Your Most Productive flies in 2015

Moderators: William Anderson, letumgo

User avatar
William Anderson
Site Admin
Posts: 4555
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:14 pm
Location: Ashburn, VA 20148
Contact:

Your Most Productive flies in 2015

Post by William Anderson » Fri Feb 05, 2016 4:27 pm

Our resident Swellcat requested a possible thread idea in another thread. http://www.flymphforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6820

There are standard go-to's and we've answered that question a number of times, "what's your top five flies? etc." But I have added a couple new flies, or at least they've climbed the rank from occasionals for most productive.

We can do this a number of ways, you do whatever you like, but the question is, which flies did you honestly take the most fish on this past season? Yes, the flies we fish most often tend to run up the numbers, but I had a couple surprises this season and wondered if you might have as well. I don't mean to exclude all the zebra midges, pheasant tail nymphs and articulated leeches, it just seemed more appropriate to show the soft-hackles. You do what you like. Pics aren't necessary but are very helpful. Either way, I'd like to hear what worked for you in 2015.

Mine shouldn't be much of a surprise to anyone as I've tied up a number this season and taken pics and quickly shared successes, but a few hadn't been photographed, and still haven't with any real effort. :D

1. Eric and I dubbed this fly a name I won't repeat here, but it was crazy productive. Something I have fished for a couple years, mostly hatch specific and brought out right away this past March on Pine Creek. As March turned to April I kept fishing this fly, maybe on every outing this past season and it caught fish all year, right up into December. About midyear I got superstitious about the tinsel and only fished the tinsel version til the end, but I'll be happy to fish the buttonhole rib version in a few weeks.

It's a woodcock hackle (could be grouse if you like), a mix of two shades of green seal and a portion of natural seal, prespun on primrose, or in a split thread of brown. Gold tinsel (irregularly spaced wraps, seemed to be a trend). The second version is grouse and uses a primrose buttonhole silk rib. These both worked great. For the upcoming season, I want to have plenty of the woodcock hackle, the dubbing blend prespun on primrose and maybe a finer gold rib. I'm very excited about fishing this fly often.

Will's CF Caddis
Image

Image

2. A second major surprise, at least in this configuration. The Waterhen and Turkey. I shared earlier that in the Spring we were having no luck at all during a trip to Roscoe so we stopped in the Dette shop to see Joe. I usually try to buy something, even when I don't need anything, least of all a stack of soft-hackles, but I bought half dozen flies tied with a long, wispy waterhen hackle and turkey tail herl body, ribbed with gold wire. This fly saved the trip for me, with all my takes coming on this fly. Eric caught as many on the fly as well and we went back and tied a few more at the "trout trailer". This fly continued to produce all year long and we joked about it's effectiveness, even when there was no discernible hatch. Just a great fly. I have tied it with gold rib, small and medium and with a reddish copper rib. I also tie it with the herls from a golden pheasant tail, well marked. They all work. Another fly I'm very excited to fish again this season.

Image

3. Another fly that moved up the ranks to a regular position in my cast is a very Pale Flymph tied with natural seal, very creamy fox dubbing blend prespun on primrose silk and hackled with a creamy hen hackle. I fished this often as a counter to whichever dark fly I was fishing (hares ear, black gnat, william's favorite). We seemed to catch every sunny day possible this summer and the brighter flies made a difference. At least this one did.

Image

4. No surprise, the Hare's Ear Flymph worked anytime anything would work. I've tied this fly much more sparsely in the past couple years. I still carry rows of the bushier versions, but after fishing with John Shaner on the Firehole in 2014, I tied some more like spiders and less like flymphs. They had their place and did well all season. I suspect I'll carry plenty of the fuller, flymphier version, but this earned a place in the box for sure.

Image


5. It would be easy to declare the Partridge and Orange was easily the most productive fly of the past season, and many seasons. That's true, but not very interesting. So a variation, the Rusty Spider. After fishing the P & O several times as a rusty spinner hatch early in the morning or at dusk it always worked, but I wanted to find a variation that was more robust for night fishing. I came up with this version tied with Guttermanns rusty colored rayon. It darkens to a rich rust color and did great on several trips, especially at dusk. Oddly, it fished best during a light cahill spinner fall. But I'll tie some of these pre-rigged for easy fly/tippet/dropper replacement in the dark.

Image

Sorry that got a little wordy.

w
"A man should not try to eliminate his complexes, but rather come into accord with them. They are ultimately what directs his conduct in the world." Sigmund Freud.
www.WilliamsFavorite.com
Mataura mayfly
Posts: 3648
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2011 6:28 am
Location: Southland, South Island, New Zealand.

Re: Your Most Productive flies in 2015

Post by Mataura mayfly » Fri Feb 05, 2016 5:00 pm

Hands down number one for me would be the hot butt purple & Starling for me.

Image

A close second would be my variation of Mark Libertones Lil Dorothy.

Image
"Listen to the sound of the river and you will get a trout".... Irish proverb.
User avatar
cassady
Posts: 189
Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2012 10:10 pm

Re: Your Most Productive flies in 2015

Post by cassady » Fri Feb 05, 2016 5:32 pm

Sorry to break the flow of the thread...

William Anderson wrote:
Image
I've been thinking of photography a lot of late, and I have to say that I generally appreciate your pictures, but this one is really beautifully done.

c
User avatar
Premerger
Posts: 544
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2013 4:39 pm
Location: Wellington, New Zealand

Re: Your Most Productive flies in 2015

Post by Premerger » Sat Feb 06, 2016 12:50 am

William, I'm trying to get past your "Gold tinsel (irregularly spaced wraps, seemed to be a trend) but am having difficulty!
Are there others here who feel the same way?
Please humour me here, I couldn't deliberately tie tinsel like that :-).

I don't know what my most successful pattern was but suspect this caddis is right up there,
Image

It had a role to play and went well but the pattern I liked using most was the Woodcock and Hare's Lug.

Of your patterns William, the one I liked most was the Pale Flymph. What a beauty, I'd love to fish that in faster water.

Jeff, I can see why your hot butt fly has caught you so many fish. Lots of the right stuff in there. Am looking forward to seeing you use it in a few weeks. Between your fly and William's flymph, I got thinking about different ways of winding hackle. Here is the sample. This is my first trial with the hook, Grip 14703 #16.
Thread. Pearsall's primrose
Hackle. Starling
Thorax. Hare's mask.

Image
How hard can it be?
User avatar
William Anderson
Site Admin
Posts: 4555
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:14 pm
Location: Ashburn, VA 20148
Contact:

Re: Your Most Productive flies in 2015

Post by William Anderson » Sat Feb 06, 2016 12:19 pm

cassady wrote: I've been thinking of photography a lot of late, and I have to say that I generally appreciate your pictures, but this one is really beautifully done.

c

That's very nice of you to say. I don't know if you witnessed the public struggle to work out the photography in the photo thread, but I learned a lot from this crew. Still much to learn. http://www.flymphforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=6321
"A man should not try to eliminate his complexes, but rather come into accord with them. They are ultimately what directs his conduct in the world." Sigmund Freud.
www.WilliamsFavorite.com
User avatar
William Anderson
Site Admin
Posts: 4555
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:14 pm
Location: Ashburn, VA 20148
Contact:

Re: Your Most Productive flies in 2015

Post by William Anderson » Sat Feb 06, 2016 12:26 pm

Premerger wrote:William, I'm trying to get past your "Gold tinsel (irregularly spaced wraps, seemed to be a trend) but am having difficulty!
Are there others here who feel the same way?
Please humour me here, I couldn't deliberately tie tinsel like that :-).
Tim, I should have used an emoticon to express my odd sense of humor. I just couldn't find a sample in that wallet that had nicely spaced ribs. The trend only speaks to my set of flies. Anyone else would snub them. Sometimes I'm just not as careful apparently. And not to make excuses, anyone here could manage it if they tried, but it can be tricky to lay flat, wide tinsel over very wiry seal bodies. I should make more of an effort, but I get in a hurry. Anyway. :oops:
"A man should not try to eliminate his complexes, but rather come into accord with them. They are ultimately what directs his conduct in the world." Sigmund Freud.
www.WilliamsFavorite.com
User avatar
William Anderson
Site Admin
Posts: 4555
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:14 pm
Location: Ashburn, VA 20148
Contact:

Re: Your Most Productive flies in 2015

Post by William Anderson » Sat Feb 06, 2016 12:35 pm

Premerger wrote: I don't know what my most successful pattern was but suspect this caddis is right up there,
Image

It had a role to play and went well but the pattern I liked using most was the Woodcock and Hare's Lug.

Of your patterns William, the one I liked most was the Pale Flymph. What a beauty, I'd love to fish that in faster water.

Jeff, I can see why your hot butt fly has caught you so many fish. Lots of the right stuff in there. Am looking forward to seeing you use it in a few weeks. Between your fly and William's flymph, I got thinking about different ways of winding hackle. Here is the sample. This is my first trial with the hook, Grip 14703 #16.
Thread. Pearsall's primrose
Hackle. Starling
Thorax. Hare's mask.

Image
Tim, I can see how each of these would have put a lot of fish on the line for you. That caddis is excellent. Curious about the materials and if you ever swim it below the surface. And the Hare's Lug flies are impeccable. I'd feel very confident with a box of these, tied either way. I love them both.

That body reminds me of another that worked well this season. I will have to fish it more often and under different circumstances but it turned out great and when wet just looks juicy.

Image

The body is red fox prespun on white silk, waxed with a dark wax. The body blends nicely with the dun hackle and the shuck (hardly visible here) is the finest underfur from and snowshoe hare's foot.
"A man should not try to eliminate his complexes, but rather come into accord with them. They are ultimately what directs his conduct in the world." Sigmund Freud.
www.WilliamsFavorite.com
User avatar
William Anderson
Site Admin
Posts: 4555
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:14 pm
Location: Ashburn, VA 20148
Contact:

Re: Your Most Productive flies in 2015

Post by William Anderson » Sat Feb 06, 2016 12:46 pm

Mataura mayfly wrote:Hands down number one for me would be the hot butt purple & Starling for me.

Image

A close second would be my variation of Mark Libertones Lil Dorothy.

Image
Jeff, neither of these surprise me. I haven't fished a fly like your starling and purple, although I do fish a lot of black gnats which are not too dissimilar and I'm very happy to have started carrying Mark's Lil Dorothy a few years ago. It still produces for me every year and I like to fish them to sulphurs. It would probably be a good idea to fish it more often. I tie mine a little different than Mark did. I like his brighter colored thorax that is brushed out, a bit of a veil. This is medium hare's ear. I made this change a couple years ago, but I couldn't say why. :?

Image
"A man should not try to eliminate his complexes, but rather come into accord with them. They are ultimately what directs his conduct in the world." Sigmund Freud.
www.WilliamsFavorite.com
User avatar
Premerger
Posts: 544
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2013 4:39 pm
Location: Wellington, New Zealand

Re: Your Most Productive flies in 2015

Post by Premerger » Sat Feb 06, 2016 2:48 pm

"Tim, I can see how each of these would have put a lot of fish on the line for you. That caddis is excellent. Curious about the materials and if you ever swim it below the surface. And the Hare's Lug flies are impeccable. I'd feel very confident with a box of these, tied either way. I love them both".

Hi William,

The caddis got a good workout before Christmas on the Tongariro.
Fish are taking below the surface, late in the evening.
In the morning, a few move to the edges cleaning up the insect debris from the night before.
It's those morning fish that made me put a little more effort into the pattern.

I wet the fly thoroughly before casting and mostly present downstream.
It doesn't float.
Started with a wet hook. Partridge G3AY #14 and dropped too many.
Changed to a dry fly hook with upturned hook point, Partridge SLD2 #14. It was much better.
Body. Possum mask
Rib. Tying thread
Underwing. One wide natural CDC tip
Top. A pinch of deer hair
Head. Hare's mask, brushed out.

It's a general pattern, not a specific pupa or sedge.
Rainbows and browns liked it anyway :-).
How hard can it be?
User avatar
Eric Peper
Posts: 244
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 5:28 pm
Location: Austin, TX and Island Park, ID

Re: Your Most Productive flies in 2015

Post by Eric Peper » Sat Feb 06, 2016 5:44 pm

Here's my #1 for 2015 . . . as well as 2014 and 2013 and maybe 2012. Hans Weilenmann's CDC & Elk. (Photo and fly by Hans)

Image

This fly has proved to be absolutely remarkable, taking some of the most difficult fish I've ever cast to and doing it consistently. Any time I encounter a riser on the Henry's Fork, this will be the first fly it sees, regardless of what I might see in the air. Often it is the only fly that fish will see because it eats it.

I only tie it in 16, most often on a Dohiku 301. I may vary the color of the CDC or the deehair, but usually it's just medium dun CDC and natural grey/brown deerhair.

Thank you Hans!!

Eric
A mountain is a fact -- a trout is a moment of beauty known only to men who seek them.
Al McClane in his Introduction to The Practical Fly Fisherman . . . often erroneously attributed to Arnold Gingrich
Post Reply