Fly Tying Friday



This morning I spent some time tying woven body golden stone-fly nymphs.  They’re a cool looking fly but they take a long time to tie because of the weave.

After about a half dozen it occurred to me that what good is it having a twelve year old daughter who has grown up at a summer camp doing all sort of arts and crafts, because you just happen to make your living as a camp director; if you can’t figure out a way to put it to good use?

That’s when it hit me.

Friendship bracelets = Woven Stone-fly Nymphs = Cheap child labor.  

So…production was started.   I started the flies by putting on the beads, the lead wire, tying the heads, tails and under body then passed them off to my daughter who wove the Friendship Bracelet… Uh… I mean “stone-fly body” and then back to me for the thorax and finishing.  

Not a bad system and as an added bonus I get to spend time making something with my daughter besides pink friendship bracelets.

sarahtyingstone        sarahshands


Midge Season


I’ve had a few nice days on the river lately.  The weather’s been nice for January and I’ve been finding some pretty good midge hatches.

Flashback Fly Box #5 – The Sofa Pillow


I grew up in Kentucky, and in my youth spent the winters hunting and trapping the area farms which have now mostly turned to subdivisions or shopping malls.  In those days fishing came second to trapping and along with my buddy Dewey ran a very large trap line before and after school which spanned a few counties.   Fox and raccoon where our specialty; however, we also found plenty of muskrat, mink, possum, and an occasional beaver or coyote.

I remember, Dewey and I had read about an Indian tree snare for catching squirrels which we were eager to try.  We set up a couple along our trap line and would check them in passing to no avail during our daily run before school.  Finally one December morning after a significant snow storm we caught a squirrel.  Squirrels were common and we’d hunt them regularly but there was something special about catching that big bushy red in a primitive trap.  School was cancelled that day due to the storm so we decided to try our hand at tanning.  We’d been planning for some time to tan some furs and had a couple raccoon and a mink stored in the deep freeze just for the occasion.  So we threw the squirrel into the mix and spent the day learning to tan the hides.

Now, I don’t know what ever came of Dewey’s mink since he passed away a number of year back but I still have one of those raccoon hanging on my wall today.  It’s a little greasy but not too bad for a couple of Greenhorns.  The squirrel?  Well, the squirrel eventually made its way to my fly tying supplies and while I’ve rarely ever used it, I still have it zipped away in a storage bag.

Today’s Flashback Fly Box fly from yesteryear showcases that very squirrel caught in an old shag-bark hickory tree over 30 years ago.

One of my all-time favorite flies is the Stimulator.  It of course is great for the Salmon Fly hatch but I like to tie it really small for a yellow sally or even a caddis.   There’s a bit of a discrepancy as to who actually came up with the Stimulator in its modern version but I think there’s no mistaking that its origin derived from the Sofa Pillow.

The Sofa Pillow was developed by Pat Barnes from West Yellowstone.  As the story goes he developed this big bushy pattern to appease some visiting Texans who were having trouble catching fish with small flies.  Apparently, upon seeing this fly, one of the Texans declared (probably sounding a lot like the rich Texan, Richard O’Hara from the Simpsons), “That thing’s as big as a sofa pillow” and the name stuck.

Pat Barnes tweaked the Sofa Pillow design a bit and renamed it the “Improved” Sofa Pillow which looked a lot like the Stimulator we use now, but today… The Sofa Pillow.

Sofa Pillow

Sofa PillowHook: Mustad 9672, Tiemco 5263, or Dai-Riki 710, Size 4-10
Thread: 6/0 black Uni
Tail: Dyed Red Duck or Goose Quill
Body: Red Floss
Wing: Red Fox Squirrel Tail (Must be caught in primitive trap.)
Hackle: Brown or Coachman dry fly saddle.

Flashback Fly Box #3 – The Quill Gordon


Theodore Gordon’s “Quill Gordon” is this weeks Flashback Fly Box tie from the past.

This is yet another fly I used to gaze at and dream of fishing New England waters while smoking a pipe and wearing tweed.  This is a traditional Catskill style dry fly and elegant and beautiful just like the natural mayfly.  Today I tested out my new light box to photograph my size #16 Quill Gordon.

What do you think?


The Quill gordon

Ready to fish at a moments notice


So my vehicle broke down the day before Christmas and when I unloaded its contents to take it to the mechanic yesterday I realized it is undeniable that I have a serious addiction.  Perhaps there’s a fine line between being prepared and just being a hopeless pack-rat.  Here is the inventory of what I found in the back of my Ford Expedition. Maybe I should spend more time with Tenkara in 2014.

  • 2 set of cross country skis and shoes (One for me and one for my daughter)
  • 3 sets of snow shoes (Me, Wife and Daughter)
  • 1 Scott S3 9ft 5wt with a Ross reel fully rigged and in the ceiling rod rack
  • 1 Winston B3x 9ft 6wt with Ross reel fully rigged and in the ceiling rod rack
  • 1 Sage 8wt streamer rod with Lamson reel in the ceiling rod rack
  • 1 boat net and 1 medium net
  • 1 Tenkara Amago in tube
  • 1 Patagonia Nano Puff
  • 1 pair Simms Waders
  • 1 pair Simms Freestone wading boots
  • 1 pair Korker Chrome Wading boots
  • 1 boat bag filled with fly boxes, reels, spools, gloves, socks, hats, base layers, a buff, a water bottle, Bear spray, and a Mora knife, fire making kit, toilet paper, some Cliff bars and 2 empty cans of Copenhagen.
  • 1 Patagonia Wading Jacket
  • 2 Fishpond fanny packs (1 small and 1 large)
  • 1 Rubbermaid container filled with emergency winter supplies, tools and tire chains
  • 1 emergency snow shovel
  • 3 pairs of reading glasses
  • 1 pair of Carhartt insulated coveralls
  • 1 crumpled stream map of Dupuy’s Spring Creek
  • 1 pair of Nikon Binoculars
  • 1 Dog Leash, 1 Fishpond collapsible dog bowl, a bell and a 1 gallon bag of dog food.
  • 1 Wool blanket and down sleeping bag in stuff sack
  • 4 Moleskin field journal/sketch pads and a bunch of pens and pencils wrapped with a rubber band
  • 1 Leatherman
  • 1 half box of shotgun shells
  • 1 Tomahawk and 1 tree saw
  • 2 Maglite’s, 1 head lamp and a candle
  • 2 window scrapers
  • 4 Delorme Gazetteers for Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado (Is there anywhere else?)
  • 1 pocket naturalist of Montana Birds
  • 1 Crumpled edition of Angling Trade and the August/September issue of Fly Fisherman
  • River Maps stuffed behind the seat (Madison, Gallatin, Yellowstone, Missouri, Big Hole and Beaverhead)
  • 1 2013 Fishing Regs and a bunch of hand-drawn fishing maps.
  • 2 First Aid Kits