Monthly Archives: December 2022

Pat’s Rubber Legs – 12/22/2022

Pat’s Rubber Legs 12/22/2022 Photo Album

During a 06/27/2022 trip to the Arkansas River the local brown trout and rainbow trout displayed a strong preference for Pat’s rubber legs. The river remained high from run off at 1100 CFS, and heavy rains several days earlier created turbid conditions with visibility to three feet along the edges. This suited my style perfectly, as I lobbed my dry/dropper featuring an olive and black Pat’s rubber legs as the upper nymph in a tandem nymph dry/dropper arrangement. I was frankly stunned by the effectiveness of the simple chenille and rubber leg fly.

Facing Down and Left

Overhead from the Front

I began tying these in recent years when my friend, Dave G, raved about their effectiveness on the Eagle River and Colorado River on guided float trips with Cutthroat Anglers. I must admit that I gave them scarce time on my line, so I was probably overlooking a very productive fly. After my outing on the Arkansas River in June, however, the days of disregarding Pat’s rubber legs are history. My post of 12/19/2020 provides additional background information on this popular fly.

Molting Stonefly

I follow the tying method of Tim Flagler, and if you want to attempt tying these tricky nymphs, you should search it out on YouTube. The most difficult aspect of tying this fly is the unruly nature of the rubber legs, and Tim devised a solution that keeps the legs under reasonable control. For my tying sessions in December I manufactured three different colors; olive and black, coffee and black, and orange-green-yellow. I use the latter in March to match molting stoneflies in the Arkansas River, although I’m sure they would work just as well on other western rivers that hold a strong population of stoneflies.

Three Colors

BWO Soft Hackle Emerger – 12/16/2022

BWO Soft Hackle Emerger 12/16/2022 Photo Album

This pattern created by Charlie Craven has become a workhorse fly for baetis hatches. When I first started tying them, I added a small silver bead, so they would sink when fished in a dry/dropper combination. I subsequently discovered that a beaded soft hackle emerger is redundant with a RS2 or sparkle wing RS2, so my tying sessions over the last two years resulted in true emergers with no bead. For more information and background on the BWO soft hackle emerger follow this link to my 01/08/2022 post.

Nice View of the Left Side

During a 10/11/2022 fishing outing at the South Platte River in Eleven Mile Canyon, I was in a state of frustration, as sizeable trout refused my BWO imitations in a long and smooth glassy pool. In a state of desperation I plucked a soft hackle emerger without a bead from my fleece wallet. Guess what happened? I suddenly began hooking and landing gorgeous wild trout on the soft hackle emerger. I applied floatant to the body and fished in dry fly style with across and down casts, and the results were very positive. When the conditions include strong wind, I suspect that the tiny olives get knocked down on the surface, and the low riding soft hackle with no bead does a nice job of portraying cripples and struggling emergers. I am very anxious to deploy this technique once again in the new season.

14 Soft Hackle Emergers

I sat down at my vise and produced fourteen new BWO soft hackle emergers, and this broke down into four size 20, five size 22, and five size 24. The 24’s are minute, but so are the late autumn naturals.

Sparkle Wing RS2 – 12/09/2022

Sparkle Wing RS2 12/09/2022 Photo Album

Check out my post of 01/04/2022 for background information and a link to a materials table for the sparkle wing RS2. Each year I seem to use this fly for greater periods of time, and this translates to more lost flies and the need to tie more. After I counted my remaining supply, I decided to replenish my fly storage container with fifteen additional sparkle wings.

Other Side

I made one change to my usual tying recipe this year, as I substituted a crystal hair loop for the emerging wing instead of the antron stub that I utilized in previous tying sessions. I love the sparkle and flash of this addition. I will soon find out if the trout agree.

15 New Sparkle Wings and Materials

Classic RS2 – 12/05/2022

Classic RS2 12/05/2022 Photo Album

I would never wish to be caught without a sufficient supply of RS2’s in the spring and fall in the western United States. The RS2 imitates the nymphal stage of the baetis mayfly along with a myriad of other small mayfly nymphs. My fleece wallet contains the classic RS2, sparkle wing RS2’s, and small RS2-size soft hackle emergers. They all work, but in spite of the additional flash of the synthetic versions, the classic RS2 continues to perform at a high level. For this reason I always count my supply and tie replacements.

Soft Wing for Movement

Here is the link to a previous post that contains additional background information and additional links to related narrative. The classic RS2 is a simple tie, as it only contains three materials besides the hook, thread and bead. I can whip these out in no time, and I did just that recently to produce seven new models. The need to generate seven indicates that I suffered some shrinkage during the past season, and this is proof that the classic RS2 remains an often utilized fly in my fleece wallet.

Spotlight on One

Super Nova PMD – 12/02/2022

Super Nova PMD 12/02/2022 Photo Album

My post of 12/01/2022 is rather comprehensive regarding my introduction to this fly and my subsequent situational application and consequent success. My confidence in the super nova PMD (pale morning dun) continued in 2022, and I eagerly topped off my inventory with nine additions. I view this fly as a simpler and easier to tie replica of the pheasant tail nymph, yet it seems to be just as effective.

Love Slim Rib

I use these mainly during the time period when pale morning duns are active, and it imitates the nymph stage of the prevalent mayfly in the west. My fly box continues to hold an ample supply of pheasant tails, so I utilize them as well while the supply lasts. I cannot wait for the advent of the pale morning duns in mid-June of 2023.

Batch with Materials