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 | www.johnkreft.com

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

Don’t get me wrong. I like caddis and stoneflies too. In fact, I tied up a few Chubby Chernobyl flies last week in anticipation of the upcoming Salmonfly and Golden Stone fly hatch that should begin next month.

Chubby Chernobyl - Purple | www.johnkreft.com

And I hope to fish the Mother’s Day Caddis hatch on the Yakima river next week. I’ll be travelling to Ellensburg, WA for the 2017 Washington Fly Fishing Fair, where I will be a demonstration fly tyer. Be sure to stop and say “hi” if you plan to attend.

Speaking of caddis, my newest idea for a fly has worked pretty well the last month. It’s still a secret fly, but I continue to test it. It’s one of my “beta” flies.

I call them “beta” flies for some reason. It reminds me of computer software released early that users test. That’s what I do with some of my fly ideas. I don’t name them. They become a Green Drake “beta” or an October Caddis “beta”. I landed a few in the past couple weeks and my wife asked what fly I was using. I responded…”one of my beta flies”.

Here’s what it looks like…

Rainbow Trout Tongue | www.johnkreft.com

Can’t get a good look at it, can you. Good! I’m still in the testing phase.

But I digress. Back to fishing.

I did have a good fishing day last week when I decided to nymph. In fact, I landed four fish…2 rainbows and 2 whiteys (or whitefish). I always say whitefish need love too.

The $3 Dip continues to work well.

Metolius Rainbow and $3 Dip | www.johnkreft.com

So did the Higas SOS.

Higas SOS | www.johnkreft.com

Since fishing has been slow, I’ve been tying flies. I finished a large fly order for a good customer of mine. One of the flies he ordered was the Hatchmaster Green Drake. While I had the materials out, I decided to tie up a dozen for Dancing Trout and me to fish next month. It won’t be too long before the Green Drakes start hatching!

Hatchmaster Green Drake Flies | www.johnkreft.com

I added the fly pattern sheet for the Hatchmaster Green Drake, which includes a few extra pictures for you fly tyers out there. I was afraid to tie this fly a several years ago because I didn’t like how I used the feather to create the body. But that has changed.

Hatchmaster Green Drake Body Prep | www.johnkreft.com

It’s like anything in life…it just takes a little practice.

The hackle used for the fly is from Collins Hackle Farm in Pine City, NY. I’ve used Whiting hackle for may years and really like it. But a friend of mine I met at the International Federation of Fly Fisher’s Fair in Livingston, MT last August showed me his stash of Collins hackle. In fact, he tied up a classic Pink Lady Catskill style fly for me that I used in a Throw Back Thursday Fly post last summer. I was able to check out the colors, barb stiffness, and stem diameter and strength of the feathers. I was impressed.

Pink Lady | www.johnkreft.com

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Whiting Farms hackle. But the problem I have is finding hackle big enough for some of the flies I tie. Many of the capes I used have a limited number of feathers I need for size 8 and 10 flies. I’ve started using Whiting EuroHackle saddles to find the larger size feathers in 10 – 14.

So I decided to order a few capes from Charlie Collins, hoping to find more usable large feathers. I’m VERY pleased to say the least. The barbs are stiff, with strong quills that remain flexible for wrapping around a hook shank.

Collins Hackle Farms Barred Dun Cape | www.johnkreft.com
Collins Hackle Barred Dun Closeup | www.johnkreft.com

So I got out my Nikon D7100 camera with the Sigma macro lens and took a series of pictures of the dyed mallard feather and how I prep it. I hope it helps my fly tying friends. Be sure to check out the Hatchmaster Green Drake fly pattern sheet for the detailed photos.

I hope you are out for a little spring fly fishing. I’ll be out on the river this week between rain showers, watching for hatches and noses.

Like this one…

Metolius Redside | www.johnkreft.com

Enjoy…go fish!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Similar Posts


  1. Hi John,
    As always, loved your post. You know what is irritating about Spring? I’ll tell ya! After waiting for decent weather through a long, though winter now we have to wait for the runoff to slow down. With all the water/snow this year, I expect runoff to last a bit longer than normal. All that said, I really do find many more things to love about Spring than I find irritating. I’m just rocking on ready to do some stream fishing and most of the waters close by are blown out (at least for this ole guy. Enough said!. We’ll see you in Ellensburg, WA next week. Take care & …
    Tight Lines – Al Beatty

    1. Al

      Thanks for your comment! I can see you have a little spring fever as well. Looking forward to seeing you and Gretchen next week.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.