Driftless Trout Anglers

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OTC_MN  
#211 Posted : Monday, January 28, 2019 7:02:48 PM(UTC)
OTC_MN
Rank: May Fly

Joined: 3/18/2016(UTC)
Posts: 252
Location: St Paul MN

Thanks: 9 times
Was thanked: 35 time(s) in 27 post(s)
Originally Posted by: William Schlafer Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: OTC_MN Go to Quoted Post


Nancy P



Those look great!

Nice tight heads and a smooth transition to the collar. Getting a smooth curved head when trimming with a razor blade is difficult for my fat fingers. I tried mixing some yellow and red deer hair for the head paired with orange and brown rabbit strips on a couple of mine, but the results were less than stellar. I think natural to darker colored deer hair just looks better a for crayfish imitation.


-Bill


Thanks... The middle fly I kind of messed up the head. Honestly, I was on the phone while I was trimming it and not really paying attention. Got done with it and realized I'd put a Dungeon style head on a Nancy P. Blink

It'll fish fine though.

When I tied flies as a kid, I didn't have much for materials. I'd agonize over what to tie with the tiny pack of saddle hackles I'd get once in a while.

There were two notable exceptions: deer hair and calf tail/body hair. We hunted deer, and I'd cut belly strips and take the tails. We also raised cattle, and I'd go down to the calf barn with a scissors and a ziploc bag, wrestle a calf and give him a haircut when I needed hair.

I'm crap at a lot of tying techniques, but I can spin deer hair and set hair wings like a boss. LOL

Edited by user Monday, January 28, 2019 7:08:29 PM(UTC)  | Reason: I can't spell.

"Our tradition is that of the first man who sneaked away to the creek when the tribe did not really need fish."
- Roderick Haig-Brown
William Schlafer  
#212 Posted : Sunday, February 10, 2019 6:53:59 AM(UTC)
William Schlafer
Rank: Super Fly

Joined: 7/24/2011(UTC)
Posts: 3,352
Location: Sussex Wisconsin

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Still tying to master this Crawfish pattern. Not getting any easier or quicker to to tie, but I have learned some good lessons for the future. This batch turned out a bit better than the previous ones.
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Someone asked me for tips on how these are tied, so here you go.

The typical materials you will need.
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And some handy tools.
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Deer hair can vary in color depending on what you desire. I went with natural, dark olive green and crawfish orange. You can mix the hair or use them straight. A small wooden dowel comes in handy to mix the hair in the stacker. Gold variant, tan, olive or crawfish orange rabbit strips form the "claws."

I stripped an old BIC pen of it's innards which makes a great little hair packer.
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I switched to Gamakatsu B10s hooks after I had a couple of hooks snap off right at the end of the tie when applying too much pressure.
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It is really frustrating to put all that effort into tying the fly and carving the hair, only to have the hook break at the end. I decided to toss out all the cheapo hooks and will only work with quality stuff from now on. Lesson learned: you only pay for quality once. The Gamakatsu hooks are stronger and have an extended hook gap which I think will provide for better hook ups with this pattern.

Holding back the hair around the head when whip finishing can be frustrating while fumbling with the whip finish tool and trying to position your fingers properly. I found a small piece of leather with a hole punched in it and applied to the bobbin works great to hold back the stacked hair from the hook eye to finish it off cleanly. A cheap and easy tool, one of my favorite things.
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According to Kelly Galloup's video the shape of the Chenille on the back part of the fly is the most important feature of this pattern. It's critical to getting the rabbit strip "claws" to form this curved shape on the rear of the fly, which is supposed to seduce Trout. Well, we'll see.
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I used red thread to form the head which looks great when coated with UV Clear Finish.
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The moment of truth: time to carve the head.
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An old school safety razor blade does a good job of whittling away the bulk of the stacked hair. You can bend and flex it to shape the head. Finish the trim carefully with a good pair of sharp, small fly tying scissors. Go slow and take your time. It's super easy to accidentally lob off the rubber legs, or a chunk of your fingers. A rotating vise helps too when working around the head.
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The finished product. Getting the hair stacked and packed properly determines how well the head will look. Practice and patience pays off in the end.
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This collection should get me though the season. Although I bet many of these will never see the water. I found the green and tan hair with the gold variant rabbit fur produces a better looking fly than orange fur and rabbit hair. The learning curve on this patter is fairly steep. But, like fly fishing itself, tying a complex pattern like this one is part of the voyage.
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Just don't ask me how much money I've spent recently on fly tying supplies...
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(Eddie Rivard ladies and gentlemen!!!)


-Bill




“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
OTC_MN  
#213 Posted : Sunday, February 10, 2019 2:26:04 PM(UTC)
OTC_MN
Rank: May Fly

Joined: 3/18/2016(UTC)
Posts: 252
Location: St Paul MN

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Hey -

Nice batch of Nancys! They're kind of a fun bug to tie.

Pretty neat trick with the leather. I've used a piece of heavy plastic bag with a slit cut in it, but I like your leather piece better.

One thought. for what it's worth... Whether it's a Nancy, Dungeon, Zoo Cougar or any other deer hear streamer (other than a Drunk and Disorderly or Sid), I don't pack them at all, and actually tie them fairly loose. So the heads on mine are actually pretty squishy. I want the profile and the water push, but other than that I want them to soak up water so they sink better.

You'll have fun fishing the Nancys though. Fish just clobber them when they hit them. They're a killer smallie fly too.
"Our tradition is that of the first man who sneaked away to the creek when the tribe did not really need fish."
- Roderick Haig-Brown
William Schlafer  
#214 Posted : Sunday, February 10, 2019 8:00:22 PM(UTC)
William Schlafer
Rank: Super Fly

Joined: 7/24/2011(UTC)
Posts: 3,352
Location: Sussex Wisconsin

Thanks: 101 times
Was thanked: 127 time(s) in 105 post(s)
Thanks!

I tried putting one in a sink of water to see how it moves. Seemed to sink OK after getting it wet and the head seemed to soak in the water. I didn't really pack the hair tight. I mostly used the BIC pen to reposition the hair, fill in any voids and move the mass back to make room for the next stack. The trick is to make sure you leave enough space between the dumbbell head and the hook eye and apply the right amount of hair to surround the dumbbell properly. It's pretty easy to overdo it.


-Bill
“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
William Schlafer  
#215 Posted : Tuesday, February 19, 2019 10:45:33 PM(UTC)
William Schlafer
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Location: Sussex Wisconsin

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I found a generic Mayfly pattern online that I decided to try. A simple pattern that uses just a few materials.

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I tied two variants, one with black and white hackle, and the other using deer hair for a caddis type wing. All were tied with size 14 curved scud style hooks. The overall size of the fly is dictated by the size of the Mallard Feather used for the tail and the body. Some came out long, others a bit stubby. I also tied some using Lemon Wood Duck feathers. These contrast nicely with the Wood Duck colored thread I used.
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The cupped shape of the feather gives the body and tail that upright curve. Simple and effective. Should ride nice and high on the water.
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The darker Mallard Feathers look better to me than the lighter ones. Will be curious to see how they fish.
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The wings came out a little too long on some of these. I tried trimming a few of them down, but I liked the natural look better.
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-Bill

Edited by user Tuesday, February 19, 2019 10:47:04 PM(UTC)  | Reason: damned typos!

“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
thanks 2 users thanked William Schlafer for this useful post.
weiliwen on 2/20/2019(UTC), OTC_MN on 2/20/2019(UTC)
OTC_MN  
#216 Posted : Wednesday, February 20, 2019 4:55:56 PM(UTC)
OTC_MN
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Joined: 3/18/2016(UTC)
Posts: 252
Location: St Paul MN

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That looks like an old Michigan pattern - the Two Feather Fly. I don't think I've ever tried to tie one. Man they're an elegant little bug though. Like a guy ought to wear tweed when you fish them or something. Or at least brush your teeth. Smile

Nice work.

Go on the youtubes sometime and look for a channel by Ray Schmidt. He's doing a series of videos on some classic Great Lakes/Michigan flies - one on the history of each pattern, then another on how to tie it. They're just awesome. Makes me want to fill up a box of them and pull my grandfather's fly rod off the wall and fish 'em...
"Our tradition is that of the first man who sneaked away to the creek when the tribe did not really need fish."
- Roderick Haig-Brown
William Schlafer  
#217 Posted : Thursday, February 21, 2019 1:48:32 AM(UTC)
William Schlafer
Rank: Super Fly

Joined: 7/24/2011(UTC)
Posts: 3,352
Location: Sussex Wisconsin

Thanks: 101 times
Was thanked: 127 time(s) in 105 post(s)
Originally Posted by: OTC_MN Go to Quoted Post
That looks like an old Michigan pattern - the Two Feather Fly. I don't think I've ever tried to tie one. Man they're an elegant little bug though.


Yup, that's exactly it. Kelly Galloup has a video on YouTube and he describes it as a pattern he first saw in Michigan back in the 70s.

They're real simple: just thread, hackle and a Mallard flank feather. I tied a few using deer hair to make a Caddis wing, but I like the ones with hackle better. On a few I added a tiny bit of grey dubbing to give the feather something to bite into when palmering. I found the spotted light brown flank feathers look the best with the Wood Duck thread. That neat looking up swept split tail just screams out Mayfly. I'm hoping Trout like it too.

I tied up some more today that turned out a bit nicer looking. They went straight into my dry fly box. The trick is to pick out a perfectly sized flank feather to control the size of the wings and tail. Prepping and tying in the feather is the hardest part, but once you get the hang of it you can tie one of these in just a few minutes. I think the curved scud style hook produces a better look than the straight dry fly hook.

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A fun and easy fly to tie. Now my dry fly box is filled and ready for spring.
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-Bill


“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
OTC_MN  
#218 Posted : Thursday, February 21, 2019 1:14:14 PM(UTC)
OTC_MN
Rank: May Fly

Joined: 3/18/2016(UTC)
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Oh cool. Thanks for the heads up. I'll check it out.

A lot of my dry fly box is Kelly Galloup patterns, between the Found Link and the Butch Caddis, plus tilt wing parachutes. Common denominator between them all is they all float really well. They hold up a dropper really well, and are pretty easy ties.
"Our tradition is that of the first man who sneaked away to the creek when the tribe did not really need fish."
- Roderick Haig-Brown
OTC_MN  
#219 Posted : Thursday, February 21, 2019 10:53:50 PM(UTC)
OTC_MN
Rank: May Fly

Joined: 3/18/2016(UTC)
Posts: 252
Location: St Paul MN

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Was thanked: 35 time(s) in 27 post(s)
I figured since winter is never going to end and we're all going to die...I may as well start filling up the dry fly box.

Chubby Chernobyls and Baby Boy Hoppers. About the only hoppers I use. They're both quick ties, easy to see, float very well, and can hold up a trailing nymph if I'm fishing a dry/dropper. The Baby boy is on the smaller side as hoppers go (thus the name) which I kind of like. Easy to cast on my Euro rod, but still floats well, and I sometimes think fish like the smaller size better than a giant bug...


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Some Galloup's Butch Caddis, and a couple Corn Fed Caddis. The Butch Caddis is about a 3 minute tie, and is just about impossible to sink. Another really good dry/dropper pattern. The Corn Fed Caddis is basically just a big pile of CDC... Haven't fished it a lot, but saw enough when I did to want to tie up some more...

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Galloup's Found Link. My favorite mayfly dry. Can fish it basically at any point in a hatch, as a cripple, dun, or spinner. The deer hair abdomen makes it unbelievably buoyant for its size, so again, good with a dropper. Once you get the hang of it, it's a really fast tie too. I think the original pattern uses Z-lon for the wings, but I've been using EP Trigger Point International fibers. It's treated with a floatant so they float really well, and I love some of the colors. The ones in the picture use dark dun, sulphur orange, and spinner wing, which is more or less clear.

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A few more of each of these and it'll be on to ants, beetles and Stompers...
"Our tradition is that of the first man who sneaked away to the creek when the tribe did not really need fish."
- Roderick Haig-Brown
William Schlafer  
#220 Posted : Friday, February 22, 2019 1:44:59 AM(UTC)
William Schlafer
Rank: Super Fly

Joined: 7/24/2011(UTC)
Posts: 3,352
Location: Sussex Wisconsin

Thanks: 101 times
Was thanked: 127 time(s) in 105 post(s)
I've had good luck with the Baby Boy hopper. There are days when it seems it's the only thing the Trout are interested in. It can pass for a small hopper, a cricket, June Bug, or some other chunky form of insect.

In general when fishing hoppers or other similar patterns, smaller is often better. I've gotten many more rejections from large hoppers, but the smaller ones in size 10-12 are usually taken without hesitation. Just for fun, last March with snow still on the ground, I tied on a small hopper just to see if anything was looking up. I was surprised when I got a couple of strikes. I've been told Hippie Stompers will work year round.


-Bill
“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
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