Category Archives: Trout flies

Green Sparkle Stimulator – Son Tao

If you are a regular reader of FrankenFly, you might remember that I highlighted Son and his fly tying in a fairly recent post. If you haven’t read it or looked at some of Son’s flies, you should.
So, just recently, Son started his own YouTube channel, so this fly tying video is Son showing how he ties a Stimulator dry fly. Enjoy!

Materials list:
Tail: moose body hair
Body: Green Uni floss
Rib: small gold UTC wire
Body Hackle: Whiting Farms Ginger
Wing: Deer hair
Underwing: midge crystal flash
Thorax: green superfine
Hackles: Whiting Farms brown and grizzly
Hook: Tiemco 2312

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Filed under Dry Fly, Trout flies

Flies Around the Net – July 2017

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Filed under Catskill, Deer Hair, Dry Fly, Foam, nymphs, Poppers, Streamers, Trout flies

Casual Dress

Tim Flagler give us detailed instructions for tying Polly Rosborough’s Casual Dress Nymph.

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Filed under nymphs, Trout flies

Grayling, Michigan 2017 – FrankenFly


Well, another trip up to Grayling in Northern Michigan is in the books. This trip will definitely be one to remember because I couldn’t have asked for better fishing. Although, there was a really big one that got away, but I’ll explain that in a bit.

We stayed at a nice place right on the Au Sable River, which supplied nice wade fishing. I went out right away and caught a handful of brookies. The largest being about 9 inches long. Which is not too bad in this stream. What was great about this stretch, was that my son was enticed enough to ask me to take him fly fishing for the first time. He had used a Zebco type setup in the past, when he was around 7, but hasn’t fished in a couple of years. He is now 12. To my surprise, he came out and asked me to teach him how to fly fish. So I tied on a bright foam Chernobyl dry fly and taught him how to dry fly fish. He was moving down the stream and casting really well. We were able to land him a little brookie and he loved it! This was a fabulous part of the trip and another experience that made this trip memorable.

One day, I met up with Brian Kozminski of True North Trout, for an evening float. Brian’s truck was in the shop because of a collision with a deer, so one of Brian’s other guides, Randy Monchilov, brought his Adipose drift boat for us to use. All three of us went out and had a nice evening of fishing, catching many brookies and browns. I have to say, the Adipose boat is a dream to float in. It has great stability and I like the low side walls. One other item to mention, is that Brian had the Temple Fork Outfitters Axiom II fly rod with him, so I was able to cast this and get the feel for the rod. I loved it! I like the backbone this rod has. If you are familiar with TFO rods, it was like a BVK but with more backbone.
Brian and Randy are nice guys and know their stuff. If you are looking for a guide up in Northern Michigan or you want to use some TFO fly rods or float in an Adipose boat, contact True North Trout. They will no doubt get you into some fish!

In between fishing, I made some other stops into some fly shops, like Gates Au Sable Lodge & Fly Shop, Ron’s Fly Shop, and even drove over to Traverse City and visited The Northern Angler.

I went out on a couple of other special fly fishing excursions, with my good friend, Chris Lessway. First, we spent an entire day and evening fishing for smallmouth bass. We floated in Chris’s older, but still quite capable, Hyde drift boat. I shared time on the sticks, so Chris could fish as well. I want to thank Chris for putting up with my rowing. Even though I’m getting better in this area, I am still learning to keep the boat in the fishing zone. It takes time.

We were catching fish right off the bat using my Thunder Mutt streamer. As we fished throughout the day, we learned that the smallies were a little finicky on that day. They were always hitting on the pause. It helped that we were able to see them most of the time. So I would pause it for even longer and wait until they hit, to try and set the hook. We switched up and went through many flies, trying to find a fly they might like better. But in the end, it was the Thunder Mutt which I had in a Chartreuse/Olive and a white streamer that worked the best.

However, things changed when the evening came. Since the sun was going down, we decided to start throwing poppers. Besides morning, this is the best time to do this. We were also on a different stretch of river. The pause didn’t change in this regard either. I was getting most of my fish by doing a pop, a twitch, and then letting it sit. Then BAM!

So this brings me to the fish I mentioned in the beginning. I did a pop, twitch, and then let it sit. I saw this smallie coming up from the side and munch down on the popper. I set the hook and it felt like a nice fish, but I didn’t realize how nice. Then it started pulling line out and then it took its first jump and Chris and I at the same time, said, “Holy Crap!” This thing was a monster. I have never seen a smallie this big. It proceded to take 4 more jumps and I continued to fight it and give it line when needed. After the 5th jump, it pulled a bit and the line came loose. The thing you never want to happen, happened. The biggest smallie I had ever seen, broke the line and was gone. It was gut wrenching. Chris and I talked about that fish the rest of the week and I stil think about it. What a fish…

Then Chris said, “We will get another one.” So we continued on downstream and I continued to throw a Rainy’s popper that I had tied. Chris was right, we did get another good one. Granted, it was not near as big as the one we lost, but it was a really nice fish! This time, I was able to land it after a great fight.

Chris netted it for me and it was in the boat. This is the smallie that is pictured. I was extremely happy to get that fish. Needless to say, it was a fantastic day of smallie fishing.

The final time I went out with Chris, was a quick morning float, we did early one morning. This time we were after some trout. It was an overcast morning with slight sprinkles of rain at first, but that tapered off to be just a cloudy morning. We tried some streamers at first, but with no luck, we switched back to dry flies. Terrestrials seemed to be what was on the menu, so I stuck with that, catching some brookies and a nice little brown trout. As we made out way downstream, I kept casting to various spots, and then it happened. My personal best, brown trout, sipped in my dry fly and doubled my 7 weight rod over. Of course, after losing that monster smallmouth, Chris and I were on the edge of our seats, as I tried working this brown trout to the boat. Chris was calling out logs that the fish was trying to run under and I would guide it away from. Finally, I worked him to the side of the boat while Chris had the net ready and I was able to guide him in. The largest brown I had ever hooked, was landed!


Chris Lessway guides for the North Branch Outing Club, located in a small area called Lovells, right outside Grayling, Michigan. The NBOC provides lodging, a guide service, and a fly shop right on the Au Sable River. Chris is the head guide there. So, if you are looking for a terrific guide, give Chris a call at the North Branch Outing Club.

So this ended an awesome trip up to Northern Michigan. I want to apologize for not having the time to meet up with Jeff Marsh of High on the Fly and Michael Williams of Green Bus Designs. I had to cancel, but will definitely meet up with these two the next time for some fly fishing action!

Thank you for reading FrankenFly!

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Filed under Dry Fly, Fly Fishing, Foam, FrankenFly, Michigan, Poppers, Smallmouth, Streamers, Trout flies

The Fly Tying of Son Tao

I recently started to notice some beautifully tied flies posted by Son Tao. After seeing a friend from Indianapolis post that he was fishing with Tao, I was surprised to learn he was here in Indiana. I contacted him and below you can read a little about him. He has also been touched by Project Healing Waters, which is a fantastic organization that help vets. In a very short time, you can see by the photos, that Son has skills! Check out his work below!

From Son Tao:
“I’m 44 years old and currently live in Indianapolis, Indiana. I grew up in Pennsylvania but have bounced around for the past 16 years since I am active duty Army. My current rank is Master Sergeant.

I’ve been tying for 14 months now. I was first introduced to tying by a Korean War vet as a way to deal with post traumatic stress. I’ve been deployed 5 times and have seen some unimaginable horrors around the world. After dealing with numerous surgeries and the horrors of war, I was in a dark place. Fly tying provided me with an avenue to escape those memories. It relaxes my mind and focuses my attention in a positive way.

Other than that, I thoroughly enjoy tying classic patterns. I’m a history nerd and find the story behind Flies as interesting as fly fishing itself. So when I got started, I naturally was drawn to Catskill style dry flies.”

Stimulator with Elk wing

Fan Wing Ginger Quill

Lady Benson

Foam Back Humpy

Size 20 Griffith Gnats

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Filed under Catskill, Classic, Dry Fly, nymphs, Trout flies

Henry’s Fork Salmon Fly – InTheRiffle

From InTheRiffle:
“The Henry’s Fork Salmon Fly is a great Salmonfly Dry Fly Pattern for large picky trout in slower water and pools. The Henry’s Fork Salmon Fly was developed on the world famous Henry’s Fork River, by Mike Lawson, and continues to be a popular Salmon Fly Dry for wary trout. The Henry’s Fork Salmon Fly is best tied large, on a #06 dry fly hook, and is most often fished near the bank.”

Materials List:
Hook: #06 Tiemco 5212
Thread: Orange UTC 140
Tail: Black Coastal Deer Hair
Body: Rusty Orange Hareline Dubbing
Wing: Natural Elk Hair
Head: Black Coastal Deer Hair
Legs: Brown Whiting Rooster Cape

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Filed under Dry Fly, Trout flies

Black Stonefly – Ryan Cooper

From Ryan Cooper:
“If you have giant black stoneflies in your waters give this guy a try! I love the semi-realistic look the larva lace gives the body. Hope you enjoyed and be sure to tune in next week!”

Materials list:

Hook: Allen Curved Shank Nymph Sz.8
Thread: Uni 6/0 Black
Bead: 2.8mm Black/Nickel
Lead Wire: 0.015
Tail: Black Goose Biots
Body: Black Larva Lace
Legs: Black Goose Biots
Wingcase: Black Thin Skin
Dubbing: Black UV Ice Dub

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Filed under nymphs, Trout flies

Dry Sedge – Paul Slaney

tied by Paul Slaney

This is a sedge fly pattern or caddis fly if you prefer. I saw this when Paul posted it the other day and my mouth dropped. This is a beautifully tied fly and I thought it deserved it’s own post. Paul included the recipe as you can see below. I hope you enjoy the eye candy as much as I did.

Materials list:
Hook – Partridge, size 14, Partridge G3A/LY
Thread – Veevus 590 denier GSP
Body – Laine St Pierre 922
Underwing – 2 cdc tips
Overwing – Bull elk
Hackle – Dun Badger (anything will do)
Antennae – Bronze mallard

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Filed under Dry Fly, Trout flies

Sulphur Spinner

From Tim Cammisa:
“We welcome Don Ward back to the channel! In this video, Don Ward of the Keystone Fly Rod Company ties a unique version of his Sulphur Spinner. This version of the spinner is a great one to use at dusk…and don’t forget your UV light when on the water.”

Materials list:
Hook: Daiichi 1110; #14
Thread: UNI 8/0; Tan
Tail: Microfibetts; Lt. Blue Dun
Body: Turkey Biots; Sulphur Yellow
Wing: Snowshoe Rabbit; natural
Wing Case: UV Flashabou; #6955
Thorax: Sulphur dubbing

Be sure to visit the following sites mentioned in the video:
http://keystoneflyrodcompany.com/
https://www.themayflyproject.com/
http://www.projecthealingwaters.org/

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Filed under Dry Fly, Trout flies

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 RiverRaisinFlyCompany13@gmail.com 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