Fran Better’s Haystack

This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is Fran Better’s Haystack.

Haystack | www.johnkreft.com

This is another fly I found while reading Mike Valla’s book entitled The Founding Flies – 43 American Masters, Their Patterns and Influences.

You might recognize this fly because it is very similar to the Sparkle Dun mayflies I tie and fish so much. But the Fran Better’s Haystack is the first of many iterations of this style of fly.

Betters created this fly during his senior year of high school in June 1949. He used Key deer for the wings and tail with a body or either muskrat or opossum dubbing.

Later, Betters used Woodchuck to replace the deer hair because he couldn’t find Key deer any longer. He must have had lots of Woodchuck because he used it in the tails of another fly he created, the Ausable Wulff.

The progression of the fly continued when Al Caucci developed the Comparadun mayfly in the early 1960’s as a variant to the classic Haystack fly pattern. Caucci joined with Bob Nastasi and introduced the fly in 1972 in their first book Comparahatch.

Craig Mathews of Blue Ribbon Flies in West Yellowstone created another variation, using Zelon for the tail and named it the Sparkle Dun.

To find out more about Fran Betters, I highly recommend Valla’s book.

Enjoy…go fish!

 

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Parachute Flies

I was thinking the other day about the dry flies I use most of the time and the fact they don’t include parachute flies. Sure, I’ll use parachute flies on some rivers and perhaps tie on a Purple Haze in the evening at the spring creek I fish. And sometimes it works.

I gave away a few Purple Haze flies to a friend on the river and I began thinking about how important flies tied with hackles can be.

Purple Haze

Purple Haze | www.johnkreft.com

Continue reading

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Lessons Learned from our Fly Fishing Road Trip

If you are a regular RiverKeeper Flies follower, you’ve read about our 2017 fly fishing road trip. Not everything came off without a hitch and I thought is might be helpful to provide a few lessons learned from our fly fishing road trip.

Fishing the Yellowstone River | www.johnkreft.com

If you are like me, the anticipation of fishing new waters is very exciting. I’ve read about the places I plan to fish and think I’ve done a reasonable job preparing to have a great time. 

Here are 8 lessons learned from our fly fishing road trip that may help you to plan your own trip. Continue reading

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Galloup’s Compara Spinner

This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is Galloup’s Compara Spinner.

Galloup's Compara Spinner | www.johnkreft.com

I stayed at Galloup’s Slide Inn on the Madison River during our 2017 fly fishing road trip and I thought it appropriate to feature a few of Kelly’s flies for my Throw Back Thursday Fly feature. I spent some time with him at the shop taking photos of a few of his famous flies and hearing stories of them as well. Continue reading

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Returning Chinook Salmon to the Metolius River

I had a different blog post planned for today, but I always say “take what the river gives you”, so I’m taking my own advice. This post is about a returning Chinook salmon to the Metolius River.

While fishing the river yesterday, I was waiting for the fish to begin rising again and sat on the shore, using my cell phone to capture a few thoughts for a future post.

Something caught my eye and I immediately looked down at a long object swimming past me just over an arms length away.

I was caught a little off-guard because it was a HUGE fish! Was it a Bull Trout moving upstream? No.

It was a Spring Chinook salmon sporting a very nice bright green spaghetti tag from its dorsal fin.

Metolius Chinook Salmon | www.johnkreft.com

This fish was slowly making it’s way upstream along the shore. Continue reading

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Rio Grande King

This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Rio Grande King, another fly from the Ray Bergman collection.

Rio Grande King | www.johnkreft.com

I haven’t posted a Ray Bergman fly for awhile, so I thought it was high time I tied another classic wet fly pattern. For some reason, I just like the elegance and simplicity of a Bergman wet fly and it was time to practice setting quill wings again. I sat down to tie this fly last night after returning from the river. After looking at the final product, I need to devote a few days and tie more quill wing flies. Continue reading

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Forest Fire Fish

Forest fires. That seems to be the theme the last few weeks and why I decided to name this week’s post Forest Fire Fish.

This is a picture of the day our fire grew out-of-control. That was two weeks ago.

Milli Forest Fire | www.johnkreft.com

As I write today’s post, the Milli fire has grown to over 18,000 acres. The fires have really impacted my fishing as smoke fills our town as well as the river canyon and burns my throat, creates headaches, and gives me an upset stomach. So I haven’t been fishing as much. Continue reading

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Circus Peanut Articulated Streamer

This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Circus Peanut Articulated Streamer.

Circus Peanut | www.johnkreft.comI stayed at Slide Inn on the Madison River recently during our 2017 fly fishing road trip. One afternoon, I went to the fly shop and talked with Kelly about my Throw Back Thursday Fly feature and asked him if I could take pictures of a few of his flies. He graciously agreed and began telling me stories about his flies. Continue reading

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Preparing for October Caddis

It might be a little early to begin talking about and preparing for October Caddis, but while fishing last week, we happened to see a large number of caddis cases … big caddis cases … attached to a rock partially submerged in the water. It looked as though someone had collected all of them and left the cases in a pile. Upon closer inspection, the caddis cases were attached to the rocks.

October Caddis Cases on Rock | www.johnkreft.com

Here is a close up of the cased caddis. They build their houses out of the surrounding rocks where they live. Continue reading

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