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 for 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 $1.95
Flara Dun This mayfly dun imitation has proven its worth on selective trout in just a few seasons. Atough dun imitation with a convincing silhouette, it's my choice for matching most mayfly hatches. Based on the famed Sparkle Dun, I substitute dun colored Para Post wing material for the traditional deer hair wing. This Watershed-treated synthetic wing material has much truer color and transparency than deer hair. Also the synthetic wing locks upright with minimal thread, resulting in less bulk at the tie in point and a slimmer body. And unlike most deer hair wings, the Para Post wing stays upright thru extended fishing. Tied with Sparkle Emerger Yarn trailing shuck. I will tie sizes 10 to 20 in various body colors to match virtually any mayfly dun. Specify body color: BWO, PMD, Mahogany, Hendrickson, Blue Dun, Adams Gray, Sulpher Yellow, Green Drake, March Brown, Rusty Brown, Trico (black). Specify:hook size (10 to 20) and body color.....................Each $1.85
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 rolled, single upright wing 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 $1.95
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 These high-grade 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. I'll also tie in other body colors on request.
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 $1.85
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 Cow 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 is superior in buoyancy and mottling to the bull elk hair used on most caddis. Tied with brown hackle and body or grizzly hackle and gray body. The grizzly version is great for matching Grammon caddis. I'll also tie with other body and hackle colors on reguest (olive, tan, black, etc.)
Elk Caddis, Brown – sz. 12, 14, 16, 18. Elk Caddis, Grizzly – sz. 12, 14, 16, 18......................Each $1.95
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 $1.85
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 monocord legs.
Shine Beetle, Black - size 14.....................................Each $1.95
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. Barred rubber legs. Choose yellow or green foam body.
Distress Hopper, Green Body with barred rubber legs...................Each $2.95 Distress Hopper, Yellow Body with barred rubber legs...................Each $2.95
Splat Cricket I designed this squat, chunky cricket to be tuck cast with an audible splat that pulls trout from under cover and from a distance. For Midwest spring creek trout, this this is ace terrestrial imitation. A great terrestrial for low light or cool damp periods when hoppers aren’t active. On smooth water I often 'kick' this cricket actively and have seen it generate as many as two-dozen strikes from a single pod of trout. Tied with a chunky foam body, and head, shiny black dubbing, and black rubber legs.
Splat Cricket, Black - size 8, 10, 12..................................Each $2.75
Splat Hopper Based on the design of my super-productive Splat Cricket, the Splat Hopper has an elongated wing of cock pheasant saddle, reinforced by a short over-wing of flared cow elk hair, for a more streamlined hopper profile. Like the Splat Cricket, the Splat Hopper has the heft to be tuck cast with an audible splat that pulls trout from under grass and banks. A great hopper pattern in its own right, its excellent visibility and buoyancy also make it my favorite 'Indicator' fly for suspending a dropper nymph. On Wisconsin spring creeks I fish size 10; on Rocky Mountain rivers I mostly fish size 8. Barred rubber legs. All Splat Hoppers have yellow dubbed underbody spotted with brown permanent marker. Choose an overbody of green or tan foam.
Splat Hopper; tan foam - sz.8, 10, 12....................................Each $2.95 Splat Hopper green foam - sz. 8, 10, 12................................Each$2.95
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 incorporates proven materials (pheasant tail and fine copper wire), but is tied without appendages to imitate small midge and caddis larvae. From Midwestern spring creeks to Rocky Mountain tailwaters, this is my 'go-to' micro-nymph. Available with or without copper beadhead (I mostly fish the beadhead version ). The black Beadhead PT Midge has long torn up the Bighorn river as a prospecting nymph, plus when drifted just subsurface during midge and black caddis hatches it sticks rising fish more consistently than any dry imitation we've found. On Midwestern Spring Creeks we take a lot of trout on a black Beadhead PT Midge fished as a 'trailer' nymph about a foot behind a larger prospecting nymph (usually the Fox Squirrel Beadhead). Choose natural bronze or dyed black pheasant tail. Size 18 and 20 Beadhead version are tied with a tiny 1/16” copper bead ideal for presenting the fly just subsurface to rising trout (add a small size 6 or 8 shot to the tippet to present the fly deeper). Size 16, tied with a 3/32" copper bead, sinks more quickly on its own and is my favorite 'small' prospecting nymph on Wisconsin spring creeks, especially in summer when trout often respond best to small nymphs.
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, including Wisconsin spring creeks where 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 during BWO hatches. During BWO hatches, also try fishing it just subsurface under your BWO dry fly (I use a foot of 5X or 6X tippet attached to the bend of the dry fly).
Fox Squirrel Beadhead If you like to prospect with beadhead nymphs, as I do, definitely give this one a go. For many years now it's been my top prospecting nymph, bare none, on Wisconsin spring creeks (where strike rates are phenomenal). And it's proving just as productive in other regions, on spring creeks, freestone rivers, and alpine lakes alike. I think that most trout take it as a scud or cress bug. But it's also a terrific producer when dead-drifted or swung subsurface during caddis and crane fly emergences. I tie this super-spiky, high-sheen nymph using a custom blend of SLF dubbing and natural squirrel hair with lots of spiky guard hairs mixed in. I rake the finished fly with a stiff nylon brush to tease out plenty of Antron fibers and squirrel guard hairs (for spike and sheen, I haven't seen another commercially-tied squirrel nymph in the the same league). Copper ribbing and a black Krystal Flash tail add flash. I tie the pattern unweighted, except fo the bead. Size 12, tied with a 1/8" copper bead is my standard prospecting version. Size 16, tied with a 3/32" copper bead is great for drifting slow or skinny water without hanging bottom, and I often fish size 16 as a 'trailing' nymph behind a larger, heavier nymph, or as a 'dropper' nymph beneath a hopper. Size 10, tied with a 1/8" rainbow hue tungsten bead, is a bigger, flashier, faster-sinking version for prospecting fast, deep, or dirty water. This is such a potent prospecting nymph design that I'm now offering it commercially in two additional colors, which I've personally been fishing for several seasons; the Gray Squirrel Beadhead has a gray abdomen with a band of black Squirrel behind the bead; the Black Squirrel Beadhead has an all-black body.
Fox Squirrel Beadhead – size 12, 16...............................................................Each $1.95 Fox Squirrel Beadhead - size 10 with rainbow hue tungsten bead.................Each $2.50 Gray Squirrel Beadhead – size 12, 16.............................................................Each $1.95 Gray Squirrel Beadhead - size 10 with rainbow hue tungsten bead...............Each$2.50 Black Squirrel Beadhead – size 12, 16.............................................................Each $1.95 Black Squirrel Beadhead – size 10 with rainbow hue tungsten bead..............Each $2.50
Soft-Hackle Woolly Worm My most productive and versatile prospecting nymph for targeting 'top-end' browns, 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 body, dubbed of blended rabbit hair and chopped Antron, is raked with a nylon brush to marry the dubbing with the soft hackle for a super-buggy look (standard Woolly Worms tied with stiff rooster hackle and lifeless chenille bodies just don't compare). Black & Grizzly in size 12 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 with wire on the hook shank). The all-black version with hot orange tail agitates adult fish as spawning approaches.
S-H W Worm, Black & Grizzly – size 12, 16....................................Each $1.95 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 $1.95 S-H W Worm, Black & Grizzly - size 4, 6, 8.....................................Each $2.75
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 full potential, so if you like fishing the Hare's Ear, give mine a try. 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 in various sizes is a highly workable imitation in color and form of most mayfly nymphs. And these are beautifully tied (I invite you to compare proportions and tying quality to any other commercially tied PT nymph). I tie the PT nymph unweighted, so it can be presented just subsurface during mayfly emergences. Or to get it down, add shot to the tippet or fish it as a trailer behind a heavier nymph.
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.
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).
Bead Caddis I tie and fish the Bead Caddis in a range of colors, primarily for imitating emerging caddis pupa. But it also doubles as an all-around prospecting nymph on waters, like the Upper Missouri River in Montana, where trout respond best to simple, understated nymphs (the cream version is my ace prospecting nymph for the Missouri). Tied on a curved scud hook with copper bead and ribbing, and 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 actually about 1¼” long. Unweighted.
Chamois Leech, Tan - size 14 Chamois Leech, Black – size 14..............................Each$1.85
Fast Sinking Scud The Fast-sinking Scud has accounted for so many of my trophy golden and brook trout from alpine lakes that 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 on high lakes where fairy shrimp (and not true scuds) are often the primary forage. On golden trout lakes, whether we're sight-fishing or prospecting blind, we fish this fly ninety-percent of the time, usually on ten-foot sinking tip lines. 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 (fairy shrimp actually swim upside down with legs and gill filaments undulating upward). The Natural Scud is olive/gray and is also a good imitation of the scuds and sowbugs that abound on many Midwestern spring creeks. The size 8 Mega Scud, with orange body and silver flashback, is a high-visibility 'attractor' scud that consistently pulls cruising trout in from a distance. When sight-fishing conditions are poor on high lakes, the Mega Scud is a game saver.
Soft-Hackle Flash-Bugger This high-octane Bugger is my most productive streamer for trout (and smallmouth bass) on both moving water and stillwater. Tied with the softest, webbiest, most seductive hackle available. Plus, I'm now tying this Bugger with ICE Dub, an extremely reflective dubbing that I rake vigorously to marry extra-long dubbing fibers with soft-hackle for an exceptionally bold silhouette and tremendous movement in the water (standard Buggers don't compare). Marabou tails are topped with Opal Mirage Lateral Scale, a high-strobe flash material that reflects multiple hues simultaneously (gold, silver, pearl, blue). My Bi-Bugger has a unique multi-tone color scheme to suggest crayfish and sculpins. The Bi-Bugger tail is black marabou over olive marabou, topped with Lateral Scale flash. The rear half of the Bi-Bugger body is rusty brown ICE Dub palmered with grizzly soft hackle. The front half of the Bi-Bugger body is black ICE Dub palmered with black soft hackle. I also offer Soft-Hackle Flash-Buggers in three other potent colors, all tied with ICE Dub and Lateral Scale Opal Mirage flash. Black has a black tail and body and with black hackle. White/Grizzly has a white tail and body with grizzly hackle. Chartreuse/Grizzly has a chartreuse tail and body with grizzly hackle. I offer Buggers with or without copper Coneheads (both styles are weighted with wire on the hook shank). Personally, I fish mostly Conehead versions to increase sink rate and to work the fly with a more erratic 'wounded' action. For trout on sizable rivers and streams I mostly fish size 8 Conehead Buggers. On our smaller Midwestern spring creeks I often fish a size 12 Mini-Bugger, which is also a great 'crossover' size on the many lakes and ponds that hold both bluegills and largemouth bass. For smallmouth bass on both lakes and rivers I primarily fish size 6 Conehead Buggers. A size 6 Conehead Bugger in White/Grizzly has been our most effective fly for trophy brook trout on quite a few alpine lakes. Specify body color: Bi-Bugger, Black, White/Grizzly, Chartreuse/Grizzly.
Conehead Soft-Hackle Flash-Bugger. Specify body color. 'Mini-Bugger', size 12,........................Each $2.55 size 8.................................................Each $2.95 sizes 4 and 6.....................................Each $3.25
Soft-Hackle Flash-Bugger (without Conehead). Specify body color. 'Mini-Bugger', size 12,........................Each $2.25 size 8.................................................Each $2.75 sizes 4 and 6.....................................Each $3.25
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 $3.00 Sizes 2 and 4.........................................................Each $3.50