Monday, December 17, 2018

Tom Thumbs and Mikulak Sedges with Dr. Bill Young

Dr. Bill Young was our guest tyer tonight. Bill taught us how to tie both a Tom Thumb and a Mikulak Sedge. Both excellent patterns. The 15 tyers tonight got another chance to improve their tying skills using mainly deer hair and elk hair! Again getting the correct proportions is the biggest challenge along with managing the deer or elk hair! Controlled wraps are critical to getting the deer or elk hair to sit on the top of the shank of the hook and not twist. This was an excellent evening and a great follow up to last weeks session on Humpies. Thanks again Dr. Bill! I had a flashback tonight. The Tom Thumb was the very first fly I learned to tie thanks to Dr. Bill. Fly tying has become a great past time in the following years.

We do not have a tying session until Monday January 7th when my wife, Karen, and I do a presentation about the Colorado Cutthroat Slam.

Remember to get a hold of me to sign up for the Phil Rowley Fly Tying Session on Saturday February 2nd. This is going to be a great learning day. You do not want to miss it! (

Merry Christmas everybody. Karen and I hope you have a relaxing Christmas break. We hope you have family and great food all around you!

Tom Thumb

Hook: Size 8-16 3 xl dry fly hook
Thread: 6/0 or 3/0 thread olive, brown or black
Tail: Deer Hair
Shellback and Wing: Deer Hair

Mikulak Sedge (Art Mikulak)

Thread: Olive 3/0 or 6/0
Hook: Size 8 to 12 3xl dry fly hook
Tail: Elk hair
Body: Olive Antron
Wings: Elk Hair
Thorax: Brown antron 
Legs: Brown Hackle

Friday, December 14, 2018

December Walleye Fly Fishing During a Chinook

I could see the chinook arch this morning as I drank my morning coffee. Warm air was definitely spilling over the mountains and racing down our Eastern slopes. It is December but there is always fishable water on the Red Deer River below the Gleniffer Dam. The water in a tail water rarely freezes over because of the warm water at the bottom of Gleniffer Lake that is slowly being released into the Red Deer River.

Well there was a window of opportunity to get out with a fly rod. My neighbour, Colin, and I made the 35 minute trek to the Red Deer River that is ice free. There is a good population of walleye, pike, rocky mountain whitefish and a few browns in this section. We decided to target walleye and then maybe whitefish a bit later.  I tied on an ice minnow and it did not take long to get a few hits but no hook up. Eventually I caught a typical walleye that was in the 18 inch category. But, moments later I hooked up and the fish felt heavy, real heavy. I thought I hooked a pike. Eventually I got a glimpse of the monster walleye and I was excited. I shouted to my neighbour to bring the net and make it quick! Colin, put down his Winston rod and sprinted down the shore after he found the net. I slowly worked my way to shore and met Colin. He scooped the gigantic walleye. It barely got into his large Fish Pond net. What a tank. I have caught lots of walleye but this may have been the largest I have ever caught! Sweet moment! 

You just never know!

Monday, December 10, 2018

The Challenge of Tying Humpies

Humpies are way harder to tie than one might think! Randall Kaufman once said that the humpy maybe the most popular dry fly in existence. I always thought that a stimulator would have that distinction but a humpy would be one of the top two. Now tying one can be a real challenge. You would think that a fly pattern with two or three materials would be easy to tie. Think again. Getting the proportions and sizing correct is a real challenge. As AK Best said in one of his books about tying flies in mass production, you have to tie a couple of dozen of the same fly before you get good at that particular pattern. 

Well a humpy is tough to tie proportionally properly. The fish love it and it floats like a cork! The twenty two fly tyers who came out tonight had a great time challenging their tying skills.

Next week Dr. Bill Young is our guest fly tyer. It will be our last session before we take a break for Christmas!

Remember to get signed up for the All Day Phil Rowley Seminar on February 2nd. Several club members have already signed up! Just drop me a note to sign up. (


Hook: Standard dry fly sizes 10-16
Thread: 6/0 colour to match body
Tail: Moose body hair or deer hair or elk hair
Body: Thread or Uni-stretch
Shellback: Deer hair, elk hair, foam or polypropylene 
Hackle: Brown

Deer Hair Humpy

Monday, December 3, 2018

Creative Thinking in Fly Tying Construction with Ralf Kuntzman

Ralf Kuntzman is a very creative fly tyer. He thinks about fly tying construction almost as a craftsman. He likes simplicity, being frugal and often he uses unconventional material. Today we tied 5 flies. Most used a type of pipe cleaner for the main ingredient. There are so many types of pipe cleaners that have a very cool chenille like outer cover that can be used in fly tying. Tonight the 20 plus fly tyers used thicker chenille to make a mouse fly, thinner chenilles to make dragon fly nymphs, cased caddis, articulating leeches and ice minnows. You can tell that Ralf sets himself up to fly fish with a host of materials that includes markers to get the right colours in his flies. Most of Ralf's flies that we tied tonight take mere minutes to construct. I bet there is going to be a run on chenilles at Michaels in the next few days. Great workshop Ralf! I am glad that I was there!

Next week we are going to tie Humpies! Bring orange, yellow and chartreuse 8/0 thread (70 denier). It will be a fun evening!

Finally we will open up the sign up for Phil Rowley's All Day Tying Seminar that will occur February 2nd.

See you next week! 

Ralf's Mouse

Hook: Streamer 4 XL Hook size 2-6
Bead: Gold
Thread: 6/0 colour to match body!
Body: Plush chenille (pipe cleaner style)

Ralf's Articulating Leech

Tail: Rabbit
Body: White chenille(Pipe cleaner style)
Hook: stinger hook
Note: body attached with monofilament 

Ralf's Case Caddis

Body: chenille (pipe cleaner style)

Ralf's Dragon Fly Nymph

Body: Chenille (pipe cleaner style)
Eyes: Bead chain
Legs: Pheasant

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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Kicking Off Another Tying Season in Style

The 2018-2019 Fly Tying Season got off to a great start last night! Twenty two fly tyers came out and learned to tie a Cola Worm Variant and Jermey Davies' Evil Weevil! The squirmy wormy material has become very popular. It is an excellent nymphing pattern that works everywhere on both lakes and rivers. Bloodworms are a very typical food source in our lakes and we encounter worms in our rivers often. You can find worms in the rivers, especially after rain falls. Jermey Davies' Evil Weevil and the many variants are an excellent nymph pattern that can imitate mayfly nymphs of all sorts depending on the size and colour variations that you make.

Troy at West River Fly Shop did some alterations to make the fly tying area more spacious! Great job Troy!

You can get tonight's fly tying materials at West River Fly Shop (where we tie flies)! Check out the link for the shop hours, on line shopping and guiding services!

It was great to see everybody again tonight. Thanks to Phil and Bruce from Wetaskawin for driving in. The guys brought a ton of fly tying materials to give away from a friend who no longer fly fishes and ties flies. It was like Christmas!

Next week, Ralf Kuntzman is our guest tyer. Ralf is a very creative fly tyer who often uses nonconventional materials to create flies. See you then!

Some reminders:

1. Our all day Phil Rowley Workshop is Saturday February 2nd. The cost is $45. This is the 10th Workshop Phil has done for us, you will not want to miss this one. Just drop me a note to get signed up! (

2. A very alarming report was just released about the fishery on the Bow River. Take a look RIGHT HERE!

3. Finally, a survey and plan is now out that will affect most of us fishing in David Thompson Country. If you enjoy fishing many head waters on the Upper Red Deer River, the Ram System, over to the Big Horn River take the time to fill in the survey. You can find the survey and plan RIGHT HERE!

Cola Worm Variant

Thread: Red either 8/0 or 6/0
Hook: size 8 to 12 curved nymph hook
Bead: Orange 7/64ths or 1/8th
Weight: 0.0015 lead substitute 
Body: Wiggle Worm, Red or Blood Red (or a colour of your choice)

Evil Weevil (Jeremy Davies)

Hook: Curved Caddis Hook size 10 to 18
Thread: Olive 8/0
Tail: Pheasant
Body: Light Peacock Semi Seal
Shellback: Opal Mylar, Medium or Pearl Mylar
Rib: Small Gold Wire
Thorax: Peacock Semi Seal
Wing buds: Goose Biots, brown

Ice Evil Weevil (Jeremy Davies)

Hook: Curved Caddis Hook size 10 to 18
Thread: Olive 8/0
Tail: Pheasant
Body: Caddis Green Ice Dub
Shellback: Opal Mylar, Medium or Pearl Mylar
Rib: Small Gold Wire
Thorax: Peacock Ice Dub or Olive or Purple Ice Dub
Wing buds: Goose Biots, brown