Bees and Throw Back Thursday

Yes, another week has passed and it’s time for the next version of Throw Back Thursday Flies…how about bees?

I found these bees in one of my antique fly wallets.

Bees |

Sorry, I can’t help you with the name. I’m just guessing it’s a bee pattern. But I could be wrong. What do you think it is?

But I do know these are old flies. Here is the fly wallet and a few other flies.

Antique Fly Wallet |

And if you like this fly wallet, be sure to check out my other posts about older fly wallets – Antique Fly Wallets and Antique Fly Wallets Revisited.

I haven’t ever fished bee patterns. I’ve looked them in fly shops and notice a few bees along the shore getting water. But tie ’em onto the end of my leader? Nope!

Maybe it’s time to start. 


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Craig Mathews Winter Seminar

What a great weekend. I had an opportunity to attend the Craig Mathews Winter Seminar sponsored jointly by my own Central Oregon Flyfishers and Sunriver Anglers.

I’ve written about Craig Mathews in previous posts (Craig Mathews and Blue Ribbon Flies) and how much I like and fish flies from Blue Ribbon Flies in West Yellowstone, Montana. Blue Ribbon Flies has influenced my fly tying and fly fishing for many years. You’ll see many of their flies on the Fly Patterns page. Their flies fit my fly tying style…simple, yet effective.

And many of those flies use Zelon. In fact, there were a few times during his fly tying demonstrations where a little laughter came across the crowd…”and we’ll begin with a tail of Zelon…”

Zelon |

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Zebra Midge

Zebra Midge - Copper and Black |

This week’s Throw Back Thursday fly is the Zebra Midge.

Some quick Internet research indicates the Zebra Midge was developed in 1996 by Ted Wellington.

Ted had completed a fly order for Wendy Gunn of Lee’s Ferry Anglers in Arizona and continued to sit at the fly tying desk and tyed a dozen each of 2 flies – copper bead and copper wire; silver bead and silver wire.

To say it was successful is an understatement. The Zebra Midge is a very popular and productive fly. Many variations have been developed ever since.

I’ve used it in black and green/olive and I’m always amazed how well it works.


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Craig Mathews and Blue Ribbon Flies

I’m really looking forward to this weekend, February 21 and 22, 2015. Craig Mathews from Blue Ribbon Flies in West Yellowstone, Montana will be in Bend to provide a 2-day fly fishing seminar entitled Exploring Yellowstone Country’s Overlooked Waters.

Winter Seminar |

Craig is a wealth of information, so you better not miss an incredible opportunity to learn from the master. Continue reading

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Copper John

Copper John Nymph |

John Barr’s Copper John is this week’s TBT fly.

He completed the fly design in 1996 after three years of development.

The Copper John is such an effective fly design, John Barr ties it in many colors and variations. The original fly is tied in sizes 10 – 18. But in his book, Barr Flies, he lists several “family members” including the Tungsten Bead Copper John (sizes 18 – 20), Rubber Legs Copper John (sizes 10 – 18), and a steelhead fly version called the Jumbo John with hot beads (sizes 6 – 10). Each of these flies can be tied with different colored wire. In fact, he shows several two-tone versions.

I’ll fish large and small versions of the Copper John. The size 10 is a heavy fly and one I use to get smaller nymphs into the zone. And I’ve caught fish on size 18 fly using copper, red, and blue wire pattern below. I plan to tie a two-tone version to imitate a green drake nymph.

Rainbow & Copper John - Blue |

While it isn’t near as old as many of the classics, it changed the way many people fished. The Copper John is a fly I still tie and use today.


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Midges. Do you know what a midge is? And how important midges are in the trout’s diet? Very! You’ll find midges in rivers and lakes.

Most of the time, midge pupae are the fly patterns experienced fly fishers concentrate on fishing. More on what that means shortly. 

Midges |

I just finished these flies as I complete my Crooked River Fly box. I still have a few slots open.

Crooked River Flies|

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RS2 - Original |

This week’s Throw Back Thursday fly is the RS2, developed by Rim Chung.

This is a recent tie, following the original pattern sheet. I’ve used natural beaver dubbing and webbing from a dun colored hackle for the wing. The first time I tied this fly was in the 1990’s and for some reason thought it was a lake fly. Wrong! It’s an imitation of a mayfly emerger. Like any great pattern, just change the size and color to imitate the real bug.

As I was developing my Crooked River Flies page, I was reintroduced to the RS2 and I thought it was a candidate for a Throw Back Thursday Flies post. So here it is!

I like to develop a little historical piece to accompany the post when I can. But Bill Seitz, our resident expert on the Crooked River here in Central Oregon, did it for me:

“The RS-2 is a mayfly emerger that was developed in the 1970s by Rim Chung (the RS-2 comes from Rim’s Sembalance, second version). It is a “go-to” fly for many anglers that fish on the heavily-fished tailwaters of the Front Range of Colorado. It is a versatile mayfly emerger pattern with application on all Central Oregon streams. Dave Hughes, in his book Nymphs for Streams and Stillwaters, recommends fishing this fly in the upper water column (12 inches to 2 feet) in combination with a slightly larger fly about 12 inches from the RS-2 using an indicator or a dropper.” 

Here is one of Bill’s variants to the RS2 to allow more fish caught per fly…black UV Ice Dub and Zelon.

RS2 - Black Ice Dub |

Have you ever fished this fly? 


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