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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. 

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Watch Out for the Boogie Man!

When I was camping as a kid. My brother always said, "Watch out for the Boogie Man!" Well I love fly fishing with a Boogie Man micro leech. It is easy to tie because all you really need is a marabou feather and a bit of dubbing for the collar! It is definitely a fish catcher. Take a look at how Phil Rowley ties a Boogie Man. I like using a few turns of brill for the collar instead of using dubbing!

Boogie Man

Hook: Curved Pupa Hook, sizes 12-16
Bead: Black, brass or tungsten
Thread: UTC 70 denier
Tail: Black marabou with one strand of flashabou doubled over 
Body: Black marabou twisted into a rope
Rib: Red Wire, small
Collar: Ice Dub or your choice ( I use brill)

I often add a red or orange hot spot collar on this great little micro leech!

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Guns and Roses Chironomid-Another John Kent Fly

This is another fantastic chironomid. I believe John came up with this pattern after gathering samples at Tunkwa Lake in British Columbia. Getting a throat sample and being observant of the emerging chironomids can reveal what the trout are dining on at that moment. I like these chironomids in smaller sizes although I have seen bomber sizes at local pot hole lakes in central Alberta! I like John's way of first tying in the micro tubing before wrapping the gun metal flashabou for the body! It is a lot easier to manage the micro tubing. You definitely need a handful of these great chironomids in your lake fly box!

Guns and Roses Chironomid-John Kent Originator

Hook: Curved Pupa Hook, sizes 10-16
Thread: UTC 70 denier, wine
Underbody: White Uni Stretch
Body: Gun Metal Flashabou- 6916
Rib: Micro Tubing, mahogany


Monday, January 4, 2021

Elvis and Bleeding Elvis Chironomids-John Kent

I absolutely love this chironomid. It is a unique chironomid because of how the the red thread or red holographic tinsel can "bleed through" the mirage opal tinsel depending on how the light hits this imposter. John Kent did a great job creating this "chromie." As many fly tyers know who love chironomids, John Kent is one of the leading chironomid designers in North America. Be sure to add a few to your chironomid box!

Elvis Chironomid-John Kent originator

Thread: UTC red 8/0
Hook: Daiichi 1760 or Alec Jackson Crystal Covert-sizes 10-16
Bead: White brass or tungsten
Body: Mirage opal tinsel
Underbody of Bleeding Elvis: Red Holographic Tinsel
Rib: Micro Tubing, mahogany

Watch John Kent Tie the Elvis Chironomid

Add Red Holographic Tinsel as an underbody for the "Bleeding Elvis!"


Friday, January 1, 2021

Phil Rowley Seminar for Central Alberta Fly Tyers on Zoom

Happy New Year Everybody! I have fantastic news! We are going to run our annual fly tying seminar with Phil Rowley in February on Saturday the 27th. The cost will be $50. The entire seminar will be done from the comfort of your home or from where ever you may be. We will be using Zoom on line. The theme will be Suggestive Lake Flies. Phil and I have been working on the details. This will be a hands on tying session that is set up mainly for our club and a few others who will be invited to tune in!

Over the last 10 years, the members of our club have learned an incredible amount about fly tying from Phil. This will also give us an opportunity to reconnect with everybody.

The day will consist of two parts. The morning session will be from 9 am to 12 pm then a break and we will log on to zoom for the afternoon from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm.

Phil has the technology to show: his Power Point presentation, see Phil and then close up on camera tying instruction for the tying session. I will be the moderator. You will have the ability to talk to Phil and ask questions throughout the day.

You will be given a copy of the entire tying session so you can go over and review any of the tying. You will also get copies of the power point presentation. Phil is also gathering some draw prizes that will add to the fun!

We need to get 20 plus to make this work. I will be helping everyone gather the fly tying materials for the session. Phil will be working with Canadian Llama Company, West River Fly Shop and Chinook Wind Outfitters to gather any tying materials you will need. Several of the materials will be gathered by me. I will repackage some that can be picked up right here at my house or mailed out!

To sign up, please get ahold of me, Bob Vanderwater. You can do that on e-mail: or call me(or Text) 403-598-3802. This tying session will educational and lots of fun! I hope you will join us!

Phil will be providing a PDF of the materials list at least 30 days in advance so you can gather everything you need. Materials that maybe difficult to gather will be made available by me (Bob Vanderwater).