Category Archives: Dry 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.

Closer

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 www.charliesflybox.com will ensure that any tier avoids these missteps.

Excellent

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.

Hippie Stomper – 01/30/2022

Hippie Stomper 01/30/2022 Photo Album

I cannot find enough superlatives to describe this valued weapon in my fly fishing arsenal, so I will just say, “Wow”. Check out my post from a year ago, for an update and click on this link to my post of 11/18/2018 for a materials table. The story of my introduction to the hippie stomper can be found in my 01/13/2018 post.

My success over the past year surpassed even my highest expectations, and I am a confirmed believer in the hippie stomper. The stomper delivers results year round, and I use it solo and as part of a dry/dropper and double dry rig. It is small enough to minimize the impact on the water, yet buoyant enough to support two size fourteen beadhead nymphs. In a double dry fly configurationĀ  I position it first and trail a smaller dry, and it enables me to track the smaller fly quite well. I recommend using a short dropper of six to twelve inches, should you wish to experiment with the double dry approach.

From the Side

What does a hippie stomper imitate? It is hard to know; however, I believe it is first and foremost a terrestrial. However, it could easily be taken for a stonefly or a green drake. During the western green drake season I often knot a hippie stomper with a peacock body to my line along with a nymph dropper or another dry fly during the hours that precede a hatch. I believe that the peacock hippie stomper is close enough to a green drake adult to draw attention or looks prior to the actual hatch. This technique enables me to hedge my bets, as I test for what the trout are tuned into.

A Clump of Stompers

As I generally forget the tying steps from year to year, I have settled on the fly tying video from Andrew Grillos to refresh my memory. Andrew is the creator of the hippie stomper, and it represents his signature fly and one of the most popular in the Umpqua Feather Merchants’ catalog. Simply Google Andrew Grillos to find the video.

A Different Angle

As you might imagine, heavy usage produced significant shrinkage, so I tied twelve new models with peacock dubbed bodies and five with olive ice dub bodies. The olive body flies are the first to go on my line during green drake season. I cannot recommend a fly more highly than the hippie stomper.

User Friendly Green Drake – 11/20/2021

User Friendly Green Drake 11/20/2021 Photo Album

I continued my count of green drake flies in my fly boxes and storage containers, and I determined that I could use additional user friendly green drakes to replenish my supply. For additional background information on the user friendly green drake please click on my post of 02/12/2021. This report contains a link to additional information, and if you search on line on user friendly, you can find a YouTube video of Andrew Grillos, the creator of this pattern, demonstrating the tying steps.

Opposite Side

During 2021 I had some sporadic success with the user friendly version of the western green drake; however, the parachute green drake and comparadun green drake continued to outperform the newest imitation in my fly box. I tend to test the user friendly, when I grow weary of drying and applying floatant to the parachute and comparadun. The user friendly contains a strip of foam as a covering over the length of the fly, and this translates to more buoyancy.

Four Legless User Friendlies

With an apology to Andrew Grillos, I made a few modifications to his pattern for the four that I tied recently. Several sessions this summer taught me that a moose mane tail was popular with the stream feeders, so I replaced the microfibbet tail of the official pattern with moose mane. In an attempt for more authenticity, I eliminated the rubber legs and tied the four new versions without legs. I retained the foam back for buoyancy and cut the hackle off flush with the thorax, another significant characteristic of the original user friendly. I am anxious to give these new user friendly green drakes a spin in 2022.

Parachute Green Drake – 11/14/2021

Parachute Green Drake 11/14/2021 Photo Album

This is an update on my relationship with the parachute green drake. For links to a materials table and background information on this fly click on this link to my post of 02/09/2021.

2021 proved to be a better than average year in my annual quest to interact with green drake hatches in the west. 2020 remains perhaps my peak experience with western green drakes; however, 2021 was solid as well. I experimented with the western green drake on small high mountain creeks more often during the past season, and I was quite pleased with the results. In several instances I knotted the large mayfly to my line even without observing any naturals, and the fish responded very favorably.

The Other Side

During several hot green drake outings on South Boulder Creek, I discovered that the local trout demonstrated a pronounced preference for the parachute style with a moose mane tail. During the winter of 2021 I adopted the practice of tying amber microfibbet tails with the assumption that they were stiffer and aided in supporting the large dry fly on the surface. During an outing on South Boulder Creek I plucked a moose mane version from my box and enjoyed fast action. Eventually the trout teeth cut the hackle, and it unraveled, and I replaced it with a microfibbet version.

Two Flies Completed on Monday

I continued to catch fish, but the catch rate slowed measurably, and I switched back to another moose mane version. After this unscientific study of trout preferences, I returned to my tying vise and cranked out additional moose mane parachute green drakes, and in a subsequent visit to South Boulder Creek they proved their worth. Until I am convinced otherwise, I am adopting moose mane tails as my preferred tailing material.

A second modification came out of these real time studies in green drake fly selectivity. I migrated to using white turkey flat wings in recent years after reading A. K. Best’s book. The folded turkey flat wing was lighter than alternatives, and I valued this for flotation purposes. It was also easier to maintain a nice narrow tapered body due to the absence of significant bulk. As I tied my moose mane versions during the summer, I reverted to a gray poly yarn wing, and this adaptation made the fly easier to track, and I also believe it adds bulk to the wing that more closely mimics the large fluttering illusion of a green drake attempting to become airborne. I am not as convinced that this change is as critical as the tail choice, but the improved visibility sold me on adopting the poly wing.

Clump of 15

I manufactured fifteen new parachute green drakes over the recent weeks, and all of them possess moose mane tails and gray poly wings with the bottom two-thirds of the wing shaded with a black permanent marker. I am already anxiously anticipating a hot western green drake season in 2022.