The Pink Warrior is a color variant of Lance Egan’s Rainbow Warrior that works well as an alternative fly to the Pink Lightning Bug on Montana’s Missouri River in “pink fly season,” late November through early May. Fish it as a dropper with something heavier and larger, for example the AMEX Czech Jig I posted several weeks ago.
Hook: 1x short, 1x strong scud hook, #16-18.
Bead: 3/32″ or 5/64″ nickel brass or tungsten.
Thread #1: Hot pink 8/0.
Tail: Pink-dyed mallard flank.
Abdomen: Pearl-pink Flashabou. Either double one strand around the tying thread or use two strands.
Wingcase: Ends of Flashabou.
Thread #2: Fluorescent fire orange 8/0.
Thorax: Blend of pale pink and hot pink acrylic with hot pink UV Ice Dub, or similar multi-tone pink dubbing.
The Slumpbuster is a well-known streamer pattern by John Barr. This version is tied on a jig hook using a new faux fur yarn available under many brand names. I have seen three: Sirdar Alpine, Lion Brand Go for Faux, and Niceec Fur Yarn, but there are probably others.
The main purpose of this video is to show the tying properties of the fur yarn. Three techniques are demonstrated: using the material like a Zonker strip, wrapping it as on a bunny leech, and clipping it from the “hide” for insertion in a dubbing loop.
The Brown Roach is an old pattern from the Missouri Ozarks originally tied on a jighead. Here it’s on a jig hook with a tungsten bead, with a couple other slight tweaks. Sometimes derided as a “pellet fly,” this pattern works just fine on wild or holdover trout that either have never seen a pellet or have long since stopped eating them. I think it suggests a cased caddis or possibly a sowbug. The basic pattern is also good in other colors for various species. Try it in black, white, chartreuse, and yellow for stocked trout and panfish, or in other earth tones for wild and holdover trout.
Hook: Lightning Strike barbless jig, #12-16.
Bead: 5/32″ to 7/64″ matte brown tungsten jig bead.
Thread: 6/0 rusty brown.
Abdomen: Brown Australian possum inserted in a dubbing loop in “noodle” form.
Rib: Brown Flashabou or similar.
“Hackle:” Dark brown pine squirrel inserted crosswise in a dubbing loop, trimmed to length, spun, and wrapped forward.
New fly tying vid: Jigged Soft Hackle Caddis. Use this as an anchor fly in Euro-nymphing situations or when short-leash nymphing. I use the latter technique a lot on the Lower Madison River, which is very shallow and has heavy caddis concentrations. Tie this fly or something similar to your main leader, then rig an unweighted dropper to run about a foot above it. Use the smallest strike indicator you can and rig it only a couple feet above the jigged soft hackle. The heavy tungsten bead is the only weight in this system.
Hook: Umpqua C400BL, #14.
Bead: Black nickel tungsten, 1/8-inch.
Thread 1: Chartreuse 6/0 or 8/0.
Hackle: Speckled brown hen.
Thread 2: Gold-Olive MFC Midge Body or Veevus equivalent.
This video is mostly designed to show a cool material taken from the craft world, King Cole Chunky Tinsel yarn, and to show the technique used to twist up this material sufficiently to create a one-step bushy body. This is a good all-around baitfish pattern for a variety of fish.
Hook: Eagle Claw #630 size-4 (size 1/0 to 4 work).
Bead: 3/16″ copper brass bead.
Weight: .035 lead wire.
Thread: 3/0 brown.
Tail: Brown-grizzly and tan-brown barred marabou.
Flash: 3 strands of rusty brown Krystal Flash.
Body/Hackle: Single strand of King Cole Chunky Tinsel yarn, lopped, twisted, wrapped forward, and trimmed.
The pink AMEX is one of the most popular nymph patterns in winter and early spring on the Missouri River, and a good bet on any tailwater stream. It suggests both eggs and dead/dying scuds, and as such is a good “junk bug” attractor pattern on tailwaters.
While normally tied on a scud hook, I prefer to tie larger versions (#12-14) on jig hooks with tungsten beads, to cut down on hangups.
It’s also worth checking out the “Rainbow Czech,” which is generally similar except with the dubbing colors reversed and a full scud-style shellback. Both patterns bear some similarity to the Pink Squirrel nymph popular in the Driftless region of the upper Midwest.
We tied the May-Midge as something of an experiment prior to last season, intending it to combine attributes of midge patterns like the Griffith’s Gnat while maintaining the overall silhouette of tiny, sparse mayflies. Our goal with this fly was to come up with something that would fool the spooky, lazily-rising fish we often see in the morning in flat water in late summer and early fall. These fish seldom eat any one thing in particular, but are feeding on a mixture of midges and the duns of three or four species of mayflies, as well as the occasional odd ant, mayfly spinner, and other “schmutz.” The May-Midge proved extremely effective in this role this season, particularly in the Lamar Drainage, where it turned out several very large fish on lower Slough Creek that were turned off by larger and/or more heavily-dressed flies.
Note: This fly is intended for use in slow water, particularly big eddy lines or places with many complicated micro-currents. It should not be used in choppy water, as it won’t float well in chop.
Hook: #16-22 1x short, 1x fine emerger hook.
Thread #1 and Abdomen: Claret Veevus Body Quill (I called it wine in the video).
Tail/Shuck: Gray Sparkle Emerger Yarn or similar.
Thread #2: 8/0 or 10/0 wine.
Wing: White Widow’s Web or similar synthetic yarn.
Hackle: Grizzly saddle, tied sparse.
Thorax: UV Brown Ice Dub.
Other Colors: Light olive, black, copper, gray (use alternate abdomen material on gray, as there is no gray Body Quill). Change threads and dubbing to match desired fly color. Tail, wing, and hackle do not change.
Breakout Fly for 2019 and Tying Vid: Copper Matt Nymph
While caddis hatches on the Yellowstone River were sort of “meh” in 2019, the nymph fishing during caddis season was quite good. Usually we fished our nymphs as droppers, sometimes deep under bobbers. Either way, my most-productive caddis/attractor nymph was an old tie by Matt Minch, the Copper Matt. Essentially a version of his Bead, Hare, and Copper with a peacock herl head and heavier wire ribing, I’ve been using the Copper Matt in larger sizes for at least ten years, to no better or different results than with the “BHC.” This year I happened to tie a few in smaller sizes in my box, probably due to guiding on the lower Madison during heavy caddis hatches and having strong success with them earlier in the season. The smaller size (#16) seemed to be the ticket. The fish loved this one this year. Let’s hope they do next year. My new fly tying vid for the pattern is embedded below.
Fly Tying Vid: Stayner Ducktail (very apropos for a new private fishery)
This is a classic stillwater streamer suggestive of small perch. Given that the main forage fish in our NEWEST private fishery are perch, and they’re devoured by brown trout averaging over 20 inches, this is a neat one…
I developed this nymph on and mostly for the Gibbon, but it’s a good choice anytime you’re looking for a changeup from a conventional Prince. Fish it either under a big bushy dry or in a bobber or Euro-nymphing rig.
Hook: Any standard-length jig nymph hook, #12-18. Here, #16.
Bead: Gold slotted tungsten to match hook. Here 3/32″.
Thread: 8/0 black.
Shuck: Short tuft of crinkled ginger synthetic yarn.
Rib: Small to medium gold Ultra Wire, here Brassie.
Abdomen: 2-4 strands of peacock herl, depending on hook size and herl quality. Here 3 strands are used.
Wing: Tuft of cream or white crinkled synthetic yarn, clipped Serendipity-style.
“Hackle:” Brown dubbing blend of your choice, tied loop-style and if necessary trimmed to length. Here brown acrylic and pheasant tail Ice Dub are used, but squirrel, hare’s ear, or other nymph dubbings would also work.