Monthly Archives: August 2013

Tim’s Candy Crane – Tim Johnson

Tim Johnson is a guide at Falcon’s Ledge and is a very talented fly tyer. Here is his tutorial on the candy crane that was just picked up by Orvis. But you have to read the story that Tim wrote that goes along with it to appreciate this cool bug even more!

At an Orvis guides’ rendezvous in Casper, WY, my Falcon’s Ledge friends and I attended a workshop on entomology.  Expert entomologist Robert Younghanz waded into the North Platte and returned with all kinds of macroinvertebrate samples which he dumped into a dozen or so water-filled trays for the guides to study.  We were all given alcohol-filled vials and tweezers and invited to take what we wanted.  Only fellow fly fishing junkies could possibly understand why we all felt like kids in a candy store.All the “bugs” were interesting, but I was immediately captivated by the enormous crane fly larvae that populated every single tray.  They were HUGE and way more plentiful  than I had ever imagined.  I asked Robert about the typical size of these crane flies and how widely and densely distributed they might be.  Basically I wanted him to make me feel better for not having a crapload of these in my box and for rarely fishing them.  Looking at bratwursts before me, I needed the “bug guy” to give me some justification for why everyone wasn’t using them all the time in rivers like the North Platte, or in my Utah home waters like the Provo, the Green and everything in between.  Maybe they’re not in most rivers?  Maybe they rarely get dislodged from the streambed?   Rather than making me feel better, and assuring me that we weren’t all idiots, Robert said that they are undoubtedly the most underfished fly in the world!

No excuses.  They’re big.  They’re bad.  They’re beefy.  And they’re available to trout in most every river we fish.  The trout are certainly eating them.  In fact, I can’t imagine one of these hapless, chubby, porkchops makes it too far downstream before that hole’s alpha-trout pounds it.  So I had to wonder, why aren’t we fishing them more?

I took more than my fair share of the beautiful little sausages that day and studied them closely.  They were huge (some were pinky-finger-sized!), and clearly segmented, things I’ve seen in every decent crane fly larva pattern I’ve ever seen.  What struck me most though, was their obvious translucence.  They almost seemed to glow in the sunlight.  Very soon after dying in the alcohol, however, they turned opaque and drab.

From that day forth I was a man possessed.  I tried various methods to get that translucent glow into a fly dressing, but nothing was both accurate and efficient.  Dubbings, furs, herls, all had good properties but lacked that hypnotic, translucent glow through the middle.  With the popularity of UV-cure resins a few years ago, I finally had the obvious solution. With a bright core of krystal flash to prevent the dark hook shank from stealing light, and using clear UV epoxy to create the requisite beefiness without blocking the glow, I had the size and the sheen I’d been looking for.  It was time for the Candy Crane to go to Beta testing.

The final version’s virgin dunk was on Montana’s Beaverhead.  A BWO hatch was in force and fish were intermittently rising and feeding on the emergers. I figured the Candy Crane would make an ideal lead fly; it would glow big and bright and get the attention for the emerger pattern I put on point.  Maybe stick the occasional fish not keyed in on the hatch.  In reality, it stole the show.  In the middle of a BWO hatch it outfished every baetis pattern I tried 3 or 4-to-1!  Since then it has produced for me and my friends from Montana to Arizona, even in stillwaters.  Now the jig is up and it’s available through Orvis.

Use the Candy Crane as your lead fly to grab attention and stick the fatties, and drop from it the fly du jour on your local water.  You won’t be disappointed.


Filed under Step by Step, Trout flies

Cream Variant – Elsie Darbee

I wanted to post a fly by Elsie Darbee. This is an old Catskill dry fly called the Cream Variant. I’ll post more information about Elsie and her husband Harry. Both are legendary Catskill fly tyers. For now, here is a fly tied by Elsie.

Hook: Mustad R48 or Tiemco 921, size 12.
Thread: Yellow.
Tail: Cream hackle barbs.
Body: Cream hackle stem.
Hackle: Cream tied on as a collar.



Filed under Catskill, Classic

Hunkering’ down in the bunker…

far from the tourist gridlock…

Pete Gray sent me a few more photos of some flies he’s been working on. If you missed the last post about Pete, you can find it here. Here is the latest…


they all seem to start off like this…

F70A1870and then…




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Filed under Streamers

Jawbreaker streamer – Theo Anest

I’m a fan of bass streamers, because I love bass, period. This streamer caught my eye and it’s called the Jawbreaker. Theo Anest of Colorado created this one. The reason bass will love it is because of its jigging action with a lot of movement added by rubber legs and a curly tail. Here is Theo showing how to tie it. The fly is sold by Solitude Fly Company.

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Filed under Largemouth, Smallmouth, Step by Step, Streamers

Bise’s Stimulator

Dustin Bise shows us how to tie one of his favorite flies, Bise’s Stimulator. I’m a fan of Dustin’s patterns and this one looks like another great one from him. I really like the buggy look of this fly.

• Size 8 Dai-Riki #270
• UV2 Golden Stone X-Seal Dubbing
• Grizzly & Brown Saddle Hackle
• White Widow’s Web
• Elk Hair

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Filed under Step by Step

Fish-Mask released!

A few days ago Flymen Fishing Company officially released their Fish-Mask. This is like a weightless Fish-Skull. This effect would be something you would normally use a UV resin or epoxy to achieve, but this makes things much simpler. As you can see by the image below there are many sizes available. To read much more detailed information Flymen has a full page of information over on their website.


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Filed under New Product