Denny Rickards Seal Bugger

This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is Denny Rickards Seal Bugger.

Denny's Seal Bugger |

Denny created this fly in the mid-80’s on Oregon’s Upper Klamath Lake, his home waters. The fly is a variation of the popular Woolly Bugger. 

I’d seen this fly years ago, but found it again in Rickards Fly-Fishing Stillwaters for Trophy Trout (1997). It’s the first fly listed in his “Deadly Dozen”. That should tell you something about how successful this fly can be. I love many of Denny’s flies and I highly recommend this book for your fly fishing library. It includes information and fly patterns like Denny’s Stillwater Nymph and Denny’s AP Emerger, two flies I use a lot. And he covers how to successfully fish lakes, which was very helpful to me as I branched out from being a river fisherman.

The fly can be tied in a variety of color combinations, but the picture above is my favorite, with the burnt orange tail and hackle. The other color I like is black with purple or burgundy hackle. It should be tied sparse to allow movement from the seal or seal substitute dubbing.

I fish this fly with an intermediate fly line and use the count-down method to locate trout. Cast a long distance and count to 10, which allows the fly to sink. Strip back using a variety of retrieves, short and rapid or long and slow. If you don’t get any takes, cast again and count to 15. Continue to experiment until fish are found.

Be sure to use at least 2x or 3x leader because you’ll get some violent strikes!

Denny Rickards Seal Bugger is still popular today and can be found in your local fly shop, or tie some up using the link to my fly pattern sheet. 

To find out more about Denny Rickards, visit his website –

Enjoy…go fish!


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Spring Fly Fishing

I can’t lie. I’ve been a little frustrated lately with spring fly fishing. It always happens this time of year for me. Winter is over and I have expectations of going to the river and see a few mayflies hatching.

I love mayflies.

There is something elegant about that bug.

Cinygmula Mayfly |

I enjoy watching them float down the river and seeing a nose break the surface and eat the bug. Continue reading

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Odds and Ends

It’s time again for another odds and ends post at RiverKeeper Flies. Occasionally, I write one of these to catch you up on additions to the website as well as provide a few recent pictures.

If you don’t follow me on Facebook – @RiverKeeperFlies – or Instagram – @riverkeeperflies, you’re probably missing out on a few pictures. I have some friends, you know who you are, who say they don’t do that social media thing.


So here are a few pictures they might have missed, in no particular order:

A nice Metolus River rainbow.

Metolius Rainbow |

Continue reading

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Clouser Minnow

This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Clouser Minnow.

Clouser Minnow |

This Clouser Minnow is one a friend gave me a couple of years ago.

Bob Clouser invented the Clouser Minnow in 1987 to imitate smallmouth bass on the Susquehanna River.

My quick research found the fly was named by Lefty Kreh as the Clouser Deep Minnow. He used the fly in fresh and saltwater and has caught over 87 species of game fish using the fly.

A #2 saltwater hook was used for the original fly with a white bucktail belly, gold Krystal Flash and natural brown bucktail for the wing. The other color was tied with white bucktail for the belly, silver Krystal Flash, and gray-dyed bucktail.

The Clouser Minnow can be tied in a other popular colors including tan and white, white and black, chartreuse and white, and brown and white.

Tying the eyes on the bottom of the hook inverts the fly so it doesn’t hang up on the bottom. In addition, the heavy eyes cause the fly to have a jigging motion when fished.

The Clouser Minnow is still a very popular streamer pattern. If you haven’t tried one, you’re missing out!

Enjoy…go fish!


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Planting Spring Chinook Fry in Whychus Creek

Last week, my wife and I helped with planting Spring Chinook fry in Whychus Creek. It was the last batch of salmon scheduled to be planted in the Deschutes basin during 2017.

John Planting Spring Chinook Fry in Whychus Creek |

This was a special day for us because these Spring Chinook fry were planted above the town of Sisters, OR, where we live. Whychus Creek flows through our back yard, so hopefully these fish will migrate past our house next year as smolts. Continue reading

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McKenzie Caddis Wet Fly

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

McKenzie Caddis Wet Fly | www.johnkreft.comThis is the companion fly to last week’s TBT fly – the McKenzie Caddis Dry Fly.

As I mentioned in last week’s post, I found these fly patterns from the Caddis Fly Shop in Eugene, OR probably in the 1980’s.

These caddis flies begin hatching in mid-May and is a major hatch anticipated by many fly fishers. And they are big! Females can be in the #8 – 10 range, while males will be a little smaller in size 10 – 12. 

So if you live in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, you better have a few of these bugs in your fly box.

Enjoy…go fish!


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Comparable Fly Fishing Hooks

Have you ever had a problem trying to find a comparable fly fishing hook? You’ve used a certain manufacturer for awhile, but can’t get that hook now and want a similar model? Or you found a new fly pattern you’d like to tie, but it references a hook you don’t have. That’s one of the reasons Fly Tying Hook Conversion Tables exist.

I’m slowly switching to Daiichi hooks. Why? These hooks are incredibly sharp right out of the package. Secondly, I’d like to use hooks from one manufacturer to eliminate the multiple brands I now have in my hook drawer. 

Hook Variety |

I’ve used Dai Riki hooks for many years because they were cheaper. I used them almost exclusively, except for a few Tiemco hooks I like – the 102Y and 206BL. Continue reading

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