This week’s Throw Back Thursday fly is Charlie Card’s Cicada.

Card's Cicada |

I recently tied a few of these flies for a customer, which is why I’m posting this fly today. I wanted to know who was behind Card’s Cicada.

Charlie Card is a well-known guide on Utah’s Green River, which is where this Cicada fly pattern was developed.

The following information is from Spinner Fall Guide Service in Dutch John, UT:

“Charles Card is a self-taught fly fisher who has had a passion for the long rod as long as he can remember. At age eleven he vowed to fish with his own bug puppets on a fly rod, or go fishless. It’s a limitation that he has been happily adhering to since. Charles grew up close enough to the Green River below Flaming Gorge Dam to ride his bike over for an afternoon of water time.

At 13, he was offered a job at Bigfoot Fly Shop, which turned his dreams of being a fly fishing bum into a reality. After his first drift boat trip with “Lucky Lyle”, he knew his next mission in life was to have a boat of his own. By fifteen, enough flies were tied and sold to buy his first one.

Guiding was just a natural course of action for Charles, and with his river skills already honed well before age 18, had many offers from outfitters to guide. The day after his 18th birthday was the day that beginners as well as seasoned anglers hopped into his boat wondering what in the world that little kid could ever teach them about the art of fly fishing on the Green. Many of them have been impressed enough to return each year and see what else is up his sleeve.

Always striving to improve his skills keeps Charles researching and practicing both on and off the water in every channel of the river of knowledge on the sport. Someday he hopes to know what it’s like to be an accomplished angler, but still has a long way to go.

Besides trout, he loves fishing carp, bass, bluegill, pike/muskellunge, steelhead and every saltwater species that has ever taken his fly. Charles does have a few other hobbies and passions which include keeping his wife happy (which involves letting her out fish him at least once a year), water fowling and bird watching, traveling (especially by boat), photography, cycling, and family time.”

I’ve never fished a Cicada hatch, but read from the Spinner Fall website I should add the Green River, UT to my fly fishing road trip schedule.

Cicadas hatch from the ground in late May or early June and remain active for about a month. Some years, there are only a handful while other years will see multiple broods of these insects.

I know other areas of the country have Cicadas as well as Patagonia. I’ll report back on the latter in a few months.

Your local fly shop may have this fly pattern in stock as the flies are sourced through Montana Fly Company.

If you are a fly tyer, here is a link to my RiverKeeper Flies YouTube channel where I show how I tie this variation:

Enjoy…go fish!

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  1. John a passing thought . We just lost Dave Whitlock over thanksgiving.How about you doing his red fox squirrel nymph on throwback Thursday? Thank you

    1. Thanks for leaving a Comment Drew. You’re the second person to mention Dave Whitlock’s passing. I had the same thought. Look for the next TBT.


  2. New Zealand’s north island has them too. In 1989 I caught 2 4kg browns on the Tongariro River plus several smaller rainbows on a cicada pattern that used filament strand packing tape for the wing.

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