Happy Thanksgiving everyone! This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly are some Cate’s Turkey flies.

Cates Turkey Flies | www.johnkreft.com

I tied these many years ago. I found this fly pattern in Randall Kaufmann’s American Nymph Fly Tying Manual (1975). It was one of my first fly tying books. There were 8 colored pages out of the 90 plus pages showing all the flies presented, plus those of “Part III: Nymph Pattern Dictionary”. I tied a lot of those nymph fly patterns back in the day.

I purchased this used fly wallet, filling it with flies and placing it in my vest pocket. I bet it has a story to tell as well. I wonder who the previous owner was and where they fished.

Old Fly Wallet | www.johnkreft.com

Cate’s Turkey was developed by Jerry Cate in the 1960’s at Davis Lake to imitate Callibaetis mayfly nymphs. Kaufmann wrote “The best method of fishing this nymph is with an incredibly slow “inch” retrieve along the bottom of lakes”.

Click HERE for the fly pattern sheet. You needed a fly to tie on Thanksgiving, didn’t you?

Enjoy…go fish, stay safe!

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  1. Met Jerry Cate while fishing at East Lake in the 60’s. We were wade fishing along the shore at East Lake where an angler near us, it turned out to Jerry Cate, was catching many more fish than my two fishing companions and I were. Eventually he walked by and we started talking about the fishing and asked what fly had been using. Jerry showed us the Cates’s Turkey he was using and the opened up his old Hardy fly box and handed us a half dozen of his nymphs, explained how he fished it, and wished us good luck. Using the flies he shared, we began to catch fish with some regularity. He must have taken pity on the teenagers who were fishing hard, but not experiencing much success. I am going to search through my collection of pattern flies to see if I still have one of his originals. Luckily, the fly showed up in photos in Randal Kauffmann’s early book to capture an image of one. I always have remembered Jerry’s generosity and tried to pay it forward a number of times with other fly fishermen.

  2. Thankfully we do have fly patterns to tie its going to be a long winter. Thanks John I needed this pattern. Can you suggest a caddis Emerger for Crane and East?

    1. Thanks for the Comment Scott. I’ve not used a caddis emerger on any lakes, but my go-to fly would be an Iris Caddis. It’s worked great on moving water…should work on a lake too.


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