Monday, January 28, 2019

Chernobyls in the Back Country of Banff National Park with Steve and Bob

Hi Everybody!

Steve Luethi, his buddy Pat and I spent 4 days in the backcountry at picturesque Banff National Park. We hiked 18 km one way over two major mountain passes to get to a lake that had colourful Yellowstone cutthroat trout. We also fished some small streams for brookies and cutthroat trout! It was a grunt to get there but the scenery and fishing was amazing. The best fly during that trip was a chernobyl ant! I was amazed that trout at 7000 feet were interested in such a big fly. I included a few pictures from this neat hike in this post! Tonight's theme was all about chernobyls. West River Fly Shop was full of keen tiers who learned to construct three great foam patterns!

Here is a blog post that shows lots of pictures and the story of this wonderful adventure:

I love Charlie Craven's, Charlie Boy Hopper! Tonight we tied the smaller version called the Baby Boy Hopper, essentially a beattle pattern.  We also had time to tie the Charlie Boy Hopper,  while Steve showed the gang how to tie a great Furry Foam Chernobyl pattern that he regularly fished on the eastern slopes and as he showed tonight on several back country lakes.

Our club has a busy week ahead.


1. Friday, February 1st is Pub Night at Tiffany's Pub starting at 7 pm. Phil Rowley, his wife Patsy, Karen and I will be there to visit with you. Be sure to bring your spouse and fly fishing buddies! 

2. Saturday February 2nd is our all day fly tying seminar with Phil Rowley. Phil has an excellent presentation lined up. You will have an opportunity to try lots of tying techniques with one of the best tying instructors in North America! We still have space for another 4 or 5 tyers!

We will have coffee on at 8:30 am and the seminar starts at 9 am. If you want to have Karen and Patsy bring pizza for your lunch, have an extra few bucks along. We will have coffee, snacks and water available for everybody!

Remember the workshop is located at a storage facility just south of the Red Deer Landfill. Here is the exact location! 484 McCoy Drive!

It is the SAME place as last year!

Yes there is a tying session next Monday February 4th. Wayne McElderry is our guest presenter. This will be the first time Wayne is in front of the camera. Lets have a great turn out! Wayne says to bring red and black thread!

Finally I want to wish Troy, Steve, Dana and Tim the best. They are off to Oman to fly fish for two weeks. I bet that will be an amazing trip.

Steve's Furry Foam Chernobyl

Hook: size 6-4xl streamer hook
Body; Furry foam, glued to tan and brown 2 mm foam
Legs: Round rubber legs
Wing: EP Fibres

Baby Boy Hopper (Charlie Craven originator)

Thread: Black UTC 8/0 or 6/0
Hook: Curved Nymph hook or Czech Nymph hook sizes 12-16
Body: Black 2 mm foam
Legs: Rubber-round
Wing: Elk or deer hair

Charlie Boy Hopper (Charlie Craven originator)

Thread: UTC 8/0 or 6/0, colour to match
Hook: Hopper hook or Streamer Hook, sizes 6 to 12
Body: 2 mm foam
Legs: Rubber-round
Wing: Elk or deer hair

Friday, January 25, 2019

Betty and Steve MacKenzie at Jurassic Lake in Argentina

Betty and Steve MacKenzie just  arrived home safely on Monday night from a wonderful 3
weeks in Argentina.  Here is their story of another great adventure!

After arriving in Argentina, we spent a few days in Buenos Aires, resting
and getting over the time change, as well as doing some sightseeing.  We
flew to Comodoro Rivadavia on Friday afternoon, January 4, and stayed
overnight.  Early Saturday morning we met the other 6 people in our group,
and were shuttled to the airport for our twin otter fight to the Jurassic
Lake, in the middle of Patagonia.  We enjoyed views of the dry landscape on
the way out.

After 1 and 1/2 hours we landed on a very windy and cold airstrip, where the
crew was waiting to transport us to the lodge.  
Jurassic Lodge sits at the mouth of a river, and provided a very comfortable
and convenient base for our fishing.  Our rooms were very comfortable, the
staff and guides very knowledgeable, and the food was excellent.
On a typical day, we would meet for breakfast at 8, then get ready and meet
our guide by about 9 am.  Our 8 anglers divided up into 4 groups, each with
a guide.  Each group was assigned a "beat" to fish for the time period,
although there was some flexibility depending on the weather. 
We would fish until about 12:30, then head back to the lodge for lunch and
siesta time if we wished to take a break.  It was never more than a 10
minute walk back to the lodge.
By 4 pm we would be out fishing again, and usually met back in the lodge
about 7:30 or 8:00 pm for happy hour and to compare stories and pictures of
the day's fishing.

We experienced an unusually windy week, even in that very windy part of the
world, with wind speeds of 75 - 80 kph many days, and some gusts over 100
kph.  However, the skies were usually blue, so we chose to ignore the
conditions and make the best of it.  Fishing was very difficult on some
days, but was more than made up for by a few truly stellar fishing days.  
There were no real monsters caught during our week, with the largest fish
weighing in around 15 lbs.  But we caught and released a ton of beautiful
rainbows in the 8 - 12 lb. range so we were very happy.  
It's hard to say what flies were the best, as we caught them on  wide range
of our favorites. Balanced flies that worked were ruby-eyed leech, green
dubbed leech, las vegas leech and good old ice minnow.  We caught some on
prince nymphs and baby damsels, as well as small scuds.  Floating patterns
that worked included big foam chernobyls and deer hair caddis.  I caught my
largest trout ever on a dry fly with a small Goddard caddis.  The lesson we
learned is that these are rainbow trout like any other - your good strong
Manitoba flies will work just fine!  We used 6 and 8 weight rods with Rio
indicator line.  Every fish was released as carefully as possible.
Our pictures are pretty self-explanatory.  I'll attach one video that is
pretty cool!

I'll have lots more stories to tell when I see you at fly tying!

Betty and Steve

Monday, January 21, 2019

Hot Spot Flies with Bernie Peet

Every year, I can always count on Bernie Peet to do a fly tying presentation. I think this may have been the 10th year Bernie has spent an evening with our club sharing some great fly tying techniques and ideas. Bernie's theme tonight was hot spot flies. The presentation was very well thought out. We tied flies with a hot spot tag, two hot spot thoraxes and finally a hot spot rib! I know I will use all 4 patterns that we tied tonight. It is so refreshing to have such a diversity of fly tying skills within our club! Bernie's British background that includes so many different fly fishing experiences allows our group to embrace these different perspectives and apply them to our fly fishing adventures!

...some thoughts from Bernie on Hot Spot Flies

Sometimes, the addition of a brightly coloured “hot spot”, which could be a tag, rib or thorax, can make a huge difference to the effectiveness of an otherwise drab fly.  Whether this makes flies more noticeable under lower light conditions, or whether a bright colour triggers an aggressive response is open to question.  However, experience suggests that, under certain conditions, hot-spot flies do work well, both in rivers and in still water.  Nymphs and wet flies can benefit from a “hot spot”, using colours such as fluorescent green, chartreuse, orange, red or white, in addition to pearlescent materials.  It’s worth tying flies with varying degrees of “flash” because sometimes an over-flashy fly will put fish off whereas the same fly, but a bit less bright, will give results.

Next week the theme is chernobyls. Steve Leuthi and Bob Vanderwater will share photos from a cool backcountry fly fishing trip in Banff National Park. We will then tie some chernobyls. It will definitely be a fun evening!

We still have a few spots left for the all day fly tying workshop with Phil Rowley on Saturday February 2nd. Check out the poster in the margine for all the details. It will be an awesome day of fly tying!

Remember that Pub Night is Friday February 1st starting at 7 pm at Tiffany's Restaurant. We will be in the pub!

Pepper’s Lake Special (Bernie Peet design)

Many years ago, after a frustrating few hours casting at rising fish at Pepper’s Lake, I fished this fly on a clear intermediate line and caught one fish after another. Each time I fished at Pepper’s this fly was successful when many other patterns failed to score.

Hook:  Size 10 – 14 curved
Bead: Copper or gold, 7/64th
Tag: Fluorescent orange thread or floss (can be coated in UV resin)
Rib:  Copper wire
Body:  Pheasant tail
Hackle: Reddish brown cock or hen

Hotspot Black and Peacock

A combination of a black fly with a fluorescent green tag or thorax seems to work well in many situations. This pattern can also be tied with a bead head or with some lead wire under the thorax.

Hook: Size 12 – 14,  2x nymph
Thread: Black
Tail: Black cock fibres
Rib: Silver or gold wire
Body:  Peacock herl
Thorax: Fluorescent green thread or floss, coated in UV resin
Thorax cover:  Black pheasant tail
Hackle: Black cock fibres, tied separately on each side of the head

Okey Dokey Buzzer (Makflies, YouTube)

This style of brightly coloured chironomid, which bears no resemblance to anything natural, is very popular in the UK and is tied with the head in a variety of bright colours such as chartreuse, orange and pink. The profile is thicker than one would normally use for a chironomid pattern.

Hook: Size 12 – 16, chironomid
Body: White fluorescent thread or floss
Rib: Silver blue or light blue coloured copper wire (or silver/gold) – tied with 2 – 3 touching turns at the bend of the hook
Head: Fluorescent green thread or floss
Finish: Coat whole fly with brushable UV resin

Red and Gold Diawl

The Diawl Bach, Welsh for “Little Devil” is a popular British fly that has spawned hundreds of variations.  It is used as a dropper fly and fished static or very slowly, imitating a range of aquatic insects such as chironomids and even small fry.  This particular pattern was described by Rob Denson in January’s “Trout and Salmon” magazine and combines a small amount of gold flash in the dubbing with a holographic red rib.

Hook: Size 10 – 14, 1x nymph
Thread:  Red
Tail:  Ginger cock
Rib:  Red holographic
Body:  Squirrel and hare’s ear mixed 50:50 with a pinch of gold Ice Dub
Throat hackle:  Ginger cock