This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is Chuck Stranahan’s Brindle Hackle Multi Colored Body Parachute.
Most fly fishers know this fly as the Brindle Chute, a shortened name.
Chuck was the owner of Chuck Stranahan’s Flies & Guides which he closed in February 2022.
Chuck developed the Brindle Chute to imitate the Hecuba mayfly on his home waters of the Bitterroot, but I saw my first Hecuba while fishing the Clark Fork River. The common name is Great Blue-Winged Red Quill and it’s similar to a Green Drake. In fact, I successfully used a size 12 Green Drake imitation when I fished the Clark Fork River. Only after returning home did I learn about Hecuba mayflies.
This month I decided to feature March Brown Mayflies for all the Throw Back Thursday Flies and even though the Brindle Chute is used to imitate a Hecuba, I think I’ll try it during a March Brown hatch.
If you’re a regular here at RiverKeeper Flies, you might recognize this fly because I featured it back in 2019 and found the following information from his website:
“A multicolored mix of dubbing and hackle that mimics light patterns trout see on the water. Use for many similar-colored hatches. Or, fish it as a searching pattern – it produces when nothing else works.”
Chuck talked quite a bit about UV reflective materials and the importance of using them in your flies. He said that calf tail used for the fly post is UV reflective.
He bought an existing shop 32 years ago (when I wrote this in 2019) named the Frustrated Fisherman. He changed the name to Riverbend, but had problems with other types of businesses using the same name. In addition, he would go to trade shows under the Riverbend name and told people his name. People would drive through Hamilton specifically looking for him, but couldn’t find a shop with his name in the title. That’s when he decided to change the name of his shop to – Chuck Stranahan’s Flies & Guides.
He told me his fly shop was the longest running shop under continuous management west of the Continental Divide in Montana, a fact he’s proud of. Other fly shops might have been around longer, but have been sold several times. His shop has been in four different locations, but has stayed in its current location for about 15 years.
I found the following on his website before he closed the shop:
“He began fly tying at eight, and was tying flies commercially at age twelve. He fly-tied his way through college as an Orvis commercial fly tyer and through a ten-year career in education, before opening a full-time fly shop in 1979.
He learned the fly tying craft from masters such as Cal Bird, Polly Rosborough, Darwin Atkins, and Andre Puyans. His style blends their techniques with his own innovations. His fly patterns are becoming standards throughout the West, and are featured in books by Jack Dennis, Gary LaFontaine, Greg Thomas, John Holt, and Randall Kaufmann.
He learned flycasting and fly rod design and manufacture from some of the masters who shaped the sport, beginning as a college student in San Francisco on the Golden Gate Angling and Casting Club ponds. Over the years he fished with many of these same mentors, honing his own skills as an angler.“
I still have a few flies I purchased when I was in Hamilton, MT before he closed the fly shop. I always enjoyed stopping and talking to Chuck.