Monthly Archives: November 2022

Iron Sally – 11/28/2022

Iron Sally 11/28/2022 Photo Album

Check out my post of 01/09/2022 for additional information on this favorite nymph that occupies my line quite frequently. My confidence in this fly has expanded dramatically during the past several seasons. The flash of the iron sally is a high powered fish attractor, but it also imitates golden stonefly and yellow sally nymphs. These naturals are present in significant numbers during the June through August time frame, and I take advantage by tumbling this fly through attractive trout lairs. The trout of the Arkansas River and Eagle River are particularly receptive to a dead drifted iron sally. The abdomen construction with ultra wire makes this fly relatively heavy, and it is, therefore, a good option when I seek a deeper drift on my dry/dropper rig.

Lots of Flash

My supply experienced a decent amount of shrinkage, so I knuckled down at my vise and manufactured nine additional nymphs split between size 12 and size 14. Bring on the stonefly hatch in 2023.

New Ones from the Vise

Emerald Caddis Pupa – 11/21/2022

Emerald Caddis Pupa 11/21/2022 Photo Album

Another effective sparkle caddis pupa pattern that I rely on heavily is the emerald body version. My post of 12/19/2021 provides additional links and background on my experience with this workhorse fly in my arsenal of flies. I am convinced that the emerald color is a fish magnet, and this fly has historically produced for me in otherwise slow fishing situations.

Thread Was Unraveling

My count of emerald caddis revealed that my supply remained at adequate levels; however, I sorted four unraveling versions from my damaged fly canister, and I refurbished them. I am certain that the emerald caddis pupa will spend time on my line frequently during the 2023 season.

Five Refurbished

Go2 Caddis Pupa – 11/20/2022

Go2 Caddis Pupa 11/20/2022 Photo Albums

I replenished my supply of bright green Go2 sparkle caddis pupa with five new models. The go2 sparkle caddis pupa is a hybrid that combines Gary Lafontaine’s emergent bright green caddis pupa with a go2 caddis created by Rick Takahashi. I substituted chartreuse midge diamond braid for the specified bright green antron yarn in the original pattern. Needless to say, I love the flash of the diamond braid for this fly, as it really stands out during the spring grannom emergence.

Zoomed In

For more information follow my 12/19/2021 link and the embedded links there. When I took stock of my holdings of this fly, I concluded that I needed to tie five additional caddis pupa to replenish my inventory to the desired level.

Fish Attractors

Prince Nymph – 11/19/2022

Prince Nymph 11/19/2022 Photo Album

The prince nymph is a proven classic, so I have little to add to what has been chronicled among fly fishing literature. Visit my 1/15/2022 post for my observations on the effectiveness of the prince nymph and the situations that invite me to knot a prince nymph to my line.

Size 14

I use the prince nymph as a weighted attractor, as a green drake nymph imitation, stonefly nymph and caddis egg-laying adult. The pattern remains the same in all situations, but I vary the size. I counted my supply of size 12 and size 14 prince nymphs and determined that I needed to tie six of each. Upon completion of this tying project my fleece wallet is adequately stocked for the 2023 season.

Size 14’s Completed

20 Incher – 11/15/2022

20 Incher 11/15/2022 Photo Album

I continued to cycle through my workhorse nymphs, as I replaced lost flies and advanced my inventory to target levels. Next on my agenda was the classic 20 Incher. The 20 incher was created in Colorado, and I have developed a strong relationship with this large stonefly imitation. I find myself defaulting to it more frequently, especially when I desire a deeper drift on my dry/dropper presentations. I tie the 20 incher on a size 12 2X long heavy hook, and then I add ten wraps of .02 non-lead weighting wire. This construction allows the 20 incher to sink rapidly without the aid of split shot. Quite often I fish through a series of attractive deep runs and pockets with no success, when I am certain trout are present. In these instances I conclude that my flies are not getting deep enough, and a frequent response is to combine the 20 incher with a smaller nymph. The 20 incher is more than just a heavy fly to sink my rig, as it also attracts its fair share of hungry fish.

Nice One

For a nice recap of the 20 incher stonefly nymph check out my post of 01/13/2022. I counted my supply and determined that I needed to add only three to elevate my total to my desired level. I manned my tying bench and cranked these out recently. Two of them were refurbished from damaged flies, and this saved some tying steps as well as a hook, bead and wire wrap. I vacillated between using a turkey tail section or Tyvek for the wing case, but I settled on the natural look of the turkey. Coating the wing case with a layer of thin UV resin has also become a standard step in my 20 incher fly tying process.

Peacock, Turkey and Goose Biots

Ultra Zug Bug – 11/14/2022

Ultra Zug Bug 11/14/2022 Photo Album

Consistent with prior years, I used the ultra zug bug on numerous occasions with decent success during 2022, and this resulted in nine flies being lost or damaged. If you would like to learn more about my experience with this easy to tie, yet effective, fly, check out my post of 12/15/2021. This post provides a link to earlier posts with a materials table and a description of how I became a fan of the ultra zug bug.

Very Close

I replaced the nine flies that unraveled or disappeared with nine new versions, and I am ready for the 2023 season.

9 UZBs and Materials

Salvation Nymph – 11/11/2022

Salvation Nymph 11/11/2022 Photo Album

I have very little to add pertaining to the salvation nymph that is not available in my many annual posts. I suggest that you click on this link to last year’s post, and that provides key links to tying instructions as well as other useful information regarding when it is effective.

Angled Top View

This fly remains a mainstay in my fleece wallet, and when I counted my remaining supply after the 2022 season, I realized that 69 remained in my inventory. I start every season with 100, so I lost 31 to fish, rocks, branches and damage. This shrinkage in inventory is indicative of the effectiveness of the salvation nymph, and consequently it spends a significant amount of time on my line. I visited my vise and produced 31 to augment my supply back to my target level of 100.

20 with Materials

I sorted through my plastic canister of damaged and unraveling flies and discovered eleven, and these were repaired and were a portion of my 31 additional flies. In most cases I was able to recover the nymphs with the addition of a few legs on the front half of the fly, and this saved time and materials. I adopted the practice of applying UV resin to the wing case, and all 31 flies received this treatment. The layer of epoxy really enhances the flash of the flashabou strand and flashback black wing case.

South Platte River – 11/08/2022

Time: 11:00AM – 2:30PM

Location: Deckers area

South Platte River 11/08/2022 Photo Album

After landing two decent brown trout on soft egg flies on 11/01/2022, I advanced tying egg flies on my winter fly tying schedule, and I produced fifteen 6MM egg flies on size 12 scud hooks. I was unable to locate apricot eggs at the local fly shops, so I used the two that remained in my supply and then produced four chartreuse and nine red/pink versions. Having completed this assignment, I was anxious to test the product of my labors, and with a high temperature forecast in the sixties on Tuesday, November 8; I made the trip to the South Platte River in the Deckers area.

When I arrived, the flows were 127 CFS, and the air temperature advanced to the low sixties. I was very excited to test my new flies, but one negative interfered with otherwise favorable conditions on November 8, and that was wind. The wind gusted continuously throughout my time on the river, and a strong headwind prevailed most of the time. My shoulder and elbow were tired, but hopefully I avoided excessive strain in my efforts to counteract the severe blasts that rolled down the canyon.

Starting Point

I wore my Under Armour long sleeved shirt, my fishing shirt, and a fleece hoodie; and I was comfortable for my entire time on the water. My Sage One five weight was placed into action in order to offset the wind, as it possesses length and stiffness. I marched down to the river and began casting at 11AM; and a size 8 tan pool toy hopper, apricot egg and sparkle wing RS2 were featured in my dry/dropper configuration.

Egg Chomper

I spent three hours and thirty minutes on the river, and I managed to land three trout. The first and best visitor to my net was a nice thirteen inch brown trout, and it responded to my apricot egg. The other two trout were small rainbows in the seven to ten inch range, and they chowed down on the RS2. Yes, it was a slow day on the South Platte River. In addition to the three landed trout I experienced one foul hooked fish and a temporary connection.

There Is the Apricot Egg

At 12:30PM I spotted a few blue winged olives, and I searched for rises in a slow section and noted two. I was reluctant to undertake the time required to switch to a dry fly approach, and I suspect my decision was sound, since the surface activity was extremely sparse and lasted only a short period of time. By 1:45PM I lost confidence, so I swapped the apricot egg for a pink/red translucent version, but the move failed to ignite action. At one point I climbed the bank, and as I strode along the road, I noticed two fish in a trough between some aquatic vegetation. I carefully maneuvered down the bank and placed five or six casts through the trough, but the fish ignored my offerings, and I moved on in frustration.

Area That Produced

In two separate locations I spotted a cluster of spawning fish, as they swam in circles and attempted to gain prime positions for reproduction. I never witnessed this activity on November 1, so perhaps my timing overlapped with spawning to a greater degree and perhaps this impacted my slow catch rate.

End of Day Shot

By 2:30PM I was bored out of my mind, so I climbed a six foot bank and hiked back along the road for .5 mile. The wind was my enemy, and I could not convince myself to continue the battle given the largely futile fishing conditions. I took solace in the fact that I was outdoors in beautiful surroundings, and I avoided a skunking with three trout including a respectable brown that responded to my egg fly. The weather will dictate whether this was my last day of the season, so I will continue to follow the long range forecast.

Fish Landed: 3

Soft Egg Fly – 11/14/2022

Soft Egg Fly 11/14/2022 Photo Album

After a trip to the North Platte River below Grey Reef in March of 2013, I recognized the effectiveness of egg flies on that river in central Wyoming. That experience motivated me to tie some egg flies in preparation for our traditional March trip the following spring. I needed materials and guidance on tying a never before attempted pattern, so I journeyed to Charlie’s Fly Box in Old Arvada, and Dave, the salesperson behind the counter, pointed me in the right direction. I purchased soft otter eggs in apricot and translucent pink/red along with a white veil material and returned to my flying desk to make my first attempts at tying an egg fly.

Love the Veil on This One

Chartreuse Egg

I researched patterns on the internet and tied ten models for the upcoming return trip to the North Platte in March of 2014. These flies satisfied my needs for the next seven years, until I made a rare trip to the South Platte River below Deckers on 11/01/2022. During this venture I fished for a couple hours with minimal success, and I decided to experiment with fly changes. Early November was within the time frame of brown trout spawning season, and this surely suggested that loose brown trout eggs were a ready source of protein for rainbow trout and even adult brown trout. I was not having success with my salvation nymph and RS2, so why not field test an egg fly? I dug one of the apricot eggs that I tied seven years prior from my fleece wallet, and I knotted it to my line in a dry/dropper configuration below a pool toy hopper, and then I added the RS2 below the egg. I made a cast and concentrated on following the drift, and I concluded that the soft egg did not possess enough weight to allow it to bounce along the bottom. A tumbling fly along the bottom was the presentation that I was seeking, and I solved this concern by crimping a small split shot to my line just above the eye of the egg fly.

Apricot Egg

For the rest of the afternoon I drifted the egg and RS2 through deep troughs and moderate riffles on the South Platte River. The experiment paid off handsomely, as I landed two hook-jawed brown trout that grabbed the apricot sphere in a narrow band of slower moving water next to a deep run. The egg fly was a solid success, and I vowed to tie more to support my newfound reliance on egg flies for fall and spring fishing.

A More Distant Angle

I retrieved my egg tying materials from my storage cabinet, and I learned that I had two remaining apricot soft eggs, and fifteen translucent red/pink versions. An abundant clump of the white veil material satisfied my immediate needs. It was Saturday, so I decided to make a quick trip to Charlie’s Fly Box to augment my egg supply. Unfortunately the shop was out of apricot, so I bought some chartreuse eggs and returned home by way of the nearby Bass Pro Shop, but Bass Pro had no soft eggs whatsoever to offer this prospective customer. When I returned home, I fired up the computer and placed an order for apricot eggs from the source in Grand Junction, CO.

Since I planned to make a return visit to the South Platte River on Tuesday, November 8, I approached the tying bench and cranked out fifteen new eggs. The first two were apricot, and then I made four chartreuse and nine red/pink. I found a nice soft egg tying video and followed it to construct my egg flies. Tying the soft egg fly is a very simple process, and I tied fifteen eggs in slightly more than an hour. When I was done, I applied UV resin to the head of each fly, and this really added a nice touch to the red thread head. I am fairly certain that egg flies will be a significant new weapon in my fly fishing arsenal.

Hares Ear Nymph – 11/04/2022

Hares Ear Nymph 11/04/2022 Photo Album

I began my off season fly tying effort with the venerable hares ear nymph. Historically the beadhead hares ear nymph has been my most productive fly, although, when I counted my inventory in preparation for tying, I learned that I had 91 and only nine additional flies were needed to reach my target of 100. Generally shrinkage or loss of flies is an indicator of usage, so I can only assume that I deployed the hares ear nymph less frequently during 2022 than during previous seasons. I really have no explanation for this circumstance.

UV Resin on the Wing Case

If you visit my post of 10/25/2020, you can access links to a materials table and some tips related to my slight variations to the standard pattern. For the nine that I created this year I applied a UV resin coating to the wing case, and I love the shine that this created. This step may become a standard addition to my hares ear nymph production.

I Tied Nine

At any rate, I decided to make nine to return my supply to 100 just in case my usage bounces back in the upcoming year. I seem to enjoy greater success with the hares ear nymph during the early season prior to run off, but it is also effective later in the season. Bring on 2023.