Sunday, January 31, 2021

Alberta Stones and Lightening Bugs

The Alberta Stone and Lightening Bug are two excellent flies to add to your river fly box! I have had success with both on our Eastern slopes rivers. I can still recall an outstanding day I had with Karen on the Crowsnest River nymphing with an Alberta Stone.

Alberta Stone

Hook: TMC 200R Size 8-12
Beads: 1/8 and 7/64th tungsten
Thread: UTC Wood Duck 8/0Tail: Brown Turkey Biots
Rib: Gold wire, small
Body: Golden Semi-seal
Shellback: Pheasant
Thorax: Pheasant and Gold semi-seal
Legs: Rubber brown

Lightening Bug (Larry Graham originator)

Hook: Mustad 3906 sizes 12-16
Thread: White 8/0
Bead: Silver
Tail: Pheasant
Rib: Silver wire small
Body: Silver holographic tinsel, medium
Thorax: Mirage opal tinsel, medium or large (shellback), peacock herl
Legs: Pheasant

Used a red marker to paint the white thread to create a red collar (Hot spot)

Watch Tim Flagler tie a Lightening Bug


Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Vampire Leech, Start Using a jig Hook!

I love the Vampire Leech. It was developed by Todd Oishi. He has made a hook adjustment that he feels makes this great pattern even better! He is now using jig hooks! Take a look!

Vampire Leech (Todd Oishi originator)

Hook: Size 8-12 jig hook (this is size 8)
Bead: Slotted Chartreuse Tungsten-size to match hook
Thread: UTC 70 denier
Tail: Marabou, black with three strands of pearl flashabou
Body: Dyed UV Polar Chenille, Black UV (this is medium) 

From Facebook, Stillwaters Page

...from Todd Oishi

I highly recommend jig hooks for this pattern!!!!

When I originally created the Vampire Leech fly pattern, I used standard hooks and brass beads (which were more commonly found in those days), but since that time I’ve been experimenting and now exclusively use the Vampire Leech tied on Hanak 450BL Jig Hooks with Slotted Tungsten beads for the past 8 years with far greater success than the standard hooks and brass beads (for both my competition and recreational angling).

The jig hooks make the point of the pattern point upwards, which reduces snagging on the bottom and improves my hook set and landing ratio.

I’ve kept the jig aspect a secret for a long time, as it was that effective and improved my teams’ results at past championships.

The tungsten adds far more action when stripping and pausing to all it sink.its nit ideal for shallow water presentations unless you’re stripping it rapidly.

I also add 3 strands of flash to each side of the tail, as it adds to the pattern’s overall appeal and visibility when stripping at greater depths and under low light conditions.

I have dozens of Vampire Leeches ties on standard hooks that I won’t use during any competitions, and tend to give those flies to my fishing companions for recreation angling and as gifts.

Hope this helps...

Watch Todd tie a Vampire Leech! Do tie them on jig hooks with tungsten beads!

Coal Development Near the North Ram River-I am Extremely Worried

Dr. Bill Young sent along these alarming maps of where coal exploration is taking place. It would be a travesty to see this amazing place destroyed by coal development! It will destroy these delicate water systems and of course the blue ribbon fishery would be decimated. It is so sad for me seeing this even being considered. Take a close look by clicking on the maps to make them bigger!


Monday, January 25, 2021

Trying Fly Tying on Zoom! We Did It, Easily!

Well someone had to try it! Doug, Colin, Karen, Larry, Jay and I learned how to use Zoom to tie flies and of course have a great visit! We all had to download the Zoom APP to our computer or tablet or phone. I sent everyone the link on their email, they clicked on it and voila the Central Alberta Fly Tyers' tying sessions are back in business. We are going to do this again. Then we will get the tying going on line for whoever wants to join in!

I am able to get close in shots of the flies with our video camera and then use another camera for any key teaching points.

Today we tied Pumpkin Heads, Balanced Midnight Fire Leeches and Zucchini chironomids.

The best part of this great social experiment was the fact that we did it. The visiting and fly tying was great fun! Oh and yes I have to do something about that calendar in the background!


Update on the Fly Tying Session with Phil Rowley Part 1 on February 27th and Part 2 on March 6th

 Hi Everybody!

I hope you are staying warm. Looks like we have cold air moving in for a week or so. A great time to tie some flies.

I have talked with Phil Rowley about our annual fly tying session that this year will be conducted using Zoom on line. The dates are Saturday February 27th from 10 am til about 12:30 pm and then the following Saturday March 6th again from 10 am to 12:30 pm or so. We will be doing a Zoom introduction as well so you are used to this platform.

I will be preparing all of the tying materials which will be either mailed to you or you can pick up from my house.

The theme is Suggestive Lake Flies. Phil will be doing a Power Point Presentation as he ties flies with all of us following along! The presentation will be recorded so you can look over the tying at a later date if you wish. For those of you who can make only one session, we will work out the arrangements for that too! You again will have access to the fly tying from the session that you missed as well.

The cost is $50. That is an amazing deal! I am chasing down the materials for the tying session to make it easy for everybody!

Drop me a note to sign up! I hope to see you soon on Zoom!

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Midnight Fire Balanced Leech

I first encountered The Midnight Fire Leech in the Parkland Region of Manitoba. It is an effective cast and retrieve pattern. Over the years, tying them "balanced" and fished close to weed lines became very popular to catch a large foraging brown or rainbow trout. Hareline now makes a Midnight Fire Ice Dub. I like to tone it down a bit by adding black semi seal before I add the dubbing into a dubbing loop then wrap the rope up the hook shank!

Midnight Fire Balanced Leech

Hook: Jig, sizes8-12
Thread: UTC 70, red or black
Bead: 1/8th tungsten, gold on a sequin pin
Tail: Black marabou with Midnight Fire krinkle mirror flash
Body: Midnight Fire Ice Dub with black semi seal

Every once in a while you tangle with a monster!


Thursday, January 14, 2021

Attractors and Deep Water Chironomids with Rick Miyauchi

I have heard my buddy Phil Rowley say on numerous occasions, "Feed the trout what they want!" Well sometimes, attractor chironomids rock! I have talked to John Kent a few times about this. An attractor that stands out in the crowd can make the difference.

At depth, purple coloured chironomids can be very effective. I have successfully used basic purple/violet coloured chironomids with a lot of success. A purple coloured chironomid can get a lot of attention in 15 to 20 feet of water or more.

Thanks for the pictures and details Rick, much appreciated!

The Okey Dokey (courtesy of Bernie Peet) 

Hook: TMC 2457 or similar size #12-16. 

Rib: Silver, Gold, Blue or Light Blue copper wire. First 2-3 wraps should be touching to form a butt section then 6-7 open turns to form segmentation. 

Body: White fluorescent thread. 

Thorax: Fluorescent thread in your choice of colour. Chartreuse, Orange, Pink or Green. 

Simple Deep Water Chironomid. 

Thread: UTC 140 Wine or Maroon. 

Hook: TMC 2457 or similar. Body: Attach thread at thorax then unwind thread so that it lays flat on hook shank. Wrap flattened thread to bend of hook. Once the tail end of chironomid is reached proceed to spin bobbin until flattened thread becomes wound into a rope or round thread. Wrap forward to thorax 6-7 turns. This will provide segmentation for the body. 

Thorax: Unwind thread so that it lays flat. 

Cheeks: silver or holographic silver mylar tinsel. Once cheek material is tied in proceed to build up thorax to desired thickness then fold over cheek material towards head of fly and tie off. Coat body with your choice of sealant. UV resin, Sally Hansen nail polish etc.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

First Day of 2021 on the Water! What a Treat!

A warm day in January. What a bonus! It was also the first fly fishing trip of 2021. Doug Pullan, Colin Allison and I headed to just below the Dickson Dam. We were lucky enough to catch some walleye and a decent number of rocky mountain whitefish. We were comfortably warm as well. Lucky us!


Monday, January 11, 2021

The Coal Controversy in Our Province

There has been a lot of debate about coal mining in Alberta as of late. Here are some blog posts that is very thought provoking:

Here is an article from Outdoor Canada that also addresses the controversy from a watershed perspective:

Take the time to add your name to the petition to stop these coal mines right here:

Michael Short from Let's Go Outdoors had a conversation with Robin Campbell who is the President of the Coal Association of Canada. It is well worth a listen!

Here is another perspective to take a look at!

Blobs with Rick Miyauchi

Rick Miyauchi is a student of fly fishing. He has been experimenting a lot with blobs this year. Here are four blobs that Rick likes. You might consider adding a few to your fly box. You can get all of the fritz for the blobs at Canadian Llama Company.

Thanks for the photos and all of the details Rick. Much appreciated.

There doesn’t seem to be a way to fish the blob that won’t catch fish. From floating line to all manor of sinking lines. Fast or slow retrieves and even static the blob will pick up fish. Adding coloured beads be it plastic, brass or tungsten can add diversity in how you fish the pattern. A short foam tail can transform the pattern into the FAB (fat arsed blob) which allows one to fish the very top of the water column or shallowest of shoals. Here are some cautionary tips when using this pattern. If stripping the pattern be aware of the length time of between strips. A long pause seems to result in deeper hook sets and makes retrieval of the hook and safe release of the fish very difficult. Static fishing on sinking lines especially also results in deeper hook sets although I haven’t had this issue when fishing the pattern under an indicator.

Dennis The Menace Blob 

Thread: UTC 70 black. Hook: Mustad C49S size #8. Gamakatsu B10S size #10 is a good substitute. 
Tail: Black marabou. Note: Keep tail full and short. This will increase your hook ups. Tail more or less even with bend of hook. 
Body: Flybox Red Dragon fritz Jet Black. Has also been sold by different companies as Dennis The Menace fritz but is essentially a blend of black and red fritz fibres. 

Viva Blob

Thread: UTC 70 black. 
Hook: TMC 2499SPBL or your preferred 3X short shank wide gap hook. 
Body: Rear 1/3 FNF jelly fritz Cat Green or Hulk Green will do in a pinch. Front 2/3 FNF jelly fritz Black. 

 A lighter coloured variation of a Pink Dancer minus the bright tail. 

Thread UTC 70 chartreuse or white. 
Hook: TMC 2499SPBL or similar 3X short shank wide gap hook. 
Body: rear 2/3 FNF jelly fritz Zest (yellow). Front 1/3 Ian Barr Candy fritz or substitute FNF jelly fritz in Marshmallow Pink or Biscuit. 

 Hot Spot/Jelly Tot Blob 

Thread: UTC 70 Red or colour to match hot spot in middle of fly. 
Hook: TMC 2499SPBL size #10 or your preferred 3X short shank wide gap hook. Body: Rear 1/3 FNF UV jelly fritz FL.Milk or Flybox gel core fritz UV Diamond White. Middle 1/3 FNF Micro jelly fritz Safety Orange or your preferred colour. Front 1/3 same material as rear of fly.