Buck Ryan is tying quality flies and making them available over at his website Flies for Rivers . Head over to his website to find out more. For every dozen flies purchased, $1 is donated to American Rivers or Trout Unlimited to protect small streams, wilderness and headwaters – simply specify your choice when ordering. A few of his flies are described below.
NOTE: The photo of the Emergent Midge was taken by David Stenstrom that I happen to know is an excellent Catskill fly tyer. Find him here: http://stenstromflies.blogspot.com
I believe that most trout feeding on adult midges will eat a Parachute Adams or Griffith’s Gnat, but I also believe that 90% of fish seen “rising” to midges are eating emergers. Chasing tiny bugs that fly away wastes energy stores that are critical to winter survival. Fished in the surface film, this is the most effective midge pattern I have ever fished.
This pattern and design is attributed to John Atherton. I tie these on larger hooks than his recipe calls for because I read so many accounts of fish missed and lost due to the tiny hooks traditionally used. It seemed like an easy fix, and my experience has shown that high quality modern hooks in larger sizes eliminate the Spider’s historical issues. There are summer days when this pattern is all I carry. Watching a cutthroat clear the water chasing a spider is something every angler should experience. After you’ve skated a spider, dead-drifting a fly feels awfully passive… I grease my leader with red Mucilin, cast directly cross-stream, and throw a series of sharp, short upstream mends. Slight tension brings the fly upright onto its hackle points, and the mends cause the fly to “dance” across riffles, diamond water, and runs. The fish reaction must be seen to be believed. I am always surprised how well it works in from early spring to late fall. Modern floatants allow anglers to enjoy far superior performance with these old patterns – all my patterns are pre-treated with Watershed for permanent waterproofing and floatation. I’m eager to try the big spider on summer steelhead…
This pattern is unique in the sense that it imitates fluttering spinners that get blown onto their side. I was very skeptical of upside-down flies because of my experience with other designs, but this one lands right and fishes well. Using CDC wings as outriggers and a hackle-shaping technique I learned from a friend, this pattern floats with one wing down on the surface while the other stands up for sighting. I like to flatten the wings with natural CDC oil (synthetic floatants seem to weigh down and permanently matt the CDC). The flexible CDC wings won’t spin your tippet, and they maintain a realistic silhouette while holding the hook out of the water, so even fish that closely inspect the fly usually take.
This is my go-to attractor for freestones in late summer. Fish get wary of beetles, ants and hoppers after seeing so many frauds, and no one seems to fish bees – maybe because they have a hard time believing trout really eat them. Bees are easier to see than beetles or ants, and this pattern has light-refractive wings to increase long-range visibility.