Brandon has been doing a live tying session usually about one day a week on Facebook. In this one, he shows how to tie his Panther Creek Hopper. This is a fly pattern that Orvis has picked up. This live tying session from Brandon was back on January 5th. Check it out, it’s a very nice hopper pattern.
Ken Tanaka of Wish4Fish is back on the water. Late Summer fly fishing is all about terrestrials. Time to get out the ants, beetles and HOPPERS. One of the best ways to utilize both water columns is the dry dropper or the hopper dropper. This way you take advantage of rising fish as well as fish feeding subsurface. Ken says, “Here I will be using the W4F Hip Hopper designed by Wish4Fish and Blue Ridge Custom Flies as well as the Mutt Bug designed by Wish4Fish and Fletcher’s Flies. My set up is the Winston Biiix 9′ 3wt and Ross Colorado LT reel. I am also using the Rio Gold line and a Rio Powerflex Plus 7.5ft leader in 3x with Rio 4x Fluorocarbon tippet.”
Headed up to one of my favorite places on Earth last week, Grayling, Michigan. Staying in a cabin on the Holy Waters of the Au Sable River, I was able to fish daily. My oldest son, Brayden, joined me.
During the day I fished dry flies and caught many brookies. You catch smaller fish mostly during the day. The big ones come out at night. But the fishing is still challenging. You have to have a good dead drift presentation and the right fly. I was able to catch several the first couple of days on a Borchers Parachute. That quickly faded and they wouldn’t rise to it any longer. I tried many other dry flies, including an Adams, but the fish wanted nothing to do with it. So I tied on a fly I always have luck with, a Madsen Skunk. I caught trout the rest of the week just using this fly. Even if there were no visible risers, they would come up for this fly.
Paul with trout
Madsen Skunk tied by Paul Beel
Every night we went out late and tried mousing. This is a hunt for the big ones. Sometimes it pays off, other times it doesn’t. My son got lucky on the 4th night and landed a good sized brown trout. He acted like it was Christmas morning and was talking about that fish the rest of the trip. It was one heck of a trout!
Brayden with big brown
A little side note about fishing at night. We were still seeing some Hex on the windows of the cabin and near the river.
For me, the highlight of the trip was fishing for smallies with Chris Lessway. Chris is the head guide for the North Branch Outing Club in Lovells, Miching, near Grayling on the North Branch of the Au Sable River. We floated in Chris’ Hyde Drift Boat and had a great day. Even though we had warmer, bass style weather earlier in the week, the day we went was much more like trout weather, cool, overcast, and misty. Regardless, as soon as we left the boat ramp I caught the first smallie of the day right off the bat. It was a good sign, but during the day we had periods where they would turn off and then turn back on while we searched for the right color and fly they wanted. But we had action and caught fish all day long. We were successful on a 4 inch streamer, an articulated streamer, and even some poppers got them to rise to the surface. Olive seemed to be the best color of the day.
I spent some time on the sticks so Chris had time to fish too. I was shaky at first, but by the end of the day I felt comfortable behind the oars and it felt good to add this skill to my repoitoire.
If you are looking for a guide up in Northern Michigan, I highly recommend Chris Lessway. He is a highly skilled angler who knows the waters in the area very well, plus he is a super nice guy. He can definitely put you on the fish!
I can’t wait to head up to Michigan again, I’m missing it already!
My name is Bob Reece. I am a 34 year old, full time Jr. High Science teacher in Cheyenne Wyoming. I work with the Cheyenne branch of Project Healing Waters and run a fly fishing club for 7th and 8th grade students at my school. I have been fly fishing and tying my own flies for twenty three years. I am a contract fly tyer for the Orvis Company. They’ll have five of my patterns out in their 2016 lineup. In addition to this I write articles for Fly Fusion Magazine. During my summers I guide for North Park Anglers in Walden, Colorado and for the Brush Creek Ranch in Saratoga, Wyoming.
During certain times of the year terrestrial insects make up a significant portion of food resources for many fish species. Beetles make up a significant percentage of these terrestrials and are often over looked by many anglers in light of the plethora of grasshopper patterns that dominate the terrestrial market. I wanted to create a beetle pattern that accurately imitated the underside of the natural, the side that fish see. By using Wapsi Loco Beetle Green foam on the underbody I was able to accurately imitate the texture, segmentation and body structure of the natural. The white indicator foam is highly visible in most situations. For those bright sunny days where white can be harder to see, I carry an orange sharpie in my vest that I use to change the color of the indicator. It has become a highly effective pattern for my clients and for myself during our terrestrial season in Wyoming and Colorado.
In this fly tying video, Walter Wiese for Park’s Fly Shop ties a Micro Chaos Hopper. The Micro Chaos or Bob Hopper was Parks’ Fly Shop’s most effective hopper pattern in the Yellowstone area during the 2012 season. It is substantially smaller than most hopper patterns (#14, less than an inch long) but is easy to see, durable, and floats well. The pink color presented here is the most popular color variation, but try it in other colors as well.
Richard says, “Here is a rather productive extended foam body ant pattern that can be tied with or without a wing. I tied this version with the wing so you could see exactly how I add that really simple extra step. This is a good imitation for ants in that size 18-14, and you can tailor them to any color you may encounter by simply changing the foam, thread, legs and dubbing. What you may encounter is even when the fish are on the small ants, this guy although dainty is a bit larger than some of the smaller ants but will still get the job done. Have fun tying this one.”