Category Archives: nymphs

Fly tying of John Satkowski

Having designed commercial patterns for Rainy’s Flies for two years now, I am constantly pushing the boundaries of movement and effectiveness with my patterns. Being a Bass guy my whole life, my eyes weren’t opened to the whole long rod thing until a family trip to Montana in high school changed my perception of what fly fishing is. Big streamers for aggressive brown trout was the ticket. I quickly learned that these trout can be fished very similar to smallies on a river system by quickly ripping streamers through pockets, over drops, and around cover. I was a convert almost instantly.

When I got back home I picked up a simple tying kit and began to experiment. I will admit I tied a lot of awful buggers and some terrible Adams before I had something that resembled a decently tied fly. I would go to Chris Helm’s shop in Toledo, Ohio and watch a true master spin and stack deer hair and go to Cabela’s on Saturday mornings to watch guys like Bear Andrews and Dennis Potter tie and after a while, all the time and energy paid off. I was able to design patterns and go fish with moderate success. I really started getting into Pike with their nasty attitude and speed. The tug is the drug when you fight these toothy, slime bullets. The more time on the water I spent, the more I started to notice things and by the time I was in college I pretty much had my home waters figured out.

I have learned a lot along the way and now that I am getting waist deep into the waters of the business side of things, I am learning the fly industry can be fickle and tough. You always have to self-advocate and no matter how many patterns you have on the commercial side, you always have to keep being creative and inventive. I do a fair amount of realistic tying but those flies never see the water. The real bread and butter is being able to tie a fly that works for the intended species and is easily repeatable. For the most part, my flies are developed for the way I fish. The people that I take fishing and my friends always get annoyed with me because I fly fish for bass like a tournament bass fisherman. I rip streamers or drift a nymph through a hole and if no takes I move on. I really like to cover water when I fish, especially if I’m wading. When I tie a streamer, I want the movement to be instantaneous when entering the water, get the attention of the fish, and then trigger a strike. Things like the movement of rabbit and hackle together or my addictive and generous use of ice dub in a dubbing loop to create collars and bodies lends to this method. I generally fish clear water so the patterns must not spook fish but have a good draw from a distance.

I was a teacher by trade so I love teaching the art of fly tying as well. The trick to becoming a good tier is always simply doing it. Instead of just trying to tie a wooly bugger, tie seven or eight in a row. You have to work out the kinks in the process whether it be rushing the eye or overly bulky bodies. You will tie a bunch of ugly fuglies before you tie something decent so be prepared for that. Have fun while you are at the vise. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a $500 vise and expensive tools to tie. The same goes for gear, it is really nice to have a $300 fly rod, but it simply isn’t a necessity. Get something in your price range and go fish. It’s as simple as that. A little extra information though, for big or tough fish you don’t want to skimp and be outgunned.

For tying tips, questions, and inquiries folks can visit my facebook business page River Raisin Fly Company or email me at for water levels, suggested patterns, and additional information about myself, my patterns, and the adventure we all call fly fishing.

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Filed under nymphs, Pike, Poppers, Streamers, Trout flies

Werthers Midge

Patrick Sessoms of Due South Outfitters showing off his “Werthers Midge” which resembles a dead scud. Super good pattern on the tailwaters in Tennessee and in the local streams around Boone, NC.

Materials Needed:

10.0 Vevus thread, any color
Small amber Round Rib
Allen N205 Size 18
2 mm copper tungsten bead

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Flies Around the Net – March 2017

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Filed under Dry Fly, Foam, Muskie, nymphs, Pike, Salmon, Saltwater, Steelhead, Streamers, Trout flies

Slick Back Baetis

From Hackles & Wings:
Brought to you by Hackles & Wings Fly Tying videos! Tying a Slick Back Baetis. A quick little baetis pattern that really pops.

-Thread: Nanosilk 30D Beige
-Hook: Partridge Grub Straight Eye
-Body: Veevus Holo Tinsel, Purple
-Rib: Small Ultra Wire, Black
-Thorax: Awesome ‘Possum, Black
-Thorax cover: Swiss Straw, Black
-Legs, Tails: Veevus Body Quill, Claret
Loon Fluo Flow

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Sulphur Nymph

Patrick Sessoms of Due South Outfitters showing off one of his go-to spring patterns in NC and TN. It is a pattern that resembles a BWO nymph. This fly is killer in NC and TN.

Materials Include:

Allen Fly Fishing W502 #16 Hook
Allen 2mm black nickel tungsten bead
Light brown 10/0 thread
Pheasant tail
Super fine copper wire
Pale yellow dry fly dubbing


Filed under nymphs

Tim Morales – fly tyer introduction

I met Tim at the Midwest Fly Fishing Expo in Michigan. He came to my table and had a box of flies with him and wanted me to take a look to see what I thought. Tim’s flies were tied very well and looked great! He ties very cleanly. So well, that he doesn’t need to be asking anymore if his flies look good enough, they already do. I wanted him to send me some information and photos of a few flies he has tied, which you will find below. Tim is on Instagram, so be sure to give him a follow @t1mb3an.

I started fishing at age four when my grandfather took me out on a little lake near Greenville, Michigan. Ironically, my first fish was caught on a fly rod that my grandpa had rigged with bait. He casted for me just a short ways out and I caught my first fish, a Largemouth Bass. It was at that point a passion was sparked that has shaped the rest of my life. Unfortunately, I didn’t pick up another fly rod until the age of 14. Ever since then it has been my preffered method of fishing. I am now 22 and have graduated to tying my own flies. Initially, I started tying because my local shops didn’t always have what I was looking for. I immersed myself in everything fly tying and attempted to learn as many techniques as I possibly could. My preferred target for fly fishing are trout… browns and rainbows to be exact. So far I have caught trout on two continents and I look forward to what the future will hold!

CF Baitfish

CF Baitfish
This pattern I tied with trout and bass on my mind however I am sure it would work for a variety of target species depending on the color and size. This color scheme is geared more towards Scandanavian sea trout. A very simple pattern, this is tied with craft fur and ice dub.

Split Back PMD

Split Back PMD
I am not sure who the original creator of this pattern is but I tied these with the intention of targeting browns and rainbows. I plan on fishing it on point with a small parachute on a dropper when BWO’s, PMD’s, sulfers, and March Browns are coming off. My thinking is that I can fish both the subsurface emerging nymphs and duns when they are coming off. Materials are, pheasant tail, hare’s ear/squirrel blend dubbing, body glass, foam, and goose biots.

Hot Head Stone

Hot Head Stone
This pattern was inspired by Max Inchausti who posted something very similar to his instagram gallery @east_coast_fly_fishing. I tied this with browns and midwest steelhead in mind however I cannot see why this wouldn’t work on a variety of species. Materials are, 0.020 lead wire underbody, sili legs, hare’s ear/squirrel blend dubbing, opal mirage tinsel, black wire, and Kiley’s nymph skin.

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Gomphus – Philip Rowley

Phil says, “Tied out of buoyant spun and clipped deer hair, the Gomphus is intended to represent the sprawling nymphs from the Libellulidae family of dragonflies. The Gomphus is a favorite of Pacific Northwest fly fishers but performs in any water home to dragonflies.”

Materials list:

Hook: Daiichi 1710 #8-#10
Thread: UTC GSP 100, Olive
Body: Deer Hair, Natural or Olive
Legs: Hen Pheasant Tail
Head: Deer Hair, Natural or Olive

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Teddy Bear’s Ear by Paul J. Beel

Version 2 – tied by Justin Bowman

NOTE: This is a blog post I wrote for J.Stockard’s Fly Fishing blog. I wanted to share it here so even more people could read it. J.Stockard has selected both of these flies as their Fly of the Month for February, 2017.

In this blog post I want to concentrate on one of the most well known, effective nymphs that exist, the Hare’s Ear nymph. I don’t want to bore you with details of its history, but concentrate on a modern perspective and new ways to tie it. One thing to mention is that hare’s ear fur has been used for a long time, even as far back as the 1600’s. If you want to know more about its history, I recommend heading over to Flyanglers Online and read an article by Tom Travis where he delves deep into the history of the Hare’s Ear nymph.

The reason this nymph is called a Hare’s Ear is because originally this nymph was tied using the fur found in between the ears of a hare. These days, you can purchase a hare’s mask and get the fur by clipping the hair between the ears. Not only can you use the underfur in this region, but to make it even more buggy, you want to use the guard hairs as well. These days fly tiers will use all parts of the mask to tie a Hare’s Ear. Not only that, but tiers that push the envelope even further, use modern dubbing mixes to tie this popular nymph.

The advantages to using a modern dubbing is that it is already prepared for you and packaged. Ready for you to just take what you need and start tying. Also, many of the current hare’s ear type dubbing blends add a bit of sparkle to the mix, making it more attractive. On that note, most of the Hare’s Ear nymphs these days are tied as a Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear with a bead head. The gold rib is added by using copper or gold wire to rib the fly.

So you may be wondering why I called this article Teddy Bear’s Ear. This refers to my own modern dubbing blend that imitates hare’s ear fur, called FrankenDUB Teddy Bear Brown nymph dubbing. Years ago when I was beginning to learn how to tie flies, I was tying all kinds of flies so I would know how to tie a variety of styles and improve my fly tying. My goal was to be a good fly tier. I started with many of the classics, including the Hare’s Ear nymph. At that time, I had no idea where to get the dubbing I needed to tie it. After researching a bit, I just purchased a couple of dubbings that actually had the name, Hare’s Ear dubbing. If it had Hare’s Ear in the name, I would try it.

Version 1 – tied by Paul J. Beel

I still see this with other beginners and some tiers that haven’t taken the time to do research. They just buy dubbing that has this name to insure they are tying with the correct style of dubbing. So I wanted to reach out and let everyone know that Teddy Bear Brown Nymph dubbing was blended for this exact purpose. Of course you can use that color in other nymphs, but when I was creating FrankenDUB Nymph dubbing I wanted to make sure I had a blend that would work perfectly for a Hare’s Ear nymph. This blend is a great color for a Hare’s Ear and it’s very buggy. Plus it adds just enough sparkle. I almost called it Hare’s Ear, but I called it by a different name. In hindsight, I probably would not be writing this article, if I had just called it Hare’s Ear color. Oh well…

With the help of a terrific nymph fly tier, Justin Bowman, I have included two versions of modern versions of a Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear nymph. Version number one is the way I tie my Hare’s Ear nymphs and version number two is the way Justin ties his. We both use FrankenDUB Teddy Bear Brown nymph dubbing in our nymphs. The entire material list for each is included and the two photos that you see in this article are the nymphs tied by Justin and I. I have captioned them as Version 1 and Version 2 for clarity.

I hope you have gained some insight from this short article. One important thing to note, is that not all fly recipes are set in stone. You can usually find some kind of substitute for a material and use what you have on hand instead. However, some flies may not perform in the same way if you use a different material. You just have to use good judgment, learn by experience and fish your flies to see if they are performing the way they should.

Version 1 – Paul’s Hare’s Ear nymph

Hook: Partridge Sproat Wet barbless size 12 – or any wet fly hook
Weight: 0.015 Lead Free Wire
Head: 1/8” gold brass bead
Tail: Hare’s Ear fur or Pheasant Tail fibers
Body: FrankenDUB Teddy Bear Brown Nymph dubbing
Rib: Small copper wire
Wing case: Pheasant Tail
Thorax: FrankenDUB Teddy Bear Brown Nymph dubbing
Wing case is coated with Deer Creek Diamond Fine Flex UV Resin.
Thread: Danville Monocord 3/0 – Dark Brown

Version 2 – Justin’s Hare’s Ear nymph

Hook: #16 nymph hook
Head: 5/64 bead
Tail: Hare’s Ear fur
Body: FrankenDUB Teddy Bear Brown Nymph dubbing
Rib: Small amber wire
Wing case: Medium pearl mirage tinsel
Thorax: FrankenDUB Teddy Bear Brown Nymph dubbing 
Legs: Partridge – natural


Filed under FrankenDUB, nymphs

Beach Body Stone Fly – Josh Miller

Josh says this is a thin body stone fly, so he can get the fly down faster with a little less weight.
If you don’t know, Josh is part of the USA Fly Fishing Team.

Materials list:
Hook: Saber 7230; size 8
Bead: Silver tungsten; 3.5mm
Weight: .015 wire; 15 wraps
Thread: 6/0 UNI; black
Tail & Legs: Life Flex; black
Body & Wing Case: Scud back; black
Thorax: Ice Dub; evenly mix UV purple and UV black

Here is another video of Josh tying this fly on Tim Cammisa’s channel. Josh gives us more information in this video on this pattern, including the best way to fish this stone fly. Enjoy!

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Flies Around the Net – December 2016

Here are the final Flies Around the Net for 2016. It has been a year of good vibes and good times for FrankenFly. I want to thank all of you for coming and visiting the website. I’m glad all of you are finding it interesting enough to come back to the site to get even more into fly fishing! I love this sport and I’m glad all of you do too! Here’s to an even better 2017!

Thank you!


Filed under Carp flies, Catskill, Deer Hair, Dry Fly, Intruders, Muskie, nymphs, Pike, Realistic, Streamers, Trout flies