Pheasant Tail Nymph Attractor

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I received some really good feedback from the post from G&G followers. One follower even tied some up and landed multiple twenty inch fish with the midge pattern one day on his home waters. It feels good passing on information to our followers, especially when I hear back that they not only appreciate the advice but are actually putting it to work on the water. Since the first post was a success I’ve decided to showcase second cold water nymph pattern of mine.

I’m a firm believer in utilizing a bright attractor nymph in my tandem nymph rigs during the winter months.  A couple years back I thought to myself why not take a proven traditional fly patterns and modify them with bright attractor fly tying materials. This way you can bank on both the proven profile characteristics and the flashy appeal. One of the first fly patterns I came up with for this idea was this pheasant tail attractor nymph above. It’s been very successful for me on the water. I generally use

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Attractor Flies in Tandem Rigs

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Problems are just part of the game and the better you are at solving them, the more effective an angler you will be. Often the solutions require tactics that are unusual or counter intuitive. When fish are being stubborn a creative solution may be just what is needed.

On our recent trip to the Owyhee River in Oregon, Kent and I encountered such a problem. The Owyhee (the part we were fishing) is a tailwater. It’s a highly pressured and very technical fishery full of picky brown trout. That’s a big enough problem but there were other factors we were dealing with as well.

The Owyhee has an amazingly abundant insect population and the insects are very small. This means that your #22 fly is competing for the fish’s attention with thousands of tasty naturals. The fish do not have to move for food so the only way to feed them is to put the fly right on their nose.

No problem, and anglers generally do this by targeting rising fish because the waters of the Owyhee are stained with dissolved lime and calcium carbonate, a very fine silt that does not settle and gives the water an opaque green tint. The color makes it nearly impossible to sight fish when there are no fish rising. When we were there strong winds had put off the hatches so we were fishing blind. We were catching fish fairly regularly by reading water and being persistent and observant, but I kept thinking there had to be a better approach.

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Beefcake Stone

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By Bob Reece

As the winter snows of the Rocky Mountains begin to thaw, a change is set in motion.

The landscape breaks loose and emerges from a crisp exoskeleton of winter. For many fly fishers the pinnacle of this yearly change is the transformation of Pteronarcys californica. Most fly fishers have some familiarity with spring salmonfly hatches that proclaim the beginning of a new season on many of western North America’s freestone rivers and streams. While the salmonfly emergence is one of fly fishing’s most compelling events, success during this time is not guaranteed and often depends of the design of your flies.

The Beefcake Stone is the epitome of a match for this hatch. While the body of this pattern is rigid, its appendages move easily. The Sexi-floss antennae and tail fibers, along with round rubber legs provide the fly with actively twitching limbs. Tantalizing action is paired with realism by knotting all of the legs. This nicely mimics the prominent leg joints in the adult Pteronarcys. Aesthetic appeal is crucial but without durability it is meaningless. Zap-A-Gap is essential when working with the foam elements of this pattern. It should be applied any time two foam surfaces are placed in contact. At the core of this pattern is the sturdy Tiemco 2499BL. This hook sticks and stays, using an upturned point design to prevent itself from being shaken loose. Its sturdy construction and short shank provide the security to land large fish in high flows that often accompany this event.

Triumph in fly fishing is often signified by a successful meeting of fly and fish. The expectation of this is rarely greater than when

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Make White Trim Wraps Like Magic

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Matt Draft’s white trim wraps are one of the coolest fly rod building tricks I’ve ever seen. Making white trim wraps in traditional silk thread is a little like catching a unicorn. Doing it at all is a good trick, but making it as easy as Matt Draft, of Proof Fly Fishing, does is just brilliant. These trim wraps are super easy and really sharp looking.  Watch the video and learn to make white trim wraps on your next rod build. Louis Cahill Gink & Gasoline   Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!  

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Fly Fishing Bass: 5 Tips for Fishing Frog Patterns Around Grass

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Some of my most memorable days chasing bass on the fly have come from me spending the day popping and waking frog patterns along the surface.

I grew up fishing for bass, and although trout fishing has stolen the majority of my fly fishing attention over the years, I’ve always held a special place in my heart for catching bass on the fly. I’ve got friends that don’t see the coolness in fly fishing for bass, but that’s because most of them haven’t put in enough time on the water to experience perfect fishing conditions, and witness the thrill of bass smashing their fly, cast after cast. Bass are amazingly acrobatic fish, and they provide more than enough pull and rod bend to justify fly fishing for them. If you haven’t explored this area of fly fishing, I highly recommend it.

The other day, Louis and I left our houses at 2:45 in the morning to drive across the Georgia State line, and fly fish for bass on Lake Guntersville. Louis was doing a shoot for a new bass lure company, and I was lucky enough to get invited to tag along. Normally, it would be a real challenge to drag me out of bed at this hour, but Lake Guntersville is considered one of the top bass fishing lakes in the entire country. More importantly, the lake is famous for its unbelievable frog fishing that generally starts in June, and runs through the summer months. Lake Guntersville hosts several professional bass tournaments throughout the year, and in 2014, it will host the most famous of all tournaments, The Bassmaster Classic.

During the tournaments on Lake Guntersville, it’s not uncommon for bass anglers to weigh-in five fish sacs, well over 35 pounds. That’s right, we’re talking about an average fish weight of over seven pounds. If that doesn’t get you excited about visiting Lake Guntersville, I suggest you get someone to check your pulse. The reason this lake can grow and sustain such large numbers of trophy bass, comes from the high fertility of its waters, and that’s provided by it being located in an interconnected series of flowing lakes. This feature provides a constant fresh supply of inflowing water and food throughout the entire lake chain, and Lake Guntersville happens to lie smack dab in the middle.

In June, Lake Guntersville is completely transformed, as large areas of the lake are taken over by aquatic vegetation (hydrilla and milfoil) growing to the surface. So much in fact, that it’s not uncommon to find your self fishing the lake where there’s more grass than open water. Bass fisherman come from all over the country to cast their frog and rat patterns around the grass mats to coax bass into crushing them. This was exactly my plan with Louis for our day on Lake Guntersville. Unfortunately, the unusually cold nights of April and May had the grass behind schedule. We were still able to find grass and catch some good bass on our frog patterns, but the frog bite was nothing like it’s going to be in a month from now. For those of you interested in getting in on this amazing grass bite on Guntersville or any other reservoir that has good grass concentrations during the summer, I’ve provided five tips below that should help you increase your success.

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Use Old Plano Boxes For Bulk Fly Storage

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Of all the thousands of dollars of bass fishing gear that I’ve accumulated over the years there’s very little of it that I can find a use for in my fly fishing today.

Well, I could probably find a way to use some of it, but I’d definitely get bashed for it by my friends. My Plano tackle boxes, however, have proven to be very useful for me in my drift boat and when I’m traveling across the states on my fly fishing trips. I can load up one Plano box for my drift boat and I’m good for the day, and if I’m traveling out west, I often use one to throw all my big dry fly patterns or streamers in, so I don’t have to keep up with several smaller fly boxes during the trip. Every morning I’ll take out what I need and stow them in one or two fly boxes that I can carry easily with me on the water.

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Fly Fishing Runoff Can Mean Fish On

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by Johnny Spillane


Here in the Rocky Mountain this is a relatively common experience. It can happen for a number of reasons, huge rainstorms, someone doing river work above you or just your normal spring runoff. Don’t fret; while it might not be ideal, here are a few tips that can help you find some fish.

If the water is only slightly off color, you can basically use the same flies that you would if it was clear, just make everything a size or two larger. Instead of a size 18, put on a 16 or a 14. If that is not working, try adding a little bit more flash to your rig. We typically use flies with very little flash, but if the water is off color it can make a big difference in the amount of fish you stick just by changing to something that will reflect a little more light. If you were using a pheasant tail, try tying on a flash back pheasant tail and sometimes that is the only thing you will need to change.

If the water looks like chocolate milk, go big and go flashy. Those size 22 zebra midges that you planned on tying to 6x, that aint gonna work. I like to tie on a large white zonker and dead drift it with some sort of big buggy stonefly like a Pats Rubber leg. In off color water, fish will lose some of their inhibitions and hit anything that they can see. You just have to make sure that they see it. This is also a great time to experiment with different streamers that make noise, anything that will help draw a fish towards you fly.

Fishing runoff can also be one of the best times to hit a river. If it is fully blown, it might be better to explore other options but if a river is on the downside of its peak flows and it is starting to clear up, fishing can be phenomenal. Fish that are spread out all over the river during normal flows will congregate in areas of softer water during runoff and usually if you find one fish, you find 20. When the river is really high

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8 Common Mistakes Anglers Make Fighting Trout

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If I looked backed on my early fly fishing days and had to grade my fish fighting skills, it would yield a discouraging report card.

I lost way more fish than I actually landed during those first few years after picking up a fly rod. I’ll never forget how tense and anxious I was every time I’d find myself hooked up with a nice trout. It seemed like every second of the battle I was terrified that I was going to lose my trophy. In turn, I constantly second guessed my fighting instincts, I wouldn’t follow after my fish if it swam upstream or downstream of me, and I knew very little about the correlation between rod position and applying fighting pressure. Furthermore, I was really clumsy when it came to clearing my excess fly line and reeling in the fish. I always had a hard time figuring out when it was a good time to do that. When all said and done, I bet I only landed one or two fish out of every five fish I hooked during my rookie days. That’s not so hot, probably a D average if I was grading myself extremely leniently. We’ve all been there at some point during our fly fishing career, some of us may even find ourselves with that D average right now. Here’s the positive outlook though, most trout that are hooked and lost during the fight can be linked back to a handful of common mistakes. Yet, most of the time, they all can be easily avoided if you pay close attention to what you’re doing when you’re fighting a trout.

Mistake #1 – Not being in the hook set ready position
I know it sounds elementary, but during my early days, I would often find myself fumbling around with my fly line during my drifts. I didn’t always have my fly line secure in my rod hand, and that usually put me with too much slack in my fly line to pull off a solid hook set. I see anglers all the time during their drifts holding their fly line in their stripping hand only. Bites often come when we least expect them. To increase your chances of getting a good hook set and landing the trout, always make sure you’re in the hook set ready position. Get in the habit of putting the fly line in your index and middle finger on your rod hand immediately after you present your fly. This will have you ready to set the hook the instant you get a bite, and you’ll find your line management will improve.

Mistake #2 – Anglers fail to keep tension after the hook set
Not all the time, but more times than not, trout will swim towards you after being hooked, and it’s critical that you keep your rod tip up and immediately begin stripping in your fly line after the hook set. Doing so, you’ll have a good chance at eliminating the slack and maintaining tension on the fish. Instead of stripping, some fly anglers feel compelled to swing their body around and begin moving away from the fish after setting the hook. This puts the angler out of position, shuffling their feet awkwardly and also doesn’t allow them

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Bonefish Flats Revealed

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When we look at a bonefish flat we tend to perceive it as two- dimensional. It’s right there in the name, flat. The truth is, it’s far from flat. The bonefish’s world is as three-dimensional as ours. It’s a landscape full of hills and valleys, mounds and burrows. The crabs, shrimp and such that bonefish feed on use these features to hide or escape from the hungry predator. Knowing this can give us an advantage.

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Alice’s Angle: December

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By: Alice Tesar

December, the mountain slopes are open to skiers and the rivers are practically void of anglers.

Not only is hitting the river an excuse to escape holiday guests but it can also be quite productive if you’re willing to endure the cold factor. If you know me, you know I’m a nymphing fool. Streamers and dries are exciting but mastering a nymph rig that catches trout with each presentation feels invincible. Most mountain town rivers are running low and uberclear right now. Furthermore, blue skies and snowy banks make your shadow and own presence on the water louder than ever. To avoid spooking more fish I recommend wearing muted colors and limiting your false casts, I even let my drifts go longer in an effort to slow down my above water activity.

Regardless of spooking easily, the trout is at its laziest in cold water. They are lethargic and prefer to place themselves where currents are easy, and the conveyor belt of tiny bites is steady. Midges are my constant this time of year- black beauties, mercury midges, and a biot midge if you find the trout feeding closer to the surface. Darker colors over bright and flashy. Pair the midge with a black or dark brown stonefly. A small stonefly, 16 or 14, seems to work better than something larger.

My final tip, that I repeat often is

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