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Category: Fly Tying Videos

Fly Tying Vid: Synth Stimmy

Fly Tying Vid: Synth Stimmy

Synth Stimmy

This is a good small to medium rough water attractor dry. With the abundant hackle clipped underneath, tight synthetic body materials that don’t absorb water, and synthetic wing, it is buoyant but floats low in the film. These features, along with the alternate hook used compared to the standard Stimulator, also make it float correctly every time and give it good hooking properties. To top it off, it’s even quick to tie.

Tie the Synth Stimmy in colors to match your favorite Stimulator (except yellow, alas, because the body material is not available in this color) or in other “attractor” or “imitator” colors.

Hook: 2xl curved shank nymph/hopper (Here MFC #7231), #10-16. Do not use standard Stimulator hooks.

Thread #1: MFC Midge Body thread OR Veevus Iridescent thread. Here, MFC Midge Body in golden olive.

Abdomen: One to several layers of thread #1, depending on hook size and material used. Note that the tying method varies depending on which material is used, particularly in small hook sizes. See the video for details on how to create the body using both materials.

Thread #2: 8/0, here light olive.

Body Hackle: Dry fly saddle secured at front of abdomen and palmered back to rear of abdomen. Here, grizzly dyed March Brown

Rib: Thread #1. See video for method.

Wing: MFC Widow’s Web or EP Trigger Point fibers. Here, cinnamon caddis EP.

Front Hackle: Dry fly saddle. Here, grizzly dyed March Brown.

Adhesive #1: Super glue over thread wraps securing wing butts and front hackle.

Head: Ice Dub. Here, olive.

Adhesive #2: Head cement or superglue.


Fly Tying Vid: Euroflash Nymph (Butano Perdigon Variation)

Fly Tying Vid: Euroflash Nymph (Butano Perdigon Variation)

The Euroflash is a variation on the Butano Perdigon distinguished by the addition of sparse legs and the fact the tungsten bead is buried in the fly’s thorax. It’s an effective, fast-sinking, technical mayfly nymph or midge pupa, whether you’re using Euro nymphing techniques, sight-nymphing, or fishing the fly under a hopper or indicator. Try it in various colors and #14-20.

Hook: 1x short 1x strong scud, #14-20 (especially #16-18).

Bead: Tungsten to match hook size and disappear somewhat in the thorax. This color is brown.

Thread: Dark brown 8/0 on this color, otherwise a dark color to match natural insects or rest of fly (black and dark brown are best).

Tail: Dark pardo coq-de-leon.

Abdomen: Holographic Flashabou, in this case olive. Other good colors are red, black, purple, and copper, but feel free to try assorted colors.

Wing Case: UTC opal tinsel, size medium or small.

Thorax: Tying thread and the bead (secure the bead with X-wraps).

Legs: A few strands of Fluoro-Fibre secured vee-style. On this color, use gray. Most other colors of the pattern are best with gray or dark brown.

Body Coating: UV-cure resin over entire fly except legs.

Fly Tying Vid – Parachute Midge Emerger

Fly Tying Vid – Parachute Midge Emerger

Parachute Midge Emerger

This is a good one to tie for the late winter midges we often see in the afternoons. Quick too!


Hook: #18-22 short shank dry fly (use #12-16 for chironomids in lakes).

Thread: 10/0 black. Change color to match the overall body color of the midges you’re imitating

Wing Post: White Widow’s Web or similar hydrophobic (poly) yarn.

Rib: Pearl Midge Krystal Flash.

Body: Fine black dubbing, or color to match your local midges.

Hackle: Grizzly, 3-4 turns on smaller sizes and 4-5 turns for chironomids.


Fish this one during afternoon midge hatches on Yellowstone area rivers, particularly in the winter and early spring. When doing this, look for slow walking-speed seams with foam. Fish this bug behind a more-buoyant and visible dry. I prefer #16 Purple Hazy Cripples or Trudes. The latter actually look like midge clusters due to the peacock body, particularly when skies are gray so the wing appears to be a buzz of movement over the fly.

You can also tie the pattern larger to serve as a dry chironomid in lakes. Fish it solo then, or even run a tiny beadhead under it on a short dropper.


Fly Tying Vid: Mayer’s Mini Leech and Discussion of New Fly Design

Fly Tying Vid: Mayer’s Mini Leech and Discussion of New Fly Design

Mayer’s Mini Leech and Discussion of New Fly Design

This one is a little different. I first tie a basic leech pattern, Mayer’s Mini Leech, then go through the steps I’ve taken to develop this basic idea into a different pattern imitating a small sculpin. This is the process I typically follow when designing new patterns, and I thought viewers might be interested in my mindset as I work out a new fly.

Here’s the basic pattern recipe:

Hook: 1x short, 1x strong scud, #12-16.

Bead (optional): Black or copper brass or tungsten to match hook size.

Thread: 6/0 or 8/0 to match overall fly color.

Underbody/Flash: One strand of Flashabou doubled back on itself at tie in, then wrapped forward. Good colors can match the wing or contrast it: olive, red, brown, etc.

Wing: Pine squirrel strip in leech, baitfish, or flesh colors. Good colors include: olive, black, rust, chocolate, wine, purple, tan, and gray.

Head: Single strand of ostrich herl to match wing.

I am still working out the sculpin derived from this fly (and don’t know if it will work), so no recipe for that one just yet.

Fishing Tips

In lakes, fish the fly either twitched or drifted under an indicator, or with a slow retrieve on a sink-tip line. In rivers, it can work dead-drifted under a large dry fly like a foam hopper, or as part of a nymph rig. Don’t hesitate to fish the pattern behind a larger streamer as your “second chance fly.”

Fly Tying Vid: Willy’s Pip Midge Pupa

Fly Tying Vid: Willy’s Pip Midge Pupa

Willy’s Pip Midge Pupa: Easy Extended Body Midge Pupa

This simple midge is one of my (Walter’s) favorite flies when I go back to fish the Ozarks tailwaters and spring creeks between November and April. The extended furled body creates a profile similar to the classic Brassie, but with a great deal of movement and a different “look.” The first two-foot trout I ever caught came on one of these, on upper Lake Taneycomo in Missouri (it’s really a river there).

In addition to working well for midge pupae, the technique used to create the abdomen is also good for caddis pupae, extended body stonefly dries like my Prom Queen, and even leech tails. Any relatively straight, limp fiber, yarn, or braid can work with this technique.


Hook: Scud, #18-22

Bead: Tiny brass or tungsten, if desired. I usually do not include one.

Thread: 8/0 or smaller black or to match abdomen.

Abdomen: Red Uni-Thread, furled. Other good colors include cream, olive, tan, black, or one of the various flashy “midge threads.”

Thorax/Head: Peacock herl or Ice Dub.

Fly Tying Video: Scleech Articulated Streamer (Sculpin/Leech)

Fly Tying Video: Scleech Articulated Streamer (Sculpin/Leech)

Scleech Streamer

The Scleech is my favorite double-hook streamer. The title is a bit of a lie. It’s not actually a true articulated pattern, rather a single-hook streamer with a stinger hook and the fly’s body on the connection between the main hook and the stinger. If I wasn’t yacking, I can tie these in about ten minutes, much less than most similar-sized streamers.

This is a great fly in early spring (late March through early June) on the Yellowstone, but it can work all summer and fall too. Usually I fish the fly on a seven-weight rod, with a type-IV sink tip line and about 10lb Maxima for tippet. Strip and rip, but don’t hesitate to high-stick nymph it through the turbulent, foamie, bankside pockets, particularly in midsummer when the big browns sit in those spots and don’t like it when other fish invade their territory.

The fly is also good in all standard sculpin colors: gold, tan, black, and “Bighorn,” or yellow and dark brown. I also tie it in white, though why it works in that color, I have no idea.

While primarily a sculpin imitation these days, I also use the fly as a big leech in small private ranch lakes, especially in early April right after ice-out, when the big fish are lethargic and often prefer one big meal to a lot of smaller ones. In those situations, fish it on a slower-sinking line with long, slow strips.

Tying Recipe

Front Hook: Clouser-style, #2-4 (here, an old Mustad #3366 in size-4).

Thread: 3/0 olive (or to match fly’s overall color).

Wing: Black-barred olive variant rabbit strip, or standard olive variant rabbit strip.

Rear Hook: #6 scud or similar short-shank wide-gape hook (egg, octopus, etc.).

Articulation/Body: 40lb Power Pro braided fishing line strung with eight 6mm golden olive acrylic craft store beads.

Eyes: Medium gold I-Balz.

Body #2: Other end of rabbit strip used for wing, secured and wrapped forward as in a bunny leech, 3-4 turns.

Throat: Red flash, here an odd formulation of red Kreinik Flash, but any material will work.

Collar/Dorsal Fin: Olive Montana Fly Company Widow’s Web.

Head: Olive Widow’s Web, spun in a dubbing loop, wrapped forward, and trimmed to shape.

Markings: Color top side of head and all of collar/dorsal fin with a brown permanent marker, then bar with a black permanent marker.



Fly Tying Video: Brindle Cripple

Fly Tying Video: Brindle Cripple

Brindle Cripple

This fly worked like a charm on Yellowstone River float trips last season, the only place where I tried it. I also suspect it will work well in the Black and Grand Canyons of the Yellowstone and perhaps in the Lamar drainage and on the Madison and Gallatin.

Fly Tying Video: Candy Cane Flesh Fly

Fly Tying Video: Candy Cane Flesh Fly

Candy Cane Flesh Fly

I’m amazed there wasn’t a video of the Candy Cane Flesh Fly up on Youtube already. This pattern was suggested to me by the lodge owner before I went up to Alaska in 2017, and it produced some big rainbows for me on the Copper and Gibraltar Rivers in the Lake Iliamna watershed. Whip up a few if you’re going to Alaska in late summer or fall.

Candy Cane Flesh Fly Recipe

Hook: Any sturdy streamer-size hook, #2-6.

Bead: 3/16″ orange brass, optional.

Weight: .035″ lead or lead-free wire.

Thread: Any flesh-colored 6/0 or 3/0.

Tail and Rib: Flesh-colored rabbit strip.

Body: Pale pink chenille.


Fly Tying Video: Kreelex Baby Whitefish Streamer

Fly Tying Video: Kreelex Baby Whitefish Streamer

This version of Chuck Kraft’s Kreelex is a fun one to fish in spring and fall when the big fish are aggressive. While some other colors probably produce more fish, this one’s fun because you can almost always see the fly and therefore the strikes. It uses alternate materials than the standard Kreelex.

This is one of the patterns I’ll be tying at my demo at Peak Fly Shop in Colorado Springs on Saturday, Feb 2.


Fly of the Week: Pink Clacka Caddis

Fly of the Week: Pink Clacka Caddis

Pink Clacka Caddis

The pink Clacka Caddis is one of my go-to attractor dry flies in high summer, particularly when there are both tan caddis (Hydropsyche) and Yellow Sally stoneflies (Isoperla) hatching, as I feel this pattern pulls double duty. It’s particularly good when skies are bright. Other good colors are peacock/Coachman (the original), tan, olive, black, and large dark brown. #12 to #16 is the standard size range, but I tie some colors as small as #20 and as large as #10.