Black Gnat Dry Fly

This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Black Gnat dry fly.

Black Gnat Dry Fly |

I had an earlier Black Gnat wet fly as a TBT fly, but Dancing Trout found this fly along the river and it’s been in her fly fishing pack for awhile. It looked like a good candidate for today’s TBT post.

To be honest, I don’t know the history of the fly. I’ve seen them tied with black tails as well as red tails. Perhaps one of my readers can provide a little insight for the fly.

So here is one of the fish I caught today after fishing for 8 hours today.

Metolius Rainbow | www.johnkreft.comFish After |


It’s the reason I didn’t come home and tie a different TBT fly today.

Enjoy…go fish!


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Davy Knot

I bit the bullet and started tying and fishing the Davy Knot recently and wanted to provide a review of my experience with this knot.

Davy Knot |

If you’re a regular reader of RiverKeeper Flies, you might have seen a recent post about Testing Fly Fishing Knots. The main subject was how I’m preparing to teach Making Effective Leaders for Rivers and Lakes at the International Federation of Fly Fishers Fair in Livingston, Montana on August 4.  Continue reading

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Mottled May

This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Mottled May, a fly developed by Charles DeFeo.

Mottled May |

I found this fly pattern in Forgotten Flies by Paul Schmookler & Ingrid Sils. This is a spectacular book and includes flies from Ray Bergman, Preston Jennings, Mary Orvis Marbury, and Carrie Stevens.

I used Forgotten Flies as a reference for previous TBT flies – Carrie Stevens Pink Beauty and Green Drake and The Rose by Mary Orvis Marbury. The Ray Bergman TBT flies on RiverKeeper Flies are also listed in the book. Continue reading

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Fish Camp

I’ve been helping my wife this week with Fish Camp, a 3-day fly fishing camp for 14 students, 10 – 14 years old. It’s part of our fly club’s Next Cast Flyfishers (our youth program) goal to get kids into fly fishing in Central Oregon.

Fish Camp Sign |

We’re teaching them about casting, knot tying, aquatic bug basics, fly tying, gear & equipment, safety & regulations, and actual fishing, which included safe fish handling to release fish to fight another day. Continue reading

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Sheep Creek Special TBT

This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Sheep Creek Special.

Sheep Creek Special |

I found the fly was developed by George Biggs of Jerome, Idaho in the 1960’s where he fished it at Sheep Creek Reservoir on the Nevada/Idaho border.

Some say the Sheep Creek Special imitates leeches is larger sizes and midges in smaller sizes. It might even imitate damselfly and dragonfly nymphs. That seems to cover every major lake fly! Sounds like an all-around fly to use.

It’s a pattern still used today by a few “experienced” fly fishers. A friend down the street has tied them for my local fly shop and I understand it’s a good pattern at Three Creek’s Lake outside of Sisters, Oregon.

My friend Jerry Criss taught this fly in 2014 at a Central Oregon Flyfishers Winter Fly Tying class.

To be honest, I think the Sheep Creek Special is an odd looking fly and have questioned whether I would tie the fly on the end of my leader. I think I’ll give it a try the next time I’m lake fishing.

Tie up a few Sheep Creek Specials for your fly box and give them a try on your favorite lake. 

Let me know how they work.

Enjoy…go fish!


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Eric’s Deschutes River Bar and Grill

We fished the Lower D recently while drifting from Warm Springs to Trout Creek and happened to run into Eric’s Deschutes River Bar and Grill. Have you seen it along the river as you’ve floated? The location is a secret, but if you can find it, I highly recommend it.

Launch your drift boat at Warm Springs and begin floating downstream.

Deschutes River Float |

Be sure to enjoy the scenery along the way.

Deschutes River Scenery |

Continue reading

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Del Cooper

This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Del Cooper.

Del Cooper |

I’ve been reading John Shewey’s Classic Steelhead Flies and decided to look in my Steelhead fly box to see if I had a few of the flies. Low and behold, I found a couple Del Coopers. I must have tied this several years ago.

Shewey attributes the fly development to Mike Kennedy, a well known steelhead fly fisherman who cast flies to steelhead in Oregon and Washington. The fly was named for Del Cooper, a Portland angler and fly tyer. It was a popular fly for the North Santiam river in Oregon in the late 1980’s.

Yes, it may be a little early to take the fly out and fish for steelhead, but it won’t be long. 

Do you have any Del Cooper’s in your steelhead fly box?

Enjoy…go fish!


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Beetle Bailey Catches Fish

I wrote a post entitled Fly Fishing with Beetles almost two years ago touting how effective fly fishing can be with a beetle on the end of your line. I’m still a believer. I fish a fly I call Beetle Bailey. I shake my head in disbelief and smile at how effective Beetle Bailey catches fish!Beetle Bailey |

Beetle Bailey is responsible for catching some of my biggest trout.

Rainbow with Beetle Bailey| Continue reading

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Blue Bottle

 This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Blue Bottle, another Ray Bergman wet fly.

Blue Bottle |

I found the Blue Bottle on Plate 1, page 23 from Ray Bergman’s Trout, first published in 1938.

Bergman’s book includes 15 colored plates to illustrate the dry and wet flies with a description of each fly in the back. It was the first book to provide color fly illustrations.

I’m not an expert about Ray Bergman, but I look to Don Bastian Wet Flies website whenever I need information or clarification. Don is a well known fly tyer, author, and speaker and has recreated the fly plates found in Trout. His flies are works of art! One of Bastian’s post entitled Ray Bergman – Some Clarification and Edification will provide additional history about Ray Bergman, if you are so inclined to learn more.

Here is the fly pattern recipe from the Full Description of Flies Shown in Color Plates in the final pages of Trout. The materials order is as listed in the book:

Blue Bottle


Blue silk floss


Black hackle fibers





Note: The fly is tied on an older Mustad 3906 hook, size 8.

Enjoy…go fish!


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