Light Gray Comparadun – 04/22/2018

Light Gray Comparadun 04/22/2018 Photo Album

The light gray comparadun was the first fly that sparked my love affair with the no hackle series designed by Caucci and Nastasi. If interested, you can read about my evolution from classic Catskill dry fly to comparadun proponent on my 02/21/2014 post.

P3260012.JPG

Macro of a Pair of Size 16 Comparaduns

My 12/27/2015 update outlined the emergence of the cinnamon comparadun as a second favored comparadun option. Both flies performed especially well during pale morning dun hatches, but over the last two years I determined that the cinnamon version was somewhat more effective especially on certain river systems such as the Frying Pan River. Despite this slippage in ranking in my comparadun repertoire I continued to encounter situations, where the gray version was preferred by western trout. A solid example of this circumstance is available in my 06/23/2017 post that covered my day on the Yampa River. Experiences like this prompt me to continue tying light gray comparaduns in sizes 14 – 18.

P3260011.JPG

Total Output of Light Gray

I took stock of my light gray inventory and determined that I needed to increment my supply of size 18, 16, and 14. I recently completed this small tying effort with two size 18, six size16, and one size 14. I believe I am adequately prepared for pale morning dun hatches of all colors and all sizes. I cannot wait.

 

Cinnamon Comparadun – 04/14/2018

Cinnamon Comparadun 04/14/2018 Photo Album

If the reader is interested in understanding my evolution to comparaduns, then consider reading my post of Comparaduns – 02/21/2014. I just reexamined it myself, and I enjoyed refreshing my memory on this subject. For a great description of my adoption of the cinnamon comparadun as a must have fly, my posts of 02/01/2015 and 12/23/2015 are very informative. The 12/23/2015 text also highlights several key tying steps that produce quality imitations of natural mayflies. I will not attempt to reinvent the wheel in this post.

P3190012.JPG

A New Size 14 Cinnamon Comparadun on a Recovered Hook

During my trips to the Frying Pan River in 2017 I never encountered significant pale morning dun activity, and consequently the cinnamon comparadun was not a factor in my fishing success on that waterway. On June 23 on the Yampa River it played a key role that resulted in several fish, and it fooled a few fish on the Eagle River on 07/03/2017. During September and October the cinnamon comparadun demonstrated its fish attracting qualities on several occasions on South Boulder Creek, when I was surprised by late season mid-afternoon hatches.

P3190013.JPG

Three Size 16's With Needed Materials

P3180010.JPG

Damaged and Misfit Dry Flies to Be Recovered

As part of my winter fly tying process I focused on sorting through my many canisters of old unraveling and damaged flies. In the case of comparaduns I retrieved at least twenty-five bedraggled models, and I stripped them down to the bare hook. These hooks served as my supply to replenish comparaduns, and I recovered so many that a decent quantity of 18’s, 16’s and 14’s remain on the magnet that rests beneath my vise.

I tallied 33 size 18 cinnamon comparaduns in my storage boxes and concluded that additional quantities were not required. Size 18 matches 90% of the pale morning dun hatches that greet me in the west; however, occasionally a size 16 is in demand. I only counted seven size 16’s, so I manufactured an additional three to bring my total to ten. I hope to encounter more pale morning dun activity in 2018, and if my wish is fulfilled, I have adequate stocks of cinnamon imitations.

 

Harrop Hair Wing Green Drake – 04/13/2018

Harrop Hair Wing Green Drake 04/13/2018 Photo Album

A third key component of my western green drake arsenal is the Harrop hair wing green drake. The story of my introduction to and history with this fly is chronicled in my 12/29/2015 post. I invite you to check it out.

P3110026.JPG

Nice Hairwing GD

During the past summer my finest day of green drake action using the Harrop style dry fly occurred on the Arkansas River at Hayden Meadows on 07/26/2017. This was the second summer that I encountered the gray drake hatch on the upper river below Leadville, and once again I had a blast. When I found the appropriate water and placed the high floating drake imitation in the sweet spot, the trout moved several feet to crush the heavily hackled deer wing fake.

P3080008.JPG

A Pair Completed

Unfortunately I also experienced times when the trout rejected or ignored the bushy floater, and fortunately in these instances I had the parachute and comparadun styles to fall back on. Nevertheless I would not want to be on a stream during green and gray drake season without some Harrop versions in my fly box.

P3110029.JPG

Five Newly Minted Hair Wings

I counted seven size twelves in my inventory, and I deemed that quantity to be adequate for my upcoming needs. In size fourteen on the other hand I tabulated six, so I incremented my supply by four to attain a total of ten. Hopefully this will provide adequate coverage for those periods when the trout tune into the hackled hair wing facsimile of a western green drake.

Green Drake Comparadun – 04/13/2018

Green Drake Comparadun 04/13/2018 Photo Album

My previous post of 04/12/2018 on the parachute green drake contains links to reports on my history with flies that imitate the large western mayfly. It also included links to my recorded logs on several fun outings during 2017, when I encountered green drake hatches that provoked excellent surface action. During these memorable days on the streams, the parachute green drake and green drake comparadun were very effective. In my opinion the size 14 version is a more convincing imitation than size 12 a high percentage of the time. My 01/11/2016 post on the green drake comparadun details a few nuances, that I applied to my ties over the last two years. I feel certain that these small features are a critical part of my success with green drake comparaduns.

P3050005.JPG

Nice Angled View

P3050007.JPG

Five Flies Plus Materials

I took stock of my green drake comparaduns recently, and I determined that my boxes contained two size twelves and seven size fourteens. I overwhelmingly use size fourteens in the comparadun style, so I occupied my stool at the vise and produced five new models to bring my inventory to twelve. I am already anxiously looking ahead to more productive interactions with green drakes during the summer of 2018.

 

 

Parachute Green Drake – 04/12/2018

Parachute Green Drake 04/12/2018 Photo Album

I began tying this fly in 2012 after some frustrating visits to the Frying Pan River. You can check out my 09/11/2012 post for a materials table, and I continued to adhere to this recipe in recent years. Another informative read can be found in my 02/13/2015 post, and here I cover all the various styles, sizes and body colors that I incorporate into my western green drake ties. Beware, as your head may spin. My 01/10/2016 log entry includes an explanation of a critical improvement, that I adopted when producing my parachute green drakes. If you are entering the green drake tying business, make sure you review that technique improvement.

P3040022.JPG

A Nice Size 14 Version

I declared 2017 the year of the green drake. During 2016 I made a concerted effort to seek out green drake hatches in Colorado, and although I did experience a few successful days, I was disappointed in my results. In 2018 I set no such goals, and I stumbled into more green drake hatches than ever before. I met them on the Cache la Poudre, the Arkansas River, South Boulder Creek and the Frying Pan River. Some of the most memorable days were 7/26/2017 on the Arkansas, 8/8/2017 on South Boulder Creek, and 8/31/2017 on the Frying Pan River. The trout in South Boulder Creek continued to recognize the large mayflies as late as 9/19/2017. On most of these days the parachute style dry fly was a significant contributor to my success.

P3040025.JPG

Two Refurbished and Three New

The links in the initial paragraph connect you with my excessive analysis regarding size, style and body color for imitating these large fish attracting mayflies, but I concluded during my 2017 wanderings, that size 14 was preferred over size 12 across most streams and during a large proportion of the season. When I counted my supply of ribbed parachutes, I discovered that I possessed six size 12’s and five size 14’s. Given my preference for size 14’s, I sat down at my tying station and cranked out an additional five to raise my total to ten. Hopefully this will satisfy my requirements during the upcoming 2018 green drake season.

 

Stimulators – 04/03/2018

Stimulators 04/03/2018 Photo Album

My post of 03/01/2017 does a nice job of bringing the readers of this blog up to date with my views on stimulators. Over the last three years I settled on three body colors for the bulk of my stimulator searching efforts. Gray and green are nice general earthy colors, that seem to perform year round on western streams. Stimulators with yellow bodies excel during the phase of the season when golden stoneflies and yellow sallies are prevalent. This suggests to me that the yellow version is a solid imitation of the abundant dapping and egg laying stonefly varieties.

P2260032.JPG

From the Side

Size 14 seems to be the best all purpose size for my prospecting needs. I suspect that it represents both caddis flies and stoneflies of intermediate size. In the case of yellow stoneflies I carry both size 14’s and 12’s, because golden stoneflies are larger than yellow sallies. This prepares me for scenarios, when one stonefly predominates.

P3010001.JPG

Gray Stimulators

I counted all my stimulators and determined that my boxes contained adequate quantities of yellow in the desired sizes of 12 and 14. I deployed gray the most, and the inventory revealed, that I possessed nine, so I gathered the requisite materials and produced an additional six. Seven olive versions occupied my boxes, and I decided to tie three more to increment my total stock to ten. Prior to tying the stimulators I sifted through the damaged and unraveling flies in my various cylinders, and I collected quite a pile on my tying counter. These flies provided more than enough hooks to complete my stimulator construction efforts for 2018.

P2260028.JPG

Misfit Flies to Be Converted into Stimulators

 

Hippy Stomper – 01/13/2018

Hippy Stomper 01/13/2018 Photo Album

My introduction to the hippy stomper fly occurred, when I purchased one as part of a five fly terrestrial splurge at the fly shop in Viroqua, WI in the Driftless Area. It contained a silver body with a white under wing, and at the time I was not aware that it was more of an attractor than a terrestrial. I never tested the novel foam pattern in the Driftless Region, and it rested in my fly box for most of the summer. Meanwhile I found a red body version, when I snagged my fly on a tree branch along South Boulder Creek or Boulder Creek. This also resided in my fly box for most of the summer without seeing any time on my tippet.

PB270009.JPG

Bright Red Underside on This Fly

During a fishing trip to South Boulder Creek on 09/19/2017 the fish rejected my usually effective Jake’s gulp beetle, and for some reason I tied the store bought silver hippy stomper to my line. Much to my amazement the flashy attractor immediately delivered four spunky wild trout to my net. This experience impressed me and established the hippy stomper as a potential option in my foam attractor arsenal.

PC310012.JPG

First Ever Hippy Stomper

I resorted to the red hippy stomper on a 11/22/2017 venture with my son on South Boulder Creek, and it once again surprised me with some modest effectiveness near the end of our day. My growing faith in the size 12 foam fly with odd appendages caused me to deploy the red version on the North Fork of the St. Vrain Creek on 11/27/2017, and it once again opened my eyes, when it yielded two trout. I was essentially utilizing it as a medium sized indicator, so attracting two fish was a pleasant bonus. On a 11/16/2017 visit to Boulder Creek within the city of Boulder, the silver hippy stomper provided another glimpse of its potential, when it attracted a wild brown trout to my fly.

P1070010.JPG

Cork Perch

Why am I highlighting all these fishing outings when the hippy stomper accounted for a few fish? The attentive reader will note that most of the days when the hippy stomper shined were late in the season, when trout rarely seek their meals on the surface. Aggressive surface rises to the hippy stomper in late November certainly gained my attention, and I look forward to testing it when trout are focused on a diet of terrestrials and stoneflies during warmer temperatures.

Another aspect of the hippy stomper that excites me is its size. I tie them on a standard size 12 hook using 1mm and .5mm foam strips. The size of the hippy stomper strikes a nice midpoint between a size 10 Chernobyl ant and and a size 12 Jake’s gulp beetle. The hippy stomper and beetle are both size 12, but the thin foam and more slender profile of the hippy stomper allow it to accommodate a soft landing and thus a smaller impact when casting. I often encounter refusals to the Chernobyl ant, and this initiates a series of downsizing fly changes until I discover a terrestrial that is acceptable to the native trout. The hippy stomper option provides another step in the downsizing process between a Jake’s gulp beetle and a size 18 parachute ant.

P1030005.JPG

Three Colors

I was sold on the allure of the hippy stomper, so I searched online for tying instructions and found several YouTube videos that demonstrated the tying steps. I purchased some 1mm and .5mm sheets of various colors of foam, and I replicated the process demonstrated in the videos. After several productive days I loaded my fly box with twenty-five hippy stompers displaying various color combinations. I reproduced ten red and five silver models, and then I strayed from the proven and tied five with Ligas peacock dubbed bodies and five with peacock ice dub bodies. These bodies complemented a medium olive foam under layer. The peacock body is my most productive style of beetle, so I am anxious to determine if the same will be true in the hippy stomper genre.

P1070008.JPG

Hippy Stomper Invasion

 

Klinkhammer Blue Winged Olive – 01/09/2018

Klinkhammer Blue Winged Olive 01/09/2018 Photo Album

A Craven soft hackle emerger with no bead offers one possible solution to trout favoring emergers during blue winged olive hatches in windy conditions. I was not willing to concentrate my bets on this one tactic; however, so I searched the internet for some alternative emerger patterns. I recalled reading articles about a Klinkhammer style of fly that is effective, when fish selectively concentrate on emegers just below the surface or in the surface film.

PC290003.JPG

Hopefully a Fish Magnet

It did not take long before I stumbled across a Klinkhammer blue winged olive pattern. I studiously viewed a YouTube video that provided the detailed steps to create a Klinkhammer pattern, and then I quickly searched for the requisite materials in my drawers and cabinets. Below is a materials table for tying a Klinkhammer blue winged olive.

ComponentMaterial
HookTiemco 2457 or Equivalent Size 20
Thread8/0 light olive
Tail or ShuckWhite or light gray CDC fibers
AbdomenTwo strands of medium olive super hair and one strand of black super hair
Wing PostWhite McFlylon
Parachute HackleDun dry fly hackle
ThoraxBlue winged olive color super fine dubbing

I am very pleased with the appearance of these ten new flies that are stashed in my stockpile of blue winged olive imitations. The Klinkhammer style is designed in a way that enables the wing post and parachute hackle to float in the film, while the curved abdomen and trailing shuck dangle downward. I am particularly fond of the appearance of the super hair abdomen. It combines a very slender profile with the ribbed look created by the alternating olive and black strands of super hair. Bring on the wind and baetis hatches in 2018.

PC290002.JPG

Klinkhammers Plus Associated Materials

 

Light Gray Comparadun – 04/04/2017

Light Gray Comparadun 04/04/2017 Photo Album

Success with the light gray comparadun predates the cinnamon version. Check out my 12/27/2015 post for more information regarding my infatuation with this fly and my migration to the cinnamon comparadun. Despite a recent shift toward the cinnamon variety, I continue to encounter situations where the light gray no hackle dry fly is preferred by Rocky Mountain trout. Scenarios that dictate light gray also seem to coincide with a requirement for the larger size 16.

IMG_2693.JPG

Love the Background Texture

My inventory of gray comparaduns revealed that I was quite well stocked in size 16, and seventeen size 18’s remained in my fly bins. In order to round off the size 18 count, I tied three additional no hackles. I remain optimistic that I will encounter more pale morning dun hatch matching situations in 2017, and I feel adequately prepared with multiple body colors and sizes.

Cinnamon Comparadun – 04/04/2017

Cinnamon Comparadun 04/04/2017 Photo Album

My post of 12/23/2015 summarizes my history with this fly, and another summer of experience solidified it as a necessary component of my fly fishing arsenal. For some reason I did not encounter as many pale morning dun hatches as was the case in previous years, but a day on the Yampa River on June 23 justified my devotion to size 18 cinnamon comparaduns.

IMG_2678.JPG

Delicate

When I counted my carry over supply of cinnamon pale morning dun imitations, I discovered that I retained an adequate supply of size 18’s; however, I only possessed three of the size 16 variety. Size 18 seems to be the prevalent size on the streams that I frequent, but I decided to produce an additional seven in the larger size to avoid getting caught short in case I meet a brood of larger mayflies.