March Fly Salon - Stillwater (trout)

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by tkww, Mar 3, 2014.

  1. I like the idea of a salon pertinent to the season, and I almost called for a chironomid salon. However there was some concern about the salon topic being too specific. And with JohnK's recent, excellent 'mid pattern posting... I thought about just a damsel/dragon salon...but the specificity and ScottP's great dragon/damsel SBSs...

    All that said, I'm going to go with a general stillwater salon. For many of us not near the Sound or close to winter-runs, lakes are the primary water de jour and will continue to be for a couple of months or more. So how about seeing some of your favorite stillwater patterns! 'Mids, leeches, damsels, dragons, scuds, callibaetis, boatmans/backswimmers, generic lake attractors, even baitfish, caddis, or flying ant patterns you've had luck with in lakes. There has been a fair amount of postings recently on chironomids and leeches, as there always are. If you're looking for a little variation...there are always the later spring bugs--callibaetis and damsels/dragons.

    Feel free to mention any special/specific tying or material notes. And while this is centered around the tying/pattern, don't hesitate to mention any fishing notes. I doubt many of us only tie and don't fish, so let's hear it--what line or leader, retrieval notes, times of the year or seasonal effectiveness, etc. No need to write an epistle, but a line or two might be helpful for any newbies.

    Feel free to post multiple times--quantity won't be the deciding factor.:) But I'm all for encouraging more participation, not less.
  2. I'll get things going: Many years ago a friend of mine and I were out on a lake--first time either of us had been there. We were in his canoe and sort of blindly trying to figure things out. I didn't know near as much about fishing lakes then as I do now, not that it would have necessarily mattered. The lake had some very deep spots, and looking into the water it was very dark. Not cloudy or dirty water, just bottomless.

    It's been long enough that I don't remember the exact sequence of events, but it went something like this: We were under the impression that we should be looking for a couple specific spots in the lake, and previously in the day we had seen someone anchored up at what we assumed to be one of those spots. As the day progressed those folks left and the wind picked up. Desperate for anything resembling a strike, we paddled back to the car, got a rope out of the trunk, found a large rock with square enough edges to hold the rope and made an impromptu anchor.

    We headed back out and paddled to the spot where we had seen the other people anchored up. I put on this fly with the only thing I had resembling a sinking line--a 10' sinktip that would eventually just take the whole line straight down. I pulled/stripped this fly back up from straight underneath and bam! Fish on! I landed a healthy maybe 18" fish, at which point my friend reminded me about my dubiousness with regards to his anchor idea. Touche.

    I dug out another one of these from my box, got some split shot on his line (he had only a floater), and before too long he was hooked up as well. Sweet! I don't remember catching a ton of fish that afternoon, but we were gloriously spared the skunk and the fish were pretty good sized. No complaints from us.

    I do remember the comedy of us swapping sides of the canoe mid-retrieve as the wind swung us back and forth. And I remember paddling back to the car against that headwind. :rolleyes:

    I can't say this pattern is more effective than a PT or any other rather generic nymph pattern. But I've caught enough fish on it to know it works from time to time. Here are two versions. One is the original with just peacock and PT. The other is has several substitutions for a look and durability.
    Jeff Dodd, McNasty, plaegreid and 4 others like this.
  3. Yeah, I will participate finally!
    Eyejuggler, Nick Clayton and tkww like this.
  4. Here's a few Boobies (not those boobies - booby flies...). These are finding their way on an increasingly regular basis into my stillwater fishing, not so much fished on their own, but fished as one of a team of flies. I find them effective in a number of ways.

    They are great just used as a floating fly to keep the other dropper flies on your leader in the zone that you are targeting. Using a type VI line with a Boobie as the point fly you can keep a variety of patterns (eg: chironomid pupae or bloodworm patterns) fishing on a very slow retrieve just off the bottom. As the point fly off a midge tip they will keep your other dropper flies fishing in the top 2-3 feet, closer to the surface. You can achieve the same effect a number of different ways - fishing vertical under an indicator (targeting a particular zone or depth) or by just varying your line (going to a type 3 etc) so this isn't that much of an advantage. Where I find they really are effective is as an attractor pattern. I don't know for sure, but I've noticed that often fish will take the second or third fly on the dropper behind or in front of the Boobie. I suspect they are attracted to the Boobie first and come in for a look and then see the callibaetis nymph or the bloodworm or damsel, and take the more realistic presentation. Much like a flasher when fishing for salmon I think the white, and brighter colored Boobie flies draw the fish from a distance to come and take a look. Fish will also often take the Boobie fly directly (especially the orange) and I have had good success with this fly on those days when I'm fishing indicators and fish seem to be more interested in the indicator than what is suspended below it.

    I tie these most often on size 6, 8, and 10 hooks. Fish can take them deep so I try to use larger hooks to avoid that. 5mm or 6mm foam works well for the eyes to float the patterns in these hook sizes off the bottom. A few UK companies (and I think Rainy's in the US) make foam eyes specifically for these patterns. I just use round 5mm tube foam in various colors. If you do go this route it helps to round off the corners of the eyes so that the fly does not spin as much during casting. I just take my scissors and trim off the sharp edge.

    I order the body material directly from some of the UK shops as they seem to have the best, brightest colors that is dyed completely through the core material (so you don't see a white core when you wrap it) but you could probably just use regular chenille and the fly would be just as effective. You can also tie "blob" patterns, which are a non floating variation of the Boobie, and they work well to in certain situations.

    Orange, tequila (orange/yellow/white eye), black, white, and olive have worked well for me but the color combinations are endless and I'm sure that they all would work to varying degrees. Overall, a great stillwater pattern to try when you want to mix things up a bit and maybe try something different.

    Attached Files:

    troutpocket, Jeff Dodd and tkww like this.
  5. Here's a bait fish and a crawdad I tied up


    The "internal crawdad artery", or ICA for short


  6. I bet that boobie would work for bass as a goldfish imitation.

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  7. Here are a few more stillwater flies I use a fair amount and just finished restocking my box with. These are balanced leeches and an I fish them most often under an indicator. This allows me to keep the fly in the zone indefinitely. I fish them static, wind drifted or with a retrieve depending on what the fish want on that particular day. As others have pointed out, I'm not sure that the balanced concept is always necessary as I also have good results with regular leech patterns fished under an indicator.

    I seem to have the best luck with variations of black but that is probably because I fish it the most. Black/red and black/blue work well but olive/orange and red do pretty well sometimes too.

    There are lots of ways to tie balanced leeches. I use jig hooks, a loop of wire on a standard hook, or sometimes I just tie my tippet into the eye and tie in a piece of soft wire in the middle of the hook (when tying the pattern) to "re route" the leader through and change the balance of the fly. This works well for balanced scud patterns.

    The flies in the pictures below are tied on Umpqua bl400 jig hooks - size 16 and size 14. A regular straight pin is used to mount the bead. If the bead doesn't have enough weight to balance the fly and you don't want to extend it out too far (making the fly bigger), a few twists of heavy wire behind the bead will usually be enough to balance the fly while keeping it compact. On these flies I used Arizona simi seal dubbing with a light underbody of superglue. I usually comb the fly out aggressively after the glue has set and then dip it in boiling water to make the fibers flow back toward the hook point.

    BL2a.jpg BL3.jpg BL4.jpg BL6.jpg BL7.jpg
    Gary Knowels, McNasty, Irafly and 3 others like this.
  8. Is the fly salon dead?
  9. no-
    kick it off
    constructeur likes this.
  10. Ok Travis YOU WIN
    whats on for April??
  11. Woo hoo! I'll get a new one going!
  12. Oh man, what happened to my post? I must have gone through the process, been distracted by one of the kids and then forgot to hit the post reply button. Oh well, I put ups some good flies I promise. :)

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