly tying hobbies. I spend a fair amount of time alone with no one to talk to so maybe writing would be a good addition. I love writing and so it was a given to me to go to the next step of blogging. As it turns out the process has been fasinating. But fly tying is still an activity I enjoy very much and so as part of my blog post today I will tell you about the new flies I’ve recently tied.

Chartreuse Baitfish 

This is the Chartreuse Baitfish streamer pattern. For those that don’t know what a “streamer” is: It’s a fly pattern imitative of a small baitfish as in a minnow, fry or shiner. This one has bead chain eyes which make a whistling noise underwater attracting the fish.  Its bright colors make the streamer easy to see in murky water. This is a light pattern that is easy to cast. The grizzly hackle on each side imitates the baitfish’s scales. It’s a relatively easy pattern to tie. 

To the right is another Streamer pattern, it’s a “Bow River” variant imitating a sculpin fish. Sculpins are shallow water bottom feeders. They are sought after by the larger predatorial trout like Browns and Bull trout. This is a complex pattern to tie, it involves the spinning of deer hair which can be difficult to a newbie fly tyer. The spun hair is then shaved with a razor blade at the front of the hook creating that stubbly look. When stripped (pulled) deer hair creates bubbles in the water and moves water in such a way that is remarkable.

The Bow River Bugger Variant

Bob Church’s Appetizer

Bob Church’s Appetizer is one of those traditional classic streamers from way back. It’s a beautiful fly pattern and from time to time I like to tie the classic style flies just as an affirmation that I can. I would love to catch a trout with one, but so far I haven’t. It’s a fairly challenging pattern to tie but when done properly the end results are astounding. It would be wonderful to be rewarded with a beautiful Brown trout at the end of the line! I’ve yet to catch one and it is very much in my sights!

The “Corn Fed Sally” is a variant of a “Yellow Sally” which is one of my favorite dry flies. The original Yellow Sally is made from bleached deer hair and floats like a boat! It is a “dry” fly meaning it floats on top of the water imitating flies that land on top of the water. The Corn Fed is made from CDC feathers meaning “cul-de-canard” otherwise known in English as duck butt feathers! Haha! Ducks have oily bum feathers that are tiny and whispy. They float and have that undulating effect in the water. My fishing partner and I both have caught very large rainbows with the Yellow Sally and I’m hoping this one will be as successful!

Corn Fed Sally

FNF Floating Fry

The “FNF Floating Fry” is categorically an aberration from standard fly patterns. It’s a floating streamer. Which is wrong in every way. However, apparently very effective in catching fish. It mimics a minnow unsuspectingly feeding on the surface of the water. It’s a pattern I was excited to discover, as dry fly fishing is considered the “be-all and end-all” of fly fishing. Now to watch a big trout come up to the surface of the water and hammer this big streamer would be a sight for sore eyes! Haha! The big chunk of foam on the fish’s nose is what keeps it afloat and also serves as a sight indicator to the fly fisher. The fish doesn’t see that part only the fisher does. So when you see the foam go down you better be ready to set the hook! Fish On!

In short thus far

That was an overview of some of the more interesting fly patterns I tied lately. All the patterns I tied from recipes I followed on YouTube and have been given their applicable name from the instructor. The 2 Streamers at the very top of the page by the title are Pike flies. They are my own creations I came up with by blending different materials and methods I liked from other flies I’ve seen. Pike flies are very time consuming to tie for the most part because they are huge in size. The Piker is 7 inches long and took me 3 hours to tie. I am however a slow tier that likes to savor the process and do a good job. There is a certain feeling of pride in the creation of a fly. I guess that goes for anything we create that brings us joy.

Until then, 🙂