Fly Tying: March, 2017

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Fly Tying 101:  Tools, Tips, and Techniques–Part 2

Last month we held a class for beginning fly tyers titled “Fly Tying 101: Tools, Tips and Techniques. We had a large turnout and those in attendance had a good introduction to fly tying and hopefully left with a Wooly Bugger(s) that will see some action in the coming months.

This month we would like to continue helping novices get off to a good start as we further explore the basic tools and techniques for tying flies. We will focus more closely on the use of a whip finisher, as most of those in attendance last month had not quite mastered that skill yet. (Yes, it does take some time, so don’t get discouraged!) We’ll also give some new instruction on learning to apply dubbing correctly, a skill necessary in forming the body of many artificial flies.

The fly we will be focusing on will be The Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear, or just Hare’s Ear as it is commonly called, arguably the most popular trout nymph pattern in the world. The Hare’s Ear is said to be an impressionistic nymph as it can imitate many forms of insect life in the trout’s diet. It can be tied weighted or unweighted, in an unlimited variety of colors, and in a wide range of sizes, typically from 8 to 18. Historically, Hare’s Ears were tied with fur from the face, or mask, of hares (and not the hair from just the ears). You can buy packaged hare’s ear dubbing which often blends natural furs with modern day synthetics. But many tyers still prefer to purchase a whole hare’s mask and use the guard hairs and underfur, mixed together by hand or by using an electric blender.

Some anglers like their Hare’s Ears to be tied slim and streamlined.  Others anglers prefer the flies to be bushy, and the more scraggly looking the better.  Compare the two flies below, both Hare’s Ears, but each having a distinctive profile:

Whatever your preference, you can never have too many Hare’s Ears in your fly box. In fact, with all of the color and size variations possible, and bead head/no bead head choices and weighted/unweighted options, and with different wing case materials being used, it is possible to fill up whole fly boxes with just Hare’s Ear variations and nothing else!

Our next Fly Tying Night is Wednesday, March 29. We’ll be meeting at the Royal Treatment Fly Shop in West Linn at 6:00 pm. Bring your own fly tying tools if you have them. If you don’t have any equipment come anyway. Our friends at The Royal Treatment will loan you everything you need. Hope that you can join us!

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Fly Tying: January, 2017

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The Josh Linn Special

At our October, 2016 meeting Josh Linn gave us an informative presentation about steelhead fishing in the Columbia River basin.  Josh is an experienced northwest steelhead fisherman, having guided on the John Day, Sandy, Clackamas, Klickitat, and Grande Ronde rivers.  My ears perked up when he started describing a fly he had created that had become his go-to fly for winter steelhead.  I later talked to him at The Royal Treatment Fly Shop and got some details about his creation and decided that it would be a good choice for our monthly  fly tying night.  I asked Josh what he called his fly and he said I could call it whatever I wanted because it didn’t have a name.  So we’re calling it the Josh Linn Special.

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I think that fishermen would be foolish to disregard tips, tricks, and advice from those that are more knowledgeable than we are.  And like all of the people at The Royal Treatment Josh is very knowledgeable about all aspects of fly-fishing.  And it’s safe to say that he catches more fish than most of us.  (Of course he probably fishes more than most of us!)  So when he says this fly produces fish I think we should at least give it a serious look.

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I got the recipe from Josh and found that it is a tube fly much like Brian Silvey’s Silveynator that we tied last year, but with a few other innovations.  Josh ties them in numerous color combinations and usually with some weight.  He likes them large when the water is cloudy and ties them smaller when the water is low and clear.  One suggestion would be to tie them all on the large side and keep a pair of scissors available to trim the flies shorter as needed.  And there is no reason to not use them for summer steelhead as well, such as on the Deschutes when the sun is on the water and you are using a sink tip when the fish are no longer looking up.

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I tied up a few Josh Linn Specials and felt the need to test drive them on the Clackamas just after Christmas and was rewarded with my first winter steelhead of the season on the second day out on the water.  Not a large fish but it was a nice frisky wild steelhead.  The fly I used was  actually one of the flies shown on this page.  I’ll leave it to you to guess which one it was but they should all be productive.

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The winter steelhead season is just getting underway so think about joining us at our next evening of fly tying when we will be tying up some Josh Linn Specials.   The winter weather has played havoc with all of the club’s scheduled activities and Fly Tying Night has been moved to Wednesday, February 1st .  We’ll be meeting at The Royal Treatment Fly Shop in West Linn at 6:00 pm.  Hope to see you there!