Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Missoulian Angler

Made a quick stop today at the Missoulian Angler in Missoula, MT. This is the finest fly shop in Missoula and owner Russ Parks is a top notch purveyor of a super range of angling and tying paraphernalia. Check them out at

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Snow, Snow, Snowman

Nephew, Paul, with his latest creation: Snowrabbit.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Swan River In Winter

This is my favorite place to fish, but mother nature has it sealed up for the winter.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Montana Is Beautiful

I think Montana is just as wonderful in the winter as it is in the summer. No fishing, but lots of fun in a winter wonderland.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Montana For Christmas

Off to Montana to celebrate Christmas with family and do a little skiing. Ice fishing anyone?

Monday, December 22, 2008


This is a friend, Cholo, who is a fine fly tyer in Spain. Check out his web site at

Sunday, December 21, 2008

When It Snows...

...I tye flies. Now I will try to fly out to Montana on the 23rd.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Let It Snow

My flight out to Montana for Christmas was cancelled due to the snow storm in New England. Ugh! Now I have to re-book. Joy to the world.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Iridescent Feathers

Iridescence on feathers is wonderful. Birds...gotta love 'em.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cig Fly

I always enjoy a good smoke.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I Want To Go Fishing

All I have to say is, "I want to go fishing." It is going to be a long winter.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Flies By Ralph Graves

A nice partridge and orange tyed by Ralph Graves of Roscoe, New York.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Hey Charles

Shouting out to Charles Barton. Get well.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Painting Jig Heads

Painting jig heads can be a drag, but this contraption makes it easier. Take two strips of 1x3" pine or other inexpensive lumber. Cut both sections to the same length. Next take some thin cork and glue it to one side of each board. The cork should be the size of each board, otherwise the jig clamp will not work properly. I used bulletin board cork (purchased in a big box hardware store) and cut to size. Now, sandwich the boards together and hold with clamps. Depending on the length of your sections, drill two or three holes, equally spaced, along the length of the wood through the sides of both pieces. Now you will need two bolts, two matching wing nuts and four washers that will fit the boards. If you made three holes in the wood you will need three sets of hardware. To finish, place the wood strips together with the cork sides facing each other and attach with washers, bolt and wing nut. Essentially you end up with a cork sandwich held together with hardware.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hubless Fly Reel?

What is this I hear? There is a new reel in the neighborhood. The spool rotates inside the housing on bearings with no need for an internal hub. Looks like a cool concept. The Psaros Trout II is made in Sweden. I am very proud of my Swedish ancestry so I decided to pass this item along. Check out the reel at

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Slippery When Wet

It is really raining. A good day to tye some flies.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Don't Mess With Him

This little fella can be found hanging out at the Wapsi facility in Mountain Home, Arkansas. I'm not kidding-took the snap myself.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Crabby Amy

This fly is called the Crabby Amy. I came up with this last Spring, but I have been tinkering with it recently. Photo compliments of Hans Weilennman.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Whiting Farms

Just heard that I will be joining the Whiting Farms Pro Team. It is very exciting to belong to such a fine group of fly tyers. I am looking forward to bringing my customers flies tyed with Whiting's vast array of superb feathers.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Crescent Moon Salmon Fly

This fly is called the Crescent Moon. My own design.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Bow River, Calgary

Shouting out to Jason Baxter of Calgary, Alberta. Jason is a premier guide on the Bow River. Look him up if you are in the neighborhood and want to get into some big 'bows on the Bow.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Make Flies Look Like Fish Food

This is an article from the NEC/FFF newsletter, Backcasts. I thought I would share it with the blogosphere as well.


In the August/September issue of Backcasts I explored what properties of the fly make it look like a good meal for the fish. As I said before, the fly must look like a food source in color, shape, silhouette and texture. The eyes on the fly are also an important feature in making the fish attracted to the fly.

At this point I will also add the concept of size to our equation. This is a materials issue in terms of choosing the most appropriate hook for the job. The hook must put the fly into the proper size range to make it look like a normal food. Hooks come in different shapes and styles. Different types of bends and shank shapes impart different looks on a fly. One must pick the proper hook for the fly to be tyed. Does your fly look better on a natural 3-extra long curved hook, standard nymph hook or a scud hook? As an example I offer the idea that you may want to tye a pheasant tail nymph on a scud hook instead of a nymph hook. The scud hook actually gives the fly body a curvature that is more like the natural food. Just because a recipe asks you to use a certain size and model hook does not mean that that is the only hook that will make an attractive fly.

Hands down, I say prismatic eyes are the best eye on any fly. I am particularly fond of the domed prismatic eyes. The eye actually is a type of prism that reflects and refracts light. The best solution to the question of which eyes to use is a “no-brainer.” Other types of eyes leave the fly looking flat and lifeless.

Color is another issue that is easy to address. Our fly tying materials, both natural and synthetic, are available in a cornucopia of colors. If fish are feeding on tan caddis, it stands to reason that I want to tye a tan caddis imitation. It is really hard to justify any other color. Tye your flies in colors that will match the hatch not just the recipe.

Now, without going through a treatise on every fly tying material, let's look, in general terms, at texture. There are a number of materials to use which add scale-like effects to a bait fish imitation. Try lateral scale or crystal flash to add the crinkly look of scales. Shine and shimmer are also found in the vast array of metallic and mylar tinsels that can be found on the walls of any decent fly shop. Synthetic hair has come a long way since the time when we just had craft fur. Check out what is available from a number of manufacturers. It is also important to determine if you want a stiffer or more limp material as this will effect different types of movement and the silhouette when the fly glides through the water. I suggest you use good judgment and follow your intuition about what looks edible and good (to you and the fish) as the recipe may not necessarily be recommending the best available material in this day and age.

Finally I must comment on the feathers that Mother Nature has given us. By way of example I will bring up mallard. When tying a slip-style wing on a wet fly, would you want to use the reflective and iridescent blue feather on the mallard wing, or the plainer-looking gray ones? Ask yourself which would make a more enticing fly.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Charles DeFeo

This is a fly I tyed about 4 years ago. The pattern is Jungle Stone #1 from Charles DeFeo. Cool use of jungle cock. DeFeo (1891-1978) was a painter and creator of exquisite salmon flies. His paintings were frequently found on the cover of Field and Stream.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Now that is a set of feathers.