Category Archives: Fly Tying

Blogs related to tying flies

Gray Deer Hair Caddis – 03/12/2022

Gray Deer Hair Caddis 03/12/2022 Photo Album

Gray is another favorite deer hair caddis color, and I cast this fly quite frequently. In a manner similar to the olive deer hair caddis, I utilize this fly as the point on a double dry, when the trout are picky about the larger stimulator or hippie stomper. It works quite well in these situations. I have also encountered situations where trout refuse the light gray caddis, and I switch to a light gray comparadun with success. The similar size and body color to a pale morning dun seems to attract interest, but the wing configuration is wrong. At least in this case I appreciate the attracting quality of the light gray deer hair caddis. For more on the deer hair caddis go to my post of 02/22/2021.

Popular with Trout

I took inventory of my light gray caddis and determined that I required some replacements, and I produced eight new models. I am certain that these flies will see abundant time on my line in the upcoming season.

Eight Completed

Olive Deer Hair Caddis – 03/07/2022

Olive Deer Hair Caddis 03/07/2022 Photo Album

This fly is one of my workhorse dry flies, as I extract it from my fly box quite frequently. During the spring grannom hatch, it is a very effective imitation, but it also performs admirably throughout the season.


My 02/22/2021 post does an excellent job of discussing all things olive caddis. I mention using it in a double dry configuration, and in this post I would like to reinforce the effectiveness of this strategy. During the 2021 season I tossed a hippie stomper and olive deer hair caddis quite frequently with excellent results. A bushy stimulator combined with the olive deer hair caddis was another killer combination.

Nine Size 16’s

I also tend to knot a deer hair caddis on my line, when I approach a lake, and I am not sure what to try. The small and sparse deer hair caddis seems to be a food item that stillwater residents are familiar with, and they respond accordingly. Sometimes the high mountain trout grab the caddis even though they are primarily feeding on small items such as midges and ants.

After I counted my backup supply, I manufactured nine additional dry flies for 2022. Bring on the caddis.

Olive Stimulator – 03/05/2022

Olive Stimulator 03/05/2022 Photo Album

Olive is a third favorite body color for stimulators. On several occasions I used an olive stimulator successfully during a green drake hatch. The body color matches, and the dense hackles create the illusion of rapid wing movement. The wing angle deviates from the traditional mayfly upright style, but when green drakes are struggling to get airborne, the wing position may be a secondary consideration.

Opposite Side

My post of 01/29/2020 does a nice job of providing additional background information regarding stimulators. Check it out.

Trout Candy

My supply of olive stimulators was somewhat depleted, so I generated an additional four for the 2022 season. I am quite anxious to break these in on some wild western trout in the near future.

Gray Stimulator – 02/23/2022

Gray Stimulator 02/23/2022 Photo Album

My post of 1/29/2020 does an excellent job of updating on my favorite applications of the gray stimulator. It also describes some of the pitfalls to avoid while tying stimulators, and a review of Charlie Craven’s video on will ensure that any tier avoids these missteps.


Stimulators comprised a large proportion of the flies in the fly box that I lost last September, so I turned to the vise and cranked out six additional size 14’s. Gray is a favorite all around body color for me, as it seems to work well across a broad spectrum of natural body hues of stoneflies and caddis. I produced six additional heavily hackled flies for the upcoming season.

Zoom the Pile

Yellow Stimulator – 02/22/2022

Yellow Stimulator 02/22/2022 Photo Album

If you click on my 02/21/2017 post on the yellow stimulator, you can read an interesting narrative about some of my early success with this fly. My devotion to this fly endures six years later, and I examined my supply and churned out another batch of four to increase my inventory to adequate levels.

Yellow Stimulator

The yellow stimulator in sizes 14 and 12 are especially effective during yellow sally and golden stonefly emergences, and these tend to peak in the late June until mid-July time period; however, I often knot one of these bushy imitations to my line outside the prime yellow stonefly time period. Guess what? They work throughout the season.

Hair Stacker Added

Stimulators are not exceedingly difficult to tie, but some precision at several key points can improve the output significantly. No tier is more precise in their instruction than Charlie Craven, so I usually review is tying video, before I dive into stimulator production. His method follows the classic approach including using fine wire to bind down the palmered hackle. I personally do not like applying wire to a dry fly, so I skip that step and tie in a saddle hackle in front of the tail and wind forward. Otherwise, i follow his steps without deviation.

Klinkhammer BWO – 02/21/2022

Klinkhammer BWO 02/21/2022 Photo Album

Background information and a materials table may be found in the following two posts: 03/06/2021 and 02/23/2020. I lost my fly box during 2021, and this put a dent in my supply of Klinkhammer BWO’s, so I devoted some hours to replenishing my supply with six additional versions.

A Thing of Beauty

My primary BWO imitation is the CDC BWO, but on occasions where the trout ignore the CDC style, I resort to Klinkhammer BWO’s. Sometimes it produces, but at other times it is also avoided. I concluded that the tough blue winged olive days occur when the wind is strong, and the adult mayflies bounce and skip on the surface of the river. It is very difficult to imitate the erratic movement with a fly, but I have on occasion prompted a response with a quick twitch or lift in front of a sighted trout. Even after forty years of fly fishing, I continue to experiment and learn new tricks.

Six New Klinks

Chubby Chernobyl – 02/12/2022

Chubby Chernobyl 02/12/2022 Photo Album

Just what the world needs, another large foam dry fly. That is an apt description for the increasingly popular chubby Chernobyl. My post of 02/08/2022 provides ample links to all things chubby, and I recommend that you inspect it, if you are intrigued by this awkward looking fly.

A Spikey Version

The chubby Chernboyl looks like a classic Chernobyl ant when viewed from below; however, the angler’s view is an image of a large clump of white poly yarn. Initially when I used this fly I was turned off by the tendency of the poly to get saturated with water, but after observing some guides, as they applied fly floatant to the wing, I found the solution to my limp wing misgivings.

Trout View

Over the past two seasons I placed a chubby on my line more frequently than a fat Albert, and I have experienced some success with it. My confidence began during several trips to the Yampa River in a previous June, when large fish crushed the gangly imitation bearing an ice dub tan body. Of course this was a development that I could not ignore, so I tied a batch.

Side View

I counted my supply of these monsters, and I realized that I had adequate quantities of the large attractors with yellow, gray, and green bodies; but I did approach my vise to manufacture three additional versions with ice dub tan bodies. Hopefully these flies will attract hungry trout during 2022.

Fat Albert – 02/06/2022

Fat Albert 02/06/2022 Photo Album

In a previous post on the fat Albert or pool toy hopper a reader asked me what the difference was, and I was forced to acknowledge that they are very similar. Both contain three layers of foam and both possess rubber legs. The pool toy hopper displays more materials for the rear wing, but this is probably a minimal difference from the trout’s vantage point. I got stuck in the routine of tying mainly fat Alberts in size 6 with yellow bodies; whereas, I tie pool toy hoppers in size 8 with tan bodies. Who knows? If I tied smaller fat Alberts with tan bodies, I might discover that it produces during hopper season as well as a pool toy hopper.


My post of 02/04/2021 provides the key links to a materials table and anecdotes regarding my usage and introduction to the fat Albert. I tend to use this fly as an indicator in the early season prior to run off, and I also default to it quite often during the edge fishing time frame, when the rivers are blasting downstream at a rapid pace and leaving only the ten feet along the bank as a target area for casting. The large foam body is highly visible and very buoyant, and these attributes are conducive to its role as an indicator fly.

Opposite Side

I tie mine primarily with a yellow underbody beneath a layer of yellow foam, and I am convinced that the fly gets consumed as a golden stonefly adult in addition to a hopper with a yellow body. This may explain its productivity during the early season and during late June and early July, as these time frames coincide with golden stonefly activity.

Fat Albert Cluster

For 2022 I refurbished two with missing legs and made an additional three from scratch to up my fat Albert inventory to a sufficient level for the upcoming season.

Pool Toy Hopper – 02/04/2022

Pool Toy Hopper 02/04/2022 Photo Album

The pool toy hopper is another Andrew Grillos creation that I have grown to love. This is my favorite grasshopper imitation and a frequent occupant of the surface position on a dry/dropper configuration. I also tie fat Alberts, Charlie boy hoppers, and hopper Juans, but the pool toy is consistently my top producer. The fat Albert spends a lot of time on my line, because it is even more visible than the pool toy, but during hopper season the pool toy outperforms the fat Albert in terms of eats on on the surface.

Nine Damaged Pool Toy Hoppers

My post of 01/31/2021 provides a comprehensive update on all things related to the pool toy hopper with links to a materials table and directions to a source for tying instructions.

Brand New Pool Toy Hopper

I inspected the canister that I maintain with damaged and unraveling flies, and I discovered nine pool toy hoppers. This is an indication of my frequent reliance on this productive fly. These flies were missing front and back legs, and I was able to refurbish them without stripping them down to the bare hook. In addition to nine repaired flies, I made three new ones. I have reduced my tying of pool toys to tan bodies with tan underwings in size 8. Bring on the hopper hatch in 2022.

Zoomed In

Chernobyl Ant – 02/01/2022

Chernobyl Ant 02/01/2022 Photo Album

In spite of the surge in popularity of the chubby Chernobyl, I continue to value and stock the classic Chernobyl ant. I have very little to add to my writings of 01/23/2021, so I refer you to that comprehensive report.

Counting Chernobyl Ants

As was the case then, I counted my supply and determined that I possess more than adequate quantities of size 8 and 10 Chernobyl ants. I passed on tying more and moved on to the next foam attractor on my list.