Tips to Flies:

Article-  Beyond a tight line, "new" 2/10/17 

Pattern:  Hendrickson nymph, "new" 3/8/17

Pattern: BWO Emerger/Cripple  2/1/17

Pattern: Apple Caddis adult   

Article:  Cripples/materials.  1/5/17

Pattern: March brown emerger,  1/23/17

Pattern: Grey Fox emerger,        1/26/17 

Pattern: Beadhead caddis pupa.  2/2/17 

Pattern: Caddis Larva patterns:  
Pattern: Tan Caddis emerger Pattern:   

 

 

Photo right, Beaverkill March brown

 

 

  


                                            “Beyond a tight line”


As an angler and a guide, I appreciate the trout cooperating and allowing me a tight line now and then.  I love seeing a trout eye my fly, rise to it and of course take it.  I just love fly-fishing and the history of it, as some would say it is a romance!  Just don’t tell my wife, but I think she knows by now.

 

 The history of our area the Catskill’s and Hudson Valley is something I love; as well as the story of Rip VanWinkle, the essays of John Burroughs, the art work of Thomas Cole and many more landscape artists.  I love the era of the 1800’s, when anglers would catch 100 fish a day or 1,000 trout in a few days, as those men would log what they caught.  Now back in those days, it was pretty much brook trout, anywhere from 2 inches to 12 inches and pretty much all kept.  The trout were caught in some of the tiniest brooks one could imagine and they provided sustenance to those that caught them. 


 The artists and writers of this era had similarities, their love of nature and love of fishing.  Some anglers used bait and some a fly rod. What inspires me the most was how devoted they were.  Today we take our car or truck, drive two hours and step in the water to pursue fish.  Back then they took a stage coach to Phoenicia to fish the Esopus or got off in Phoenicia to hike over numerous mountains such as Slide Mountain or Double Top to fish certain streams or brooks. The artists and writers were explorers of their time periods, searching for inspiration and to find water that held brook trout.


 Thomas Cole used the Kaaterskill Falls area for his start in American landscape art.  This area brought in a lot of artists to paint some of the most beautiful Catskill landscapes of their time.  Some artist incorporated streams or brooks in their works as a reminder of their other love, fishing.


  John Burroughs born in Roxbury, N.Y. where he fished as a boy, had a fondness for Meeker Hollow and the East Branch.  He later found enjoyment in the Rondout near Sundown.  John went on to become one of the country’s well known writers on nature.

 

  By the late 1800’s, maybe around 1870, the railroad was going strong bringing anglers from NYC to fish the famous Catskill rivers, thus making traveling easier and quicker.  The railroad also created an economic boom in the area for tourism.  This was needed as the logging and trapping industry started to decline.


  So, as a guide of fly-fishing, I try to read about the history of the Catskills to pass along to clients during the slow time of fishing. I also try to visit the area in person to view and experience what the artists and writers saw then, that inspired them to paint, write and fish.  My recent trip was a short hike to Kaaterskill Falls, between Palenville and Haines Falls.  This is the area where Thomas Cole painted and fished.  It is a very beautiful and scenic area, that I would recommend for anyone to hike!


  When I enter the water to fish, not only do I want a tight line, but I want to look “beyond the tight line”, I want to know the history of where I am fishing, to see the beauty of the area, the beauty that an artist saw which he transferred onto canvas, such as the works of Cole, Durand and Gifford.  I also like to read the writers words of passion in their essays on nature, such as those of Burroughs.

 

  Ed Van Put’s book "Trout Fishing in the Catskills", is a great book to read over the winter.  The book sheds light on the history of fishing to the areas economics and the who’s who.  My suggestion to you is, on a fair day take a journey in time, seek some history and explore!  Oh, and did you know Roscoe was once called Westfield Flat’s?  The history of fishing and the Catskills, you got to love it! 


Below is Kaaterskill Falls, maybe I'm standing just where Thomas Cole once did!

Hendrickson Nymph:  The end of April the Hendrickson's will get active, Most of us would like to fish only dry flies to the trout, But despite the massive hatches on top of the water at times, 90 percent of the trout's food comes subsurface.  So prior to emergence it's best to fish a nymph, it's not until the emergence is over that the trout key on dry flies.  So below is a pattern I use for Hendrickson nymphs.

Hook:  Nymph, #14-12
Thread:  Dark brown 8/0
Tail:    Pheasant
Body:  Dark brown turkey you can find, two fibers will do!
Ribbing:  Silver X-small wire
Wing Case, Dark brown turkey
Thorax:  Brown fur
Legs:      Grouse

Below is the pattern.

Blue Wing Olive emergers:
Blue wing Olives are pretty much found all year long on Rivers or streams.  They come in all sizes and colors, from Brown Olive, Olive Gray, Olive to chocolate.  I Always carry a box of Olives to the water all year long, unlike other Mayflies  that I may only see for a few weeks. I carry Olives in all patterns, but more so in emergers.  Why "vulnerability"  Trout like the easiest of meals, for me a emerger is that fly.  A fly that is determined to get to the surface to sprout wings.  So I tie a lot of BWO's with trailing shucks.  But I want to be different than a lot of store bought flies. I want a fly that the trout doesn't see to often.  Here below are two photo's of patterns I use that are easy to tie and effective.
 Blue wing Olive emerger:  Top photo, Here I twist the Z-lon to segment the body.

Hook: Lt. Scud #20
Thread: 8/0 Olive
Shuck: Olive Z-lon
Body:  Continuation of the Olive Z-lon, twisting it as you wrap.
Wing:  2/3 Dun CDC
Thorax:  Olive dubbing 

Bottom Photo:  BWO cripple

Hook: Dry fly #20
Thread:  8/0 Olive
Shuck:  Brown Z-lon
Body:  Thread
Wing:  Dark to medium Dun Z-lon
Hackle: Medium Dun
Thorax: Olive super fine

Note on all flies, I tie each of these patterns in different shades of color to match the Olives, In bottom photo I also tie them in Adams gray to dark brown, just using the thread to match.

Remember you can tie these patterns to match any type Olive in Hook size #14-22. Just dress the fly properly in proportions.



Adult Apple Caddis:  One of my favorite hatches of the year!  When the Apple Caddis emerges on the heavy side it's like being in a snow storm. The Apple caddis has white wings and a Bright green body almost Chartreuse in color, the Thorax area is Ginger in color.  Most times I fish the pupa, but towards the end of the hatch the adult pattern works very well. The Apple caddis hatch can occur around the time of the Hendricksons, maybe the first or second week of May.

Hook:  16 or 14 dry fly hook
Thread:  Light brown
Body:  Chartreuse super fine
Wings:  Cream CDC 3/4 feathers curved down
Hackle: Lt. Ginger

March browns:   The March brown is one of my favorite hatches, one reason is they are easy on the eyes to see on the water, a big mayfly.  Second is that they are a sporadic hatch which limits the competition among flies.  If they are on the water the trout are usually receptive to eat them.  I like tying the March brown as a comparadun, parachute, or from the book "Hatches" a deerhair emerger.  I think what defines the March brown is it's large wings and segmentation, so I like to tie my wings bushy and the body I like to add segmentation.

Hook:  NH7 12-10
Thread: 8/0 Orange or Lt. brown
Body:  Nature Spirits 34b Eastern March brown
Ribbing: Brown thread
Shuck:  Z-lon, brown
Wing:  Humpy deer, Natural

Photo below:  Deerhair emergers, March browns

Grey Fox:  The Grey Fox is a debated Mayfly as to it's relationship with the March brown.  This is what I know, It's a tad smaller #14-12 in hook size, it's lighter in color, creamy yellow to tannish.  They also appear around the Beginning of June.  This past year on the Beaverkill I thought that the Grey Fox was decent hatch as I had to replenish the fly box a few times.  I tie them just like the March browns, again I am fond of the DeerHair emerger that you can find in Caucci's & Nastasi's book Hatches. 

Hook:  Dry or NH7 #14-12
Thread:  Yellow 8/0
Body:  Nature Spirits Grey Fox
Ribbing: Yellow thread or floss
Shuck:   Z-lon brown
Wing:   Caddis X Natural light

Photo below:  Grey Fox


Cripples, I'm sitting here at my tying table tying this coming seasons Hendrickson Cripples one of my go to patterns on the Beaverkill and West branch of the Delaware.  So trying to kill two birds with one stone I thought why not write about the materials one can use for the body. A Cripple first of all is easy Pickens for a trout to eat as it cannot fly yet nor swim back to the bottom.  It's a mayfly that is working it's way out of it's shuck or stuck in it.  The materials I use are Turkey, Brown biot or Z-lon.  As show in the bottom pictures.  I use these materials on all my cripples that I tie from compara duns to parachutes. Each material has it's own uniqueness, such as turkey with the micro fibers coming off, the Biot has a gloss look as to give it a fresh emerging look, and the Z-lon is quick and easy as you use the whole material for body and shuck.  So the question is what do I prefer?  It comes down to what is on my tying table at the time!  But I do have a fondness for Turkey!   
Top photo:  Brown biot, note, I add head cement to secure it.

Middle Photo:  Turkey, note, I use X-small copper wire to secure it.

Bottom photo:  Z-lon, I use nothing as it's quick and easy.

 Caddis Larva patterns:

 

  The end of June beginning of July I start thinking small flies, Sulphers and Olives and Caddis.  The Beaverkill is in my opinion more of a caddis river than mayfly. When it comes to nymphing I go no bigger than a size #16 nymph I want small stuff, small pheasant tails, small hares ear and small Caddis Larva nymphs.  I do really well with this caddis larva pattern as seen below. A  simple tie, takes two minutes.  I tie them in different colors with different color beadheads.  I use them in tandem rigs as two nymphs or I use them as a dropper off of a Stimulator or a bigger Mayfly such as a Iso or Cahill.  They Produce in the Catskills as well as the Farmington!  

 Caddis Larva Pattern:

      "Peacock"                                        "Caddis Green"                                      "Olive"

 

Hook #16 2 X heavy scud                          Same                                                  Same

 

Bead-head:  3/32 or 5/64  copper            Black                                                  Black

 

Thread:  8/0 brown                             8/0 Chartreuses                                 8/0 Chartreuses

 

Rib:    X small copper wire                  X small silver wire                             X small silver wire

 

Body:  Peacock Ice dub                     Caddis Green Ice dub                          Olive Ice Dub

 

Thorax:  Peacock Ice  dub                 Black peacock Ice dub                      Black peacock Ice dub

 

Note:   You can make these patterns in sizes #12 & 14's, just compensate for weight and ribbing.

 

Beadhead Caddis Pupa:
When it comes to nymphing for caddis Hatches I like a lot of motion, so I use soft hackles in different colors, I use ostrich or Peacock herl, and a buggy dubbing.  For my bodies I like segmentation. Lately I have been twisting my bodies with Z-lon, Antron or Floss. I like to use ribbing such as Pearl crystal  flash for effect.  I have done well with this pattern as the trailer of a tandem rig when nymphing two nymph's.  This pattern is used when I think or see caddis emerging and the trout are not yet on top.

Hook:  Heavy scud, #16-12, photo is a #14
Bead:  Match the hook size, here it's 3/32 gold
Thread:  Match your dubbing, here it's Uni brown 8/0
Shuck: Amber Z-lon
Body:  Green floss,  Build a tapered body with floss, then twist it with hackle pliers.
Ribbing:  Pearl crystal flash
Thorax:  Brown or black Ostrich herl.
Wing:  Soft Hackle, Hen or Partridge, Photo is Cream Hen hackle
Head:  Life cycle brown

Tan Caddis Emerger:
I finally found a Tan Caddis emerger that works very well on the West Branch of the Delaware.  Through some time and testing I came up with this pattern.  It also works very well everywhere else.  I basically no longer use a adult pattern, or a Caddis X when the hatch is on.  I like this pattern for it offers a different look, plus with legs, shuck, bubble, and the CDC thorax there is a lot of realism and motion to fool the most educated trout. I like the bleached young elk hair as my indicator, which in turn can represent the wing. This is very similar to my Apple caddis.
Hook: #16 light scud or emerger
Thread: Tan 8/0 uni
Shuck:  Sparkle emerger yarn Amber
Body:  tan caddis fine dubbing
Bubble: White or Tan Zelon, note, I tye in the bubble leaving excess of about an inch over the eye of the hook, before placing the elk in as a wing . I split the excess bubble and bring them along the sides of the body, as if the bubble is coming off and or gives some sort of impression of wings. 
Wing: bleached yearling elk
Legs: Partridge
Thorax:  Trouthunter- CDC dubbing light brown.

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