Bright Green Caddis Pupa – 12/11/2017

Bright Green Caddis Pupa 12/11/2017 Photo Album

The bright green caddis pupa has been a solid occupant of my fly box since my early days of fly fishing in Pennsylvania and New York. My 01/10/2012 post provides some background information on my introduction to this fly as well as a materials table. The 12/16/2014 post expands on the eastern story and then extends the history to my move to Colorado. I invite you to check them out.

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Macro View

Fast forward to 2017, and I continue to select the bright green caddis during my frequent fishing trips in Colorado and beyond. Over the last two seasons I modified the bright green caddis pupa abdomen by utilizing chartreuse diamond braid instead of a blend of bright green craft yarn and olive sparkle yarn. I like the additional flash provided by the diamond braid. I renamed this fly the go2 sparkle pupa. Old habits die hard; however, and I am reluctant to totally abandon the dubbed body version. I suspect there are situations where the shiny green body might alarm the trout, and they may display a preference for the more subtle bright green dubbed imitation.

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Displayed on Deer Hair Stubs

My inventory of bright green caddis pupa yielded a total of 41 in my various storage compartments, so I produced four additional flies to increase my stash to 45 for the 2018 season. For some reason I failed to encounter significant caddis activity during the spring in recent years, and consequently the bright green emergent pupa was not in high demand. I hope to change that during the coming season.

Go2 Sparkle Pupa – 12/08/2017

Go2 Sparkle Pupa 12/08/2017 Photo Album

Check out my 01/11/2017 post for the story behind the creation of this productive fly. It continued to excel during the early season of 2017, particularly during the prime grannom emergence period. I deployed the bright green emergent caddis pupa with a dubbed body as well during the previous season, but I now view the go2 sparkle pupa version as my prime choice.

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A Completed Go2 Sparkle Pupa

I like to jig and swing this fly in April and early May to imitate the active grannom pupa on western streams. Quite often the fish are tuned into the image of an emerging or escaping pupa, and a lift or bad mend initiates a grab.

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Necessary Materials

A count of my go2 sparkle pupa flies revealed a supply of twenty-five. I visited my vise and created five additional facsimiles to boost my total to thirty for the new season.

Ultra Zug Bug – 12/07/2017

Ultra Zug Bug 12/07/2017 Photo Album

My relationship with the ultra zug bug goes back to January 31, 2012 (materials list in this post), when I spotted some in my Scott Sanchez fly tying book called A New Generation of Trout Flies. I tied a few to test, and they never spent time on the end of my line until a trip to the Flattops in 2014. Check out my 12/07/2014 blog post, if you are interested in reading the story of how the ultra zug bug morphed from an experimental, never tested fly to my third highest producing nymph.

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Hope the Trout Do More Than Admire

The ultra zug bug has now stood the test of time, and I select it from my box with confidence especially during the early spring and late fall seasons. I use it during times, when I previously opted for a prince nymph, and it performs on par if not better than the classic peacock body nymph.

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A Completed Batch

Tying an ultra zug bug requires only three materials in addition to a hook and bead. The iridescent Ligas peacock number eight dubbing and the sparkling crystal hair rib make this fly stand out, and trout do not seem to miss it. A dry/dropper with a beadhead hares ear and ultra zug bug combination provided me with many fine days of successful fishing in Colorado and western streams.

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Zoomed On Dubbing and Flies

A count of my supply of ultra zug bugs revealed that thirty-three resided in my fly boxes. I tied an additional seventeen to bring my total to fifty for the upcoming season. You can be sure that this simple fly will spend time on my line during 2018.

Hares Ear Nymph – 12/06/2017

Hares Ear Nymph 12/06/2017 Photo Album

During the 2016 season the beadhead hares ear nymph staged a major comeback. As detailed in my 12/11/2016 post, the salvation nymph surpassed the hares ear nymph during 2015 as my workhorse fly. That changed, however, in 2016; and I am able to report that the hares ear continued to fool western trout like no other imitation in my fly box during the 2017 season. The classic gray nymph continued to be the first nymph on my line, and it repeatedly rewarded my steadfast confidence.

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A Pair of New Hares Ear Nymphs

I have little to add regarding the hares ear nymph other than additional rave reviews. You can check out my 11/05/2010 post for a materials list and a description of a few of my variations from the standard hares ear nymph steps and ingredients.

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A Batch of Five Completed

I counted my supply of beadhead hares ear nymphs as I prepared for the winter tying season, and I discovered that I had 95 in my combined storage boxes. I refurbished twelve in late October, so that helps explain the high level for the late season count; however, I inexplicably lost fewer of these flies than one would expect given its frequent presence on my leader. I can only suggest two reasons for this unexpected phenomenon.

During the summer of 2017 I seemed to fish a single dry fly more often than any other year in recent memory. In fact I designated the past season the year of the green drake, as I encountered that highly desirable hatch quite often. In addition to green drakes I fished a single dry fly to yellow sallies, pale morning duns, blue winged olives, small gray stoneflies, and caddis of various sizes and colors. During the late summer and fall I opted for beetles and ants quite frequently, and the cumulative effect of fishing these surface offerings may have displaced dry/dropper time and consequently reduced the shrinkage of my precious nymphs.

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Six Additional Hares Ear Nynphs

A second reason might be that my casting skills improved or at least my awareness of my surroundings increased, and therefore, I lost fewer flies to tree branches, rocks and over sized fish. This is certainly a possibility, but I am skeptical that this explains my extraordinarily large supply of leftover hares ear nymphs.

 

 

Salvation Nymph – 12/05/2017

Salvation Nymph 12/05/2017 Photo Album

Another season passed, and I have little to add regarding the salvation nymph. It remains a mainstay in my fly box and is generally one of the first nymphs that I deploy after a beadhead hares ear. I often use the dynamic duo in tandem, and this combination produces outstanding results. When I compare the two, I assign an edge to the hares ear, as I believe that it produces trout over the entire fly fishing season in Colorado. The salvation nymph also attracts fish in the spring and fall, but it truly distinguishes itself in the June through August time frame. This period coincides with pale morning dun emergence on western freestones and tailwaters, and I believe the salvation nymph is a close approximation of the PMD nymph.

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Shiny Nymph

If you attempt to look up this fly on line, search using tungsten salvation nymph. I tie mine with a standard gold brass bead, but the heavier tungsten is an option if you seek a faster sink rate. You can find a materials table and step by step tying instructions in my 12/30/2011 post. 2011 was my first attempt to tie this fly, and I have made no significant modifications other than to substitute black peacock ice dub for peacock ice dub for the thorax. It would be interesting to experiment with some different color combinations, but this fly is so effective, that I never felt the inclination to dabble with variations. The 2011 post also describes how I was introduced to the salvation nymph, and the comments section includes some remarks from the originator of the fly, Devon Ence.

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Eleven Fresh Salvations

I counted my supply in November and ascertained that my combined storage boxes contained 94. I target a starting quantity of 100 for each season, so I produced six new flies to reach my quota. For some reason I did not lose as many flies to trees, rocks and logs during 2017 as was generally the case in previous seasons.

 

 

Boulder Creek – 12/01/2017

Time: 12:45PM – 3:00PM

Location: City of Boulder

Boulder Creek 12/01/2017 Photo Album

Boulder Creek within the City of Boulder has established itself as my new nearby favorite winter destination. Air temperatures remain fairly consistent with those of Denver unlike other close by Front Range destinations such as South Boulder Creek, Clear Creek and the canyon section of Boulder Creek. Mild winter temperatures are an attraction; however, November 2017 weather has been so conducive to fly fishing, that I rarely needed to resort to the lower altitude alternative. Friday December 1 was an unbelievably balmy day, and I decided to make the short drive up the Boulder Turnpike for yet another day of fly fishing. Yes, you read that correctly. I planed a day of fly fishing in December. I cannot recall fishing in December within the last ten years, although I suspect that I did it sometime in my past.

I left Denver Stapleton at 11:15 and arrived in Boulder by 11:45; however, I attempted to find a different parking location nearer to a heretofore unexplored section of the stream. Unfortunately I was unable to accomplish this goal and ended up at the familiar lot used in prior visits to Boulder Creek. Circling through the back streets of Boulder added thirty minutes to my trip, and by the time I ate my lunch, pulled on my gear, assembled my Orvis Access four weight and ambled to the creek; it was 12:45PM. As forecast, the weather was spectacular with the temperature in the low sixties, and the sun blazed down on the outdoor enthusiasts of Boulder, CO all afternoon.

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Doing Its Job

A yellow fat Albert with an attached two foot length of 5X tippet remained in my frontpack from Monday, so I elected to give it another trial. Beneath the large foam attractor I added a salvation nymph and a beadhead hares ear nymph. These stalwart flies remained on my line for the entire two plus hours that I occupied Boulder Creek. The flows were on the low side and comparable to earlier November visits, but the section that I chose to explore offered numerous deep pools, where the stream residents enjoyed adequate cover. My approaches required stealth but not an excessive amount.

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Surprisingly This Type of Water Produced

I worked my way upstream for two hours and landed seven brown trout to elevate my record cumulative fish count to a nice round number. Check the fish counter tab if you are curious to discover this milestone. The first hour was quite slow, as I coaxed two small browns into my net. One nipped the hares ear and the other nabbed the salvation. In my mind I conceded that I would not reach the sought after cumulative total, but then I approached a promising section with a long wide riffle of moderate depth. This area and some quality water above it yielded five additional brown trout and enabled the attainment of my cumulative goal for the year. The largest fish on the day measured ten inches, and all the fish landed in the second hour grabbed the hares ear.

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Small but Feisty

Landing seven small fish is normally a minor accomplishment, but to do this in December was a welcome experience for this fair weather fisherman. Of course fair weather represented the reason I was on the stream, and I will continue to visit Colorado rivers and streams, as long as mild weather continues to encourage me. Is this the end of my fly fishing season and the start of serious fly tying? Who knows?

Fish Landed: 7