Fishing with Nymphs

I’ve been busy tying flies lately. But I was able to get to the river a couple of times recently and reconciled to myself if I really wanted to catch fish, fishing with nymphs was the best solution.

Winter Rainbow with $3 Dip |

What a difference a year makes. Last year by this time, we had five feet of snow that had fallen. I can’t tell you how many hours I was behind my snowblower or shoveling snow. Continue reading

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Favorite Blue Wing Olive Imitations

I returned to the river yesterday looking for rising fish, which didn’t happen. What I found were a variety of bugs floating down the river without fish eating them. Most of them were blue wing olives (BWO), a small mayfly that can hatch almost any month of the year. That got me thinking about my fly box and the fact I needed to restock it with my favorite blue wing olive imitations.

BWO and Imitation |

I wrote a post entitled Blue Wing Olives a couple of years ago where I provided more information about the insects and imitations. I encourage you to give it another read. Continue reading

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3 Basic Dry Fly Styles for Mayflies

This week’s post is about 3 basic dry fly styles for mayflies. I recently wrote a blog about Parachute Flies and that got me thinking about the variety of fly styles available to the fly fisher to imitate the adult mayfly stage.

I thought it might be good to provide the options available with only one insect – a PMD.

PMD on Water |

I love fishing mayfly dry flies. In fact, I was fishing my home waters the other day and couldn’t believe the prolific hatch and wide variety of mayflies…Pale Morining Duns (PMDs), Green Drakes and Flavs, Blue Wing Olives (BWOs), Mahogany Duns, and Pale Evening Duns (PEDs). I think that’s why I really enjoy dry fly fishing so I can watch noses rise or heads come out of the water and hopefully eat my imitation. Continue reading

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Fall and a Dry Fly

Last week I talked about how much I enjoy fall fly fishing. It’s been great this year! What I wanted to share this week is how effective one fly has been for me…a Green Drake Sparkle Dun. Yes, Fall and a dry fly just go together.

Baby Rainbow Trout Eating Big Fly |

Even the smaller fish eat this bug! It amazes me how a small trout rises to a larger fly. This is a #12 fly a 6″ fish ate.

And bigger fish eat them too. Continue reading

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October Fly Fishing

October fly fishing is a special time of year. It’s the last hurrah for both fly fishers AND fish. I’ve said before that fishing tapers off dramatically around November 1, so that means I have less than one month to get my fix for awhile.

So I need to make sure I have the right flies in my fly box.

I knew I had written a post a couple of years ago entitled October Fly Box, so I looked it up. Low an behold, it’s right on for the bugs I saw on the river today.

Let me start with a blanket hatch of PMDs or PMD look-alike mayflies

Blanket Hatch |

This is what I found at the river. It was made up of hundreds of these… Continue reading

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Fran Better’s Haystack

This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is Fran Better’s Haystack.

Haystack |

This is another fly I found while reading Mike Valla’s book entitled The Founding Flies – 43 American Masters, Their Patterns and Influences.

You might recognize this fly because it is very similar to the Sparkle Dun mayflies I tie and fish so much. But the Fran Better’s Haystack is the first of many iterations of this style of fly.

Betters created this fly during his senior year of high school in June 1949. He used Key deer for the wings and tail with a body or either muskrat or opossum dubbing.

Later, Betters used Woodchuck to replace the deer hair because he couldn’t find Key deer any longer. He must have had lots of Woodchuck because he used it in the tails of another fly he created, the Ausable Wulff.

The progression of the fly continued when Al Caucci developed the Comparadun mayfly in the early 1960’s as a variant to the classic Haystack fly pattern. Caucci joined with Bob Nastasi and introduced the fly in 1972 in their first book Comparahatch.

Craig Mathews of Blue Ribbon Flies in West Yellowstone created another variation, using Zelon for the tail and named it the Sparkle Dun.

To find out more about Fran Betters, I highly recommend Valla’s book.

Enjoy…go fish!


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Parachute Flies

I was thinking the other day about the dry flies I use most of the time and the fact they don’t include parachute flies. Sure, I’ll use parachute flies on some rivers and perhaps tie on a Purple Haze in the evening at the spring creek I fish. And sometimes it works.

I gave away a few Purple Haze flies to a friend on the river and I began thinking about how important flies tied with hackles can be.

Purple Haze

Purple Haze |

Continue reading

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Galloup’s Compara Spinner

This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is Galloup’s Compara Spinner.

Galloup's Compara Spinner |

I stayed at Galloup’s Slide Inn on the Madison River during our 2017 fly fishing road trip and I thought it appropriate to feature a few of Kelly’s flies for my Throw Back Thursday Fly feature. I spent some time with him at the shop taking photos of a few of his famous flies and hearing stories of them as well. Continue reading

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Quigley Victory Drake

This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Quigley Victory Drake.

Quigley Victory Drake |

I saw this fly for the first time a little over a week ago during our trip on the Upper Columbia River. If you haven’t seen the post, be sure to read my story of dry fly fishing with Green Drake mayflies is BIG water!

Check out the front view of this fly and you’ll understand why it has a “V” in it’s name.

Quigley Victory Drake Front View |

I don’t know the history of how Bob Quigley created or named the fly, but I liked it the moment my guide Rial tied it on my leader.

You’ll note the Quigley Victory Drake has a few similar materials and style of the Quigley Cripple and the Quigley Hackle Stacker.

Quigley Cripple | www.johnkreft.comQuigleys PMD Hackle Stacker |

When I get more time, I think I’ll have to tie a few of the Quigley Victory Drake for myself!

Enjoy…go fish!


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