Fly Tying: February, 2020

Phil Hager Flies

A few month’s back I sent out an email mentioning that anyone was welcome to be the guest fly tyer at one of our monthly Fly Tying Nights, with an opportunity to share a favorite fly pattern. The response was remarkably underwhelming, but club member Phil Hager did reply and he has agreed to be our guest tyer for February.

Meet CFF Club Member Phil Hager (aka “flyfishingphil”)  :

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Phil is a longtime fly fisher, having started out on bamboo rods and silk fly lines way back in 1952. His career as a firefighter was shortened when injuries forced him to retire in 1983. He then got into broadcasting and moved to central Oregon in 1986. A final retirement in 1992 allowed him to “fish 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year.” After pretty much figuring out the challenge of fishing rivers and streams, Phil moved on to learning about lakes and other stillwaters in about the year 2000.

A quote from Phil that pretty much sums up his philosophy:  “Fly fishing is not so much a sport as it is a way of life.”

I had met and talked with Phil briefly before, but in gathering information for this article I have found that Phil has been active in fly fishing in so many ways that go beyond just fishing. In the past he has served as president of the Central Oregon Flyfishers as well as serving on the Oregon and International Councils of the Federation of Fly Fishers. Phil has given numerous presentations on fishing central Oregon and stillwater fishing, as well as classes on casting and the “secret” of picking the right rod.

I recently found a CD, that I forgot I had, called “The Fishing COW cd”, which I had purchased about 10 years ago during one of our club meetings. (The letters COW stand not for your favorite bovine animal, but for Central Oregon Waters.) Closer inspection showed that it was made by the evening’s speaker, none other than…Phil Hager. If you were a club member about 10 years ago you should check to see if you may still have a copy of the CD. It has a wealth of information in it , including maps and tips, about many of our favorite central Oregon fly fishing destinations.

Phil says his flies are pretty much “guide flies”, meaning quick and easy. They are so quick and easy that, during our February Fly Tying Night, Phil will be sharing not one, but two of his proven patterns, the Brick Leech and the TnMC. I have repeatedly seen the names of these two flies show up on the club blog’s monthly Fishing Reports where Phil has given an account of their effectiveness.

Phil’s Brick Leech:

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Phil came up with this pattern after helping an ODFW biologist who was doing stomach sampling to check the diet of fish at Diamond Lake. He says that it’s been “one of my prime flies for about a dozen years on lakes, rivers, streams, for anything that swims there.”

Although Phil has tied up this same leech pattern in a number of colors, he says the rust color of his Brick Leech is by far the most productive. The “leech yarn” that he uses comes in 20 different colors, some of which are shown below.

IMG_6603         IMG_6599        IMG_6601 2 Phil fishes his Rusty Leech with all types of lines, and has caught fish from just sub-surface down to 45-50 feet. A couple of years ago he lost track of the number of rainbows and kokanee that he caught in just one hour of fishing at Lava Lake.

Phil’s TnMC :

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The letters TnMC stand for “Thread and Micro Chenille”. The development of the fly happened at Hosmer Lake where Phil saw fish slurping all around him. When he finally was able to see what the fish were taking, he tied up what became the TnMC, and then he got tired of catching fish after two hours. Phil says this is one of his prime flies that he uses everywhere. Black is by far the most productive color, but at times, Phil has found other colors, such as those shown below, to be effective.

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Join us at the Royal Treatment Fly Shop in West Linn for our next Fly Tying Night on Wednesday, February 26th. Phil Hager will be leading us through his tips on tying up  and fishing the Brick Leech and the TnMC. Both of these flies are easy to tie and would be suitable for tyers of all levels of experience. Plus, Phil has some interesting tips on finishing and tying off flies that he will be sharing. We start at 6:00 pm sharp. Hope to see you there!

 

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