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troutracker

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  1. Just to be clear, I apply the term 'emerger' more broadly than most folks. As I use the term, it includes immediate pre-hatch and hatch stages that the angler can detect on the stream and use to select an appropriate fly pattern-- beginning with the formation of dark wing pads in mayflies that signal that a subadult is forming within the shuck and ending with failed adults that cannot free themselves from the nearly shed shuck (cripples) or drowned adults (stillborns) that did not achieve flight. As I use it, ' emergers' are the stage of life between nymphs and a successful dun.
  2. Youtube link to a video about developing the design and tying a Canopy emerger: youtu.be/4quvpoIFxH0 ____________________________ Canopy emergers, as the video shows, are a new style of bubble back emerger designs built onto an American-style pheasant tail nymph or a Zebra midge pupa pattern. Added to these patterns is a tinsel-filled tube that looks like the shiny bubbled-up thorax like seen on a natural floating emerger. Application of the canopy wing design is not restricted to these two nymphs but can be added to many other mayfly and midge patterns to make them into bubble emergers. As such the Canopy Emerger represents a pattern style, adaptable to your favorite nymph pattern, that can be also adjusted in size, degree of wing deployment and color to match mayflies and midges at various degrees of emergence. Images and observations presented in the video support a theory that excessive or catastrophic loss of gases from the loosening and bulging shuck formed during the subadult’s development and emergence can, at any stage trap the subadult in its own shuck—for example, the commonly seen split-case nymph. Therefore, emergers should be designed for a wide range of stages from a darkened wing-case on through to a failed emerger stage. First image: Pheasant Tail Canopy Emerger. The hook shank on this fly is about 5mm long. Second image: Zebra Midge Pupa Canopy Emerger. The hook shank on this fly is about 4mm long. ______________________________________________________________________________ Mayfly Recipe: Canopy Emerger shown above is built on top of an American pheasant-tail nymph chassis. Hook: Light canopy emerger variant for shallow subsurface drifts: Tiemco 206BL in size 16 to 20. For smaller sizes, I use Daiichi 1140 hooks, size 18 to 24. For a size 26 midge, I use the Gamakatsu C12BM. Heavy variant for deeper subsurface drifts: I use Tiemco hooks: 2487 BL size 16 – 20, or 2488 size 16 -22. Bead: Light variant: 2mm gold-colored plastic bead with hole or no bead at all when fishing over skittish fish. These light beads are called spacer beads and I found them on Ebay- as small as 2mm in silver and gold color amongst other colors. Heavy variant: 1.5mm to 2 mm gold bead. Thread: 30 Denier Semperfli Nano-Silk in copper color for the pheasant tail variant Ribbing: Very small 0.1mm diameter silver-colored stainless steel wire or, in order of decreasing bling, gold to amber-colored very small wire. Shuck: -- one strand of root-beer color midge-flash about an inch and a half (40mm) long tied in, folded over itself and tied off. Then trim to about ¾ shank length. I also use about five translucent light-brown guard hairs cut from a patch of muskrat fur tied in at the proper length and the tips untrimmed. Abdomen: Two copper brown fibers from the center tail of a ringneck pheasant. I use feathers sourced in Europe have an exceptionally large usable section of copper-colored feather from Feathercraft.com. Tubing Wing Case +/- underlying flashback: Use small diameter clear pliable plastic tubing like that marketed for fly tying. Use a size that will make a wing case in proper proportion to the size of the fly. As shown in the video, I cut off a 1 ½ (40mm) inch piece of medium (size 16) to small tubing (size 18) pull in small to midge size Mylar silver tinsel to make what I call a “Tinsel Tube.” As the hook sizes decrease further, I go to a silver wire pushed into the micro-size tubing as shown in the video. If a thicker wing case is desired, I tie in a flash tube piece at its middle then fold both ends over the flashback and thorax and lash in behind bead. Thorax: Before the tubing wing and optional flash back are pulled over the thorax, I dub in a small ball of dubbing to make the thorax. I use Sybai fine flash dubbing in “black” color as my peacock color for an American style pheasant tail. Collar: Optional—but often used because it can make a crossover fly that seems to suggest caddis emergers as well as returning egg-layers that become drowned adults. White or Light dun CDC oil puff fibers tied in just behind bead to project out over hook shank about ¾ of the way to the hook bend Whip finish. Variations: See video for images of canopy emerger variants. Here is one not mentioned there that is useful pre-hatch time when the fish may key in on nymphs with dark wing case: 1. Ready Baetis variant-- a Baetis nymph nearing hatch time-- imitate a pre-hatch dark wing pads by using dyed black or dark brown micro-tubing as a wing case pulled in a low arc over the thorax peacock dubbing. 2. V-wing Canopy emerger built on Zebra midge pupa chassis Hook: Tiers choice. I use Tiemco 206bl, size 16-20, Tiemco 2488 size 18 – 22. or Daiichi 1140 hooks, size 18 to 24. For size 26, the Gamakatsu C12BM. Bead: 1.5mm gold, silver or black or none-- to match angler preference, local species, whether you want a shallow or deep drifting fly, and how skittish the fish are. Thread: Black 20D Nanosilk. Body: Black thread Ribbing: Gold, silver or black or none to match local species and how skittish the fish are. Trailing shuck: Midge flash, Root beer color-- or none (=drowned fully emerged adult). Trimmed to about equal to shank length or so. Wing: (1) Clear micro-tubing with silver or white wire inserted. Tie in the wire wing in the middle of the tubing behind bead or hook eye and bend to pose it back low over hook shank; Trim to about hook shank length: Wing (2) Loop of same wire-in-tubing with cut ends tied in flat behind bead or hook eye and covered with dubbing and bend it to pose it low over the back of the hook shank. Length of loop-- extend to near hook bend. Thorax: touch dubbing using Sybai fine flash in black or dyed black beaver fur, cut off hide, stripped of guard hairs. Spin the thread to tighten up dubbing into a fuzzy noodle.
  3. I posted a video showing water tank tests of Foam Tag streamers to explain visually how a class 2 lever is another way of balancing streamers. The video includes a demonstration of using a "Tippet test" to determine, while at the vise, if a weighted fly needs to have a foam tag added to make it a balanced fly. https://youtu.be/Wg9zgNRh-E4
  4. First, a bit of background on how balanced flies use levers to achieve a level presentation. Rowley’s balanced leech (youtu.be/S_6sn7ooL80), as you likely know-- is made with a metal bead mounted on a pin and lashed in ahead of the hook eye--and is an example of a Class 1 lever (like a teeter totter) (Fig.1). As explained below, the counterbalancing weight ahead of the hook eye is also not needed if a design based on a Class 2 lever is used to construct the fly. Figure 1. Cartoon of a Class 1 lever representing the loads and buoyancy forces acting on a balanced leech pattern when dead-drifting underwater. Egan’s Half Wit leech pattern (youtu.be/Cf9DFvWzJco), a semi-balanced fly pattern that employs jig hooks and insta-beads, also acts as a Class 1 lever (Fig 2). This design can also be made balanced simply by adding a foam tag to the rear of the hook shank that essentially converts the pattern into a Class 2 lever. Figure 2. Cartoon of a Class 1 lever representing the loads and buoyancy forces acting on Half Wit leech pattern when dead-drifting underwater. So, theoretically, it seems that balancing a weighted fly, seemingly almost any streamer, bucktail (or nymph) pattern, can also be achieved by setting up the fly design as a Class 2 lever – that is like a wheelbarrow (Fig. 3). To use the wheelbarrow analogy, lift on the handles of the wheelbarrow to balance the load is achieved by to adding buoyancy in the form of a foam tag that is tied-in at the rear of the hook shank. By placing the foam tag out on the end of the hook shank the design can leverage and balance a multiple of the load placed near the hook eye. In practical terms, however, the use of a foam tag on a fly requires that not substantially change the look of fly-- which requires that it be camouflaged, as in embedding it in a marabou tail, or tied it in as a distinct design feature, as in a red-tag wet fly. While adding foam tags is not original technique, this approach is posted here to call attention to what should be a mainline way to balance any weighted fly fished wet but is surprisingly little utilized method (or at least it is not widely published). The earliest reference to foam tag streamers that I have found so far is Holschlag’s (2005) “Tim’s Tube Tail” (p.219) and “Tim’s Hitail Craw” (p.220). I also found a blog that shows a seemingly totally unbalanced foam tag leech pattern (Patrick, 2020) -- that all joking aside-- just needed a bit of trimming of the foam tag to make it level floating. Figure 3. Cartoon of a Class 2 lever representing the loads and buoyancy forces acting on the Weiss/Egan Euro-Streamer pattern when dead-drifting underwater. While adding a foam tag makes it possible to balance most any fly fished wet, in some cases, a semi-balanced fly, like the Half Wit, may be desirable in that the unbalanced weighting makes the fly inherently unstable which may enhance an arcing fly motion during a jigging or other styles of erratic retrieves. In most cases, however, a balanced fly is necessary to achieve a near-level presentation and is especially important when using a contact nymphing rig and a dead drifting or vertically-jigged presentation. A balanced fly is seemingly necessary to achieve a near-level float when using a contact nymphing rig and a drifting presentation. This is in contrast to flies that are actively retrieved or swung. Movement of the fly In this case produces a hydraulic pressure that acts on the down-dropped underside of the fly to force it up into a near-level presentation. Unbalanced flies when presenting by drifting, especially those with lead wraps on the hook shank behind the bead or hook eye, take on a near-vertical orientation (Bachmann and Day, 2021; Appendix 1 below) -- which may work for nymphs or wounded/dead fish patterns-- but does not seem to be an optimal way to present a swimming bait fish or leech imitation. A great advantage of the foam tag type of streamer is that, if needed, the buoyancy can be adjusted streamside to assure a level-floating balanced-fly by trimming the foam with nippers. So, if you are using a new, untested pattern, tie in an overly long foam tag, test it for level floating in a water at home or when fishing, and if needed, trim it until it floats like you want it. Rule of Thumb-- for starters, I found that make the foam tag approximately equal in volume to the tungsten bead being used is usually close to making for a balanced fly. In any case the foam can easily be trimmed later. The best practice is to make the foam tag extra long and trim it after testing. Another advantage of adding a foam tag is that by using colored foam you can easily add a hot spot – like on my red tail variant (Fig 4) of the Weiss/Egan Euro Streamer design (youtu.be/4x6jBlNPebI) that I usually tie with a black foam tag. Figure 4. Red-Tag Euro Streamer, --a variation based on the design of Weiss and Egan. Scale shown is in centimeters. For the photo, the black marabou tail was groomed to the side to better show the foam-based red tag. The red tag is normally tied to be surrounded by feathers of the tail. Recipe: Red Tag Euro streamer, --a Euro-streamer variation based on the Weiss and Egan pattern listed at www.flyfishfood.com/blogs/streamer-tutorials/euro-jig-streamer. I also use black foam to balance a shank-weighted Euro-streamer to make it look almost identical to the original pattern Hook: Hanak H 400 BL Jig: in Sizes 8 to 12 but mostly size 10. I use a Firehole 551 size 8. Thread: UTC Ultra Thread 70 Denier – Black. Bead: Round+ Slotted Tungsten Beads -- Silver – 4.0mm on size 10 hook. Size also varies as needed to get to near the bottom of the stream you are intending to fish Tag: 2mm – 3mm thick closed cell foam sheet in red color cut into a strip, tied in at bend of hook shank and trimmed to be about the same volume as the bead. You can also use a SemperFli 2.6mm body tube in red for the tag. Tail: Strung Marabou – Black (UV dye) Optional Weight on hook shank: Lead Wire Spool -- 0.015 in diameter to keep a slim profile body, 5-10 turns as needed to get to near the bottom of the stream you are intending to fish. Note that Egan does not weight the hook shank at all in some cases (see: youtu.be/4x6jBlNPebI) but that the fly does float level – see Appendix 1 below. Body: Medium UV Polar Chenille – Black. Tied in at tail and palmered forward over hook shank and tied off at bead. Spirit River UV Estaz in black makes for a more thickly spiked body if desired. References: Bachmann, Mark and Day, Frank, 2021, Jig Nymphs and Balanced Flies: https://flyfishusa.com/blog/ Jig-Nymphs-and-Balanced-Flies Tim Holschlag, 2006, Smallmouth fly fishing. Smallmouth Angler Press, Minneapolis, MN. 326p. Patrick, W.F., 2020, First prototype using flotation to balance a leech: www.reddit.com/r/Westfly/comments/f1eq7e/first_prototype_using_flotation_to_balance_a_leech/ ________________________ Appendix 1: Summary of Tank Testing Results on Weiss/Egan Design Euro-Streamers: 1) Streamers with just beadhead weighting on the jig hook more or less float level in a seemingly balanced manner. The balance is thought to be brought into the design by the buoyancy of the dressing more or less equaling the net weight of hook shank. 2) Streamers, or nymphs for that matter, with bead weighting and wraps of lead on the hook shank drift along in a near-vertical rather than nearly-level position. Conclusion: If a level presentation of the fly to the fish is the goal, then shank-weighted flies seemingly must be balanced. To assure that a euro-streamer drifts along in a level manner, the best practice would be to always add a foam tag, a technique perhaps extending to all streamers that are going to be fished by neutral to slight-lead drifting technique of contact nymphing. In any case, the buoyancy of the foam can be adjusted after tying by tank testing and nipping off potions of the foam to reach a level float of the fly. The foam can also be cut-off entirely if an unbalanced fly is needed.
  5. Upper picture: Side by side comparison of the natural eyed eggs and the cross-eyed egg pattern. Lower Picture: Side by side comparison of the natural eyed eggs and the four-eyes egg pattern. The common availability of eyed eggs for fish food is a compelling reason to tie and fish realistic looking eyed-egg patterns like the Cross-Eyed Egg and the Four-Eyes Egg. Also, for their size these flies can be heavily weighted, yet keep a realistic size and look, making them candidates for an anchor fly on the point of a two-fly nymph rig. The idea for the flies came about because published field observations show that trout, regardless of species, tend to use and reuse the same area of the stream to make redds. In this process, the eyed eggs of late fall to winter spawners are dug up by early spring spawners. In turn, eyed eggs from early spring spawners are dug up by late spring spawners. A wildcard is possible presence of the sequential Summer through Fall spawning of various salmon species, again leading to eyed eggs from early salmon spawners being dug up by later salmon spawners. Finally, the possibility of off-season spawning of feral hatchery trout can also be in play. Adding to the spawning events are the times that eyed eggs are released into the drift by run-off or storm-induced rising water levels that can scour the redds. This analysis indicates that eyed eggs are potentially present and available in the drift, off and on, for up to 6 months of the year. Fishing the Cross-Eyed Egg: Because the eyed egg is dug up by spawning trout, who are also laying fresh eggs, I fish the Cross-Eyed Egg as the point/anchor fly in a two or three fly nymph rig. For the dropper(s) I use a pattern representing a live-egg such as a Moe egg or a bead. Because digging up redds also releases dead eggs, as well as fungus-colonized or moldy eggs from previous spawning activity, I also will try an opaque pale-colored pink or yellow-orange Glo-bug representing dead eggs. For moldy eggs -- a nuclear egg or chartreuse-colored Glo-bug or chartreuse bead. I may add a veil to these patterns because in nature moldy eggs often have a veiled look. Getting the fly down to near the bottom of the stream where the fish are usually holding is also important for success. These weighted egg patterns are an effective way to get that done and keep contact with the flies on a Euro-nymphing rig. Before fishing, I try to determine the effective color of the local eggs present in the river at that time by asking local fisherman, screening the drift or reading guidebooks. Egg color can also be determined empirically by changing the egg color until an effective color or color combination is found. A video that documents the availability of eyed eggs as fish food, reviews the size and color of natural eggs used to set the design of these flies as well as how to tie eyed egg patterns is posted at youtu.be/Bj48hBp59LE Cross-Eyed-Egg Fly Recipe-- for a 5 mm finished diameter trout egg Size of the finished Cross Eyed-Egg. Web-published measurements show that water-hardened trout eggs are commonly 5mm+/- 1mm. In medium-sized spawning salmon and steelhead, the eggs are about 5-7mm on up to 9-10 mm in Chinook. Hook: Firehole egg hook 637 size 14-18; Scud hooks, size 14 -16, like a Tiemco 2457 or 2487. Thread: Semperfli Nano-Silk 30 denier. Use orange color for the fly tied in the video or to match the dubbing color being used. Tie in thread just ahead of the middle of the hook shank, a little bit towards the hook eye. Cross Weight: For a 5mm egg: As shown in the video, make the monofilament (mono) dumbbell weight consisting of two 1.5 mm tungsten beads on a 4 mm wide piece of 10lb test Maxima. For larger size eggs, the cross weight length is scaled up to be about 1mm less than the finished diameter of the egg. Weighting variants: 1) Blood dot variant -- Substitute blood-red colored 1.5 mm tungsten beads for the black beads. 2) Three weight variant -- Not realistic looking but if desired for extra weight, add another 1.5mm tungsten weight just behind the hook eye and then tie the standard Cross-Eyed Egg pattern behind it. The third-bead can give the impression of a pair of eyes in some views of the fly. 3) Tie the Four-Eyes Egg variant which uses two mono-dumbbells made about 7mm wide for a total of four 1.5 mm tungsten weights on a 5mm finished diameter fly Egg color and texture determined by the dubbing: I generally use a medium-textured sparkle dubbing to match the local natural-egg color I’m trying to imitate. I use a dubbing that tends to radiate out when spun to make a translucent dubbing brush (and finished egg) rather than a dubbing noodle when spun. Dubbing I use for the most common natural egg color is Sybai Fine Flash, yellow-orange color, or Spectra #35, a yellowish orange (used for tying in the video). For pink eggs, I use Ice Dub, hot pink, or Sybai fine super-UV dubbing, bright pink, or Spectra #41. For the dead-egg look, I use Spectra #9 , pale pink or Spirit River Lite-Bright, peach color. For imitating fungus-colonized eggs, I use Arizona Diamond Dubbing in Chartreuse +/- a veil. As you know, there are a lot of suitable dubbing colors out there and these colors are not the only solution. Yarn Ball: Make a roughed-in yarn ball by looping the dubbing brush in a serial figure-8 pattern around the hook shank. Fold back the hook eye side of the yarn ball with one hand and whip finish. Fluff up and groom the yarn ball into a spherical shape using a piece of Velcro. Then pull up the longest dubbing fibers and trim them with scissors and then pull down and trim again. The goal here is to end up with a roughly 5 mm diameter sphere imitating the size of the typical trout egg.
  6. I have posted a video on the back story of this fly and how to tie it on YouTube.com: I have posted a video on the back story of this fly and how to tie it on YouTube: youtu.be/XpLL6fBvPrAXpLL6fBvPrA
  7. Tying the Wired-in Split Case PMD: a way to tie a slimmer-profile, yet weighted, split-case pale-morning-dun (PMD) nymph. The backstory and tying instructions for this fly are posted at: youtu.be/XpLL6fBvPrA Scale of Photographs: the fly is about 8 mm long from the tip of the hook eye to the start of the hook bend. the tip of the chuck of the fly tying vice is about 5 mm across. ____________________________________ A fish eye effect of the camera/lens system I used for the pictures above seems to distort the proportions of the fly and in particular makes thorax seem thicker and wider than it is on the slimmer version of the Wired-in PMD I normally tie for stream use. So shown here are four of the Wired-in PMD flies on a USA Dime. For scale, the width of a dime is 17.9 mm. _____________________________ This post, rather than about yet another split-case PMD design based on a pheasant tail (PT) nymph, is about tying a new look wing case, a wired-in wing case, to make a PT a split case nymph. This method can be used to convert most popular mayfly nymph patterns into a split-case design simply by tying in a thin piece of wire over the wing case. This pattern uses Semperfli brand 30 denier Nano-Silk as the tying thread that is strong enough to be split apart with a dubbing needle to make dubbing twists. Dubbing twists are used in the wired-in design to: (1) form the thorax of the fly, and (2) make tightly bound spun dubbing fibers that are picked out from the thorax to form the legs of the fly. The wired-in PMD uses an atypical weighting method where thin lead wire is lashed to the top of the hook under the area where the thorax will lie. Lashing the weight there helps keep the hook gap open which is important on the small hooks used for PMD patterns. The top weighting also promotes inversion of the hook point so that it tends to ride up in the water-- a position that helps avoid hookups on the stream bottom. Adding weighting to the fly design also helps the fly dangle down on the dropper tippet so that there is less slack in the tight-line system I use – enhancing strike detection. Recipe Hook: a 1x short or wide-gap scud/pupa hook, size 16-20 shank size to fit size of nymph screened out of target stream. Hook model used is barbless or the barb pinched down. The tie in the video uses a Tiemco 2487 size 18. Thread: Semperfli brand Nano-Silk 30 denier thread, Copper or brown color to fit with local natural coloration. Weight: 0.010 inch diameter lead wire or use a less toxic, but still thin, weighting wire. To prepare for lash in, lead wire is folded to make it run side by side and the wire tips cut-off to make them even. The run of lead wire is lashed in and folded over itself on top of the hook and lashed in again. This process is repeated as needed to build up the weight under the thorax, usually about two or three folds of lead. Complete thorax weighting by covering the lead with thread. Tie in Ribbing: After completing the thorax, wind the thread towards rear of hook and along the way tie in a piece of small amber wire that will become the ribbing. After winding over the ribbing wire, the thread ends up at the hook bend ready to tie in the tail. Tail: pheasant-tail-like colored guard hairs from an animal fur patch. Depending on the desired look, I use dyed brown squirrel tails, or translucent brown muskrat or beaver guard hairs. I use guard hairs because I find PT fibers break off too easily. Abdomen: Two or three copper-brown colored PT fibers, the number used decreasing with the hook size. Other colors of PT may be applied here to fit the local natural coloration. See discussion of typical abdomen and thorax coloration in tying notes #2 Ribbing: Small amber copper wire spiraled tightly over abdomen to help stabilize the PT fibers there but at the same time loosely spiraled enough that the PT barbules are not lashed down. Split case wire: After tying in abdomen, add a thin wire at the rear of the thorax area weight. Put a kink in the wire at the point of tie-in to keep it from pulling out. Cut-off tag end. Then tie in wing case Many wire color options for the split case wire, so as always, suit your taste or the naturals. Single strand of UTC Ultra-wire brand in small to BR size (wire diameter decreases with hook size) in the fluorescent yellow or fluorescent orange color, or, hot orange and hot yellow color. Also consider using a single strand of Sybai brand pale orange flat wire in small to medium size scaled to suit size of fly. Wing case: Dark brown to near black-colored PT fibers to give the impression of the dark wing pads on a near-emergence PMD nymph. Thorax: Ice dub, pheasant tail color, fibers thinly spread out crosswise and along a waxed and divided segment of the Nano-Silk thread and the thread then spun to make a tightly wound spiky yarn. The spun yarn is tied in using a figure-8 pattern over the thorax weight area and then tied off at the hook eye. Finish: Fold over wing case PT fibers and tie in at eve. Cutoff end of the fibers at thread winds. Fold over split case wire and tie it in. Bend wire up at thread winds and cut off the wire close as possible to thread. Complete fly with a double whip finish but no head cement added. Tying Notes: 1) Tungsten Bead variant: because some flyfishers (For example, see John Barr’s book “Barr Flies”) conclude that tailwater trout have become resistant to taking beaded flies, this fly is tied sans bead. That said, outside of fishing over these sensitized trout, I like to use a like a beaded fly and so a slotted tungsten bead 1.5 to 2 mm diameter can be added behind the hook eye at the start of the fly, before the leaded underlay of the thorax area is tied in, if still wanted. Yes, I often double weight these small flies to get them down quickly for tight-line fishing. 2) The wing case wire overlay color used as noted above in the split wing case section is varied but also the color scheme of the underlying mayfly nymph is changed to match the local natural nymphs. Jason Neuswanger at http://troutnut.com notes that PMD nymphs come in shades of very dark brown, a range of cinnamon colors as well as shades of olive – all within the same species but varying over a geographic range. 3) Variants using classic mayfly nymphs. Again most any mayfly nymph patterns can be converted to the split case look using wired-in wind case concept. For example: (1) an olive to dark olive Baetis nymph with a Silver-gray or light blue wire over a wing case made of dark PT fibers; or (2), a hares ear with a yellow or orange wire tied in over a wing case made of dark PT fibers. 4) The wing case wire, as well as the abdomen ribbing and use of ice dub as thorax dubbing adds an element of subtle flash to the fly design that I find to be an advantage when fishing over tailwater fish. Just a bit of flash to bring the fly alive and to the fishes attention seemingly without putting them off. Subtle flash elements on a fly seems to increase catch rates perhaps by allowing the fish to notice as well as distinguish the fly from the non-edible particulate debris moving through in the stream with the food items. 5) Testing the Wired-in PMD in the Deckers area of the South Platte River has proven the flies usefulness with picky trout. Note that to make the fly more visible in the photograph shown here the fly was tied extra larger than desirable for the tailwater trout. In fishing tailwaters, it pays to reduce the profile of the fly by using thin-shank hooks, limiting the weighting to two folds or no folds (unweighted), using fewest possible PT tail fibers for the wing case, a small size wire for the split case and reducing the number of figure-8 lashes covering the weighted area.
  8. . First of all, I usually do not fish the hovering damselfly on a dapping/blow-line rig like Silver Creek advocates. While those techniques are fun and effective, I like to fish the hovering damselfly as a dry fly by casting it to a likely looking spot near aquatic vegetation and let it set for a while, then twitch, skate or recast nearby as the situation dictates. Take a look at this Youtube video of hovering dragon flies, a closely related species, to see that naturals tend to hover over a limited vertical space near the water surface (youtu.be/sjY0iNbbiEw). To me, naturals typically do not kite around like an artificial fly would when fished on on a blow-line. That said, in my experience, the kiting action of the blow-line method works well but that it is not the situation that the hovering damselfly is designed to address. Because of the way the naturals act, I designed the hovering damselfly pattern such that it would be fished suspended on hackles, “hovering” if you will, just above the water surface. The usefulness of the hovering damselfly is that, when conditions warrant it, you can just tie it into your mounted leader system, add floatant, and fish it just like you would a dry fly-- without what to me is the hassle of switching to a blow-line system while on the water. Also, the hovering damselfly can fished in this way without the wind that is needed to activate the blow-line method. Dapping/blow-line techniques came over to the USA from Europe where it has been in wide use for many decades, perhaps centuries. There are USA-based articles that predate the Borger or LaFontaine articles on blow-line techniques that Silver Creek cites— while at the same time not mentioning the long European history of its use. I refer the interested reader to the discussion of dapping and blow-line techniques in Robert H. Boyle's 2007 Book on Dapping (published by Stackpole Books) where he discusses the centuries long history of the methods in detail as well as its rise in popularity within the USA a few decades ago. The other thread in Silver Creek’s discussion is how some folks prefer realistic-looking, imitative flies while others like the other end of the spectrum-- impressionistic flies. My cheap thrill in fly tying comes from catching trout with minimalist designs that have been reduced to as few details as possible and still produce an effective fly. The hovering damselfly is an impressionistic design, towards one of the endpoints of that style in being a schematic fly, that endeavors to present to the fish the illusion of the long-thin bright blue-line of a damselfly body hovering just above the water surface-- to me, this is the dominant visual clue that a damsel fly is present. Further, I feel the palmered hackle design element is necessary because it supports the body of the fly above the film, so that projected image of the fly is somewhat diffused through the moving liquid lens-like action of the air-water interface, such that the fish cannot not get a clear view of the hackle but does see the blurred image of long-thin bright-blue line representing the natural damselfly’s body. The hovering damselfly pattern does not require the kiting action of the blow-line technique to accomplish this presentation. I fish the hovering damsel as a dry fly in a way that proves to be suggestive enough of a hovering damselfly adult to trigger a strike from trout. That works for me. Whether my choice is the optimal way to fish a damselfly pattern over blow line methods is not the point-- its just how I typically deploy the fly. After all, in my mind, the allure of fly fishing is that it allows us to do whatever we see as fun within the bounds of responsible behavior.
  9. Yes, in some versions I tie it with extra long hackle like the skate fly designs call for. The Catskill design tied in this way can skate across the water.
  10. I have fished the fly over the past four years or so on ponds, lakes, streams and rivers in Colorado and Montana. The hovering damselfly is an effective searching pattern especially later in the summer as hatches start to fade. The point of the fly design is that, in my experience, natural flying damselflies are alluring to trout but they have a difficult time actually catching a hovering damselfly as it darts to and fro. So, "the hovering damselfly" finally lets the trout eat the fly as it rests just above the water surface. On stillwater, I cast it to where I have seen fish feeding and to likely looking patches of water -- often near aquatic plant clumps at the edge. . After casting, I let the fly sit still for a while and then may twitch it back towards me a bit. On flowing water, I dead drift it. I also tie a sparsely hackled version that I fish underwater with a slow intermittent retrieve like a bugger style fly that it resembles. All of these methods have produced trout for me.
  11. Hovering Damselfly An attractor pattern based on the common-blue damselfly and designed to suspend itself just above the water surface like seen in a hovering common-blue damselfly -- instead of floating in the film, like a spent fly design, as many dry-fly damselfly patterns are designed to do. The fly details are blurred by being suspended above the water surface, that feature along with the long-thin bright blue body, give the impression of a hovering damselfly that triggers a strong-bite response from fish. The fore and aft dry-fly style is designed to be a high-riding pattern that can float a beaded nymph on a dropper. The pattern is effective fished as a dry fly on moving and still waters as well as fished wet with a slow retrieve like a wooly bugger. Catskill style design is designed to be fished with a light touch on a single fly rig with long light tippets over skittish fish. Recipe Hook: Regular length dry fly hook, around size 8 Thread: Ultra 140 denier in Peacock Blue Body: 1.5mm to 2 mm thick foam in Damsel Blue color cut into 2 mm wide strips Palmered Hackle: Extra-long dry-fly quality genetic saddle patch in grizzly color select feather to be about 1.5 to 2 times the hook gap width. Variants: Tied both in a fore and aft dry-fly style and a Catskill dry-fly style Common Color variants: most have a dark bands spaced across the abdomen and vary from medium-brown to reddish brown to red, black, ginger and yellow olive. Tying and Fishing Notes 1. The palmered grizzly hackle keeps the fly suspended above the water surface and is designed to suggest the blur of transparent wings of a hovering damsel fly. The spiral of palmered grizzly hackle laid down on the blue foam body suggests the dark and light banding of the natural’s extended body. The palmered variant is designed to be more buoyant that the Catskill style so it can support a dropper fly tied on the hook bend. 2. The palmered hackle when treated with floatant and combined in this design with the foam body, makes this a high-floating bright-blue attractor pattern that is capable of supporting a beaded nymph dropper, preferably tied in at the hook bend, as part of a dry-dropper two-fly rig. 3. Also effective is a variant tied with the foam secured with thread just behind the hook eye along with several turns of grizzly hackle also just behind the hook eye in the Catskill dry-fly style and the free floating foam body extending out from there. Optional: add a few thin bands of color spaced at 3mm interval along the extended portion of the foam strip using a brown or black sharpie marker. 4. A high-riding pattern designed to float beaded nymph droppers. Effective fished as a dry fly on moving and still waters as well as fished wet with a slow retrieve like a wooly bugger 4. Using 2-3mm cylinders of sky blue or electric blue closed cell foam is also an option for this fly but are more costly. 5. The palmered feather cushioned from the fish bite by the foam body seems to be more durable and less prone to breakage than expected. 6. Long-reach whip finish tool makes it easier to tie a whip finish at the hook bend.
  12. To help answer the question of whether the trout split the fly I made a short video of the fly being fished on the upper Arkansas River. Its posted at: youtu.be/uWFXLH7HJ04
  13. To help answer the question of whether the trout split the fly I made a short video of the fly being fished on the upper Arkansas River. Its posted at: youtu.be/uWFXLH7HJ04
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