What is your favorite historic Sea-Run Cutthroat Fly?

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by Steve Rohrbach, Dec 21, 2011.

  1. Great thread Steve, thanks for posting it, and great responses all. Now,I'm off to the book case to find these patterns.

  2. :thumb:

  3. A great topic for a winter day which I'm sure will provide "fodder" for a number of fly tying tables

    As another "old-timer" if fish mostly the "classic" patterns. I just checked my two go to cutthroat boxes and between them there were more than 150 Knudsen spiders in a wide variety of sizes and colors. I fish mostly freshwater for my cutts and typically 95% or more of my fish take a "spider". In the salt the spiders continue to be successful though probably less than 1/2 of my "salty" fish come on spiders; rolled muddlers and other muddler minnow variations have long been other go to patterns.

    Tight lines
  4. Here are pictures of some of the flies mentioned above: Haig-Brown's Silver Brown, Ken McLeod's Skagit Minnow (probably the first imitation of a downstream-migrant pink or chum fry), the Rolled Muddler, a wool head sculpin, the Spruce Fly and Ferguson's Green and Silver (this one actually tied by Bruce himself). Most of these will work well in fresh or salt water.

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  5. Great thread, Thanks Steve. I have poured over Les's books and always intended to start tying some of the older classic patterns. Looks like that time has come. In my short time fly tying and fishing, it's amazing how fast an effective fly moves to the bottom of the box, or even out of it completely. Each week I re-invent and re-design flies, which is the best part of this obsession, but I need to make sure the effective flies stay in rotation.

    One way I have used to pick color combinations is pouring over Letcher Lambuth's, and Art Limber's bucktailing flies. The sparse blending of 4-5 colors has helped me design my herring and sand lance flies when using synthetics. I am going to tie some traditional Lambuth Candlefish and re-introduce them to the salt. There is something about buck tail that I love.
  6. Thanks for posting this thread Steve. This is great!
  7. Thanks for those pics, Preston. This is a great thread, by the way. I've been wanting to get back to my bench and tie up and fish some of these same patterns that have been mentioned, and this is good motivation to hear the wise old heads and top-notch cutt anglers discuss 'em.

    For a long time now, I have planned to tie up some "faux" Silver Browns, substituting something I can scrounge up for the "Indian Crow" feather on the tail.

    The Rolled Muddler is another that I've been meaning to produce in a bunch of various shades, since I'm almost out. I've caught a few on those! I need to fish them more often!

    I have fished the Borden Special and found it to be a good fly for cutts above the head of tidewater here, and for fishing the pools on my way back down as the tide dropped. I had a couple that I bought, but eventually lost 'em. Should try to tie some up!

    The fly I have fished most around here for searun cutts has been the Reversed Spider, but the last two years I have been tying and fishing more traditional Knudsen Spiders, too. I think it is becoming my favorite. The "white ghost" version with some red in the tail has been very effective. I have also been toying with the recipe. I tied up a variation with a small red beard (omitting the red in the tail for that version), and trimmed the hackles on the underside a little to expose the beard better and help make the fly ride upright, and then tied one with a beadhead to make it a better trolling fly off a floating line. Turned out to be an effective pattern for trolling in my favorite estuary, and worked fine casting and stripping, with or without the beadhead. A size 6 has been my "go to" fly for cutts down in the estuary and in the tidal reaches.
    I haven't had as much luck with the Spruce, but I haven't fished it all that much.

    Others that I plan to tie and fish include the Ferguson's Minnow, Johnson's Partridge Spider, and the Silver Minnow.
  8. Nice brace of flies Preston, picture perfect representation of classic coastal cuttroat flies.
    I’ll throw in another streamer pattern that works very well particularly in the estuary’s and that would be another spruce type classic called the Purple Joe.
    For top water I am also a big fan of the Blue Winged Olive particularly in an emerger style and of course Al Troth’s Elk Hair Caddis.

    It’s easy to see how varied coastal cutt patterns can be and it also shows the aggressiveness of these fish that we are blessed to have in our rivers and off our beaches.
  9. Thanks Dale. Jim, the feathers I substituted for Indian Crow (actually South American Fruit crow) are back-to-back, red-dyed hen hackle tips and don't look at all like the real thing. Real Indian Crow feathers are actually pale orange, darkening to a reddish-orange at the tips of the fibers. I once had a recipe for creating a good-looking imitation but it involved several steps involving acid baths and dyes and, after taking one look at it, I decided it was way over the top for me. At any rate, red hen seems to be acceptable to the cutthroat (and coho, and even the occasional steelhead).
  10. Thanks, Preston, I have some red hen hackle. I was also thinking of using Golden Pheasant tippet, but then it would no longer be a Silver Brown, although I think it would work really well.
  11. How old does a fly need to be to be a "historic fly"? I often tie knudsen spiders because they last longer. Kinney's reverse spider is very different from most flies and I have a lot of confidence in that fly both in the salt and fresh water. I wonder if Mike would like to hear it called a historical fly.

    Kelvin - nice flat wings. I am starting to explore them and got to believe they will be awesome for SRCs. I am going to take some to florida and see if I can take some sea trout with them.

  12. cant remember the name of the fly, here is the material list.
    tail: red & yellow hackle mixed.
    body: peacock herl .
    rib: flat silver tinsel.
    hackle: red & yellow mix.
    wing: white calf or bucktail ( I use white marabou ).
    on a long shank hook.
    but really my #1 is .
    Soft hackle in many shades.
  13. I want to thank everyone for contributing to this thread. It reinforces just what a vibrant, creative group of fly fisherman participate here. We are so lucky to have people like Preston who is so willing to share his talent and knowledge. The creativity of kelvin with his double reverse spider. Curt Kraemer has taught me a lot with his tremendous understanding of our diverse fisheries. I have been lucky to fish with Roger Stephens who is the epitome of creativity. Roger brought my Slider to lunch today with junction tubing attached to the front of the tube with the leader trapped out the side (like a riffle hitch) to increase the motion on the retrieve. I am stunned by how much Steve Knapp has grown in his skills in just a year of fishing Puget Sound. His interest in Letcher Lambuth's Candlefish will contribute to the evolution of this historically important fly. Double D's willingness to share his flat wings this summer inspired me. Dry Fly Larry, I look forward to meeting you and fishing your Popsicle, which in time is sure to become "a historical SRC fly." And a thank you to Leland for his already historic Popper.
    Thank you all for contributing to a special early Christmas gift. Roger and I are already scheming about how to update some of these lost treasures with adaptation to tube flies or.......?
  14. 90%+ of all my cutties come to -

    Freshwater: Bucktail Coachman (clear water) and Polar Shrimp/Skykomish Sunrise (colored water).

    Salt: Is a Clouser "historic" yet? If so, light pink over white is my designated search pattern.
  15. Letcher Lambuth was an innovative and imaginative fly tier. In the late forties and fifties he (and others, including Roy Patrick) pioneered salt water fly fishing for salmon and cutthroat. He netted baitfish in Elliot Bay and kept them in a cold, saltwater aquarium in his basement, observing them under differing lighting conditions. This was the basis for his baitfish series (candlefish and herring). I tied this candlefish (actually, a sandlance, the true candlefish being the eulachon, commonly called the Columbia River smelt) using bucktail, though I'm sure Letcher used polar bear hair. The pattern is from an early edition of Roy Patrick's fly pattern book and, if memory serves, the wing consists of three stacked layers; an underwing of mixed pale blue and pale green, a midwing of red, and a topping of mixed olive and French blue. This is one is tied much more sparsely than the one I tied for Les' book and, I think, much better looking.

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  16. beautiful Preston
    as always
  17. I nominate this thread for "Fly Tying Thread Of The Year" SS
  18. How about the Dead Chicken. When nothing else works. It is my go to fly!
  19. John, the Dead Chicken is a great "historic fly" that sadly has been deceased in my Coastal Cutthroat box. It will return to an honored spot. I had a hard time going to sleep last night thinking of all the patterns that this thread will result in my tying in the coming weeks. I encourage all of you to post your efforts in the Salt Gallery so we can all benefit from your efforts.

    Preston's photo this morning is a perfect example of a fly that was a true game changer when tied by Letcher. Preston has taken the inspiration of Letcher's work and tied a fly that will bring many fish to hand this coming year.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season and that you treat yourselves to some special time at the vise.

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