Timberline Emerger TBT

This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Timberline Emerger TBT.

Timberline Emerger | www.johnkreft.com

The Timberline Emerger is one of Randall Kaufmann’s flies I read about and tied many years ago. It’s another great pattern from his Tying Nymphs book, published in 1994. Kaufmann’s book was one of the first color fly tying books I ever owned, along with it’s companion Tying Dry Flies. I still use both these books as resources.

The Timberline Emerger was designed to imitate emerging midges and mayflies. Change the body color to tan and olive to imitate a variety of insects.

Enjoy…go fish!


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On the Road to Montana

We got up yesterday, packed the last few items and now we’re on the road to Montana.

I’m a “just in time” fly tyer on occasion, and yesterday was no exception. I took the wheel for the first three hours or driving and got into the passenger seat. What to do? You guessed it…tie a few flies.

Tying on the Road | www.johnkreft.com

First stop will be the Madison River and have heard I need a few Glossosoma Caddis Larva, so that’s what I was tying. I tied 1/2 dozen flies on I-84. Here is one of them…pretty good for tying on the road.

Glossosoma Caddis Larva | www.johnkreft.com


Those were size 16. I’ll tie a few more size 18 between Spokane and Missoula today.

Here is the video tying the fly if you want to watch it. I set the camera on the console.

Be sure to read more about our Montana Road Trip in the following posts:

Enjoy…go fish!


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Wilson Ant

This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Wilson Ant.

Wilson Ant | www.johnkreft.com

I haven’t tied a Ray Bergman fly recently, so I thought I’d pull out his book Trout (1938) and the Wilson Ant spoke to me.

You’ll find this fly on Plate No. 9, page 254.

I like the elegance and simplicity of a Ray Bergman wet fly.

I’ve selected several wet flies for my Throw Back Thursday Fly segment from Ray Bergman’s book . If you are a regular at RiverKeeper Flies, you recall 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:

Wilson Ant


Medium Brown Floss


Peacock Herl Tag




Pheasant Wing

Note: The fly is tied on an older Mustad 3906 hook, size 10.

Enjoy…go fish!


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Montana Fly Fishing Road Trip

In a week, I’ll be headed out on another Montana fly fishing road trip. I live in a beautiful place called Central Oregon, but there’s something about Big Sky country that makes me want to return.

Madison River Valley | www.johnkreft.com


One of our destinations in Montana will be the International Federation of Fly Fisher’s Fair in Livingston. My wife is leading the Women’s University Fly Fishing class and I’m teaching a knot tying class for the techniques I use. (see Testing Fly Fishing Knots)

We’ll drive past some really nice fishing water, but can’t stop. There are soooo many places to fish in Montana. I found I need to attach blinders to my sunglasses while driving because if we do stop to fish, we won’t make it to our next stop! Continue reading

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Steelhead Caddis

This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Steelhead Caddis.

Steelhead Caddis | www.johnkreft.com

The Steelhead Caddis was created by Bill McMillan in 1975 as a low-water variation of the Muddler Minnow. This fly is fished dry on the surface with a trailing wake, making a comotion to get the steelhead’s attention. Use a riffling hitch or cast the fly downstream and use a tight line to lead the fly across the river with your rod.

I pulled this fly out of one of my steelhead fly boxes. It’s a little worn from being used a few times, but it hasn’t caught a steelhead. I’m not sure how I would react to a big sea-run rainbow trout rising to take this fly, but I’d sure like to find out! It’s one of my dreams for that to happen.

I haven’t tied any of the Steelhead Caddis, but perhaps I should tie a few up.

Enjoy…go fish! 


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Next Cast Flyfishers Master Class

Last week I helped my wife lead what I’m calling the Next Cast Flyfishers master class outing at East Lake. Six flyfishers between ages 11 and 15 were invited to attend the outing, the first of it’s kind for our club. These kids have participated in numerous Next Cast activities, including multiple Fish Camps, river clean-ups, fly casting, and fly tying.

Our goal was to help these kids be self-sufficient in their fly fishing journey. They’ve learned to put their own rods together, tie knots, attach tippets and flies, and even use a few of their own hand-tied flies.

Here are our campers ready to fish!

Next Cast Flyfishers - Before | www.johnkreft.com

Continue reading

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Girdle Bug

This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Girdle Bug.

Girdle Bug | www.johnkreft.com

Frank McGinnis of Anaconda, Montana is credited with developing the Girdle Bug, sometimes call a McGinnis Rubberlegs. The fly was first fished on the Big Hole River in the 1930’s and 1940’s.

You might recognize this fly if it used a variegated chenille body and Superfloss legs as Pat’s Rubberlegs.

Pat's Rubberlegs | www.johnkreft.com

Searching for information about Pat’s Rubberlegs, you’ll find Pat Dorsey from Colorado or Pat Bennett of Island Park, Idaho listed as the creator of the latest variation of the Girdle Bug.

So who was it?

Enjoy…go fish!


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Three Favorite Terrestrial Fly Patterns

I’ve been tying Schroeder’s Parachute Hoppers for an order and decided I needed a few as well. While I tied 2 dozen flies, it got me thinking about fishing terrestrial fly patterns and my three favorite terrestrial fly patterns I wouldn’t be without.

Beetle on reel | www.johnkreft.com

Here they are – Schroeder’s Parachute Hopper, Harrop’s CDC Ant and of course Beetle Bailey. I wouldn’t be without these three terrestrial fly patterns this summer. Continue reading

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