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Fly Tying Instructions - Son of Sexy Walt's

Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 04/02/2012 (2678 reads)
by Brian McGeehan
Guest writer for Paflyfish

As a kid growing up in Pennsylvania I dreamed of visiting the Rocky Mountain West to fish those big rivers that I saw in the fly fishing magazines. Western rivers seemed so different compared to the smaller fisheries that I spent my youth on and I was a bit intimidated when I first arrived in Montana on a summer long geology field trip sponsored by Penn State. I quickly fell in love with the massive feel of the biggest rivers and the wide open surroundings. There were definitely some new skills that I needed to develop to be successful on the bigger rivers but I found that the techniques and strategies that I had developed in Pennsylvania also worked in Montana. Some of the most talented anglers I have had a chance to guide often come from Pennsylvania and other eastern states and those fertile wild trout fisheries of the Appalachian mountains are a great training ground for some of the world's best fly fisherman. If you are an Eastern fly fisherman considering a Montana fly fishing trip you will be happy to know that your skills honed on your home rivers will put you in a great position to find success on Western waters. Here are five skills that I learned in PA that have helped me on our local Montana fisheries.

Fishing hatches
The rivers and streams in the ridge and valley province of Pennsylvania have some of the most abundant and diverse hatch sequences of any waters I have had the opportunity to visit. Few locations can compare to the overlapping series of aquatic insect emergence that happen on a single day in late May on waters like Penns Creek, Big Fishing Creek and others. Spending many a day on the fertile limestone streams of central Pennsylvania helped me to pay close attention to the different life cycles of the varied insects. I learned to differentiate between a trout feeding on duns, emergers or spinners. I also began to recognize when trout were on caddis with splashy rises verses the more delicate takes of mayfly species. I learned that trout would switch from one species (or development stage) to another during the course of an evening and that I had to be constantly aware of these changing preferences if I wanted to be successful during each stage of the hatch. These lessons have carried with me when I am fishing Western waters. Trout feeding during an intense pmd hatch on the Missouri can be just a selective as trout rising to sulphurs on the Yellow Breeches. On some freestone waters such as the Madison the hatches do not appear as intense but the same transitions from nymphs, to duns, to spinners still occur and the conditioning to always be on the watch for this frequently pays off.

Getting close
One of the best lessons that I learned as a kid was how to get close to trout and still catch them. My first experiences with a fly rod in Pennsylvania occurred on laurel choked brook trout streams in the Allegheny National Forest. Because of the thick canopy of trees long back casts were not an option and I had no choice but to sneak in close to make a cast. Western streams and rivers are much more open than their Eastern counterparts and anglers are not forced to get close. I have found that getting as close as possible to the holding water is still a great strategy. The closer you are to the fish the better the presentation will be and the faster the hook set will be. It is very easy to get caught swinging for the fences by making longer than needed casts simply because the wide open landscape permits it.

Spring creeks and tail waters
Pennsylvania is home to some of the most fertile spring fed streams in the world. These productive fisheries are home to high concentrations of healthy wild trout and abundant macro invertebrates. The glassy currents on waters like the Letort and Big Spring require stealthy approaches and carefully placed casts. When fishing these waters as a youth I learned that I needed to carefully plan out each cast before approaching a run. The angle of my position to the fish was extremely important and I began to understand that finding ways to present the fly to the fish before the leader definitely increased the chances for success. Montana is also home to some of the worlds finest spring creeks along with dam released tail water fisheries like the Bighorn, Missouri and Beaverhead that produce spring creek like conditions. My experiences on the Eastern limestone streams helped me to feel right at home when I first visited the legendary Paradise Valley spring creeks like Armstrong and Nelson.

Small streams are fun too!
Even larger Pennsylvania trout streams with the exceptions of tail waters like the Delaware and Allegheny would be considered small by Western standards. When I first moved to the West I spent most of my time on the famous blue ribbon rivers like the Madison, Yellowstone and Missouri because fishing such a massive body of water for trout was new and exciting. As time went on I began to explore the bountiful smaller fisheries that reminded me of home. One of the great things about Montana is that nearly every body of water no matter how big or small seems to hold trout in the Western half of the state. Montana also allows public access to any fishery as long as anglers remain inside of the high water mark.

How to thoroughly work a run
Although there is still plenty of water in Pennsylvania to enjoy there also a lot more people. On some waters like Penns Creek or Spring Creek during famous hatches like the Green Drake or Sulphur the influx of anglers coming for the hatch limited the amount of water available. I learned that if I was in a good run that I had better make the best of it and thoroughly work the water before moving on. Montana rivers receive much less pressure compared to the East and we have the luxury of moving a long way without worrying about being crowded by numerous other anglers (with some exception like the easily accessed wade areas on the Bighorn). Although some days covering as much water as possible is the way to go there are times when slowing down and really dialing into a run is beneficial. When I know that trout are heavily concentrated in a run I will make a few passes through it. If I am nymph fishing I often make a shallow pass with less weight and a shorter indicator to pick off the more aggressive fish first. The shallower rig allows me to detect strikes faster and get a higher percentage of hookups. Eventually I will work the run with a heavier rig and longer leader to get to fish that are in the deeper and heavier water that are not willing to move far to feed.

Brian McGeehan is the owner and outfitter of Montana Angler Fly Fishing in Bozeman, MT. He is a native of Western Pennsylvania where he spent his youth chasing trout across the Keystone state. Montana Angler Fly Fishing is also a sponsor on Paflyfish.

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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 01/16/2012 (4294 reads)
By Gaeron Friedrichs (gaeronf)

stoneflyAs we all know, winter is here. To me, it sure doesn’t feel like it. There’s no snow at all. But since its winter, it’s time to go to the winter flies. When someone says winter flies, I typically think big stoneflies, or little midges. Here I’m going to show you a pattern I developed. The Goldilocks Stonefly is a golden stonefly representation. Keep in mind, this isn’t just a winter fly, it can be used year round, but it is a super effective fly in the winter. It incorporates some great realistic and attractive aspects. For example, the use of rubber legs and Australian Possum give the fly superior movement. Typically you want stones to be super heavy. I use a tungsten bead on this fly, along with a great deal of lead (or lead free) wire. This is due to the fact that the abdomen, legs, and thorax is all natural material. As some of you may or may not know some natural furs, like hare’s ear and possum, will decrease the sink rate of a fly. That’s why we balance the fly out with the extreme weighting. Like I said before, the rubber legs (used for tails and antennae) will give the fly great movement, and the fly will breathe great with all the natural materials. The back will give the fly a little contrast and flash, and the thick rib gives a distinct ribbing. The hook I love to use is a Skalka Streamer hook. This hook is super strong, and has a ridiculous point. So first, let’s look at the exact recipe:

Goldilocks Stone
Hook-Skalka Streamer Hook size 6
Bead-Matching Gold Tungsten Bead
Additional Weight-A large portion of lead wraps. Used here is .025. Be as liberal or as stingy as you wish
Thread-Golden Stonefly colored Danville’s Flat Waxed Nylon
Tails and Antennae-Gold or yellow rubber legs. Round or square doesn’t matter. Barring optional.
Rib-Brown, Copper, or Amber colored MEDIUM UTC wire
Abdomen-Australian Possum/Icelandic Sheep Golden Stone Blend
Abdomen Cover-1 strand of wide Mylar tinsel
Thorax- Australian Possum/Icelandic Sheep Golden Stone Blend
Thorax Cover-2 strands of wide Mylar tinsel
Additional Materials-Brown and Black Sharpie

Read detailed instructions here.
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 08/09/2011 (5625 reads)

Double Standard from Tightline Productions on Vimeo.

I couldn't help but offer another fly of the month once I saw this exceptional video. Tim Flager provides detailed instructions on tying a fly that is half pheasant tail nymph and half bead head hare's ear nymph. This pattern is very easy to tie and works exceptionally well.

Tightline Productions is a full-service video production company located in Califon, NJ. Tim Flagler can be contacted through the company website at Tightline Productions.
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 06/19/2011 (2412 reads)
Fly of the Month: Olive Woolly Bugger
by Tightline Productions

Tightline Productions has done a real nice video giving a step by step for Olive Woolly Bugger. This is one of my favorite flies to use almost year round. In the spring when there is no hatch or in the summer going for bass, I just love tossing this woolly bugger for some action. Enjoy.

Olive Woolly Bugger from Tightline Productions on Vimeo.

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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 05/11/2011 (10529 reads)
By FlyfishingNZ

Sulphur EmergerIt is almost time for the sulphurs (ephemerella dorothea) to start appearing on Spring Creek, my local PA trout stream. The hatch starts around the beginning of May and you can expect to see them up until the end of June, however with this years weather it could be all over the place. While the weather is bad and the rivers blown out it is time to experiment with tying for this hatch.

For the sulphur tying swap I decided to put together this little number that also incorporates a number of skills I picked up from Oliver Edwards. This is not completely my own creation but my inclusion of a weaved body makes the fly that little bit more interesting. By using a weave it is possible to achieve a two tone body section which can not be easily achieve with straight tying techniques, unless you little marker pens.

This fly sits low in the film surface and the tail section should sit below the film giving the trout that perfect silhouette. Even before the sulphur hatch has begun I have seen some very nice trout being fooled into taking this fly.

I hope that you enjoy this step-by-step guide to my weaved body sulphur emerger and it brings you much enjoy on the river as it has for me.

Tight Lines,


Step by Step Guide after break

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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 03/27/2011 (6509 reads)
By Alan Ritt

Ritt’s Fighting CrayfishThere are times when I just don’t feel inspired to sit down and tie more of “the same.” Whether “the same” means flies others and I have tied for years, or it means patterns I’ve conjured up and like to think of as more or less mine. The point is a change is needed.

During one of these restless periods a decade or so ago I was thinking to myself that I didn’t fish nearly enough large flies. You know, the ones regularly hanging from the jaws of those fish in the pictures of each day’s newest instant hero. Not that I felt like I should be that hero, but sometimes you just want a shot at a larger fish. Another streamer or leech pattern just wasn’t what I was craving though. I wanted something more interesting. My mind gravitated to the crayfish.

Though there were a lot of effective crayfish patterns around, I wasn’t convinced there weren’t improvements to be made. I needed a pattern that would swim, crawl or rest in a realistic posture and was snag resistant enough to fish around cover where crayfish are commonly found. The details of the trial and error are entertaining stories of their own (like the version that, though heavily weighted, floated in the surface film).

Suffice it to say I did come up with a pattern that has been extremely effective for many species of fish and in many types of water and fishing conditions. The pattern incorporates the hard shiny carapace and multitude of legs, antennae and other appendages of the natural. It has lots of movement in the water, even when not being actively manipulated. The hook not only rides up, but the posture of the fly places the hook eye down and the bend up in the water column to make it relatively snag free even without a weed guard (or fish guard as I think of them). And unlike all other crayfish patterns I’ve seen, the main arms and claws do not lay limply behind the fly as if it was dead, but are held high like a natural warding off a predator and collapse behind the fly when stripped just as a live crayfish holds them when swimming.

I’ve used this fly myself to catch trout, largemouth and smallmouth bass, bluegills, crappie, bullheads, silver salmon and bonefish. Others have told me of catching carp, walleye and pike as well. Below is the recipe, vary the color to match the crayfish in your local waters (there are many variations) and let me know how you do! My flies are available on and also my own web site has patterns and information on my tying demo appearances, lessons, guide services and flies as well as my contact information below.
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 02/07/2011 (3499 reads)
Quill Gordon Crippled Real Wing
by Sandfly

quillBack in the late 60’s and early 70’s while fishing in the Pocono’s I fished the early season hatches there every year. The first big hatch was the Quill Gordon hatch. While the wet fly and nymph were productive the dry fly was not so productive for me. Even though I used the standard pattern I could not get consistent takes.

For years this went on and I became frustrated with the hatch. After moving to Ansonia in 2006 I found there is a heavy hatch of Quill Gordon's here at times on Pine Creek.

Again I was frustrated by the lack of surface takes on my flies I used. I experimented with different dries for the Quill Gordon with the same results. I think it was because the flies pop so fast the trout didn’t want them so much.

While sitting on the bank one day watching the hatch I saw a brown feeding on the surface. As I watched I noticed he was taking flies that were not riding high but the ones riding low in the surface. I went home and tied a few down wing flies and went back the next day.

They worked I started getting more fish on the down wing. I thought I could come up with a better fly yet and sat down and tied the Quill Gordon Crippled using raffia for the wing instead of the old standby of wood duck. Along with this I changed the body from a quill body to a dubbed dirty olive/yellow dubbing with a peacock quill rib. This did it and my catch rates went up.

Now when the Quill Gordon’s are hatching I make sure I have these in my box along with the old patterns too.
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 01/28/2011 (3755 reads)
Congratulations to Paflyfish member Dean Myers (djmyers) for winning the Grand Prize at the national fly-tying contest sponsored by Feather-Craft Fly Fishing. Dean recently was featured on Paflyfish with his Blue Winged Olive CDC Cripple tie posted in the blog back in September.

fallDean's original award winning Chain Gang Stonefly is designed with a unique thorax that helps the fly sink quickly.

Myer's is a resident of Lancaster County and when not tying is a full time computer programmer in New Holland, Pa.

More details about the is annoucement can be found at the the fly tying contest website here.

More of Dean's flies can be found over at
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 01/10/2011 (5214 reads)
By Matt Kern (mkern)

greg"I created this fly for a few reasons. Mainly because I never seemed to catch fish on caddis, but I knew how abundant they were in most streams. I heard people rave about LaFontaine’s Sparkle Pupa all the time, but didn’t really like the fly itself. I read/heard how the antron formed a bubble much like the natural as the fly ascends to the surface to hatch. I definitely wanted to recreate that bubble on the caddis pupa, but try and be a little more “realistic” (well as realistic as feathers and fur can get.) So I decided to create my own version.

Little did I know that the material that I selected to represent the bubble (the vinyl tubing) would do more than look like trapped air. It also acts like a bumper on a car. It allows the fly to bounce along the bottom, but there is a better feature yet… The softness of the tubing gives the angler another second to set the hook. The tubing is soft and the fish tend to chew it longer, or not reject it as soon.

I almost always use one of these flies in a tandem rig. It can have a bunch of weight to get the rest of the flies down and catches fish every outing for me. I will say, in the “non-peek” caddis seasons I tend to hook smaller fish, but the opposite is true in early Spring and in the Fall. The color scheme I show here is not the only one. You can tie many variations as well, like yellow-bellied, tan-bellied, cream-bellied, etc. There is also very little wasted materials with this fly. This is a fly I like to use year round.

Matt started fly tying and fishing about 10 years ago. He has worked at E. Hille's back in 2006 - 2007 as a custom fly tyer and rod builder. Matt offers a fly tying club at the school where he teaches.
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 12/13/2010 (4779 reads)
By David Weaver

Scuds, or freshwater shrimp, are a staple in the diet of trout. Here in Pennsylvania, they’re associated mainly with limestone streams but in my experience they are widespread in many waters although they are indeed especially numerous in the famous limestoners.

Here in the Cumberland Valley I use scud flies year round and rely on them greatly during the colder months of the year.

Many scud flies, in my opinion, are tied too bulky and stubby.

If you look at scuds, take the time to observe them while they’re actually in the water: they tend to be rather elongated, usually dark olive in color, and they are strong swimmers in short bursts, moving several inches with a strong wiggle motion. Upon coming to rest, they return to the curled shape.

scud"Cress bugs or “sow bugs” by contrast, aren’t swimmers and dead drift when dislodged. Many tiers prefer their scuds heavily weighted by I prefer them un-weighted. This seems to work well for me when sight nymphing.

When you see a trout rooting in weeds – a common sight on weedy limestoners – they’re usually in pretty shallow water or up high against weed beds. An un-weighted scud can be cast ahead of the fish and won’t plunge down in the weeds and snag. Remember, when flushed out from weeds and cover, scuds will dart. As your un-weighted scud drifts toward the trout, give it a twitch and watch that trout!

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