Green Drake Comparadun 02/07/2023 Photo Album
I tie five different styles of western green drakes, and although the parachute version typically outperforms the others, there are occasions when it goes ignored, and a different style saves the day. I am fairly certain that the second most successful green drake tie is the comparadun style. I use dark coastal deer hair for the wing clump, and I surmise that this fanned out image does an exceptional job of portraying the large fluttering wing of a green drake. Although I have not studied the matter scientifically, it seems that the comparadun excels during the densest portion of the hatch, when the drakes are fluttering and skittering on the water the most.
Closer Look at Left Side
Historically I utilized microfibbets for the tails of my comparadun green drakes, but over the last several years I became dissatisfied with the buoyancy of the comparaduns. They tended to get waterlogged and sink after a fish or two. Having viewed the effectiveness of the moose mane tail on the parachutes, I transferred the same tailing material to my comparaduns during my tying efforts this winter. It will be interesting to see if this move is popular with the fish. Perhaps the comparadun is now too similar to the parachute? It will be fun to continue the experiment during the upcoming summer.
Parachute Green Drake 02/05/2023 Photo Album
My love affair with the western green drake continued during the summer of 2022, and the hands down leader in the dry fly style of green drake remained the parachute version. For more background information on the parachute green drake, I encourage you to visit my post of 11/14/2021.
If you read that blog post, you will learn that I settled on two salient features for my parachute green drakes. First and foremost was the usage of moose mane fibers for the tail. The trout seemed to show a demonstrable preference for this fly design feature. I also settled on using white poly for the wing post. This material stands out more than a turkey flat, and this translates to better visibility for the angler. In addition, poly provides more bulk, and I believe this better imitates the struggles of a large green drake attempting to get airborne.
From the Side with Materials
Several excellent outings on South Boulder Creek during 2022 put a significant dent in my parachute green drake supply, so I approached the vise and manufactured fifteen additional versions in size 12 and 14. I cannot wait for the green drake days of 2023.
Chubby Chernobyl 01/24/2023 Photo Album
Each year I resort to the chubby Chernobyl more frequently. My post of 02/12/2022 provides further background on my experience with this awkward looking fly. Links from that post can guide you to my introduction to gaining confidence in the chubby Chernobyl, but suffice it to say that large trout on the Yampa River favored a chubby with a tan ice dub body.
When I utilize a chubby in the surface position on a dry/dropper, and a fish grabs the trailing fly, I find the progressive submersion of the chubby wing to be quite seductive. I suppose that makes me weird, but I must confess to this predilection.
Clump of Five
After I counted my carry over supply from 2022, I determined that the chubbys needed replenishment, so I churned out an additional five for the upcoming season. I cannot wait to see the white wing disappear once again.
Hippie Stomper 01/11/2023 Photo Album
Should I categorize the hippie stomper as a terrestrial or an attractor? Guess what? It is irrelevant. The beauty of the hippie stomper is that it consistently catches fish regardless of the time of day, season of the year or type of water. The hippie stomper is simply my number one dry fly, as it delivers time after time. I encourage you to click on this link, Hippie Stomper – 01/30/2022, to gain access to all the background on the hippie stomper, or you can just sit down at your vise and tie a large quantity of these flies. If you are not a tier, hippie stompers are abundantly available at western fly shops, and purchasing a batch will help out my buddy, Andrew Grillos.
Olive and Peacock Body Clump
Quite often I begin my dry/dropper fishing with a hopper and trail one or two beadhead nymphs as droppers, and frequently the fish ignore the droppers and refuse the large hopper. I adopted the strategy of downsizing from the size eight hopper to a smaller foam fly, and that approach often results in a hippie stomper as my top fly. The stomper is lighter than the larger foam flies, yet it is capable of supporting two beadhead nymphs up to size 14. Another frequent technique that incorporates the hippie stomper is casting a double dry arrangement. The hippie stomper is typically the front fly, and I attach another smaller dry fly that matches the naturals on a six to eight inch dropper. In many instances the hippie stomper out-fishes the more imitative second fly.
My overwhelming favorite body color is peacock dubbing. Nine times out of ten the peacock hippie stomper resides on my line, although I did manage some success this summer with some constructed with red flashabou bodies. For this reason I tied both peacock and red hippie stompers for the 2023 season. The trout do not have a chance.
Gray Deer Hair Caddis 03/12/2022 Photo Album
Gray is another favorite deer hair caddis color, and I cast this fly quite frequently. In a manner similar to the olive deer hair caddis, I utilize this fly as the point on a double dry, when the trout are picky about the larger stimulator or hippie stomper. It works quite well in these situations. I have also encountered situations where trout refuse the light gray caddis, and I switch to a light gray comparadun with success. The similar size and body color to a pale morning dun seems to attract interest, but the wing configuration is wrong. At least in this case I appreciate the attracting quality of the light gray deer hair caddis. For more on the deer hair caddis go to my post of 02/22/2021.
Popular with Trout
I took inventory of my light gray caddis and determined that I required some replacements, and I produced eight new models. I am certain that these flies will see abundant time on my line in the upcoming season.
Olive Deer Hair Caddis 03/07/2022 Photo Album
This fly is one of my workhorse dry flies, as I extract it from my fly box quite frequently. During the spring grannom hatch, it is a very effective imitation, but it also performs admirably throughout the season.
My 02/22/2021 post does an excellent job of discussing all things olive caddis. I mention using it in a double dry configuration, and in this post I would like to reinforce the effectiveness of this strategy. During the 2021 season I tossed a hippie stomper and olive deer hair caddis quite frequently with excellent results. A bushy stimulator combined with the olive deer hair caddis was another killer combination.
Nine Size 16’s
I also tend to knot a deer hair caddis on my line, when I approach a lake, and I am not sure what to try. The small and sparse deer hair caddis seems to be a food item that stillwater residents are familiar with, and they respond accordingly. Sometimes the high mountain trout grab the caddis even though they are primarily feeding on small items such as midges and ants.
After I counted my backup supply, I manufactured nine additional dry flies for 2022. Bring on the caddis.
Olive Stimulator 03/05/2022 Photo Album
Olive is a third favorite body color for stimulators. On several occasions I used an olive stimulator successfully during a green drake hatch. The body color matches, and the dense hackles create the illusion of rapid wing movement. The wing angle deviates from the traditional mayfly upright style, but when green drakes are struggling to get airborne, the wing position may be a secondary consideration.
My post of 01/29/2020 does a nice job of providing additional background information regarding stimulators. Check it out.
My supply of olive stimulators was somewhat depleted, so I generated an additional four for the 2022 season. I am quite anxious to break these in on some wild western trout in the near future.
Gray Stimulator 02/23/2022 Photo Album
My post of 1/29/2020 does an excellent job of updating on my favorite applications of the gray stimulator. It also describes some of the pitfalls to avoid while tying stimulators, and a review of Charlie Craven’s video on www.charliesflybox.com will ensure that any tier avoids these missteps.
Stimulators comprised a large proportion of the flies in the fly box that I lost last September, so I turned to the vise and cranked out six additional size 14’s. Gray is a favorite all around body color for me, as it seems to work well across a broad spectrum of natural body hues of stoneflies and caddis. I produced six additional heavily hackled flies for the upcoming season.
Zoom the Pile
Yellow Stimulator 02/22/2022 Photo Album
If you click on my 02/21/2017 post on the yellow stimulator, you can read an interesting narrative about some of my early success with this fly. My devotion to this fly endures six years later, and I examined my supply and churned out another batch of four to increase my inventory to adequate levels.
The yellow stimulator in sizes 14 and 12 are especially effective during yellow sally and golden stonefly emergences, and these tend to peak in the late June until mid-July time period; however, I often knot one of these bushy imitations to my line outside the prime yellow stonefly time period. Guess what? They work throughout the season.
Hair Stacker Added
Stimulators are not exceedingly difficult to tie, but some precision at several key points can improve the output significantly. No tier is more precise in their instruction than Charlie Craven, so I usually review is tying video, before I dive into stimulator production. His method follows the classic approach including using fine wire to bind down the palmered hackle. I personally do not like applying wire to a dry fly, so I skip that step and tie in a saddle hackle in front of the tail and wind forward. Otherwise, i follow his steps without deviation.
Klinkhammer BWO 02/21/2022 Photo Album
Background information and a materials table may be found in the following two posts: 03/06/2021 and 02/23/2020. I lost my fly box during 2021, and this put a dent in my supply of Klinkhammer BWO’s, so I devoted some hours to replenishing my supply with six additional versions.
A Thing of Beauty
My primary BWO imitation is the CDC BWO, but on occasions where the trout ignore the CDC style, I resort to Klinkhammer BWO’s. Sometimes it produces, but at other times it is also avoided. I concluded that the tough blue winged olive days occur when the wind is strong, and the adult mayflies bounce and skip on the surface of the river. It is very difficult to imitate the erratic movement with a fly, but I have on occasion prompted a response with a quick twitch or lift in front of a sighted trout. Even after forty years of fly fishing, I continue to experiment and learn new tricks.
Six New Klinks