Tying Small Flies

I’ve been tying small flies recently in my attempt to catch very picky, selective trout. You can read more about my dilemma in the post – What are the Fish Eating?

I enjoy a challenge and these particular fish continue to test my patience. I’ve used almost every fly in my fly boxes and none consistently make those fish rise. Occasionally the fish gods smile down on me and a fish rises to my fly.

My latest theory is the fish are keying on midges or midge emergers. Hence, the reason I’m tying small flies.

Tying Small Flies by Ed Engle

I remember several years ago stating “if I need any flies size 20 or smaller, I’ll buy them!” Well, I’m having to eat those words right now. Continue reading

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Stayner Ducktail TBT

This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Stayner Ducktail TBT.

Stayner Ducktail | www.johnkreft.com

Ruel Stayner of Twin Falls, ID created this bait fish fly pattern to imitate bait fish in the lakes and reservoirs he fished.

Stayner owned and operated a sporting goods store in Twin Falls and created this fly in the late 1960’s. He attempted to create a fly to imitate perch fry in Idaho’s Magic Reservoir.

Seasoned anglers in Idaho also use the Stayner Ducktail streamer as well. Others have used it all over the world to imitate shiner minnows as well as trout fry.

My friend Jim Fisher, a noted fly tyer in his own right, tied this fly for me and I thought it a perfect fly to feature as a Throw Back Thursday Fly. Jim was the 2011 Stan Walters Memorial Tyer of the Year. The Oregon Council of the International Federation of Fly Fishers awards this annually “in recognition of your skills, teaching, and innovation in the art of fly tying.”

When I first looked at the fly, it reminded me of a streamer fly pattern I learned in the 1980’s when fishing the Metolius, something we called a Stovepipe.

I think I might have to tie up a few of the Stayner Ducktail this winter.

Enjoy…go fish!

 

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What Are the Fish Eating

I’m fortunate to be able to fish over 100 days per year. Why did I begin this week’s post with that statement? Well, spending that much time on the water has changed the way I fish in the last 10 years. I observe the water more. The result is I’m able to see fish rising to hatching bugs. So I’ve turned into a dry fly fisherman. And when they don’t rise to my flies, I ask what are the fish eating?

For some reason, I’m asking that question more and more these days and it leads me to tie more flies to try on these hard to catch fish. Here is my most recent fly.

Four Midges | www.johnkreft.com

It’s a simple #22 Parachute Midge Emerger, otherwise known as a “beta” fly, meaning I’m testing the fly to see if I should add it to the RiverKeeper Flies Fly Patterns. Continue reading

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Steelhead Bee TBT

This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Steelhead Bee TBT, a fly tied by Roderick Haig-Brown (1908 – 1976).

Steelhead Bee | www.johnkreft.com

I found this fly on a display at the International Federation of Fly Fishers Museum in Livingston, MT. It’s is one of several flies in a display entitled Roderick Haig-Brown His Tackle & His Flies.

I took this picture of the Steelhead Bee through the glass display in a dark room and I think it turned out quite well. It was one of several flies in the collection.

Be sure to check out my other Throw Back Thursday Fly posts of Haig-Brown flies, the Silver LadySilver Brown, and the Golden Girl.

Roderick Haig-Brown was born in England and spent his early years there, moving to Seattle, Washington to live with an uncle when 17 and worked in logging camps. He went to British Columbia when his US visa expired and worked as a logger, commercial fisherman, and guide. Haig-Brown returned to London in 1931, but soon returned to British Columbia where he later married his wife Ann and both of them settled into their home on the Campbell River on Vancouver Island. He lived on the Campbell River for the remainder of his life.

Haig-Brown was a prolific writer, publishing 23 books along with numerous articles and essays. His first book Silver: The Life of an Atlantic Salmon was published in 1931. Other favorite titles include Return to the River (1941), A River Never Sleeps (1946), Fisherman’s Spring (1951), Fisherman’s Winter (1954), Fisherman’s Summer (1959), and Fisherman’s Fall (1964).

Enjoy…go fish!

 

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Changing Seasons

The temperatures have dropped and the dog days of summer are over. In fact, rain showers are in the forecast for today. What does that signal? Changing seasons for the fly fisher.

I always look forward to arriving at the river and see if fish are rising. It’s more the norm now than it was during July and August. The only problem is trying to determine what bugs the fish are taking.

And fall is the time when the big fish come out to bulk up before winter sets in.

Metolius 20 Inch Rainbow | www.johnkreft.com Continue reading

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Golden Girl TBT

This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Golden Girl TBT, a fly tied by Roderick Haig-Brown (1908 – 1976).

Golden Girl | www.johnkreft.com

I took this picture of the Golden Girl through the glass display in a dark room and I think it turned out quite well. It was one of several flies in the collection and I plan to post other flies in future TBT posts.

The Golden Girl was developed by Haig-Brown in the 1940’s for winter steelhead in the streams and rivers of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Art Lingren in his book Fly Patterns of British Columbia provides a good history of the Golden Girl and how the fly was developed. He states, Haig-Brown was serving in World War II and dreaming about steelhead fishing. He believed the colors of red and orange were important for winter steelhead. Looking for a simpler fly than the Atlantic salmon flies of his native country, he used the the Red Sandy and Durham Ranger as impetus for a new fly pattern. The result was a much simpler fly using the best parts of each fly – the slim body of the Red Sandy and golden pheasant tippet wing of the Durham Ranger.  Continue reading

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Montana Fly Box

Over the last few weeks, I’ve written about our Montana Road Trip where we fished the Madison, Depuy Spring Creek, Stillwater, and Slough Creek & the Lamar. I thought I’d provide a summary of the effective flies we used in our Montana fly box.

Madison River - Relaxed Fishing | www.johnkreft.com

When selecting flies, I always try to imitate the insects I think will be hatching. How do I know? I use my experience from the past if it’s a river I’ve fished before or my other source of information are local fly shops who provide updated fishing reports and hatch charts for the rivers I plan to fish. Be sure to stop in and purchase a few flies or fly tying materials as a “thank you”. Remember, these fly shops need to stay in business to provide timely and quality information. Continue reading

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Silver Brown – TBT

This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Silver Brown – TBT, a fly tied by Roderick Haig-Brown (1908 – 1976).

Silver Brown

I took this picture of the Silver Brown through the glass display in a dark room and I think it turned out quite well. It was one of several flies in the collection and I plan to post other flies in future TBT posts.

The Silver Brown was developed by Haig-Brown in the 1930’s for sea-run cutthroat and later used for summer-run steelhead and coho salmon in the streams and rivers of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

Roderick Haig-Brown was born in England and spent his early years there, moving to Seattle, Washington to live with an uncle in his early 20’s and worked in logging camps. He went to British Columbia when his US visa expired and worked as a logger, commercial fisherman, and guide. Haig-Brown returned to London in 1931, but soon returned to British Columbia where he later married his wife Ann and both of them settled into their home on the Campbell River on Vancouver Island. He lived on the Campbell River for the remainder of his life.

Haig-Brown was a prolific writer, publishing 23 books along with numerous articles and essays. His first book Silver: The Life of an Atlantic Salmon was published in 1931. Other favorite titles include Return to the River (1941), A River Never Sleeps(1946), Fisherman’s Spring (1951), Fisherman’s Winter (1954), Fisherman’s Summer(1959), and Fisherman’s Fall (1964).

Be sure to check out my other TBT Haig-Brown post, the Silver Lady.

Enjoy…go fish!

 

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Montana Road Trip – Lamar River and Slough Creek

This week’s subject is our Montana Road Trip – Lamar River and Slough Creek, the last stop on our Montana fly fishing road trip.

Confluence of Lamar & Soda Butte | www.johnkreft.com

If you recall from last week’s post, our previous fishing was on the Stillwater River. We decided to drive over the scenic Beartooth pass into Cooke City/Silver Gate area and into the Northeast corner of Yellowstone Park.

Beartooth Pass | www.johnkreft.com

Continue reading

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