Fantastic Blogs For Fly Fishing Addicts

colourful flies

Beautifully tied, and ready for the water.

That’s it for trout in 2015. Can you hear your fly tying vice calling? Yes, winter is approaching, and with it the prospect of short crisp days in search of Grayling. But here’s something for those dark evenings when the rain is lashing down and, well, you can’t spend all your time tying flies, can you?

We’ve scoured the Internet for some of the best fly fishing blogs around. Winter reading to keep you motivated – enjoy.

Urban Flyfisher


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Kinda wished I had brought my tape measure…

Have you ever had an Internet row with someone determined to be outraged, despite not having a clue what they’re talking about? When Alistair, the man behind what is possibly UK’s longest lasting fly-fishing blog, was confronted with the ire of one such ‘Moaning Minnie’, he posted the exchange on his blog.

It makes for entertaining reading, but there’s a serious point too. Alistair and his friends fly fish the Kelvin, but they’re also volunteers who work to maintain and improve the river. The message here is clear – don’t complain unless you’re prepared to roll your sleeves up and chip in.

Urban flyfisher is a great blog, full of anecdotes from the urban river bank. Alistair is a father of three who manages to squeeze his fly fishing into some short, sweet sessions. And yes, there are some big trout to be had from the Kelvin – check out the blog to see the proof.

Yorkshire Fly fishing

yorkshire fly fishing

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A room with a view during Bob’s latest solo trip to Gairloch

‘Fly fishing in God’s Own County – and a rambling blog.’ As you’d expect from a brace of Yorkshiremen, this blog delivers exactly what it says on the tin. During the site and blog’s ten plus years, creators, Bob and Stu, have created a top notch resource for anyone interested in fly fishing in Yorkshire.

You’ll find detailed info on some of the county’s best fisheries and some really excellent accounts of fly fishing adventures, complete with some stunning landscape photography.

Take Bob’s recent excursion north of the border. A dodgy erection (check out Bob’s tent), a nasty fall, dehydration and a plague of midges make for a compelling story of his ‘Return to Gairloch’. But did he catch any trout? We’ll leave you to find out for yourself!

North Country Angler

north country angler

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Hope the grayling have an appetite for ‘fruit salad’!

The novelty of autumn’s ‘glorious stillness’ didn’t last long for Matt Eastham, AKA the North Country Angler. It took him all of about a week to feel “cooped up in the house as the rain beats against the conservatory roof.” If that’s you too, at least, as Matt says, there’s the prospect of Grayling to look forward to once winter arrives.

In the meantime, do take the time to have a read of Matt’s excellent blog. You’ll find in-depth analysis of two innovative new lines from Sunray: the World Championship Nymph which had him grinning from ear to ear, and the Jeremy Lucas Presentation Line, which Matt reports is “a great option when you expect to be facing a variety of different scenarios in one day”.

And if the dark evenings and the lousy weather do get to you, take a look at Matt’s report of some superb dry fly fishing on the Eden. Some great photographs of some fine catches will soon put you right.

Taff Diaries

taff diaries

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One of the many ‘little buggers’, aka graylings, caught by Terry this autumn.

Terry Bromwell has the Grayling bug, and no wonder after such a successful day on the Taff recently. He picked off his quarry in numbers by: “Working downriver very slowly pitching the nymphs upstream and letting the leader go past.” Check out his excellent post – there are some great snaps to whet your appetite!

If anyone knows the Taff, it’s Terry. His knowledge of the river dates right back to when he was five or six years old and “worming [his] way down the runs catching some superb trout.” That’s a lot of experience for you to tap into.

Take his post about a day’s fly fishing back in May. What do you do when presented with a hatch of Iron Blue Duns of “biblical proportions”? Go bigger, Terry says – in fact the standout fly of the day was the Large Brook Dun emerger – now there’s a thought…

Becks and Brown Trout

brown trout

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Local beck brown trout with beautiful markings

Here are just two of the many comments left by people who read Brooks and Becks: “Please keep blogging I really enjoy reading all about your fishing trips” and “You talk a lot of sense. Please do keep up the good work.”

We think you’ll agree. Take his post about the EA’s recent work to improve Foston Beck. There’s a really excellent level of detail and some great photos detailing the re-routing of the stream away from a silted up channel, into a new stream bed with a viable gradient. Fascinating stuff.

Though work sometimes gets in the way, there are still plenty of stories about the writer’s fly fishing adventures in North Yorkshire. His recent trip to the Leven was a cracker that saw him net a lovely Grayling. How big? You’ll get no spoilers from us!

The Unfamous Fly

unfamous fly

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Kenny out fishing with his son on Father’s Day (his son took the picture!)

Here’s a self-effacing blog that deserves to be a lot more famous than its name suggests. Blogger, Kenny Halley has created a gem you’re sure to enjoy. We really loved his blow by blow account of his recent adventure, bugging for Tigers. It was a cracking fish, and what a fight. It went under the bridge, back out, into the weeds, back under the bridge – it’s a miracle Kenny’s line wasn’t broken!

A plain speaking man, Kenny tells it like it is, which is always refreshing. So if you’re thinking of doing a spot of fly fishing in and around central Scotland, this is a great site to check out.

And the man’s a dab hand with a camera too. In fact, if you’re already suffering from a dose of the late autumn blues, we highly recommend his film of summer fun at Pendreich – Fishing Under A Blood Red Sky. Oh, for those summer evenings!

The River Beat

river beat

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Fly fishing for trout in Twin Falls, Idaho

How would you fancy “three months of stalking large trout in gin clear water, fantasy landscapes and living in a tent.”? We’re guessing you wouldn’t mind, though for some an upgrade to a hotel would complete the fantasy.

But for this intrepid blogger, the dream is reality. We haven’t heard from him since he touched down in New Zealand’s South Island, but our guess is he’s already reeling in some monster trout. Watch this space for the reports…

The River Beat’s writer is nothing if not well travelled. Born in Swaziland, he’s fly fished all over the world. His favourite saying is one of John Gierach’s: “But at the moment I didn’t know where I’d go or when I’d get there: a feeling that makes me happier than almost anything else.” You’ll love this blog.

Urban Trout

urban trout

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An urban legend or is there really wild brown trout in the Bristol Frome?

Feel too conspicuous in tweed and overdressed in high tech fishing clothing? Urban fly fishers will love the news, views and gear on offer at Urban Trout. How about a pair of wading boots that look like Converse Allstars? You’ll fit right into the city environment like a true guerilla fly fisher.

But Urban Trout is about a lot more than cool fly fishing clobber. A portion of sales goes to helping maintain and improve urban waterways and the news feed gives ample voice to all the work volunteers are putting in to make city fly fishing viable.

Just checkout the enormous heap of rubbish and junk pulled from waterways in the Manchester area. What a way to mark World Rivers Day 2015? The blog authors write. Anyone lost a bike?

Salmon fishing Ireland 2015

salmon fishing ireland

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A superb spot on the river Lee to finish off the salmon season

From hero to zero in under a minute – watch Paul Hanley’s video of the moment he caught – and lost a big salmon. It would have made a fine conclusion to the 2015 season but, alas, it was not to be. Everyone loves a blogger with a good sense of humour, which is why we’re sure you’ll enjoy this blog.

But there’s a lot more to Paul’s site than a missed fish. Thinking of investing in some new fly fishing clothing? There’s a whole section dedicated to giving you the low down on the gear Paul has used and abused – top tip – he loves the Airflo back support belt he purchased from Fishtec!

And how about this for a novel way to retrieve a stuck salmon spinner? All you need is a length of bramble, a pen knife or scissors and the ability to get level with, or upstream, of your snagged line. Intrigued? It’s a lesson Paul learned from his Grandfather – the old ways are the best!

The Unemployable Fly fisher

torridon brown trout

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Happiness is a wild Torridon brownie…

“Have fly rod, will travel”, says the Unemployable fly fisher. And he does – from the River Don in Aberdeenshire to Loch Assynt in far flung Sutherland and beyond. An adventurous soul, he’s an analytical and entertaining writer too.

As the winter draws in, the unemployable fly fisher takes a look at the tendency to spend time online, looking at endless videos of the perfect cast, or the perfect choice of fly. But while the plethora of information out there can help you hone your technique, it can also make you doubt yourself.

Too much advice can make you feel inadequate, our blogger writes. His advice? “Learn what you can from others, but don’t let their knowledge and opinions weigh on you or belittle your self confidence! There is no magic fly! No silver bullit!” Wise advice from a talented blogger!

In Pursuit of Spotties

pheasant tail nymph

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A white bead pheasant tail nymph, favoured by the grayling (the trout prefer pink)

“This is not the end,” blogger, Ben Lupton writes. It turns out he didn’t realise the trout season wasn’t over until the 30th October. Having previously thought it finished a month earlier, the good news could mean only one thing: a late season fly fishing trip to deepest East Anglia with friend, Tom.

Both using 8’4’’ rods, they took turns to fish almost identical flies, an Adams klinkhamer and copper beadhead pheasant tail nymph. We won’t spoil the story by telling you how many trout they caught between them, except to say Tom tends to lose count after five…

Ben’s blog is an excellent winter read, and it’s packed with photos that add to the narrative. This really is fly fishing blogging at its best.

Hillend Dabbler

hillend dabbler

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A postcard-worthy snap of Allan revisiting a remote loch in the Scottish Highlands

It was Prince Philip who introduced blogger Allan to the joys of fly fishing. Well sort of. The self styled, “Dabbler of Hillend” fell in love with the sport while preparing for his Duke of Edinburgh award when he was a boy. Since then, his enthusiasm for hill walking, fly fishing and fly tying has only grown.

Have you ever fancied getting your hands on a float tube? Allan’s recently got one. Find out how he got on when he tried it out at Loch Lilly, near Airdrie. His thoughts: “Perhaps I spent too much time moving around and maybe should have concentrated my efforts in some areas a little longer.” Tempting though, with all that manoeuvrability!

The next day though, Alan was back on his feet, leaving “armchair fishing” for another day while he and a friend hiked to a lochan west of Rannoch Moor. You’ll love his tale of his day’s fishing in the remote Scottish Highlands. Excellent blog.

Single Barbed

single barbed

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Phew, a nice addition to the tennis balls, Frisbee and shopping carts found in this lake!

“The only crime in fishing worse than being caught with live earthworms in your vest by your pals, is telling a fishing story poorly.” Wise words from blogger in search of an active verb to describe his recent fly fishing adventure. Did he hook, fight, play or dally with a 10lb bass? We’ll leave it to you to find out.

This is a US based fly fishing blog with a sense of humour whose writer, one K Barton, takes a quizzical look at his sport of choice. Not one to take himself too seriously, he reckons the only thing dumber than fish are anglers.

Fair enough, but there’s some great content here. For example, did you know in the USA “only four percent of the licensed anglers purchase a fishing license every year (10 out of 10 years)” check out K’s TOP GUN, THE BEST OF THE BEST to find out from where he gets his facts. Interesting stuff.

Small Stream Brown Trout Fishing

Death’s-head Hawk-moth

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This fascinating Death’s-head Hawk-moth image is one of many stunning photos on Richard’s blog
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Some incredible photos of large moths and larvae make this fly fishing blog a must. We’re talking elephants here! But don’t worry, there’s a great deal of excellent angling content too.

What’s the point of catch returns? blog author, Richard asks. Talking about his local club’s half mile beat that yielded a suspiciously bountiful 500 fish, he wonders how many are just the same trout being caught over and over again.

And how about this for a fishing adventure well worth checking out? A 5lb 8oz chub and a 4lb 12oz wild brown trout both in the same session. How did he do it? His top tip – take your time studying the water. Wise words indeed.

Ron’s Fishing

rons fishing

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Fine times on the Nant Moel reservoir

If you’re thinking of starting to tie your own flies, Kieron Jenkins’ fly tying videos are a great start. His fly tying videos are not only mesmerising, they’re a great guide to how to tie such beauties as the holographic cormorant and the yellow dancer.

Kieron’s built up a fine collection of flies, and his galleries of dries, jigs, lures and nymphs is a feast for the eyes. They’re also sure to entice the fish to the hook!
Ron’s Fishing isn’t all about the vice, though. He’s got some solid advice for winter trout anglers. Fish deep when the water’s cold, as often your quarry will be looking for warmer climes deeper in the swim. They want to be away from the chill as much as you do!

September Spinners – By Rene Harrop.

Late summer brings a more comfortable existence to those who pursue trout with a fly fishing rod. By September shorter days and cooler nights high up in the Rocky Mountains announce an arrival of fall weather that can be as much as a month earlier than in lower elevations.

Good Trico Water.

Good Trico Water.

Insect hatches on the Henry’s Fork and other notable waters in the Yellowstone region can become somewhat more sporadic and unpredictable during this period of seasonal transition. With consistent potential for opportunity in mind, I am more inclined to rely on a mid-morning spinner fall than trying to time the emergence of several mayfly species that can appear at this time.

Generally, I can arrive on the water at about 9:00 A.M., which is as much as 3 hours later than would be suitable a month earlier in August. Even at this advanced hour a quiet calm can usually be expected to last until at least noon, and this is the condition in which a spinner fall is most likely to occur.

Surge to a Callibaetis Spinner

Surge to a Callibaetis Spinner

Through much of September and even into early October, early autumn mayflies like Callibaetis and Tricos comprise a significant portion of a trout’s diet, and the spinner stage seems to produce the concentrated numbers of these important insects. They are a significant food source on most area still waters as well as the Henry’s Fork, of which I am especially fond.

Mayfly spinners almost always represent pure dry fly fishing. With the trout looking up exclusively for a meal that arrives from above, precise casting is the name of the game. Because they exist mainly in water with very slow or no perceivable current, Callibaetis and Trico spinners both can induce a feeding pattern marked by travel as trout feed greedily from the surface.

A Spinner Victim

A Spinner Victim

Perfection in timing and accuracy combine with more than a little luck when fishing to a moving target that may never rise in the same place twice. But the satisfaction of having it all come together is something special.

Because mayfly spinners are in a dying or dead condition when they are on the water, an effective fly pattern is often a low floating imitation that can be difficult to see. The CDC Biot Paraspinner does an excellent job of duplicating the spent wings of an expiring spinner while providing welcome visibility with a short, white wing post. And it can also be adapted to any mayfly species.

Callibaetis CDC Biot Paraspinner

Callibaetis CDC Biot Paraspinner

CDC Biot Paraspinner (Callibaetis)

Hook: TMC 100 BL size 14-18
Thread: Tan
Tail: Light Pardo Coq-de-Leon
Abdomen: Tannish Gray Goose or Turkey Biot
Thorax: Tannish Gray Dubbing
Wing: Paired White CDC feathers trimmed to 1/3 usual length
Hackle: Sparse turns of Grizzly 2 sizes larger than usual tied parachute style. Trim forward fibers to form a wide “V” over the eye.

The CDC Bubble Back – A Caddis Solution

There is a tendency among some fly fishers to view caddis flies as a less complex insect when compared to mayflies. To a certain extent, this is a valid perception but there are times when a caddis hatch can yield difficulties requiring an imitation that does not conform to a common image associated with the stage that can cause trout to feed from the surface. I find this to be particularly true during a heavy emergence when trout have the opportunity to select only those individual insects that are least likely to escape quickly from the water.

In the U.S.A., it was probably the late Gary LaFontaine who introduced caddis patterns that target the brief but often attractive transition from caddis pupa to winged adult. Putting my own touch on LaFontaine’s concept, was mostly a matter of exchanging CDC for the synthetic yarn used in the original, but the Bubble Back Caddis possesses a couple of other distinctive features as well.

CDC Bubble Back Caddis (Tan)

The CDC Bubble Back Caddis (Tan)

While fished mainly as a dry fly, the CDC Bubble Back Caddis is tied without wings or hackle. This pattern draws its name from the bubble effect created by cupping the CDC feathers over the abdomen in a manner that provides remarkable flotation with little else to support the fly. Like most other emerging patterns, this fly rides fairly low in the film and should be fished either dead-drift or twitched gently with the rod tip.

Olive, Tan, Gray, and Black are the colors I find most useful on the waters of the Yellowstone region, although the color chart for caddis does not end there. Adding a selection of Bubble Back Caddis to your fly fishing boxes can provide a back-up plan for those times when trout seem unusually resistant to a more common representation of this important insect.

CDC Bubble Back Caddis
Hook:   TMC 206 BL size 12-20
Thread:   8/0
Shuck:  Sparse tuft of dubbing over three Wood Duck fibers
Abdomen:   Paired CDC Feathers looped over dubbed body to create a humped effect.
Legs:    Partridge fibers tied as a collar.
Thorax:   Dubbing to match natural

Rene Harrop Netting FishRene’ Harrop with a fine Yellowstone rainbow trout – on the CDC bubble back caddis.

The Turkey Tail Nymph

It is my observation that nearly every fly tying innovation is inspired in some way by something that existed before. This is certainly the case with the Turkey Tail Nymph, which follows lines of construction similar to the venerated Pheasant Tail. Created in Europe many decades ago, the PT Nymph has become a staple for fly fishers worldwide, and its reputation as a reliable producer of trout is largely unchallenged. However, devising a viable alternative to any existing pattern is what keeps the creative juices of any fly tyer flowing, and no fly works all of the time.

Turkey Tail Nymph

Turkey Tail Nymph

Introduced to the tail feathers from wild turkeys by a hunter friend in the 1980’s, I studied their fly tying potential for several years before coming upon the idea of incorporating the splendid plumage into the construction of an experimental nymph pattern. The long fibers radiating from a stout center stem can be managed in a way similar to those from a pheasant tail in forming the body of a fly in a way that is quite pleasing to the eye of both angler and trout. Turkey tail fibers can also be incorporated into the tail, legs, and wing case in a manner nearly identical to the PT Nymph. Color is the primary difference between the tails of these two abundant game birds, and this is why the Turkey Tail Nymph has become an excellent companion pattern for the reddish brown PT Nymph.
The generally oak colored turkey feathers are mottled with a lighter shade of brown creating a lovely marbled effect when applied as herl on a hook shank. When wrapped with gold wire for ribbing and weight, the Turkey Tail Nymph takes on a distinct personality of its own when compared to the copper wire used for the PT.

Like its revered predecessor, the Turkey Tail Nymph is at home in both still and moving water, and it can be tied with or without a bead. The broad feathers from which it is formed provide adequate working fiber length to accommodate hooks up to size 10, and a single quill will usually yield at least two dozen flies.

I fish the Turkey Tail Nymph as specific imitation for several mayflies like Baetis, Flavs, and some varieties of PMD’s. This is often while sight nymphing to a known target in clear, shallow water. Fishing the same pattern in tandem with a PT Nymph is a technique I use in lakes or while fly fishing blind along the banks from a drift boat. Tied on a long shank hook, the turkey tail pattern serves as a credible imitation for Damsel flies and other insects that call for more length in the artificial.

Turkey Tail Nymph
Hook: TMC 3761 Size 10-20
Thread: Dark Brown 8/0
Tail: Tips of wild turkey tail fibers
Rib: Gold wire
Abdomen: Wild Turkey Tail fibers
Thorax: Same as abdomen
Wing Case: Wild Turkey Tail fibers
Legs: Tips of Wild Turkey Tail fibers

Fishing the Caddis Hatch at Henry’s Fork

Shayne Harrop Spring Caddis

Shayne Harrop Spring Caddis

In recent years I have sometimes struggled to separate the personal importance of fishing hatches larger than size 18 or leaving the season of gloves, heavy fleece, and covered ears. In most years, however, both comforts tend to arrive together around early May when conditions are right for streamside willows to come into bud and the first caddis of the year to begin their emergence.

Like nearly all willows and caddis, I find it difficult to tolerate long periods of below freezing temperatures, especially while in pursuit of rising trout.  And with the sharp vision of youth now only a memory, my eyes become instantly grateful when a size 14 dry fly can attract the kind of enthusiasm from trout that only the warm season can inspire. Learn how casting and perfectly presenting a dry fly will catch you more fish.

In the U.S., the second Sunday in May is a day of honor for mothers nationwide which, by itself, is of no small significance. In much of the northern Rockies, however, Mother’s Day coincides with the appearance of a sizeable, mostly brown caddis that begins a string of like insects that will stretch into early autumn. And while not always the dominant insect of choice, caddis in a variety of sizes and colors play a substantial role in the diet of trout throughout the most comfortable months of the year.

Like mayflies, caddis provide opportunity to fish weighted imitations in their subsurface form. Cased and free living larvae are prime attractions for trout in nearly any season. Pupae, the second stage, become available just prior to and during emergence and are fished differently than the deep, dead drift method that is appropriate for the larval stage.

MY favorite pupal imitation is a weighted Ascending Caddis that is fished either upstream with a lift or across and downstream with a twitching motion applied by the rod tip. With naturals being active and often quick in their rise to the surface, the take on a tight line can be sudden and forceful as the fish rushes to engulf the fly before it can escape the water.

During emergence, an aggressive rise that moves a lot of water indicates a trout taking rising caddis pupae close to the surface. Duplicating the appearance and behavior of the natural in this situation means fishing a submerged rather than floating pattern.

A floating pupae pattern like the CDC Bubble Back Caddis will imitate the brief but often distinct period between the transition from subsurface pupa to winged adult. Fished on the surface without drag or perhaps with a slight twitch, the Bubble Back Caddis creates an illusion of vulnerability if only for a few seconds. However, this slight window of enhanced opportunity can be enough to attract a trout’s attention.

Caddis in the winged stage are known to be more active on the water than mayflies. Following a traditional approach to dealing with this mobility, I utilize a pattern featuring a dubbed body with hackle palmered along its entire length. This, combined with a wing of paired CDC feathers, provides a light foot print on the water and allows the fly to be inched across the surface when such behavior is called for. Flotation of this style is excellent on most water but I will sometimes add a small amount of elk hair to bolster performance on extra rough currents.

Brogan Harrop Spring Caddis

Brogan Harrop Spring Caddis

The CDC Henry’s Fork Caddis was inspired by big, selective trout feeding in clear and slow moving water. Although this pattern floats quite low on the water it possesses excellent flotation and visibility when compared to most other slow water caddis patterns. I find the Henry’s Fork Caddis to be particularly effective on summer mornings and evenings when the temperatures are cooler and the naturals mostly sedate on the water.

Unlike some who tend to trivialize the value of caddis in comparison to well-known mayfly hatches, I carry a rather extensive selection of specialized caddis patterns. The following four patterns, however, comprise a sound foundation for addressing most of what will be encountered during a caddis emergence and their subsequent return to the water when eggs are deposited and the cycle ends

The following is a sampling of some of the most common colors.

Ascending Caddis Tan

Ascending Caddis
Hook: TMC 206 BL size 12-20
Thread: Tan 8/0
Rib: Copper Wire
Back: Brown Marabou
Abdomen:  Tan Dubbing
Legs:  Brown Partridge fibers
Antennae:   2 Wood Duck fibers

CDC Bubble Back Caddis (Tan)

CDC Bubble Back Caddis (Tan)

Bubble Back Caddis
Hook: TMC 206 BL size 12-20
Thread: Tan 8/0
Shuck: Sparse tuft of Tan dubbing over 3 Wood Duck fibers
Abdomen: Tan CDC feathers looped over Tan dubbing to create a humped effect.
Hackle: Brown Partridge
Thorax: Brown Dubbing

CDC Palmered Caddis Adult Brown

CDC Palmered Caddis Adult Brown

CDC Palmered Caddis Adult
Hook: TMC 100 BL size 12-20
Thread: Brown 8/0
Hackle: Whiting Cree or Grizzly dyed brown
Body: Brown Dubbing
Wings: Paired Brown CDC feathers
Antennae: 2 Wood Duck fibers

CDC Henry's Fork Caddis Olive

CDC Henry’s Fork Caddis Olive

CDC Henry’s Fork Caddis
Hook: TMC 100 BL size 12-20
Thread: Olive 8/0
Abdomen: Olive Goose or Turkey Biot
Wing: Paired Med. Dun CDC feathers
Over Wing: Brown Partridge fibers
Thorax: Peacock Herl
Hackle: Whiting Grizzly dyed dun trimmed on bottom

Fly of the Week – Rhyacophila Caddis

Fly of the Week - Rhyacophila CaddisThe Rhyacophila Caddis is found in almost all rivers around the UK. It’s a free-living caddis, meaning it doesn’t build a ‘house’. The Larvae like caddis favours shallow riffles and often gets caught in the current and drifts freely downstream, this making them ideal food for trout and grayling. The ‘Rhyacs’ hatch later in the afternoon and the adults can provide some great dry fly action when they return to the water. Tying a Rhyac caddis can be complicated, but here’s a simple little pattern we’ve been using for the grayling this winter.

Attach your favoured hook into the vice, here I’ve used a Fulling Mill Czech Nymph hook. Run your thread along the body to the extreme bend in the hook. Wind a layer of lead into the shank of the hook to add some weight. A tungsten bead can be used but I like these on dropper so a lead underbody is usually enough weight. With your thread, make sure you taper the body to give a slim, streamline effect and ensure you cover the lead with the thread, once the dubbing gets wet, you will get a green glow from the underbody, if you forget to do this, the lead will dampen the colour of the body.

For the rib I’ve used the tag end of thread where I first tied onto the hook. Attach two sides to the fly, FlyBox bleach dyed peacock herl is a great material to imitate the legs. Dub a TIGHT rope of dubbing onto your thread ensuring you get a thin from and back end with a slightly thicker abdomen. In touching turns wind the dubbing towards the eye and pull the side legs along the length of the hook. Secure the body and legs in place with the rib with evenly spaced turns. Tie off and add some black pen to the head of the fly to imitate the Rhyacophila’s wing bud cover.

Fly Tying Materials

Hook: Fulling Mill Czech Nymph 12
Thread: Glo Bright No12
Underbody: Medium Lead Wire
Rib: Glo Bright No12
Body: Rhyac Green Dubbing
Sides: Bleach Dyed Peacock – Chart
Colour: Black Pen

Fly Tying Tips – How to tie in Peacock Herl

Even the best peacock herl strands are very brittle so constructing a fly with a tear and rip proof body is a tough task without bulking it up too much. In this weeks fly tying tip we’re going to show you how to securely tie in peacock herl and create a great looking peacock body that needs an atomic bomb to destroy.

This tip was shown to be in a fly tying class probably around 12 years ago and has been saving many of my flies from the death of trout teeth. One way to test how good this method of tying peacock herl is – is to use one fly using this technique and another without, you’ll be surprised how quickly the peacock will break.

They tutorial below is obviously just the peacock body, incorporating this method into flies such as diawl bachs, black and peacock spiders, or practically anything with a peacock body, you’ll strengthen the body tenfold.

Fly Tying Tips – How to Strip Peacock Herl

A lot of fly tiers, especially novices, have trouble stripping peacock herl. Some describe it as an art, to get all the tiny herls free from the stalk, ready to tie your favourite buzzers and nymphs with very realistic bodies. 

As a tier I get asked ‘How to strip peacock herl?’ fairly often – there are many different ways fly tiers have come up with, from using the blade of a scissors to an eraser. Personally I like the old fashion approach:

Fly of the Week – Hares Ear Grub

Fly of the week - Hares Ear grub

The Hares Ear is probably one of the most used flies within the fishing community, here’s we’ve tied a variant which lends itself perfectly to river fishing and ideal for targeting trout and especially grayling in the winter months. The heavy tungsten bead gives it added weight to get to the bottom quickly into the fishes feeding zone. Hares ears are very versatile patterns, try changing the colour of the thorax and bead, this will change the fly completely.

Start off by threading a tungsten bead onto your hook. Here I’ve used a Fulling Mill Czech Nymph hook, it gives a great grubby look to any pattern and is also a great pupa hook. Secure the bead in place by butting up a few turns of lead and fully securing with thread wraps. Cover the lead body to ensure it doesn’t slip down the hook follow the hook shank down around three-quarters of the way around the bend.

Take a length of gold wire and tie in at the back of the hook. Take a decent pinch of Hares ear and create a tight, tapered dubbing rope which will reach the thorax of the fly. Wind in touching turns and secure in place with the gold wire rib. For the thorax I like to use a contrasting colour such as black, orange or yellow. Dub a small amount of dubbing to the thread and wind towards the bead, securing with a whip finish at the head.

Scruffy Hares ear for Grayling 

Hook: Fulling Mill Czech Nymph Size 10
Thread: Black UTC thread
Bead: Gold Tungsten bead 3mm
Underbody: Medium Lead Wire
Rib: Hares Ear
Thorax: Spectra Dub Glister
Varnish: Veniard Clear

Fly of the Week – Pink Glister Bug

Fly of the week - Pink Glister Bug

Everyone who’s ever caught grayling, know that they absolutely love pink. It’s one of those colours that really stand out when anglers talk about what fly they caught on, if it’s a hotspot, or a fully blow pink grub, pink is usually in there somewhere. This glister bug has proven it’s worth in any grayling fishers fly box, this fly pattern has counted for numerous amounts of fish for myself and others I fish with. I wouldn’t be without it.

I tie this fly with many colour tungsten beads but silver has to be my favourite. Take a bead and thread it onto a hook. Here’s I’ve used a Fulling Mill Czech Nymph size 12. Runa layer of thread onto the shank of the hook, securing the bead in place and bulking up the thorax. Wind your thread onto the hook and cover the lead to ensure it’s securely in place. The pink UTC thread creates a great underbody for the dubbing. Tie in a strip of Large width pearl mylar for the shellback and a silver rib.

Take a decent pink of dubbing and dub into the thread to create an even ‘rope’, tapering slightly thicker towards the head. Wind the glister towards the eye – in touching turns – leaving enough room to tie in the rib and shellback. Pull the pearl over the back keeping it taught and secure in place with the silver wire rib. I’ve added a small piece of pink UV dubbing at the head of the fly to give it a small colour change. And that’s it! Simple, effective and efficient.