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.

 

 

Iron Sally – 02/09/2017

Iron Sally 02/09/2017 Photo Album

You can check out my introduction to the iron sally on my posts of 01/20/2013 and 02/04/2014. This is a fly that I should probably knot on my line more frequently. It is intended to imitate the nymph stage of a yellow sally stonefly; however, it also works as a subsurface imitation of golden stoneflies. The iron sally nymph takes longer to tie than most of the nymphs that I stock in my fly box, and this historically translated to fewer flies in my beginning inventory. Because I detest tying flies during the season, when I prefer to be on a stream, I too often shy away from the iron sally in an effort to preserve my quantity on hand. Preserve for what?

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Nice Shine

On 06/28/2017 I experienced my best day of fishing in 2016 on the Yampa River, and the iron sally was the star player. During the afternoon I spotted several yellow sallies, so I featured the iron sally as a dropper beneath a fat Albert foam top fly, and the Yampa River residents went crazy. Not only did the iron sally produce quantities of fish, but the size of the landed trout was abnormally large. The memory of this day induced me to get serious in 2017, and I whipped out fifteen new sparkling imitations to go with the thirteen carryovers from last year.

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Iron Sally Jewels

I will begin the 2017 season with twenty-eight, and I expect this larger quantity to buffer me against the higher demands of more time on my fishing line. A few days in my future that approach 06/28/2017 will make me a very happy fly fisherman.

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15 Iron Sallies Completed

Mercury Black Beauty – 02/03/2017

Mercury Black Beauty 02/03/2017 Photo Album

Historically I relied almost entirely on a size 20 zebra midge for my subsurface midge larva imitation, and it served me reasonably well. I should probably resort to subsurface midge flies more frequently. On the infrequent occasions when I knotted them to my line, they generally surprised me with their productivity.

During a trip to the South Platte River in 2015, my friend Danny Ryan impressed me with a midge larva/emerger imitation, that he designed and created, and as a result I produced some of them for 2016 and then replenished my supply for 2017. Danny asked me to low key his fly, so I will honor that commitment, and avoid further details in this post.

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Nice Zoom

When I attended the Fly Fishing Show in Denver in January, I watched Pat Dorsey tie flies, and his main focus was midge imitations. He swore that the tiny midge facsimiles were tremendous producers all year round, but particularly in the winter when midges represent the main source of nutrients for trout. I was especially attracted to the mercury black beauty, and as a consequence I took a seat at my fly tying bench and generated an initial supply for 2017. I made ten size 18’s and ten size 20’s. I added a flashback strip of pearl flashabou to all the 18’s and half the 20’s.

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20 Completed

I tried the size 18 flashback mercury black beauty on my initial fishing trip to the South Platte River on January 30, but it failed to interest the local trout. I have not given up on the new fly, however, since the cold icy conditions did not lend themselves to a fair trial.

Emerald Caddis Pupa – 01/22/2017

Emerald Caddis Pupa 01/22/2017 Photo Album

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Opposite Side

After a trip to Las Vegas and Death Valley I am back in winter fly inventory replenishment mode. My progress was also interrupted by the time consuming task of researching and purchasing a new car. Before I departed on our road trip, however, I produced five emerald caddis pupa to increase my inventory to thirty.

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Raw Materials

The emerald caddis pupa continues to be a season long producer, and I have little to add to previous posts. My 1/1/2012 post provides a material list and a bit of background on how I became associated with this fly. My 11/19/2015 post chronicles the development of the sparkle caddis pupa pattern by Gary Lafontaine. If you do not have any of these flies in your box, do yourself and favor and tie some. They work.

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Emerald Caddis Pupa on Gray Sparkle Yarn

 

Go To Sparkle Pupa – 01/11/2017

Go To Sparkle Pupa 01/11/2017 Photo Album

The go to sparkle pupa is a hybrid fly that I contrived during the early 2016 season. The story begins with a bright green caddis pupa that is designed to imitate the pupa stage of the grannom hatch. My 01/10/2012 post on this blog outlines my early association with the bright green emergent caddis pupa. Additional background is available on the 12/16/2014 and 12/01/2015 posts. In more recent history I attended the Fly Fishing Show in Denver and observed Rick Takahashi, as he tied a go2 caddis, and while the steps were fresh in my mind, I produced ten for the next season.

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Nice Example

I fished both these flies on a regular basis particularly in the early spring, when the caddis hatch in abundant quantities on the Arkansas River as well as other streams in Colorado. Up until the last year or two I preferred the bright green caddis pupa over the go2 caddis, and I enjoyed decent success. During 2015 and 2016, however, for some reason I fished the go2 caddis more frequently, and I was impressed with its performance. Unfortunately during a trip to the Arkansas River in April  I used my last go2 caddis, so I was forced to visit my tying bench during the season.

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Macros View

I believe the salient triggering characteristic of the go2 caddis is the shiny bright chartreuse diamond braid body, and a light bulb flashed in my brain as I began to construct new flies. Why not borrow the bright green diamond braid from the go2 caddis and incorporate it into the bright green caddis pupa? I immediately implemented this idea and produced five bright green caddis pupa that featured the diamond braid body as a substitute for the craft yarn, that I previously employed. On a trip to the Arkansas River on 5/4/2016 the fish responded with a convincing vote in favor of my hybrid version, and I made a mental note to tie more for 2017.

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20 Go To Sparkles

Over the past two weeks I tied twenty new hybrids, and I named them the go to sparkle pupa. I love the flash of the chartreuse bodies on these flies, and I am certain that they will add a new dimension to my early season caddis pupa fishing on Colorado streams.

Ultra Zug Bug – 01/03/2017

Ultra Zug Bug 01/03/2017 Photo Album

My relationship with the ultra zug bug began on January 31, 2012. I was searching for some new patterns to tie, and I stumbled on to the ultra zug bug in a Scott Sanchez fly tying book. Initially I viewed it as a faster simpler pattern to replace the prince nymph; however, in recent years I discovered that it is a productive fly throughout the season. You can browse my success stories in my posts of 12/07/2014 and 11/04/2015. Detailed tying steps are documented on the 11/04/2015 entry, and a material list is included in the January 31, 2012 post.

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Head On

I have little to add in early 2017 other than to affirm that the ultra zug bug continues to be a top producer among my arsenal. The peacock nymph seems to be particularly effective during the early season prior to run off, and then it gains popularity again in the fall. Do not assume that it will not catch fish during the summer months, however, because it will. I suspect I relegate it to the second team during this time period, as I opt more frequently for the hares ear nymph and salvation nymph.

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Cluster of 18

Perhaps I will utilize the ultra zug bug more frequently in 2017, since it is quite easy to tie. I counted my remaining zug bugs and determined that I possessed 32, so I visited my tying bench and cranked out an additional 18. 50 ultra zug bugs seems like a solid starting point for the new season, and I am now prepared to tempt trout with this sparkling nymph imitation.

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Focused on the Pile