Category Archives: Fly Tying

Blogs related to tying flies

Hippie Stomper – 01/10/2021

Hippie Stomper 01/10/2021 Photo Album

In recent years the hippie stomper emerged as my number one dry fly. Most of my dry flies are seasonal in nature, as they imitate specific hatches such as pale morning duns, green drakes and caddis flies. The hippie stomper is a foam attractor  that does not imitate a single hatch, but instead it is a generally buggy foam creation that captures the attention of the fish year round. For a short narration on where and how I used this fly successfully, click on this link to my last post, 11/26/2019. Contained within this blog post are links to earlier writing including my introduction and a materials table.

Nice View

During 2020 the hippie stomper continued to shine throughout the season. It is particularly effective on small high mountain creeks, where I routinely begin with the stomper riding solo on my line. If I can get away with responsiveness to a sole dry fly, why mess with the inherent tangles that accompany a dry/dropper approach? However, a size 12 or 14 hippie stomper can support one or two beadhead nymphs, if the fish are seeking their meals below the surface of the creek. During this past summer season, I experimented with a double dry set up with the hippie stomper typically in the first position and a green drake, stimulator, caddis or pale morning dun dry fly on the point. The white winged hippie stomper enabled me to easily track both flies, and quite a few successful days resulted from this approach.

Climbing Over Each Other

Purple Haze Hippie Stomper

I counted my supply of hippie stompers and determined that I needed to tie nine with a peacock body to restore my beginning inventory to twenty-five. Clearly the hippie stomper occupied my line extensively, and this led to the inevitable shrinkage in supply. After I spun out the nine replacement flies, I tied a batch of five with a medium olive ice dub body, and then I added five more with a purple body. I bought purple dubbing in advance of making some purple haze parachute flies, and I was curious whether the same purple body might prove effective on the already lethal hippie stomper. I cannot wait to enter hippie stomper mode in 2021.

Five Olive Ice Dub Versions

Sunk Ant – 12/21/2020

Sunk Ant 12/21/2020 Photo Album 

For years I read magazine articles about the effectiveness of sunken terrestrials, and the insect at the top of the subsurface list was generally the ever present ant. Think about it. Ants are everywhere, and they travel in armies, and inevitably they fall or get blown into the water. Once in the water they are highly vulnerable, and assuredly many give up the fight and drown. Because they are small and narrow, they are not buoyant, so dunkings are probably frequent happenstance among the ant colonies. Unlike large terrestrials such as grasshoppers and crickets, ants are tiny and difficult to observe, even when they remain struggling on the surface. Consider the number of ants that float past an angler on every fishing trip that go undetected.

Other Side

On rare occasions I experimented with a sunken ant during my many forays to western rivers, but I never enjoyed quick success. On 08/27/2020, however, the game changed. I knotted a hard bodied ant to my line a foot or so below a visible surface fly, and during an hour of fishing at the end of the day, the ant accounted for seven gorgeous cutthroat trout. Eventually I broke off the ant, and I was certain that it was the only remaining fly of that type in my storage boxes. Eventually I uncovered another one in my back up plastic bin, but I yearned for a larger supply for the upcoming season.

HookSize 14 or 16 dry fly hook
Thread6/0 Black
Rear BumpLead wire or Black Bead
LegsMottled pheasant feather
Front BumpThread and black bead

Just before Christmas I sat down at my vise to remedy the absence of sunken ants in my fly inventory. I initiated a search online for sunken ants and stumbled across a tying video on YouTube by Kelly Galloup of streamer creation fame. I viewed the video, and I liked the simplicity of it, so settled on the sunk ant as my subsurface ant fly of choice. Kelly repeatedly stressed that simply tying an ant by forming two lacquered bumps with thread with a couple twists of black hackle was a killer pattern, but he offered his with slight modifications as an alternative. For my first size 16 ants I mostly followed his instructions, but I utilized a nickel bead behind the eye rather than a black bead, since I did not possess black in the necessary size. Before I started my thread, I wrapped three twists of lead wire to form a base for the rear bump. Otherwise it was the same pattern, as the one demonstrated by Kelly. I covered the lead wire with a massive quantity of wraps of black thread, and then I moved to the front of the hook. I attached the pheasant feather by the tip and built a smaller front bump behind the nickel bead and then folded the feather forward to create legs and a narrow shell on top of the front bump.

Two Black Beads Used

For the size 14 ant I slid two black beads on the hook. I began my thread at the bend of the hook behind the rear bead and built a dam that tapered to the top of the bead. I completed a whip finish and then reattached the thread and built up a tapered front section in front of the rear bead. The remainder of the fly was the same as a size 16, except that I had a black bead for the front that fit the larger hook. When I was done I applied lacquer to the front bump, but I utilized UV resin to coat the larger rear bump. Kelly does not favor the look of UV resin on his ant bumps and is perfectly happy with thread wraps soaked in head cement, but I liked the epoxy look for my rear bump.

Thread, Pheasant Feather and UV Resin

I made five size 16 and five size 14 sunk ants, and hopefully this will be an adequate supply for the 2021 season. If not, it means that I have discovered a new killer fly for my fly fishing future.

Pat’s Rubber Legs – 12/19/2020

Pat’s Rubber Legs 12/19/2020

Who was Pat? I always wonder about this, when I approach my vise to produce some of the weighted wiggly stonefly imitations. I tied several batches of these in a yellow-brown chenille to imitate molting golden stoneflies in the early 2000’s, but then I drifted away from this popular fly. I reprised the Pat’s rubber legs last winter after glowing reports from my friend, Dave G. Check out my post of 01/10/2020 to familiarize yourself with my history with this fly as well as a materials table.

Wild Legs

My reintroduction of Pat’s rubber legs got off to a roaring start, when I landed two rainbows on it during my first outing of 2020. Check out my post of 01/26/2020 to read more about this rare winter outing. I tied the rubber legs to my line on several subsequent spring outings, but unfortunately, as the season developed, I strayed from my Pat’s rubber legs revival campaign. When I showed Dave G. the flies that I produced, he said they were not quite the same color as the ones that produced outstanding results for him on the Eagle River and Colorado River. I based my choice of variegated chenille on the fact that his guide called it a pickle fly. For my winter tying session in December 2020 I purchased some coffee and black chenille at Charlie’s Fly Box, and I manufactured five of these weighted stonefly imitations. Hopefully  I give the green and coffee rubber legs a trial in 2021, and if I do, perhaps I will enjoy success similar to Dave G.

Pat’s Rubber Legs Coffee-Black

Olive Midge Larva – 12/18/2020

Olive Midge Larva 12/18/2020 Photo Album

For some reason I seem to have an aversion to fishing midges. On the occasions when I knot one to my line I experience reasonable success, but season after season I default to my larger and more popular nymphs, thus allowing limited opportunities for the tiny but ever present midges to shine. My post of 12/10/2015 describes a few details from my interaction with the zebra midge, a close cousin of the olive midge larva.

Keep It Simple

I counted all my midges and determined that I had eight of the olive variety in my combined storage compartments. I decided to increase the stock to ten and whipped out two additional midge larva. The basic midge larva is probably my fastest tie. It takes longer to feed the tiny bead on to the hook than to spin out the larva, since one fly only requires thread and a rib. Perhaps I will deploy the olive midge more often in 2021.

Ready for Action

Scuds – 12/18/2020

Scuds 12/18/2020 Photo Album

Scuds, scuds and scuds. According to most knowledgeable sources (fly fishing magazines), scuds are an important food source to trout around the world particularly during the winter months. While aquatic insects lie dormant in their nymph form, scuds continue to cling to aquatic vegetation and consequently get dislodged on a fairly frequent basis. Hungry winter trout do not miss the opportunity to grab these nourishing bits as they float by. We all love shrimp cocktail!

Fresh Water Shrimp

My post of 12/20/2019 described my hiatus from fishing scuds and also outlined some of my successes during the 90’s, when an orange scud in April and May was a ticket to a full net. The piece from December 2019 also highlights a few of my deviations from the standard scud tying procedure. Rather than waiting another twenty years to replenish my supply of scuds, I counted my current stock in my various storage containers, and I determined that I needed three additional gray and one olive. I fished scuds a few more times than normal in 2020, and that perhaps accounted for the shrinkage in inventory.

Nice Lighting

I am determined to give scuds a fair trial in 2021. They worked in the 90’s, and the experts swear by them, so I am convinced that a vote of confidence from this angler will yield results.

A Batch of Four with the Needed Materials

Classic RS2 – 12/07/2020

Classic RS2 12/07/2020 Photo Album

If inventory depletion is an indication of the popularity of a fly, then the RS2 remains as a stalwart among my collection of baetis nymph imitations. I fired up the vise and produced seven new classics; whereas, the sparkle wing versions remained adequately stocked. To read my latest narrative on the positive qualities of the classic RS2, click on this link to last year’s post. For a materials table and a nice discussion of my material substitutions, browse on over to my post of 01/21/2011.


I maintain a supply of baetis nymphs ranging from the sparkle wing RS2 to the super nova baetis, but it is hard to beat the productivity of the classic RS2. I continue to stock an ample supply for the regular blue winged olive hatches in the spring and fall. I cannot wait for the 2021 spring emergence to kick off another season.

Completed Batch

Super Nova Baetis – 12/05/2020

Super Nova Baetis 12/05/2020 Photo Album

As described in my previous post I experimented with the super nova series created by @hopperjuan_fly_fishing. I began with the PMD version, since it performed decently in some brief trials, but the baetis form of the super nova also nabbed a few fish during blue winged olive hatches. With this favorable background I decided to augment my supply of these flies as well.


My post from last April during the early stages of the covid19 pandemic provides a materials table and an explanation of some of the substitutions, that I adopted. I manufactured eight new super nova baetis, and I am anxious to allocate more line time to these flashy baetis nymph imitations.

A Favorite Shot

Super Nova PMD – 12/01/2020

Super Nova PMD 12/01/2020 Photo Album

The super nova PMD burst on the scene, just as one would expect from an explosive celestial body. During my recovery from heart surgery and during the early months of the covid pandemic, I tied an array of new flies to occupy my time. The super nova flies created by @hopperjuan_fly_fishing caught my attention, and I began with five PMD’s and five baetis.

Slim Rib Ribbing

Throughout the 2020 season I tested these flies, and both generated positive results, although the PMD version surpassed the baetis adaptation. During several outings I knotted the super nova to my line in situations, where I would normally opt for a pheasant tail nymph or salvation nymph, and it performed well. I do not view it as a replacement for the top producing salvation, but I am very comfortable with it replacing the pheasant tail nymph. The fly looks quite similar, and it is a much simpler tie. In addition I believe the materials are more durable than the fragile pheasant tail fibers that form a large proportion of the pheasant tail nymph.

Ten Super Nova PMD’s

My post of 04/12/2020 provides a nice description of the super nova and its applications, and it also provides a materials list. I tied five in April 2020, and my glimpses of success prompted me to tie an additional ten to bring my inventory to fifteen. Meanwhile I continue to work off my ample inventory of beadhead pheasant tail nymphs.

Emerald Caddis Pupa – 11/29/2020

Emerald Caddis Pupa 11/29/2020 Photo Album

For the story of the rise of the emerald caddis pupa to a prominent fish attractor, please view my post of 01/01/2012. This post also provides a materials table. The prime caddis season during 2020 coincided with my recovery from mitral heart valve repair, and this circumstance translated to less than normal shrinkage in my inventory of caddis pupa flies. This held true for the emerald version, and consequently I only produced three additional flies in my recent tying session.

Lots of Scraggly Fibers

My usage of the emerald caddis pupa continues to be fairly consistent, as it ranks only behind a top tier of flies that includes the hares ear nymph and salvation nymph. Hopefully the administration of a coronavirus vaccine and improved personal health will enable me to spend more time on the rivers and streams in the spring pre run off time period, and the emerald caddis pupa will occupy significant time on my leader.

Nice Little Pocket

Go2 Sparkle Pupa – 11/28/2020

Go2 Sparkle Pupa 11/28/2020 Photo Album

My 12/08/2019 post summarizes my interaction with the go2 sparkle pupa, and my 01/10/2012 blog post provides a materials table, although chartreuse midge diamond braid should be substituted for the abdomen material. 01/11/2017 provides the story behind my creation of the hybrid caddis pupa, which I named the go2 sparkle pupa.

Effective During Spring Caddis Hatches

This fly has been a mainstay in my fleece wallet since its inception, and it performs particularly well in the spring season prior to run off. I tend to stray from using it in the post run off time period; however the shiny diamond braid might continue to deliver results as an attractor.

Three Go2 Sparkle Pupa

I counted my remaining stock of go2 caddis pupa and determined that I needed to create three additional flies to restore my inventory to target levels. I am anxious to tie a go2 sparkle pupa to my line, as that act heralds spring fly fishing in the Rockies.