Monthly Archives: December 2018

Go2 Sparkle Pupa – 12/29/2018

Go2 Sparkle Pupa 12/29/2018 Photo Album

For some reason I did not fish frequently on grannom waters in April and May during 2018, and consequently I retained an adequate supply of Go2 sparkle pupa in my fly inventory. My post of 01/11/2017 Go2 Sparkle Pupa does an excellent job of documenting the creation of this fly.

A New Go2 Sparkle Pupa

I sorted through my cylinders of damaged and unraveling flies, and I discovered thirteen old flies in need of repair. Most of them had bright green caddis pupa bodies, so in spite of my ample supply I decided to refurbish nine of the misfit flies into Go2 sparkle pupa. In most cases I stripped the flies down to the bare hook and added a 2.4mm brass gold bead.

Fly ComponentMaterial
HookTiemco 2457 or equivalent
BeadBrass Gold 2.4mm
ThreadBrown 6/0
Sheath/BubbleOlive antron fibers
AbdomenMidge diamond braid chartreuse
Emergent wingSmall clump of coastal deer hair with brown color
Head/LegsRed/brown rabbit dubbing

I love the look of these hybrid versions of the LaFontaine sparkle caddis emerger, and I suspect that the chartreuse diamond braid is a strong fish attractor. Hopefully I will interact with more grannom caddis activity during 2019.

2018 Top Ten – 12/29/2018

In a year that included 93 fishing trips and more than 1,200 fish in my net, how is it possible to select a top ten list? My travels included the trip of a lifetime to the other side of the world. In North America I ventured to central Pennsylvania, Wyoming, and Montana. Surprisingly after twenty-seven years of fly fishing in Colorado, I discovered some new places during my 2018 wanderings. I read the 93 posts that documented my fishing trips over the past year, and I whittled the possibilites down to 35. From this list of highlights I culled fourteen outings that stood above the others, and then I boiled that list down to a 2018 top ten. Many outstanding outings failed to make the cut, and it was difficult to not overload the rankings with days in New Zealand, since that place was so spectacular and unique. Here they are, my top ten fishing adventures of 2018.

10. Eagle River 06/25/2018– Monday June 25 was my best outing during my annual search for hot action while edge fishing Colorado freestones, as they declined from peak run off. During 2018 the low snow pack caused flows to drop three weeks early, so I encountered 400 CFS on June 25. On this day I met dense hatches of golden stoneflies, pale morning duns, yellow sallies and caddis; and my fly choices proved effective, as I landed seventeen trout including many muscular battlers in the 13 -15 inch range.

9.South Platte River 04/05/2018  – Nineteen trout landed including numerous hard fighting rainbows and browns in the twelve to fifteen inch range made this a candidate for my top ten. A 3.5 hour blue winged olive hatch nudged it toward the top ten, but the gratification associated with successfully introducing a new fly secured a spot at number nine. The Klinkhammer BWO emerger saved the day.

Perfect Rainbow Pose

8. North Fork of the White River 07/04/2018 – Abundant numbers of gorgeous wild fish on the Fourth of July in the Flattops is hard to beat. This was my first visit to the Flattops area in a time frame other than September, and it will not be my last.

7. South Boulder Creek 10/19/2018 – South Boulder Creek provided numerous exceptional memories in 2018, but this day stood out as the best. Low flows, solitude, mild autumn weather and hungry fish made October 19 a memorable day. My tried and true dry/dropper featuring a hippy stomper, ultra zug bug and hares ear nymph did the heavy lifting.

The Narrow Pool Yielded Two Trout

6. Piney River 07/11/2018 – How could a fifty fish day using dry flies while achieving a grand slam not make the top ten? It was a spectacular summer day in July in the Colorado backcountry. I even enjoyed some success with a green drake comparadun.

5. North Platte River 03/22/2018 – Was a five fish day during blustery fifty degree weather in Wyoming truly worthy of a top ten ranking? This Thursday in March was my first visit to the Miracle Mile, and it lived up to its reputation. Five stunning rainbows in the sixteen to twenty inch range left a large impression on my memory banks.

Quite a Bend

4. Mill Creek 08/18/2018 – I landed thirty fish in three hours, and I was quite pleased with that outcome. All the trout were brightly colored Yellowstone cutthroats, and that tipped this day from excellent to exceptional. New water and a different species of fish earned extra credit in my evaluation.


3. Mountain Creek 10/25/2018 – This was another new piece of water that I discovered in 2018. I used a generic name to protect its fragile status. On this day in late October the fish were plentiful and aggressive despite low clear flows. Oversized trout in a tiny high elevation stream are always a positive, and I suspect Mountain Creek will appear in a future blog post.

Second Oversized Brown for Small Stream

2. South Platte River 10/03/2018 – Hot fishing, glorious scenery, balmy weather and the companionship of my lovely wife elevated Wednesday to a memorable day in 2018. The above sentence was extracted from the summary paragraph of 10/03/2018 blog post. I have very little to add, and I would relive this day in a heartbeat.

Spectacular Day

1. Wangapeka River 01/23/2018 –  I was tempted to rank all six of my fly fishing days in New Zealand among my top ten, but that would have reflected unfair weighting for the uniqueness of the fisheries and the surrounding beauty. Instead I chose this day as my best of the trip and for all of 2018. Why not? Although I only landed four brown trout on this day, each was a plump wild fish in the 18 -24 inch range. I caught four of the largest brown trout of my life in the same day! Numerous additional opportunities to land large fish presented themselves in the form of long distance releases, refusals, and sighted fish that ignored my offerings. This was New Zealand sight fishing at its finest.



Ultra Zug Bug – 12/15/2018

Ultra Zug Bug 12/15/2018 Photo Album

The ultra zug bug has evolved into one of my top fish producers over the last six years, and I have little to add beyond the information provided in previous posts. For a materials list go to my post of 01/31/2012. A nice description of how I stumbled into increased dependence on the ultra zug bug is contained in my post of 12/07/2014. If you wish to tie this simple but effective fly, access my post of 11/04/2015, as this contains a paragraph with detailed step by step instructions.

Close-up of Ultra Zug Bug

During 2018 I offered the ultra zug bug to fish throughout the season, and I rarely regretted the choice. The peacock dubbed wet fly performed admirably and was often combined with a beadhead hares ear nymph or salvation nymph. The zug bug rarely took a back seat to my other top producers, but I would still rate it third if asked to rank by number of fish caught. I can tie an ultra zug bug in half the time required for a salvation nymph or hares ear nymph, and that is an important consideration.

A Batch of Ultra Zug Bugs

I counted my residual supply of UZB’s and determined that I held twenty-three carryovers in my boxes. I tied an additional forty to increase my holdings to sixty for the start of the 2019 season. My one criticism of this fly is the tendency of the thread to unravel at the head just behind the bead. For this reason I tried some Solarez UV flex resin on the first five, but application from the tube was difficult to regulate, so I abandoned this step for the remaining flies produced. Instead I was very meticulous in my application of head cement to the entire band of thread, and hopefully this will improve the durability of this valuable fly.

Iron Sally – 12/14/2018

Iron Sally 12/14/2018 Photo Album

Sparkling, shiny, flashy and twinkling are apt adjectives for this fly. Any fly fisherman who gazes upon this jewel will be transfixed by its glamorous attraction. But even more important than attracting anglers is the ability of the iron sally to also attract fish.

Two New Iron Sallies

A good starting point to learning about my history with this fly is my 02/04/2014 blog post. My post of 12/18/2017 describes how my experiment with the iron sally in 2014 evolved into a full blown mainstay fly in my subsurface arsenal. During 2018 the iron sally once again surpassed my expectations, and I selected it for a position on my line much more frequently than prior seasons. Three of my most productive iron sally days were 06/28/2018 on the Eagle River, 10/11/2018 on the Arkansas River, and 10/24/2018 on the Colorado River. The iron sally graduated to one of my top five producing nymphs. It was very productive during golden stonefly and yellow sally hatches during the summer, but it also generated solid action during fall trips.

Fly ComponentMaterial
HookTiemco 5262, Size 12 and 14
BeadGold Brass, 2.4MM
TheadTan or beige
TailAmber/Gold goose biots
AbdomenGold ultra wire small
Abdomen TopBlack crystal flash
Wing CaseSection of turkey tail feather
LegsBlack crystal flash
ThoraxAmber/gold dubbing

In an effort to establish an adequate quantity for the 2019 season, I tied five size 12 nymphs to bring my total to 37. During several fall outings I tested a smaller size 14 version, that a friend purchased and donated to me, and the results of these sessions provoked me to tie five of the smaller stonefly imitation. I sense that the the iron sally’s rise in popularity has only begun.

Iron Sally Earrings for Jane

Salvation Nymph – 12/09/2018

Salvation Nymph 12/09/2018 Photo Album

The story of my introduction to the salvation nymph is contained in my post of 12/30/2011. Between that time and now it evolved into my second most productive fly after the beadhead hares ear, and for several years the salvation actually surpassed the hares ear in productivity. Check out the link to the 2011 post to see a materials table and my description of the steps required to manufacture this killer fly.

Look at the Back

I often fish the salvation nymph and hares ear nymph in a two fly combination beneath a large foam attractor fly, and this lineup frequently generates hot action. Upon completing my hares ear tying I inventoried my salvation nymph supply, and I discovered that my various storage boxes contained sixty-eight. Ironically this matched precisely my stock of hares ear nymphs, before I replenished. I adhered to my goal of storing one hundred salvations to begin the new season, and consequently I cranked out thirty-two new models.

Looking Great

I added one improvement to my salvation nymph process during my recent production tying project. Jane gave me a Solarez UV resin kit last year for Christmas, and the salvations became my first Solarez application. I applied the liquid resin to the entire back of the salvation nymph, and I was very pleased with the shimmering translucent effect. All thirty-two of the newly produced flies received a thin coat, and I am hopeful that this finishing touch will make the salvation nymph even more productive. It will be fun to continue the salvation experiment in 2019.

Love the Solarez

Hares Ear Nymph – 12/09/2018

Hares Ear Nymph 12/09/2018 Photo Album

The beadhead hares ear nymph continued to be my number one producing fly. The fuzzy classic subsurface pattern produced year round, and it was particularly effective in the March through June time frame. During recent years I landed a fish on nearly every cast for consecutive hours on the South Platte River on the hares ear. The mainstay fly of my box produced everywhere, but for some reason the South Platte River residents were particularly attracted to it.

For a material list and a description of some of my tying deviations from the classic pattern check out my post of 11/05/2010. This description summarizes my interaction with the hares ear quite well, and I have very little to add here, eight years later. It is unusual for me to not tamper with a fly in minor ways, but I hesitate to tinker with overwhelming success.

Nice Close Up

I followed my customary practice and counted all my beadhead hares ear nymphs in my various fly containers, and I tallied sixty-eight. Actually I counted sixty-nine, but I lost one on my last outing of the year in November. With this information in my possession I visited my tying station and cranked out thirty-two additional versions to increase my total to one hundred in preparation for the 2019 season.

My tying method remains consistent with the 11/05/2010 post with only the addition of two intermediate applications of glue. I dab a small amount at the base of the tail to prevent unraveling at that end, and I apply a small amount, after I tie in the wing case strip but before adding dubbing for the thorax. These steps seem to extend the life of the flies, and most of my shrinkage is attributable to branches, rocks and aggressive fish. Unraveling is largely confined to the thread wraps behind the bead, and this is actually a good problem, since most of the time it is attributable to repeated attacks by hungry fish.

Batch and Materials