Fat Albert 02/03/2024 Photo Album
It is difficult to supplement my post of 01/23/2023 with relevant information. If you are interested in this fly click on the link to my previous year narrative. This fly receives quite a bit of usage as the surface fly that accompanies double nymphs in a dry/dropper configuration. In addition to serving as an extremely effective strike indicator, it attracts its share of eats along the way.
I counted my fat Alberts and determined that I needed six to replenish my supply for the 2024 season. I dumped my damaged fly canister, and four old fat Alberts with missing legs materialized. I refurbished the handicapped hoppers and tied three new versions, and this allowed me to gift one to my friend, Nate. I am now fairly certain that I have adequate fat Alberts to get me through the upcoming season.
Pool Toy Hopper 01/27/2024 Photo Album
I have very little to add beyond my post from a year ago, which can be viewed at 01/22/2023. I probably deploy the pool toy hopper more than any other large hopper or foam pattern. It is only surpassed by the smaller and, in my opinion, more versatile hippie stomper. Ironically both flies were designed by the master of foam, Andrew Grillos.
When I counted my inventory of pool toy hoppers, I discovered that I needed to increment my supply by nine, and I added one for my friend, Nate. I also maintain some plastic canisters with mangled and damaged flies that I placed out of service during the season, and I discovered six flies in this condition. I approached my vise and replaced the missing legs on the damaged flies and then produced four new versions; three for me and one for my friend. I am certain that this fly will spend quite a bit of time on my line throughout the season, and I am equally sure that legs will fall off, and a few will be donated to trees and aggressive fish. I am prepared for every eventuality in 2024.
Chernobyl Ant 01/23/2024 Photo Album
For an excellent recap of my experience with and usage of the classic Chernobyl ant please review my post of 01/23/2021. It also contains a link to a materials table, and it does an excellent job of explaining the circumstances that induce me to tie a Chernobyl ant to my line. I am unable to build upon that narrative here in any significant way.
My usage of the Chernobyl ant has declined in recent years, as chubby Chernobyls, fat Alberts and pool toy hoppers now command the prime position as a highly visible and very buoyant surface fly in a dry/dropper configuration. For this reason my loss of this fly is negligible, and consequently I determined that I had adequate supplies for another year. In order to remain in practice and to provide some for my young fishing friend, Nate, I tied two. They turned out great, so hopefully Nate will enjoy them as much as I do.
Jake’s Gulp Beetle 01/16/2024 Photo Album
Check out my post of 01/17/2023 for more information and links related to Jake’s gulp beetle. This fly is quite easy to tie, and one of my historical posts provides step by step directions.
I deployed the foam beetle a few times during 2023, but I do not seem to revive its effectiveness similar to situations in past years. I suspect some of this shift resulted from my tendency to not use it, as I tend to default to the hippie stomper, stimulator or deer hair caddis before resorting to a foam beetle. This is perhaps a mistake on my part, so I will try to reverse this trend in 2024.
My supply was slightly depleted, so I tied an additional five with one going to my friend. The remaining four were split evenly between size 14 and size 12. I feel prepared for terrestrial plopping in the upcoming season.
Hippie Stomper 01/12/2024 Photo Album
I opened my dry fly tying season with a hippie stomper, and why not? This fly is hands down my top producing dry fly, and I cannot even tell you what it imitates. I suppose that is the beauty of it; it looks like any number of natural food items, and most importantly it is simply buggy. I suggest that you read my last post from 01/11/203, as it has excellent background information and a link to an older post with even more explanation. My 2023 post is especially effective at explaining how and when I deploy the hippie stomper.
I began last year with twenty-five hippie stompers in stock containing my favorite body color, peacock; and I determined that my supply was severely diminished. In fact, toward the end of the 2023 season I began to worry that my valued stock of hippie stompers would be fully depleted. This level of shrinkage is a testament to heavy usage of an extremely effective fly. For this reason I approached my vise and tied twenty-eight new versions. I made three for my friend, Nate, and the remainder replenished my fly boxes. Of the twenty-five for me, twenty contained a peacock dubbed body and five contained an olive ice dub body. I was able to recover quite a few hooks by stripping old hippie stompers that were damaged through a season of heavy usage.
Sunk Ant 01/02/2024 Photo Album
You are able to read the story of my burgeoning romance with the sunk ant in my post of 12/21/2020. It contains a materials table and a mention of my favored fly tying video. An informative update is available on my 01/03/2023 post.
Sunk ants have earned a more prominent place in my fleece wallet after experiencing solid results on high country streams. I tried them a few times on the large down valley rivers, but I was not able to replicate similar results, although admittedly the amount of time on the line in these situations was not comparable. It does stand to reason, however, that small high mountain creeks are closer to bushes and trees bearing ants on both banks of the stream. I am a huge fan of sunk ants, and I only question why it took so long to become a proponent.
I made four size 14 sunk ants and two size 16’s, and I gave one of each size to my friend, Nate. My supplies of these flies should be adequate for 2024. Bring on the army of ants.
Pat’s Rubber Legs 12/29/2023 Photo Album
If you are thinking about fishing Pat’s rubber legs during the upcoming season, but you are not convinced of its effectiveness, check out this post from 06/27/2022. Effective would be an understatement. This day on the Arkansas River convinced me to never overlook my stocks of Pat’s rubber legs. Additional useful information is available from my post of 12/22/2022.
I used my better judgement to count my rubber legs, and I concluded that I maintained an adequate supply, but I tied up two additional weighted nymphs in coffee/black and two in the olive/black color. One of each color was donated to my exercise specialist friend.
Scuds 12/27/2023 Photo Album
Solid background information on scuds and descriptions of some modifications that I added are contained in my post of 12/20/2019. My post of 12/18/2020 adds additional guidance on scud usage. Since I fished more lakes in 2023, I plan to do the same in the coming year, and scuds are a main stillwater food source.
With this intention in mind, I counted my scud inventory, and I determined that I needed to tie seven additions. Actually my supplies were relatively adequate, but I was looking for an excuse to refresh my memory on tying steps; and in addition, I produced three for my friend, Nate. I maintain three colors; orange, medium olive and gray. I used olive ice dub for the olive versions, and I must say, they look very attractive, although I am not a fish.
Zebra Midge 12/20/2023 Photo Album
If you are new to fly tying, and you desire a confidence boost, tie some zebra midges. These flies require only four materials, and that includes the hook and thread. You will also fancy yourself a production tier, as you churn out these simple flies in a matter of a few minutes.
Simplicity may be one favorable characteristic, but they also happen to be effective fish catchers. I do not often resort to a midge fly, but when I do, a zebra midge is often an early choice. These tiny gems are present in trout streams throughout all seasons, and trout rely on them for calories during the winter.
If you would like to learn more about the zebra midge click on this post from 01/24/2014. I counted my supply of black and olive zebra midges, and determined that I had adequate quantities in my various fly storage containers. Nevertheless, I approached my vise and produced eight new ones in order to remain in practice. I made two blacks with a copper rib, two blacks with a red rib, and four olive with a silver rib. Bring on the midge sippers in2024.
Salad Spinner 12/19/2023 Photo Album
The salad spinner is a midge pupa fly, and it has an interesting history. I recommend reviewing my posts of 12/17/2019 and 12/12/2015. The 2019 post contains a materials table, and the 2015 post provides the tying steps. I have experienced reasonable success with this unconventional fly, and it is often my first choice when I see a plentiful amount of midge adults buzzing about near the stream. I am not a trout, but I love the fine red wire rib and the emerging antron wing.
My shrinkage of this fly was not very significant, so I tied four additions, and I gave a couple to my fly fishing friend. Midge season lasts all year, so I could knot one of these on my line in the not too distant future.