The flies everyone wants in their box...Guide Flies! To ensure we're on the same page, these are not "secret" flies that no one knows of; instead, "Guide Flies" are patterns that are easy to tie and effective to fish. More importantly, if the fly is lost, it can be replaced quickly. These flies will not guarantee that you catch fish, but they will place you in a position with a greater opportunity. Presentation is the key to effectively catching trout on a consistent basis, thus push yourself in that area...plus having these tied on will help, too!
The flies are ordered with dry flies first, then mayfly nymphs, caddis nymphs, midges, and streamers. This is a great starting collection of flies that will give you many opportunities to catch trout and other fish in rivers and streams.
In this video, I tie a simple, yet effective pattern known as the BWO Comparadun that can imitate various stages of the mayfly. The stage I tie closely resembles the dun, but can also be easily modified into the emerger or spinner stage. One of the materials used is Snowshoe Rabbit Feet for the wing, which helps to maintain a superior buoyancy with the fly. This material can also be substituted with cdc for similar results, though you may want to select a material that works best in the style water you will be fishing. Throughout this video, I also suggest ways that you can tie this fly to represent your local mayflies, and offer suggestions on modifications to imitate other stages.
For this "Two Minute Tying" tutorial, I am tying the X-Caddis, a pattern developed by Craig Mathews that represents the emerging or cripple-caddis. This pattern can be adapted to represent your natural caddis, though I have also varied it by adding a cdc underwing. This pattern is one I recommend when fishing in pressured waters, due to its realistic imitation of the natural.
During this tutorial, the Sulphur Soft Hackle Emerger is tied, an effective pattern that can be classified as a "guide fly" due to the short amount of time it takes to tie this pattern. Representing the emerger stage of the mayfly life cycle, this pattern imitates the mayfly as it is about to release its nymphal shuck and continue as the mayfly adult dun. Feel free to vary the size and color of this pattern to imitate the natural mayflies in your local streams.
I love to fish patterns that come with the recommendation to use with heavier tippet because fish absolutely crush them on the take...and this is one of them! I first learned of this pattern many years ago from Eric Stroup and Skip Galbraith, and the "Purple Soft Hackle" has had a spot in my fly box ever since. This fly resembles the emerger stage of the Isonychia Bicolor (aka Slate Drake and Leadwing Coachman), and it's one that can be fished from the summer into the fall. During this video, I first tie the pattern, and then go into specifics regarding its use fly fishing.
In the video, I reference Eric's book, "Common-Sense Fly Fishing." You can find out more about his book at the following link: http://www.amazon.com/Common-Sense-Fly-Fishing-Simple-Lessons/dp/1934753076
In this fly tying tutorial, I demonstrate the procedures and techniques for John Barr's BWO Flashback Emerger, which represents the stage before the mayfly becomes a dun. This is an effective pattern that John has been fishing for nearly 30 years, and I encourage you to not only examine this pattern, but also attempt a few of the variations.
In this fly tying tutorial, I demonstrate the techniques used to tie Lance Egan's Frenchie nymph. This effective pattern has been gaining popularity over the last few years, and with good reason: It catches trout! I offer a number of variations, inlcuding tying the fly on a jig hook, which will certainly appeal to many crowds, such as those in Euro or Czech-style nymph fishing and competition anglers.
Continuing the "Two Minute Tying" series, for this pattern, I chose the highly effective Pheasant Tail. During this fast tutorial, I demonstrate the basics behind this venerable pattern, plus add a tungsten bead and antron wingcase. Feel free to vary this pattern with hot spots (fluorescent-colored beads and/or antron), legs, and even peacock-dubbing.
In this "Two Minute Fly Tying" tutorial, I wanted to share an effective pattern that is equally quick to tie, the Hot Belly Pheasant Tail. In this version, I have opted to remove the legs, and instead pull out sections of the thorax with velcro, thereby creating the impression of legs on the nymph. Have fun tying this pattern, and don't be afraid to vary the thorax with other dubbing; the "hot belly" is intended as a hot spot, and the possibilities are endless
Featured in this fly tying tutorial is the "Improved" Pheasant Tail nymph, which is a classic in the fly fishing world. Using the word "improved" is where I tread softly because Frank Sawyer's original is a tough pattern to revise. With that said, in the video I substitute Coq de Leon as the tailing fibers for two reasons. First, the material is extremely durable and resistant to tearing. Second, the mottling featured on Coq de Leon is excellent, and very representational of mayfly nymphs. Please feel free to comment on this pattern and share any modifications that you have made to improve the original Pheasant Tail.
In this video, I feature the Prince Nymph tied quickly for my "Two Minute Tying" playlist. This is a very effective nymph pattern, long considered a "standard" to have in every trout fly box. This is a relatively traditional tie, and you may notice the legs in this pattern slightly cover the white wings.
Being that the Hare's Ear is such a classic and venerable pattern, it's only fitting that applying new styles to it occur more often than not. The Czech-style of nymphing has overtaken many areas of fly flshing, and it's easy to convert the Hare's Ear to that type of a pattern, as shown in the fly tying tutorial.
There are many options that you have with this pattern, and I explore a few during the video. I do want to stress that this is a larger pattern (sizes 8-12) and I fish it in fast water, thus you'll notice that I tie this pattern in the "guide style" with few of those options added on.
When fishing spring creeks (and other streams with water cress), don't forget about the Cress Bug! This fly is effective in many situations, and I primarily recommend fishing it in the riffles as part of a nymph setup. When tying the Cress Bug, be sure to focus on the key characteristics, as mentioned in the video. Have fun with this one, and definitely get it into your box!
This fly tying tutorial features George Daniel's Czech Catnip, a fly commonly used as the "anchor" for those familiar with Czech Nymphing. The anchor fly is the heaviest fly placed on the setup, and this one works great for it bc of both its weight and ability to attract fish. This is a no-nonsense fly, plus relatively simple to tie, and I encourage you to add some of these to your fly box.
Being that the main material (Micro Polar Chenille) comes in a variety of colors, this pattern can be varied quite easily. I made a slight variation to the original pattern by substituting UV Chartreuse Polar Chenille in place of the original Olive, and I believe this change helps to make the fly more of an attractor-type in waters especially for trout, steelhead, salmon, and grayling.
For this fly tying tutorial, I chose a pattern that represents a caddis pupa and emerger, John Anderson's Bird of Prey Caddis. This fly consists of just a few simple materials, but as you'll see, all of them are considered some of the best to use in fly tying. I do vary this pattern slightly from the original, but kept the most critical components to ensure its effectiveness. I recommend this pattern for intermediate fly tyers, though those at an "upper beginner" level will be able to complete this fly with a little practice.
During this fly tying tutorial, a very simple and effective fly is discussed, the Mercury Cased Caddis. This fly, a variation of Pat Dorsey's original, is one that does an excellent job of imitating caddisflies in their cases, and is extremely simple to tie. This is definitely a pattern that falls into the "Guide Fly" category due to these reasons, and one to have in your box if you fish waters with caddis during April through June.
In this fly tying tutorial, I wanted to share a fly given to me by my buddy Tom, the Utah Killer Bug. This fly can represent a myriad of insects depending on how you tie it. From the crane fly larva to scud, this pattern tied in a nondescript color seems to simply look like a bug (especially when it's wet!). There are a couple variations shown at the end, plus you can always make this pattern into a soft hackle, which can then touch on the caddis spectrum. Tom, thanks for sharing this pattern!
During this tutorial, we discuss the notion of "hot spots" on flies, and possible materials to use. Next, the Walt's Worm (also known as the Crane Fly Larva), created by Walt Young, is explained, a very effective pattern that is incredibly simple to tie.
Midge patterns can be fun to tie, especially easier ones that work well on the water! As part of my "Two Minute Tying" series, this Foam Wing Midge is a simple pattern that I carry in few colors, yet it produces more often than not. During this video, I share my tying procedures first, and then talk more about the pattern in detail.
From a trout's perspective, a large portion of their diets are made up of micronymphs all year long, especially midges, hence the effectiveness of the Sluiceway Special. This is a pattern that I consider a "Guide Fly," being that it is simple to tie, has few materials, and most importantly, works really well for trout! I recommend tying this in two colors (red and black) and offer a "secret" in the video, as well.
For this tutorial, I chose a simple pattern to represent BWO's and midges that even the beginner tyer can handle, the WD-40. Modifying this pattern from the original, I chose Coq de Leon fibers for the tail and wing case. The addition of this fiber adds to the durability of the pattern, plus the fibers are mottled with great coloration. This specific pattern is tied a chocolate brown, but don't be afraid to also try black, olive, grey, and anything else would be representational on your home waters.
For this "Two Minute Tying" tutorial, I selected a great fly for any level of tyer, the Zebra Midge. In this pattern, tied is the color olive, of which the color is paired with a gold tungsten bead and thin copper wire. When tying black, gray, or cream Zebra Midges, I will switch the bead and wire to a silver color.
Continuing my "Two Minute Tying" series, I chose a basic pattern that always hooks fish, the Crystal Bugger. Derived from a Woolly Bugger, the crystal / krystal bugger employs a crystal chenille that allows the body of the fly to sparkle, therefore attracting more fish. In this version, I chose not to include hackle because the chenille I used had such long fibers, making the hackle unnecessary. Definitely vary your own pattern, altering the color combinations, beads at the front, or use of hackle.
For this "Two Minute Tying Tutorial," I demonstrate the techniques involved in tying a highly effective streamer pattern, the Black Ghost. This is a streamer that can be tied in a relatively short amount of time once its techniques are mastered, though feel free to vary the pattern from the original if you feel the need on your local waters. I actually substituted an embroidery thread for floss when tying the body of this pattern, and I also will commonly use black yarn, too.
For this fly tying tutorial, I share a pattern that needs little introduction, Bob Clouser's famous fly, the Clouser Deep Minnow. This is a "go-to" for most fly fisherman, and with good reason: It catches fish! I share a few tips to employ when tying this pattern, plus various pieces of information I learned from Mr. Clouser during his demonstrations.
The Mop Fly has arrived! In this fly tying tutorial, I share my procedures for tying the pattern, plus talk about how it came to be. There are a variety of places to purchase the "mop material" from, thus be creative in your search, as the greatest variation of this fly (as of now) is changing its color. Have fun with this "guide style" pattern!