Innovative Flies for Trout, Warmwater, and Steelhead
Patterns: I offer my own innovative
fly designs, plus my high-performance variations on some standard patterns that
belong in every fly box. Look for more on fishing and tying my flies in my
books and articles.
Individually:Every fly I offer is a
proven performer and a staple in my fly boxes. If a fly is on this list it has
plenty of application for home and destination waters.
You’ll find outstanding flies for prospecting trout on all water types, plus
the key imitative flies for cracking hatches. My high-performance flies for
smallmouth bass and other warmwater fish are among my most popular patterns.
Hooks & Materials: I personally tie every fly I sell from premium materials on chemically
sharpened hooks (primarily Tiemco and Daiichi). Hooks have excellent temper,
and micro barbs that you can easily flatten for fishing barbless.
marketing my flies directly to anglers I keep my pricing competitive with the
import flies, which are the bulk of the flies sold by virtually all fly shops
and catalogs. You can even cut your fly costs with my Volume
(see Order Form for details).
Personal Service: Fishing a fly right is as
important as fishing the right fly. Call me at (608) 847-5192 to talk flies or fishing.
Custom Sizes and Colors: I will tie other sizes of all fly patterns offered
in this catalog. I will tie other colors of most patterns offered in this
catalog; please call regarding color variations. Please call on custom tying of
NOTE: The primary hook size for each
pattern is boldfaced
Duck Shoulder Dun (DSD) I fish many spring creeks and tailwaters and the DSD no-hackle consistently fools selective trout. It sits low on the water to imitate a freshly emerged and vulnerable mayfly dun. Duck shoulder feathers form a convincing wing silhouette and are tougher than quill wings. Splayed hackle tail.
DSD Blue-wing Olive – size 16, 18, 20. DSD Pale Morning Dun (PMD) – size 14, 16. DSD Mahogany Dun – size 16. DSD Sulphur – size 18, 20. DSD Blue Dun – size 14, 16, 18. DSD Cahill – size 14, 16. DSD Trico – size 18, 20. DSD March Brown – size 12. DSD Green Drake – size 12, 14...............................Each $1.75
Flara Dun This mayfly dun imitation has proven its worth on selective trout in just a few seasons. It's tied Comparadun-style with a flared wing, but I substitute dun Para Post wing material for deer hair. This Watershed-treated synthetic wing material has much truer color and translucency. The wing locks upright with minimal thread and stays upright thru extended fishing. Sparkle Dun-style Sparkle Yarn trailing shuck. I will tie sizes 12 to 22 to match virtually any mayfly dun. Choose any body color (BWO, PMD, Mahogany, etc.) Specify:hook size and body color.....................Each $1.75
Classic Wood Duck Dun Traditional hackled duns can still be the hot ticket. On windy days hackled duns skitter or blow across the water much like the naturals. I also like these duns for prospecting dry on spring creeks – they’re readily visible to fish and angler, yet they fool spring creek trout that are feeding opportunistically. All have split wings of natural wood duck flank.
Wood Duck Adams – size 12, 14, 16. Wood Duck Cahill – size 14. Wood Duck Blue Dun – size 14, 16. Wood Duck March Brown – size 12..........................Each $1.85
Industrial-Strength Dun The I.S. Dun combine the toughness and visibility of a Wulff with a more realistic mayfly wing silhouette (I bond 2 hen saddle hackle tips into a single upright wing). Well-hackled for durability and a high float. Great for matching large mayflies or for prospecting freestone rivers.
Wulffs Wulffs are tough, visible dries that shine on swift currents and jumbled pocket water. I always pack a few primary color schemes. My Hare’s Ear Wulff has a hare’s ear body and grizzly hackle – a great prospecting combination. Small, size 16 Wulffs are great for late evening when even educated tailwater trout often take them confidently.
Antron-Wing Spinner The Rusty Spinner in a range of sizes equips you to cover most important mayfly spinner falls. Even when there isn’t an obvious spinner fall, fishing a spinner into darkness often produces a few bonus hookups. Antron wings have the translucency of live spinner wings and are reinforced with Flexament cement to maintain their profile.
Floating Nymph During mayfly hatches trout often key on ascending nymphs as they struggle to break through the surface film and emerge as winged duns. The floating nymph with its pronounced foam wing case suspends in the surface film imitating this highly vulnerable emergent stage. Most mature mayfly nymphs are dark olive to brown with dark gray wing pads so toting the Rusty Floating Nymph in a range of sizes equips you to match most emergences.
Floating Nymph, Rusty – sz. 14, 16, 18...................Each $1.75
Upland Caddis My Upland Caddis are extremely lifelike in both color and silhouette. I use a range of game bird feathers to precisely match wing color and mottling of many adult caddis, and I’ve refined a nifty technique for bonding two feathers into a perfect tent-wing, complete with antennae. These are the adult caddis to have for flat water and wary trout.
Cow Elk Caddis The Elk Caddis is my favorite prospecting dry. It’s tough and easy to track, and suggests a range of insects including adult caddis, craneflies, large midges, small stoneflies, and small hoppers. I wing these caddis with carefully selected cow elk hair which has superior buoyancy and mottling to the standard bull elk hair. Tied with brown hackle and body or grizzly hackle and gray body. The grizzly version is great for matching Gammon caddis.
Elk Caddis, Brown – sz. 12, 14, 16, 18. Elk Caddis, Grizzly – sz. 12, 14, 16, 18......................Each $1.75
Emerging Caddis During many caddis hatches the winged adults get off the water so quickly that trout primarily ingest emergers. This fly with its stubby elk hair wing and trailing shuck represents a half-emerged and vulnerable caddis. If you’ve been fishing adult caddis patterns during hatches and seeing mostly refusals, try fishing this emerger in the film. I've also seen this pattern shine during mayfly emergences, particularly of PMD's.
Snowshoe Dancer This downwing dry has a Stimulator-like profile, but I tie it in smaller sizes amd muted natural tones. It's one of my favorite prospecting dries from Wisconsin spring creeks to western rivers to high lakes. The wing is a non-absorbent winter snowshoe hare foot. I palmer matching hackle over a dun or brown body and add grizzly hackle at the thorax. A tail of stiff hackle fibers helps support the fly.
Topwater Midge When the water is blanketed with adult midges you may need to pound a specific fish with a convincing imitation until it selects your fly from the flotilla of naturals. The Topwater Midge is a good one. It has a few turns of thorax hackle trimmed flush with the bottom of the body for a low float. Slender Antron wings are locked low along the body so they contact the surface – a key element in imitating adult midges. The Pheasant/Grizzly version has the same color scheme as the Grizzly Gnat, but is much trimmer to better imitate small midges.
Foam Ant Ants abound in streamside brush and grasses from early summer on, and trout relish them. Tied from buoyant black foam and dubbing with distinct head, thorax and abdomen, plus unbreakable rubber legs.
Foam Ant, Black - size 16..........................................Each $1.75
Shine Beetle Beetles can be fished more subtly than hoppers so they often hook multiple trout on a single run. A shiny dubbed underbody and a glossy black shellback of stretched foam give this imitation that metallic beetle sheen. Unbreakable rubber legs.
Shine Beetle, Black - size 14.....................................Each $1.85
Distress Hopper From the small spring creeks of the Midwest to the big rivers of the West, the Distress Hopper is a winner. The flared elk hair collar suggests a vulnerable hopper knocked down by wind with its wings in disarray. The collar makes the fly easy to track on the water. Head is spun and clipped cow elk hair. Wing is a cock pheasant saddle feather streamlined with Flexament. Tail is moose body. Choose yellow or green foam body. Now available with barred rubber legs.
Distress Hopper, Green Body - size 8, 10, 12.................Each $2.25 Distress Hopper, Yellow Body - size 8, 10, 12.................Each $2.25 Distress Hopper, Green Body with barred rubber legs....Each $2.75 Distress Hopper, Yellow Body with barred rubber legs....Each $2.75
Splat Cricket A squat, chunky cricket is a great terrestrial for low light, or cool damp periods when hoppers aren’t active. I often 'kick' this cricket actively, and I've seen it generate dozens of strikes from a single run. Tied with a chunky foam body, and head, shiny black dubbing, and black rubber legs.
Splat Cricket, Black - size 8, 10, 12..................................Each $2.50
On fertile spring creeks and tailwaters, presenting tiny nymph imitations is often the ticket to steady action between hatches. I fish Micro-Nymphs in some unorthodox ways with impressive results, but the primary tactic is a dead drift at the exact depth fish are holding. Use a small buoyant indicator to precisely regulate fly depth and pinch a small # 8 split shot on a 5X or 6X tippet to suspend the fly vertically beneath the indicator. Given some time to acclimate to your presence, trout typically don’t associate tiny nymphs with danger; I often stand in plain view of pods of wild trout and micro-nymph numerous fish. All Micro-nymphs below are tied unweighted.
Pheasant Tail Midge The PT Midge uses proven materials (pheasant tail and fine copper wire) but is tied without appendages to imitate small midge and caddis larvae. It has produced banner days from western rivers to local spring creeks. The black version with copper bead has torn up the Bighorn river during midge and black caddis hatchers several summers running; there I often remove the shot and indicator and drift it just under the film to rising fish. Tied with natural bronze or black pheasant tail. Also available with a tiny 1/16” copper bead; bead version drifts hook point up for solid hookups in upper snouts.
Chocolate Emerger I first fished the Chocolate Emerger during blue-wing olive hatches on the San Juan river and quickly adopted it for other waters. Drifted just above bottom or weed beds with the aid of a small split shot, it often produces more and bigger fish than dun imitations, even when plenty of fish are rising. If you encounter blue-wing hatches at predictable times, try bracketing the hatch by probing deep with this nymph before and after.
Soft-Hackle Woolly Worms My most productive prospecting fly by a runaway margin. Its buggy silhouette and lifelike materials make it a big-trout slayer. Fish it on an upstream dead-drift, a down-and-across swing, or strip it through slack water—there’s no water type or angle of presentation it can’t handle The rabbit fur tail and soft, webby hen hackle pulsate beautifully. The dubbed rabbit body is raked with a nylon brush to marry dubbing with hackle for a super-buggy look. Black & Grizzly in size 12 is my bread-and-butter prospecting version and is now also available with a pink tungsten beadhead for a fast vertical drop; I’m fishing the tungsten version a lot (other versions are moderately weighted). The all-black version with hot orange tail moves big fish as spawning approaches.
S-H W Worm, Black & Grizzly – size 12, 16.................Each $1.85 S-H W Worm, Black & Grizzly w/Pink Tungsten Bead - size 12.....Each $2.50 S-H W Worm, Black w/Orange Tail - size 12, 14.........Each $1.85 S-H W Worm, Black & Grizzly - size 4, 6, 8..................Each $2.25
Fuzzy Hare’s Ear The Hare’s Ear nymph has probably taken more trout than any other nymph, which is amazing considering that most commercial Hare’s Ears are poorly tied. I tie this one to fish up to the pattern’s potential. My dubbing mix has a high percentage of spiky guard hairs, plus chopped Antron for added sheen. The finished fly is raked with a nylon brush for a super-buggy look. Canada goose wing slips match the dark gray wing pads of mature mayfly nymphs. Most mature mayfly nymphs are olive to brown, and the Chocolate Hare’s Ear is a close match. Moderately weighted.
Pheasant Tail Nymph The PT Nymph is a highly workable imitation of most mayfly nymphs. I fish it anywhere from on bottom (when prospecting) to right in the surface film (during mayfly emergences), so I tie it unweighted for versatility.
Squirrel Nymphs Squirrel hair is loaded with stiff guard hairs making for an exceptionally spiky nymph that approximates a wide range of nymphs, larvae, and scuds. The Fox Squirrel version has an abdomen of orange/tan belly fur ribbed with gold flash, and a grizzled reddish/brown thorax. The Gray Squirrel version has a medium gray abdomen ribbed with silver flash, and a dark gray thorax. Moderately weighted.
Fox Squirrel Beadhead If you like to prospect with beadhead nymphs give this one a go. A copper bead, copper ribbing, and Krystal Flash tail provide plenty flash, while the fox squirrel body (reddish/brown abdomen and orange/tan thorax) are brushed for a rough, spiky look. I often fish it as a deep emerger during caddis hatches. Unweighted (except for bead).
Fox Squirrel Beadhead – size 12, 16......................Each $1.85
Beadhead Midge Dropper This fly has transformed my nymphing success on some western rivers, particularly the Madison. It’s small enough to look natural in the drift, yet flashy enough to grab attention. Black and gold Krystal flash ribbed with black wire, peacock thorax, nickel bead with white Atron head tuft. Unweighted (except for bead). Beadhead Midge Dropper—size 14, 16.................Each $1.85
Bead Caddis I carry the Bead Caddis in a range of colors for imitating various emerging caddis pupa. Tied on a curved hook with copper bead and ribbing, and lightly brushed for a roughened ‘emerger’ look. Unweighted (except for the bead).
Chamois Leech Tied from supple tanned chamois, the head and tail extend freely to writhe enticingly during the drift. Tan imitates aquatic worms that live in many tailwaters. Black imitates the common leech. Lashed to a size 14 hook at the thorax, the chamois body is about 1¼” long. Unweighted.
Chamois Leech, Tan - size 14 Chamois Leech, Black – size 14..............................Each$1.75
Fast Sinking Scuds The Fast-sinking Scud has accounted for so many of my trophy trout from high lakes, especially golden and brook, trout, I jokingly refer to my early, less fruitful backpacking summers as BS (Before Scud). I designed this fly specifically for sight-casting to cruising trout. Scuds and/or fairy shrimp are the forage base in many trophy lakes, and this fly imitates both. Size 12 casts like a bullet on a 5-foot, 4X tippet then flips onto its friction-free back to drop quickly to the level of cruising fish. The Natural version is olive/gray and is also a good imitation for the scuds and sowbugs that abound on many spring creeks and tailwaters. The Orange/Flashback attractor version, especially the size 8 Mega Scud, is candy to brook trout. Moderately weighted.
Soft-Hackle Bugger I fish my high-performance Bugger for many gamefish on all water types. Tied in the same innovative style as my Soft-Hackle Woolly Worm with soft, seductive hen hackle and dubbed rabbit body that is brushed to marry hair and hackle into a strong, super-buggy silhouette that remains visible in deep or dirty water and low light. The long, webby hen hackle pulsates beautifully on a dead drift or when actively stripped. Marabou tails have flash for added attraction (silver flash on Black Bugger; gold flash on Bi-Bugger). Black is my primary color for dirty water. The Bi-Bugger has a unique crayfish/sculpin color scheme (black, olive, and grizzly combination) that drives big trout and smallmouths wild (it’s also my best steelhead fly). I’ll tie other colors (all-white with silver flash is popular). I fish size 8 for river trout, steelhead and river smallies, and size 4 on lake bass. The Mini-Bugger (size 12 and 14) is my primary spring creek streamer; I bump up to size 8 when spring creeks are running dirty. Personally I fish the Soft-Hackle Bugger with a copper Conehead most of the time; I like the added flash and faster vertical drop provided by the conehead. Also available with red/black Lead Eyes for a super-fast sink rate. Buggers without coneheads or Lead Eyes are moderately weighted. Specify body color:—Black or Bi-Bugger.
Classic Muddler Minnow There are many variations on the Muddler, but the classic turkey-wing Muddler remains my favorite for prospecting freestone rivers. Cast the fly down and across current and let it swing back on a tight line as you probe around rocks and other structure. Trout love to launch on a Muddler as it hangs in front of them (many fish hit just as the upstream retrieve begins). I omit lead and wrap a stout, sculpin-like, neutral density body with gold embroidery thread. I often swing the fly at mid depths. To fish near bottom I add split shot to the tippet at the hook eye, or use a sink-tip line. Well-tied commercial Muddlers are scarce. I charge a premium because tying them takes time, and I use prime materials including matched left/right quills from wild turkey wings. I like size 6 for rivers and size 12 for streams.
Bobbing Baitfish If you enjoy probing lake depths, learn to fish this realistic baitfish imitation. Big smallies, northern pike, walleye, and all trout slam it! Mylar tubing is stretched over a buoyant foam underbody. I like to belly a sinking line below the fly and fish it near bottom with arm-length strips and 3-second pauses. With each strip the fly dives following the path of the line. With each pause the fly buoys upward. It’s a remarkably snag-free method of staying in the critical bottom zone. Tubing is coated with clear epoxy. Finished with Doll Eyes and a short marabou tail. Size 2 (2 ¾” long) is my primary size for bass, walleye, northern, and big trout. Size 6 is great for trout, especially brook trout, in spring ponds and high lakes.
Power Head Deer Hair Diver The Power Head Deer Hair Diver (formerly the Bullet-Nose Diver) is tied with several modifications to boost diving power. I spin and pack deer hair tightly over the entire hook shank and trim a pronounced bullet-nose backed by an exceptionally thick diving collar. When the fly is stripped forcefully, a high volume of water surges over the long nose and deflects off the stiff collar forcing the fly into a radical dive. It pierces the surface with an audible pop and trails a long bubble plume attracting fish from a wide radius. Dives deep and pops back to the surface quickly—an erratic action that triggers vicious hits. When bass and pike are aggressive I strip the diver aggressively and cover a lot of water. When fish are sluggish it can be worked as subtly as any other surface bug. Fur-strip tails are topped with flash (I’ll also tie marabou tails). Tied on Tiemco 8089 Bass Bug Hooks. Size 2 is primarily for pike/muskies. Size 6 is for pike and bass. Size 10 is my primary size for lake smallies. Size 12 is ideal for intermediate rods, river smallies, and brown trout after dark. New Baitfish color has natural deer hair head with green insets and flesh-colored fur strip tail. I’ll tie other colors.
Power Head Diver, Crawfish – size 2, 6, 10, 12. Power Head Diver, Chartreuse – size 2, 6, 10, 12. Power Head Diver, Frog – size 2, 6, 10, 12. Power Head Diver, Baitfish - size 2, 6, 10, 12. Sizes 10 and 12 ....................................................Each $4.95 Size 6 ....................................................................Each $5.95 Size 2 ....................................................................Each $6.95 NOTE: for mono weedguard, add 50 cents per fly.
Classy,high-performance flies priced to fish. All are tied with soft, webby genetic hen hackle that ‘breathes’ like spey hackle. Hot-Butt Buggerand Chartreuse Hot Spot are my designs. Lantern bodies are Edge Brightvinyl over tinsel for exceptional ‘glow’. Other flies are established hairwing and egg patterns. Tied on black Tiemco 7999 hooks. Available in sizes 2, 4, and 6. Size 6 is popular for steelhead. Size 2 and 4 are primarily for king salmon.
Hot-Butt Bugger Green-Butt Skunk Chartreuse Hot-Spot Hot-Butt Sunrise Orange Lantern Polar Shrimp Chartreuse Lantern Purple Peril Black Boss Babine Special Size 6.....................................................................Each $2.25 Sizes 2 and 4.........................................................Each $2.75