Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Small Flies

Small flies for selective trout-midges, ants, PT's... The largest fly pictured is a size 22 Pheasant Tail.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays!!!

(The picture from the book titled "An Album of the Chalk Streams" by E. A. Barton. Barton was a fly fisherman, physician and an amateur photographer, who published his photographs of English chalk streams in 1946.)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Pink Bear Trout Streamer

I like sparseness in tying hairwing streamers for trout. Hair of a black bear is a great material for salmon hairwings, but I like it a lot for trout streamers instead of bucktail.

Thirteen Diawl Bach nymphs for Fiberglassflyrodders fly swap are done, and ready for mailing.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Holmfridur Streamer

I found out about this Icelandic streamer in 1991, and it has found a place in my fly box ever since. It is a great warmwater and coldwater streamer, and a super easy fly to tie.

Body: No body! Instead, tie a small bulb of red tying silk or estaz (pictured) to help offset the wing;

Wing: Brown over yellow marabou;

Beard: Red or orange hackle fibers mixed with flashabou.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Woodcock Feathers

The wing feathers of European Woodcock (Scolopax rusticola) have a stunning combination of brown, rust, tan and grey tones. Known for centuries as a traditional fly tying material, they are somewhat similar to snipe covert feathers. They are indispensable for classic wet flies, but can also be useful for various dries and emergers. I've been playing around with several variations on the familiar theme (see previous blog entries)...

Woodcock & CDC Flymph

Tail: Lemon wood duck
Body: Wrapped CDC feather
Collar: Woodcock covert feather

Soggy CDC Caddis (Freshly Hatched Caddis)

Body: Cream opossum
Wing: Ginger CDC
Support hackle: Grizzly-brown rooster, clipped on the bottom
Front hackle: Woodcock covert feather (single turn), slightly oversized

Monday, December 10, 2007

March Brown Dry (Triple Hackle)

A high floating dry fly for freestone streams, this March brown imitation utilizes three kinds of hackle: undersized badger hackle (body), grizzly-brown (support hackle), and reverse tied woodcock soft hackle in the front.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Waterhen Soft Hackles

Feathers of water birds are fascinating... I have just received some waterhen (moorhen, Gallinula chloropus) feathers. The close up shows beautiful olive colored covert feathers, while feathers found under wings are drab grey. The texture of barbules is superb for both wet and emerging dry soft hackles.

Waterhen Bloa (traditional)

Body: Yellow silk dusted with mole dubbing
Wing: Grey feather from under wing of waterhen

Large Olive Soggy Dun (V. M.)

Tail: Microfibetts
Body: Olive silk dusted with mole dubbing
Support dry hackle: Badger clipped on the bottom
Front hackle: Waterhen olive covert feather tied in reverse

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Shoot the Breeze!

Today's wind was more than a mere breeze. It was brutal! Amy and I stopped by the Trout Run in Decorah and snapped some pictures (see below.) What a sweet looking spring creek!

On our way up north, I had to stop by my favorite spring creek for an hour and throw some flies at persnickety browns. I found fish working below the foamy riffle, taking emergers with the lightning speed. Soggy duns which worked so well for the past several weeks were ignored by fish. I switched to drowned soft hackles and the same thing happened. Finally, the PT nymph went on the tippet-I was exploring the hatch backwards. The first trout slammed the nymph immediately, and than the second, larger one... The wind was so strong, it almost made impossible for duns to escape the water meniscus. The fish were taking nymphs right under the surface.

I must say it wasn't a pleasurable fishing due to the terrible wind which made casting almost impossible. However, my glass rod worked just fine, shooting into the breezy gusts.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Mauve Soggy Dun

Another variation on the similar theme... This Soggy Dun with mauve colored body should work especially well for greyling. It has brown super hair body over white UTC thread, microfibetts tails, badger support hackle (clipped), and reverse wound snipe soft hackle in the front.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Fast vs. Slow

Just got back from NE Iowa again... Today was cold, damp and more windy than the weather guy said it would be. For the entire day I saw only one fisherman in the distance and had the stream pretty much to myself.

The trout were cooperative but less aggressive in comparison to the previous week. I had only two half hearted takes on leeches, but there was some good surface activity. I fished half damp duns, then switched to emergers, and at the very and of the day got several strikes on soft hackled drowned dun/emerger.

I fished Lami 5wt/Milward Flycraft combo until the lunch, and switched to the recently built Lamiglas 7'6" 6/7wt on the brown vintage blank. I liked the new rod with 6DT the best, even though it is a bit powerful for this stream. I am surprised how great caster this rod is... It has absolutely nothing in common with contemporary Lamiglas Honey rods/blanks. It is quick and shoots line like crazy. I actually had great fun with the rod, shooting little flies into openings among branches and exposed roots on the opposite bank. I missed several fish on the greased line presentation with it-the soft Honey Lamiglas is a better rod for wet fly work. I just can not imagine better rod for streamers, and large western dries/grasshoppers. For now it is going to be my dedicated smallmouth bass rod, too.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tuna Tube

Bluewater tube fly with slinky fibre, conehead, and lots of flash.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

November Days

It turned out to be not as cold as I expected today. However, it was overcast and foggy in the morning, with light south-west breeze. The fish were active, and Olives did show up, as they often do on gloomy early November days. I spent the entire day fishing pretty much two flies: black and brown leeches, and Olive dun imitations I tied yesterday. I brought and used only one rod-McFarland with Edgar Sealey (J.W. Young) reel. It worked like a charm...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Windy Day Rod Testing

I took advantage of the seasonal time change and arrived to NE Iowa early. I strung up the new McFarland for its maiden voyage. The day turned out to be quite nice, but it was really windy, with the bright blue sky and plenty of sunshine. The water was cold and trout were lethargic at first. Early on I missed several fish on a leech, since they would only touch the fly and run away. As it was getting warmer, the fish were becoming more aggressive. I used small Waterloo Leeches in vine, black and brown and all of them worked well.

The rod performed admirably. I loved the way it handled the wind and the weighted flies. It wasn't until noon that first sporadic risers started to appear in the riffles. I switched to the Baetis dun imitation and thoroughly enjoyed the rod, casting pile casts on the swift riffle, and fighting the feisty browns (second photo). The blank has all characteristics of a first rate glass blank-a fine tip calibrations and superb dampening, with tip wobble brought to the bare minimum, and plenty of power at the bottom for long casts and fish fighting. I haven't had a chance to try other McFarland blanks, but this one feels like a fine precision tool. Presentation casts are easily executed with this rod-it almost casts itself.

After the tea break (Earl Grey White Tip), I spent another hour on the stream with my Lamiglas 8' 5wt and Milward's Flycraft reel. This is the first time I fished the reel and absolutely loved it! I hooked and landed a nice brown on 7X and size 18 fly, and several smaller ones from the same riffle (third photo). Milward has the sweetest click . The wind was coming in powerful gusts, and Lami would roll and switch cast with slow ease. I caught a lot of fish on it this Summer and Fall and became quite fond of it. However, I consider it somewhat of a specialty tool.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

New Rods

I have just finished a couple of new rods.

The first one is another vintage Lamiglas (dark brown usanded blank). It is a strong, 7'6" 5 piece rod, which works best with lines 6, 7 or 8. I built this rod mostly for warmwater fishing. It is a bit too powerful for trout fishing around here.

I turned a Ritz grip, and used a Pac Bay (Powell style) metal seat, partially inleted. The short 1/2" fighting butt is made of decorative cork, as well as the first ring of the grip. For the stripper, I used the vintage agatine guide in red/orange color.

The second rod is built on McFarland Dry Fly Taper E-glass blank. It is a 7'10" #4 in a 4 piece version. The blank color is dark amber brown ("flamed cane"), with white spigots. I used the Struble D-8 seat with myrtle insert, and I turned the straight Garrison grip. The vintage agate guide has a plum stone, and I used the Snake brand snake guides on this rod. I also experimented with ferrule plugs of wood and cork I turned on my hobby lathe-they work just fine! Pictured below is the rod with Edgar Sealey Flylyte reel (by J.W. Young) from 1965.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Reel seats

I got hold of some nice reel seats for my current and future rod-building projects. Pictured on the left are Struble D-2 and D-8 models, with blued and bright nickel silver hardware. My original plan was to bronze-tone the bright D-8, using the bronzing solution, but I decided to use it as is, for my half-finished McFarland blank.

I have also recently made this all cork down-locking seat, pictured on the top. I used some leftover parts, including the stainless steel ring, as well as the combination of Copano burl cork and the regular cork. It will probably be used in the upcoming months, perhaps for some short, light line glass rod.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Waterloo in the Fall

Amy and I hit the Waterloo Creek on Saturday (10/13), on our way up from Decorah. The weather was perfect, with the very light wind. This was her first outing on this water, and we decided to fish the wild fish section of the stream.

We found two typical Fall hatches on the stream-very small olives (Plauditus punctiventris) and larger Baetis sp. hatching sporadically. Around 1:00 PM we found a bunch of rising fish, who took BWO imitations in sizes 16-20. Little Rabbit Foot emergers and duns got the job done and my Country Gentleman Variant dries took fish successfully. Amy stayed with the surface flies for the entire afternoon, while I fished Buggers upstream, throughout the quiet pools, where there would be no apparent activity on the surface. I managed one nice 15' brown on the hopper pattern. Bugger produced in the riffles, too. Grasshoppers were active on the banks and they can be productive on this stream well into November, depending on the weather.

We didn't get any giants, but enjoyed the steady action, finishing near the upstream bridge around 4:00 PM, tired and happy. I will try to make another trip (depending on the weather) in the next week or so. My plan is to test the new McFarland Dry Fly taper glass rod I am working on right now.