Category Archives: Nymphs

Olive Perdigon – 11/04/2023

Olive Perdigon 11/04/2023 Photo Album

On 10/03/2023 I was fishing on the Eagle River with my friend Dave G. In the first hour I landed two small fish, while Dave G. netted several very nice rainbows, with one in the twenty inch range. I was using a Pat’s rubber legs and RS2, so I swallowed my pride and asked Dave G., if I could borrow one of his flies that was savored by the Eagle River trout. He graciously handed me a size 16 olive perdigon, and the switch proved to be a winner, as I went on to land a bunch of hard fighting rainbows, and all clamped their mouths on the perdigon. This caught my attention.

I avoided losing the perdigon, and I took it to Charlie’s Flybox on one of my return drives after playing pickleball. Charlie himself waited on me, and I handed him the fly and asked him to select the matching hooks and beads that were required to replicate the popular perdigon. A few days later I settled in at my fly tying station, and I produced ten new olive perdigons that matched the fly that Dave G. gave me. The fly is actually quite simple to produce, as it consists of a tail of grizzly hackle fibers, an olive thread body, a copper tungsten bead and a jig hook. The hardest aspect of this tie is threading the slotted bead on to the hook and positioning it properly on the angled neck of the jig hook. Also the finishing steps involve applying UV resin, and that can be a somewhat delicate process. I advise using too little resin and not too much. I used a black marker to create the spot on top of the bead and extended it over the upper collar of the fly, and then I applied thick resin to fill in and smooth the gap between the bead and abdomen. Once I dried this with the UV torch, I applied thin UV resin over the entire body of the fly and carefully avoided hitting the tail.

I am amazed at how heavy the tungsten bead is compared to the brass beads I normally use. I suspect much of the success of this fly accrues from the density of the bead and the fast sink rate. Of course, the price of tungsten beads is another drawback, but if the effectiveness matches my experience on 10/03/2023, I will pay the steep price.

Crystal Stone – 01/03/2023

Crystal Stone 01/03/2023 Photo Album

For some reason I continue to avoid this fly, yet I am convinced that it would be quite productive, if I gave it a chance. Click on this link for my 01/18/2022 post to browse background information on why I developed this fly. There may be another version out there, but I like the usage of black crystal flash for the tail, wingcase and legs. The ice dub peacock black only enhances the flash and attraction of this small nymph.

Black Crystal Hair

I tied five additional crystal stones to add to my existing supply, and I am committing to deploying this little black stonefly in 2023. I expect to use it frequently in the early spring season, when small black stoneflies are prevalent on local rivers.

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

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