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The aim of this blog is to connect fly-tyers all over the world, to share, techniques, patterns, information and knowledge.

Fly Fishing

Proppen-Without doubt my most productive sea trout fly….

Proppen, over a thousand sea trout can’t be wrong!!

This is my variant of one of the best salmon flies in recent years. It is, without doubt my most productive fly for salt water sea trout fishing.  There is something about this pattern that sea trout just can’t resist.

 

On many occasions when there are sea trout feeding or on the move, and they just follow the fly and won’t take, this small fly works most of the time.  Fished on a long fine leader and floating line just under the surface with a very slow figure of eight retrieve, the takes are savage and powerful, driving the tiny hook home immediately. Many fishermen are skeptical to fishing such small patterns, but if you give this one a try, I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

When nothing else will work, proppen saves the day…

Proppen

Hook: Mustad 60329NBLN # 10 Carp Power

Thread: Dyneema

Feelers: 4  Stripped cock hackles

Beard: Deer hair summer coat

Body: Moose hair coated with Bug Bond and coloured with waterproof felt pen

 

1
Secure your hook in the vice as shown.

2
Select four stiff light coloured cock hackles

3
Strip off all the fibers.

4
Attach your tying thread to the hook shank

5
Tie in the four stripped cock hackles evenly spaced around the hook shank.

6
Cut a small bunch of deer hair from a summer coat, this wont flare as much as the winter coat hair. And even the points in a hair stacker.

7
Tie in the deer hair as a beard over and around the cock hackles.

8
Trim off the surplus deer hair and tie down.

9
Tie in two long moose mane hairs, one black, one white.

10
Wrap the moose hairs around the body simultaneously and tie off behind the hook eye.

11
Whip finish and remove the tying thread.

12
Give the body a coat with Bug Bond.

13
Give the body a quick zap with the UV light to cure the Bug Bond.

14
Colour the body with a waterproof felt pen and give it another coat with Bug Bond.

15
The finished fly ready for the salt.

Four feelers in all directions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pseudo Spinner

The Pseudo Spinner.

Fishing, or even identifying a mayfly spinner fall can be one of the most challenging situations a fly fisherman can experience! Its all about breaking codes and learning to read the signs. With the larger mayflies its somewhat easier to recognize the spinner fall, danica and vulgata are so large that they can be seen at a greater distance floating in a crucifix posture and lifeless in the surface, sometimes with such a high mortality rate they cover the whole surface of the river. But smaller darker and sometimes almost transparent species can be difficult to see even at close quarters.

 

Mayflies are known for their short lived life, with some species having less than an hour to find a mate and deposit eggs before they die. The first sign to look for, after the initial hatch, is high above you, the swarming dancing, mating mayflies high above the tree tops.  After mating and this swarming becomes sparser the males are drained of energy and are fighting to keep themselves airborne but gradually floating down closer to the water, where they die and lie with wings and tails spread out on the surface. The females, who hatch later than the males have a little more energy left to fly upstream to lay their eggs so the current will carry them back down to be deposited in the same stretch of river bed where she lived her nymphal stage of life. After which she dies and becomes spent.

High above the tree tops.

 

If after examining the waters surface and no spent spinners are visible, look for fish that are steady risers. This is a normal rise form for fish selectively feeding on spent spinners.  That being said, smaller fish can become wild in the beginning of a spinner fall making small splashy rises and even leaping clear of the water to take them as they fall.  As day turns into night and the spent spinners begin to drown and are trapped in the surface film slightly sinking, the larger fish begin to feed on them, rising every few seconds, not big splashy rises but sipping or slow head and tailing as the spent spinners float over them, as with all predators maximizing energy intake and minimizing energy consumption. Larger ‘Experienced’ fish seam to know that there is no escape for these dead and drowning flies.

This was taken under a spinner fall, although they where still hatching the trout wouldn’t touch them.

This is a mayfly pattern shown here represents NO specific species, but with just a tiny alteration in size and colour can be a good representation for most hatches of smaller to medium sized mayflies.  The most time consuming part of this pattern is stripping the peacock herl of its fibers. There are a few ways that you can do this. One is with a regular pencil erasure, just lie the herl down on a flat surface and rub the herl away from you. The other is to pull the herl through your finger and thumb nail as shown here. It takes a little time to master this technique but once you have done it a few times its plain sailing!

 

Hook Mustad R50 # 18-12

Tying thread Dyneema

Tail Coq de leon

Body Stripped peacock herl

Over body Bug Bond

Wings CDC hackles

Thorax CDC spun into dubbing loop

 

1
Place your hook in the vice as shown.

2
Select some nice Coq de Leon hackle fibers.

3
Run the tying thread along the hook shank until you come to the hook bend. Tie in the center tail first, then the two side tails, making sure that they are all about the same length.

4
If you want to make the fly a little more robust, put a tiny drop of super glue right on the tail bases. This will make everything stronger and help keep the tails in place.

5
Now run the tying thread forward and build a slightly tapered under body to shape the quill over body.

6
Choose a good strong herl from a peacock tail feather and strip off the fibers.

7
Tie in the stripped quill on the underside of the hook shank at the tail base.

8
Wind on the quill the right way! One side of the quill has better markings than the other. Tie off at the wing base.

9
Remove the surplus quill and give the body a coat with Bug bond.

10
Give the quill body a blast with the UV light, if you are using varnish you will have to wait for the body to dry before you continue.

11
The dry coated quill body.

12
Select two small well fibered CDC hackles. Trim them both down with curved scissors as shown.

13
Tie in your two CDC wings pointing slightly forward.

14
Spin a little CDC in a dubbing loop behind the wings.

15
Wind on the CDC, firstly behind the wings and then between and forward finishing behind the hook eye.

16
View from above of the finished thorax.

18
Whip finish and you have a fine mayfly spinner that floats like a cork.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Fender Parachute

My good friends hunting dog, Fender and just one of the many animals and huge amounts of materials he secures for my fly tying every year.

Fender secures more meat wrapped in materials for the winter.

This is a quick and simple parachute technique that requires only deer hair and Bug Bond.

Hook: Mustad C49

Tying thread: Dyneema

Body: Moose mane hair

Hackle: Roe deer hair and Bug Bond

Thorax: Underfur from deer or moose winter coat.

1.
Secure your emerger hook in the vice with as much of the bend clear of the jaws.

2.
Run your tying thread from just behind the hook eye down deep into the bend.

3.
Select some long Moose mane hairs.

4.
You will need two long hairs from the moose mane, one white and one black.

5.
Tie in the moose hairs by the points at the base of the hook bend.

6.
Build up a slight forward taper on the fly body with tying thread.

7.
Take both hair at once, with the black hair at the bottom and begin to wind on in even tight turns.

8.
Continue over the whole hook shank until you come to the thorax. Tie off.

9.
Trim off the surplus hair and tie down ends. Although these moose mane hairs are remarkably strong you can give the body a coat with Bug Bond.

10.
Cut and stack a small bunch of deer hair. Tie this in as a parachute post.

11.
At the base of the hairs from a winter coat of a moose or deer there is a dense under fur. Remove enough to dub the thorax.

12.
Dub the thorax behind and forward of the post.

13.
Place your finger tip in the centre of the deer hair post and press down until the deer hair flattens out.

14.
Place a small drop of Bug Bond in the center of the deer hair parachute hackle.

15.
Give the Bug Bond a zap with the UV light.

16.
The finished Fender emerger, made only from deer hair and Bug Bond.

17.
The view from below. Its a perfect quick and simple parachute hackle.


Nymph-omaniac

Mayfly Nymph

A general pattern for most large mayfly nymphs

Hook Mustad R73 9671 # 8-12

Tying thread Dyneema

Tail Olive ostrich herl

Body Olive brown Antron dubbing

Rib Olive Ostrich herl

Thorax Olive brown Antron dubbing

Wing case Golden pheasant tail

Legs Peasant tail

This pattern imitates the nymph stage of our two largest mayflies, Ephemera 

vulgata,  that is most common in lakes, and Ephemera danica, that is most common in slow flowing rivers and streams. These nymphs prefer sandy or muddy bottoms, where they live more or less buried for two to three years.  These large nymphs can be recognized by the breathing gills along the sides of the rear body.  Nymph patterns like this one should be weighted, so that they don´t swim up side down in the water, this should be done by tying in two strips of lead wire on the underside of the hook shank. The R73 hook from Mustad that I have used here is so heavy in the bend that it will swim the right way even if you use extra weight under the thorax. On these large nymphs I prefer to use Golden pheasant as the wing case. These tail feather fibers are tougher than normal ring neck pheasant tails fibers and have a little more shine.

1
Secure your hook in the vice and attach your tying thread.

2
Wind on a short length of lead free wire under the thorax.

3
Tie in three long ostrich herl fibers for the tail. These should be tied in like the legs on a photo tripod.

4
Cut away two of the ostrich herls. The remaining one will be used for ribbing.

5
Spin the Antron dubbing onto the tying thread and dubb a tapered body along 2/3 of the hook shank.

6
Wind on the ostrich herl as a rib over the rear body part. About 6-7 even turns. Remove the access herl.

7
Cut off the small ostrich herl fibers on the top and bottom of the rear body.

8
The rear body should now look like this.

9
Clip a large bunch of golden pheasant tail fibers and tie them in close to the rear body end.

10
Cover the thorax with dubbing, finishing about 2-3 mm behind the hook eye.

11
Cut two smaller bunches with normal pheasant tail fibers and tie in on both sides of the thorax as shown.

12
Spin a little more dubbing and dubb in front of the legs.

13
Pull the fibers over the thorax to form the wing case.

14
Tie down the fibers behind the hook eye.

15
Trim off the access pheasant fibers and whip finish. Apply a little varnish and your large mayfly nymph is finished.

16
The nymph seen from above.


All in one… a three minute dun mayfly pattern.

This pattern I developed out of necessity during a unexpected Vulgata hatch.

To find a simpler dun mayfly imitation  will be difficult.  All you need in the way of materials is one long fibered CdC feather and a short foam cylinder and a hook.

I named the fly “All In One” as the whole fly is tied with the same one CdC feather. You need to practice a little if the techniques I us are unfamiliar too you, but with a little practice or after you have tied a half dozen or so, it only takes about two minutes to tie this simple but effective pattern.  All in one floats fantastic as the whole fly is made from CdC and foam.

1
Secure your hook in the vice so the jaws of the vice hold the hook at the bottom of the bend, and that the straight part of the Klinkhamer hook is horizontal.

2
Choose a long fibered CdC feather and comb all the fibres back as illustrated about 1 cm from the feather tip.

3
Tie in the CdC feather at the rear of the horizontal part of the hook shaft.

4
Cut a short length of foam cylinder and tie this in as a regular parachute post.

5
Attach your hackle pliers to the stem of the CdC feather and carefully wind this around the foam post as you would a regular parachute hackle.

6
Comb the CdC fibres that cover the hook eye back so they are not in the way and tie down the CdC feather.

7
Trim off the points of the CdC parachute hackle and use the surpluss to dub the thorax. You dont need much.

8
Finish with a couple of whip finishes and your All in One is finished.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The worm that turned!

The rag worm fly is without doubt one of the most difficult patterns to tie, but the rewards can be great!

The ragworms wedding as it is known, is called the springs most exciting adventure for the sea trout fisherman. And if you are lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time, there is no danger for you not connecting with fish. Although ragworms are on the sea trouts menu the whole year round, its in the spring under the annual swarming that the sea trout will go on a feeding frenzy and gorge themselves on the worms.

The real deal.

There are many patterns known to sea trout fishermen to imitate the worm, some better than others, some simple to tie and some, not so simple to tie. I believe the original pattern from the tying bench of innovative Swedish fly tyer Robert Lai is still for me, without a doubt the best. Robert´s pattern is probably one of the most challenging patterns, many fly tyers will ever learn to tie, but the rewards are great.  No other worm pattern swims and pulsates in the water like his, imitating the natural swimming worm as closely as humanly possible with feather and steel.

Although we are not 100% sure, and thats not for lack of theories! But the spring swarming is due to the worms spawning season and seems to be triggered by two main factors. A rise in water temperature 6-7 degrees, and the arrival of a new lunar phase, (full moon) from anywhere  around mid March and into April.  The female ragworm broods her eggs within her long flattened body and as the eggs develop her body becomes brittle and eventually splits, releasing the eggs. The male ragworms are attracted to the egg laying by following pheromones, that are also released by the females. After spawning, both male and female ragworms die.

Ragg worm swarming can be very local in most situations, and it’s not easy to know where. Then you should look to the sky, beacause the greedy and forever hungry sea gulls can show you the way.  If you can see that screaming sea gulls are flocking and circle around a area of coast, this shows you where to fish – just like the pelicans when tarpon fishing. Consider  also when the strong spring sun has been high in the sky all day and warming up the shallow’s, especially with dark muddy bottoms. Most sea trout fishermen, including myself, prefer sight fishing during the day looking for rises as you fish systematically, possible holding spots in small bays and inlets as the tide rises and falls. But if you are, as most sea trout fishermen, hoping to connect with  larger fish that are normally wiser and more sceptical about entering the shallower coastal waters during the hours of daylight. These shallow areas retain the days heat during the first couple of hours of darkness.  It’s during this period that larger sea trout dare to venture into the shallows to feed.  You should fish at least a couple of hours into the night.

The pattern I have tied here started off, 15 years ago, as a direct copy of Robert´s original pattern, but over the years it has changed a little, but this had more to do with receding memory on my part, than anything to do with developing the pattern. But the basic original principal is still there and the pattern still works. There are a few rules one must follow when tying this pattern. The tail hook should be small and light in weight. Because the worm has an extremely flexible body, a larger and heavier tail hook has a tendency to “Hang-up” on the body under casting, which results in you fishing a ball of marabou with the hook out of-line.  A heavier tail hook also reduces the  animation and swimming motion of the worm by restricting the tail from lifting when the bead head sinks.  Another point is the central core of the fly, not the loop that you spun the marabou onto but the Dyneema spine that holds the front hook to the tail hook.  This is Alfa and Omega regarding the success of tying this pattern. If the spine is not securely attached to the front hook, you can risk loosing, not only the business end of your worm but also fish. So make sure that you tie this in as well as you can and don´t be afraid to use super glue.  The Latin name for the common ragworm is Nereis diversicolor, meaning they are quite variable in colour, but typically reddish brown and turning more on the green side during the spawning season.  So the rule for colour is that there is no rule, you can tie the worm in any colour you like! Personally I have found the two most successful colours for me are the one shown here and bright orange. And don´t forget that ragworms are on the sea trout menu the whole year, so don´t restrict your fishing with it just to the spring, it´s also a deadly pattern for regular trout fishing.

Hook Tail: Mustad Shrimp C47SD # 8

Hook Head: Mustad Shrimp C47SD # 6

Tying Thread: Dyneema

Central Core: Dyneema

Tail: Black and Olive brown marabou

Body: Black and Olive brown marabou

Head: Brass or Tungsten bead

1
Secure your salt water # 8 tail hook in the vice.

2
Cover the hook with a foundation of Dyneema tying thread. I use Dyneema because it is salt water resistant and weight for weight stronger than quality steel.

3
Select some fine tapered olive and black marabou and tie in the tail. Colour your Dyneema with a black waterproof felt pen.

4
Load two paper clips or a Marc Petitjean magic tool, one with black marabou and one with olive. Make sure that the marabou fibres are not too long.

5
Once you have loaded your paper clips make a dubbing loop that is 2.5 times the length of your paper clips. Make sure that you dubbing loop begins tight against the tail of the fly. Colour the dubbing loop black with a waterproof felt pen.

6
Holding the loop open with your left hand place in the black marabou.

7
Now you have to take care! Once the black marabou is trapped in between the dubbing loop make sure you dont release the tension. Otherwise all the marabou will fall out.

8
Whilst keeping the tension in the first marabou by holding the dyneema loop with your left forefinger and thumb place in the olive marabou approximately 1 cm further down the loop. Now retain the tension in the loop and let the bottom half hang over your forefinger. Spin the bottom half of the loop tight.

9
Once you have spun the bottom half, while keeping the tension in the loop, lift and pull your dubbing spinner off your finger and the upper half of the loop will spin automatically, catching the black marabou. You can now spin the whole loop to tighten the marabou securely.

10
While holding the loop out stretched and tight use an old tooth brush (not a metal dubbing brush! this will fray and weaken your Dyneema) to open out any trapped marabou fibres.

11
Hang your dubbing loop in a material spring or clip, so that it doesn´t unwind while you are working on the rest of the fly. Using a even stronger Dyneema, cut a 30 cm length and double it. Place the looped end through the tail hook eye as shown.

12
Now thread the two ends of the core Dyneema through the loop in the hook eye.

13
And pull tight. You can now place a little drop of super glue on the knot.

14
Colour the core Dyneema with a black waterproof felt pen and then lie it down on top of the spun dubbing loop.

15
While holding the Dyneema core and the dubbing loop in your right hand, catch the centre of the dubbing loop with the hook end of a whip finish tool.

16
Fold the dubbing loop over as shown towards the tail hook.

17
While holding the dubbing spinner in place with your left hand remove the whip finish tool from the loop. You will now see the loop spin automatically together. Secure the dubbing loop to the tail hook by tying down a small section, and then folding over the dyneema and tying down again (see stage 23). Repeat this until you are sure it is secure. Remove the access dyneema tying thread and carefully apply a drop of super glue to the whippings . Taking care not to get it on the marabou.

18
Find the core loop again and attach your whip finish tool. Now you should be able to slide the marabou dubbing loop down the core a little. Remove the hook from your vice.

19
Place a bead onto the # 6 shrimp hook and secure in the vice. Once in the vice place a few wrapping of lead wire behind the bead head. This extra weight gives a much better swimming action.

20
Using your thumb nail push the lead wire into the bead head.

21
Attach your tying thread and secure the lead wire and bead head.

22
Tie in the core of the fly as shown.

23
Once the first part of the core is attached apply a drop of super glue.

24
Fold over the core and tie down again. Apply another small drop of super glue.

25
Once you have secured the core slide the dubbing loop up and tie this down. Once you are happy that everything is in place apply another small drop of super glue.

26
Move your tying thread to the rear of the hook shaft and make another dubbing loop. Don´t forget to colour the dyneema black. Spin in some olive marabou.

27
Wind on the last dubbing loop, making sure that you stroke the marabou fibres back with each turn.

28
Take a few black marabou fibres and tie these in over the olive ones. Whip finish and apply a tiny drop of super glue through the eye of the bead.

29
Cut off the point of the front hook with a strong pair of pliers. Be careful with your eyes when doing this as the point comes off like a bullet.

Proof of the pudding!


Bug Bond Thunder Creek.

Bug Bond Thunder Creek, a great salt water sea trout pattern.

The original Thunder creek streamer series came from the vice of American, Keith Fulsher. In the early sixties, not satisfied with the regular head and eye size of streamers, he began experimenting and chose the reverse buck tail technique for his Thunder creek patterns.  This technique involves tying the buck tail, as the technique suggests, the opposite way and then folding it back over the hook shank and tying down to form the head. The simplicity of this pattern and the minimal materials needed to tie it, is fly design at its very best! He achieved his goal, a slim two toned body with a large minnow head that allowed for larger eyes, the main attack point for predatory fish and through changing only the buck tail colour and hook size, could imitate numerous baitfish. Streamers generally fall into two categories, baitfish imitations and attractors! I am in no doubt that the Thunder creek covers both. You can try a whole load of colour combinations, and if you would like a little flash in the pattern tie this in at the rear of the head before folding the wings back. Also if you would like a heavier pattern use lead under the head dubbing.  If you are looking for a slimmer pattern to imitate a sand eel, replace the buck tail with a synthetic material like fish hair or DNA, but dont build up the head with dubbing, this will keep the pattern slim and streamline.

1
Secure your straight eye streamer hook securely fixed in the vice.

Attatch your tying thread and cover the first third of the hook shank.

3
Now cut a small bunch of buck tail and even the ends in a hair stacker. measure the hair bunch to the correct length required and tie in as shown, on top of the hook shank.

4
Turn your hook up side down in the vice.

5
Tie in another bunch of lighter buck tail on the underside of the hook shank. This should be just a little shorter than the first. Make sure that the forward whippings of tying thread are tight into the hook eye.

6
Now apply a little dubbing to the tying thread and build up a tight dense base for the head of the baitfish. Make sure that the head is not larger than the initial butts of buck tail. Finish with the tying thread hanging at the base of the head.

7
This stage can be done free hand, but you can achieve much better results using a transparent plastic tube. Place the tube over the eye of the hook pushing the buck tail back to form the wing.

8
Make a few tight turns of tying thread to form the head. The Bucktail wing will flare outwards.

9
Carefully remove the tube, by twisting it from side to side while carefully pulling off the head. Make a few more secure tight turns of tying thread and whip finish. Apply the tape eyes one each side. To set the wing flat wet your fingers and stroke the wing.

10
The only thing remaining now is to coat the head with Bug Bond. The first coat is just to secure the tape eyes. Make sure that when applying the next two coats that you cover the band of tying thread. When the wing dry’s it will remain flat.


Drift boat fishing in Trysil

Marc Petitjean and Torill Kolbu fish a drift on the Trysil River with Espen from Call of the wild.

My pale yellow mayfly imitation that was easy to see on the dark water, drifted perfectly 7-8 metres from the boat, quickly approaching two rolling grayling in the next pool, that we had had our eyes on for the last 80 metres or so, drift. When without warning another, previously unseen fish rose from the depths of a dark pool and enthusiastically disappeared with my mayfly. Espen began pulling on the oars to slow our decent and dropped the anchor. I lifted my rod and it immediately assumed the golden arch position with the grayling diving deep into the pool. After a short battle my first grayling of the season was released.

Late one Sunday night, 02.45 to be precise, the last week of June, I was woken when my mobile bellowed out the familiar SMS tone, was this the message that I had been waiting a week for ? “1 new message received”  I pressed the keys on my mobile feverishly, as I fumbled for my reading glasses.  The message read, The Danica are hatching, Come ASAP, Espen.  03.26 I was packed and in the car with only a thermos of strong black Columbian and a *Swedish General, to keep me company for the five hour drive from my home town just south of Oslo, to meet Espen Eliertsen inTrysil.

Espen who is owner and head guide for “Call of the wild”  a fishing guide service in Trysil, is the first person in Europe to import and use Clacka drift boats from the USA. Espen is a trained guide who has guided both hunting and fishing in USA and Austrailia, as well as being a white water rafting instructor. Earlier in the month, he had promised me a boat fishing trip unlike any other. If you regularly read any north american fly fishing magazines, the very unique and American looking Clacka drift boats, will be familiar to you, normally photographed in the equally unique landscape on a river in Big sky Montana. But how would they look and even more, function, on a Norwegian river ? I was intrigued and couldn´t wait to find out…

The drop anchor on one of the clacka drift boats.

Anchor release system.

Rod holders are safe and well placed in the boat.

The standing support feature keeps the caster on an even keel.

These McKenzie style drift boats can be traced back to old North Atlantic cod fishermen but where somewhat popularised  for fly fishing by the the famous Western Novelist and fisherman Zane Grey, who used them at his fishing camp on the Rogue river.

Allthough the initial overall shape of the boat has remained the same the modern  design features that Clacka have used years developing, make this the ultimate river drift, fishing platform.

After a brief safety talk, about what, and what not to do, not dissimilar to that you receive on a plane from a flight attendant, we where in the boat and starting the first drift.

The weather forcast for the next two days was echoed in the headlines of the tabloid press, all using words as “Tropical” “Heat wave”  “Over the whole of Norway”  “30 degrees +”. As I understood from Espen, we needed the temperature to rise in the river, in order for the Danica to do there thing, but was this going to be too much of a good thing ?

Espen with a 43 cm Trysil grayling.

There where Danica and Sulpherea and Rodanis mayflies hatching everywhere, and when I say everywhere, I mean everywhere, but this being the first day of the hatch, the famous Trysil grayling were not as eager as the seagulls to take advantage of this seasonal delicacy. I couldt belive that fish where not rising! The whole river surface was covered with duns, popping up and floating like small sail boats down river.  Espen re-asured me that it always takes a little time for them to start feeding on the surface when the Danica hatch first begins. The first few hours they concentrate where the food is most plentiful and that below the surface.

For the next three hours we had only been in contact with a few fish and drifted just about every type of river condition from shallow rapids to fast flowing channels to flat calm slow drifts, and the Clacka drift boat in combination with Espen´s expert handling impressed me more and more, performing perfectly as a sturdy fishing and casting platform at all times.  We drifted through breath taking Alaskan type landscape, with steep rising pine and spruce covered mountains on each side of us, that you only get full effect of from mid-river, down to where the river opens out and widens almost into a large basin, here Espen suggested that we take lunch, I had actually forgotten about eating but suddenly realised the almost Parkinson like symptoms my hands where showing form the consumption of way too much Columbian and General in the last ten hours and no food. So I agreed and Espen dropped the anchor in mid stream, We can sit and watch for rises as we eat lunch. It sounded like a plan.

Doing the Alska drift.

While we where finishing up sandwiches and ice cold drinks that Espen had tucked away in  one of the boats many water tight storage compartments, heavy clouds began moving in from the north accompanied with a light rainfall, but still the air temperature over 25 degrees. In other words, perfect hatching weather. We noticed first one rise, close to land, not a huge splash but a typical grayling rise followed by a delicate sip, leaving the tell tale bubble the way grayling do. Shortly followed by  another one not far from the boat, and yet another,  and like magic, and for reasons we will probably never come to understand, small rings began to decorate the surface of the flat calm river everywhere, it had started.

On the drift down the fish I had managed to take, after a few changes of fly had all fallen for a detached bodied CdC mayfly pattern of my own creation, I tied on a new one while Espen pulled up the anchor and manoeuvred the boat into a tactical  casting position for what he thought was a better and steady rising fish.  The anchor on these drift boats is ingenious to say the least. No disturbing the fishermen in the boat while you open hatches and dig out the rope and anchor, and then throw it overboard. This is fishing boat design at its best. All Espen has to do is step on the anchor release which is positioned by his feet where he sits to row, and the anchor is released from the back of the boat. When he needs to take in the anchor, he just pulls on the rope from his sitting position and its up again.

Arve puts Jon onto another fish.

One of the other great advantages of fishing from these boats, is the boat with a little help from Espens control with the oars, gives a drifted fly the perfect drift with a minimum of mending the fly line. You are also not only casting to rising fish, but while drifting your fly is constantly covering new water and new fish.  When drifting over faster runs of water you can change from dry fly to a single nymph or a set-up with a heavy nymph on the point and a couple of lighter nymphs as droppers and a strike indicator. This is not only an extremely effective method for fishing pocket water  but a deadly technique for searching out larger grayling in the deeper faster water, that otherwise would be inaccessible.  If you intend to maximise your fishing affectivity you can set-up two rods, one with dry fly and one with nymphs that you can alternate between as the river determines as you drift.

With a new fly on the leader and Espen holding the boat steady he says ” nine o clock, 15 metres ” I lift my rod and make a couple of false casts to shake of the dry fly floatant and lie my line down in the nine o clock position, “perfect” says Espen.  The fly drifts perfectly along with several naturals, one of which is 60 cm or so ahead of mine, when it slowly enters the steady risers feeding window and “sup” its gone. Mine is next in line ! and like a text book account of how it should be, the fish obliges and leaves only  small rings in the surface where my fly once was. If there was only a slight breeze these rises would be impossible to see.  I automatically lift the rod and my line tightens, I can feel immediately that this fish is of another class from the ones I have had contact with so far. The fish dives and enters the strong under current using his majestic dorsal fin to his advantage and holding his position deep on the bottom.  After 2 or 3 minutes he succumbed to the overwhelming power of space age carbon.  What a beautiful fish, 38 cm of grayling, a new personal record on dry fly.

The largest fish of the day,about to be released.

The rise continued for another 45 minutes or so, or five more fish, and then began to fall off until there was only the odd rise here and there. We drifted down to the bridge where we where going to take the boat on shore.  While unloading the boat I noticed some hefty rising that wasn´t more than 70 cm from one of the bridge supports. There where three heavy grayling rolling in the surface one after another, each time they came up showing their whole side and dorsal fin to us.  I pointed them out to Espen when he returned from the car park, you´ll have to take the boat out yourself if you want to try for them. Espen had and appointment with a priest and 20 other people that he would float them down the river as part of a mid summer eve event, and he was already running late. I just have to go and get the hanger, I´ll be back in 15 minutes.  I jumped in the boat and drifted the 50 or so metres I needed to get me in casting distance and dropped the anchor.  After quickly dusting my fly I could now see clearly 3 huge grayling, one of them or more, rolling every 10 – 15 seconds sucking in every dun that floated over them.  I made a cast, but I had misjudged the current and mid section of my fly line began forming a rapidly increasing down stream loop, that any second was going to start stripping my fly out of a natural drift. I began mending my fly line like a mad man, trying to correct the drift before my fly sailed over the rising fish. Just before my fly entered the critical part of the drift, over the fish, I gave my rod a violent flick and lifted what fly line I could out of the water stripping my fly across the surface for about 40 cm and quickly dropped the tip of my rod again. The result was perfect and as soon as it came over the first fish he rolled and once again my line tightened.  And like the other grayling it wasen´t long before he was on the bottom in mid river.  Typical I thought, the best fish of the trip and no one here to help me photograph it. When I eventually brought him up to the boat and slipped the landing net under him I could see this was even bigger than my previous best fish earlier in the day.  I lifted him into the boat and removed the hook. Knowing Espen was soon to return I placed the fish back in the landing net and into the water.

A couple of minutes later Espen was back on the shore and I lifted the net in triumph, and shouted we need to photograph it before the light goes. After 20 or so pulls of the oars Espen was reviving the fish while I sorted out the camera gear. We returned the fish after a short photo session. He was between 43 – 45 cm, another personal record from the river Trysil.

I can strongly recommend this drift boat trip on the Trysil river for both boat and bank fishermen alike.  You experience a whole new type of fishing in fantastic surroundings. But it dosen´t stop at the river Tysil. The area around Trysil is full of lakes and rivers that contain not only trout and grayling but also char and pike. All the information that you need can be obtained by contacting Espen, who speaks fluent English or Destination Trysil the local tourist office.

Lots more information can be obtained from Espens website. www.callofthewild.no which is also in English.

Marc with a nice Trysil brown taken on the wade and fish beats.

Drift boat fishing on the Trysil River info:

Day trip drift boating

Price per boat (max 2 persons per boat) Nok 3000,-

8 hours drifting including transport too and from the river.

Day trip includes:

Meet at the Trysil Hyttegrend/ Trysil fishing centre.

Drive to putout sight for boat where drift will begin. Here you will be instructed about the boat and its equipment and safety.

One stop approximately half way through the days drift and lunch. There will also be opportunities to stop if wished for wading and fishing on good wading stretches of the river throughout the drift especially in the shallower parts in the middle of the river, that are otherwise difficult to access without a boat.

Included in the price:

Transport too and from the river

Guide and boat

Lunch

Not included:

Fishing license

Fishing equipment (can be hired)

Recommended equipment:

Waders

Hat (Must have)

Sun glasses (Must Have)

Neck scarf

Rain clothes

Warm pullover

4-5 weight rod

Half day drift boat trip:

Price per boat (max 2 persons per boat) Nok 1500,-

4 hours drift including transport too and from the river.

Meet at the Trysil Hyttegrend/ Trysil fishing centre.

Drive to putout sight for boat where drift will begin. Here you will be instructed about the boat and its equipment and safety.

Drift a 4 hour stetch of river. There will be oppertunities to stop if wished for wading and fishing on good wading stretches of the river throughout the drift especially in the shallower parts in the middle of the river, that are otherwise difficult to access without a boat.

Included in the price:

Transport too and from the river

Guide and boat

Coffee

The different drifts:

North drift:

The drift starts way north in Trysil  and we drift down to Sennsjøen. The river is slow  flowing here but has many fine stretches with good dry fly fishing. A very good drift with possibilities for good Grayling, trout and lower down near Sennsjøen big white fish.

You will drift through fantastic landscape with good opportunities to come in contact with big fish.

Middle drift:

We start between Trysil centre and Jordet. This stretch offers a varied fishing from faster flowing stretches to slow stretches with deep pools. The Grayling dominates this stretch but there are still good possibilities for trout and down at Sennsjøen big white fish and Grayling.

Southern drift:

This drift goes through the Gjerfloen fly fishing zone of river. We drift through all types of river from slow floating to powerful rapids. Here it is only allowed to fish with fly and this stretch has a bag limit of one fish per fisherman under 38 cm. But you can continue to fish catch & release. This stretch was the first of its kind in Norway. Only 20 fishing licenses sold each day.

Half day drift boat trip:

From Strandvollen bridge to Trysil centre.

This stretch offers a good varied fishing for Grayling but trout are possible down near Trysil centre here are also possibilities for big white fish. This trip gives you a good introduction as to what drift boat fishing is all about.

Season:

Week 24-27 Mayfly excellent hatches and dry fly fishing

Week 26-27 Danica/ Vulgata hatching

Week 28-29 Start of the caddis fly hatch. Also possible mayfly hatching.

Week 30-35 Caddis hatches especially good in the evening and at night. Some mayfly hatching.

Week 35-40 Second generation mayfly hatches and caddis. Normally very good fishing on days with good weather conditions right until there is ice on the water.

For information on water levels and air and water temperature, hatches see Trysilflyfisher on Twitter.

Booking, Contact and other info:

Espen A Eilertsen

Tel: 0047 404 15677

e mail: espen@callofthewild.no

http://www.callofthewild.no/


Grayling Heroe-Trout egg

The ‘Grayling Heroe’ trout egg inspired by mr Bug Bond himself, David Edwards.

Apparently trout roe patterns have been working well for they Grayling guys in the UK recently. This ones for you.

I will be posting the full step by step for this quick and easy Bug Bond patterns soooon!


The worm that turned!

The rag worm fly is without doubt one of the most difficult patterns to tie, but the rewards can be great!

The ragworms wedding as it is known, is called the springs most exciting adventure for the sea trout fisherman. And if you are lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time, there is no danger for you not connecting with fish. Although ragworms are on the sea trouts menu the whole year round, its in the spring under the annual swarming that the sea trout will go on a feeding frenzy and gorge themselves on the worms.

The real deal.

There are many patterns known to sea trout fishermen to imitate the worm, some better than others, some simple to tie and some, not so simple to tie. I believe the original pattern from the tying bench of innovative Swedish fly tyer Robert Lai is still for me, without a doubt the best. Robert´s pattern is probably one of the most challenging patterns, many fly tyers will ever learn to tie, but the rewards are great.  No other worm pattern swims and pulsates in the water like his, imitating the natural swimming worm as closely as humanly possible with feather and steel.

Although we are not 100% sure, and thats not for lack of theories! But the spring swarming is due to the worms spawning season and seems to be triggered by two main factors. A rise in water temperature 6-7 degrees, and the arrival of a new lunar phase, (full moon) from anywhere  around mid March and into April.  The female ragworm broods her eggs within her long flattened body and as the eggs develop her body becomes brittle and eventually splits, releasing the eggs. The male ragworms are attracted to the egg laying by following pheromones, that are also released by the females. After spawning, both male and female ragworms die.

Ragg worm swarming can be very local in most situations, and it’s not easy to know where. Then you should look to the sky, beacause the greedy and forever hungry sea gulls can show you the way.  If you can see that screaming sea gulls are flocking and circle around a area of coast, this shows you where to fish – just like the pelicans when tarpon fishing. Consider  also when the strong spring sun has been high in the sky all day and warming up the shallow’s, especially with dark muddy bottoms. Most sea trout fishermen, including myself, prefer sight fishing during the day looking for rises as you fish systematically, possible holding spots in small bays and inlets as the tide rises and falls. But if you are, as most sea trout fishermen, hoping to connect with  larger fish that are normally wiser and more sceptical about entering the shallower coastal waters during the hours of daylight. These shallow areas retain the days heat during the first couple of hours of darkness.  It’s during this period that larger sea trout dare to venture into the shallows to feed.  You should fish at least a couple of hours into the night.

The pattern I have tied here started off, 15 years ago, as a direct copy of Robert´s original pattern, but over the years it has changed a little, but this had more to do with receding memory on my part, than anything to do with developing the pattern. But the basic original principal is still there and the pattern still works. There are a few rules one must follow when tying this pattern. The tail hook should be small and light in weight. Because the worm has an extremely flexible body, a larger and heavier tail hook has a tendency to “Hang-up” on the body under casting, which results in you fishing a ball of marabou with the hook out of-line.  A heavier tail hook also reduces the  animation and swimming motion of the worm by restricting the tail from lifting when the bead head sinks.  Another point is the central core of the fly, not the loop that you spun the marabou onto but the Dyneema spine that holds the front hook to the tail hook.  This is Alfa and Omega regarding the success of tying this pattern. If the spine is not securely attached to the front hook, you can risk loosing, not only the business end of your worm but also fish. So make sure that you tie this in as well as you can and don´t be afraid to use super glue.  The Latin name for the common ragworm is Nereis diversicolor, meaning they are quite variable in colour, but typically reddish brown and turning more on the green side during the spawning season.  So the rule for colour is that there is no rule, you can tie the worm in any colour you like! Personally I have found the two most successful colours for me are the one shown here and bright orange. And don´t forget that ragworms are on the sea trout menu the whole year, so don´t restrict your fishing with it just to the spring, it´s also a deadly pattern for regular trout fishing.

Hook Tail: Mustad Shrimp C47SD # 8

Hook Head: Mustad Shrimp C47SD # 6

Tying Thread: Dyneema

Central Core: Dyneema

Tail: Black and Olive brown marabou

Body: Black and Olive brown marabou

Head: Brass or Tungsten bead

1
Secure your salt water # 8 tail hook in the vice.

2
Cover the hook with a foundation of Dyneema tying thread. I use Dyneema because it is salt water resistant and weight for weight stronger than quality steel.

3
Select some fine tapered olive and black marabou and tie in the tail. Colour your Dyneema with a black waterproof felt pen.

4
Load two paper clips or a Marc Petitjean magic tool, one with black marabou and one with olive. Make sure that the marabou fibres are not too long.

5
Once you have loaded your paper clips make a dubbing loop that is 2.5 times the length of your paper clips. Make sure that you dubbing loop begins tight against the tail of the fly. Colour the dubbing loop black with a waterproof felt pen.

6
Holding the loop open with your left hand place in the black marabou.

7
Now you have to take care! Once the black marabou is trapped in between the dubbing loop make sure you dont release the tension. Otherwise all the marabou will fall out.

8
Whilst keeping the tension in the first marabou by holding the dyneema loop with your left forefinger and thumb place in the olive marabou approximately 1 cm further down the loop. Now retain the tension in the loop and let the bottom half hang over your forefinger. Spin the bottom half of the loop tight.

9
Once you have spun the bottom half, while keeping the tension in the loop, lift and pull your dubbing spinner off your finger and the upper half of the loop will spin automatically, catching the black marabou. You can now spin the whole loop to tighten the marabou securely.

10
While holding the loop out stretched and tight use an old tooth brush (not a metal dubbing brush! this will fray and weaken your Dyneema) to open out any trapped marabou fibres.

11
Hang your dubbing loop in a material spring or clip, so that it doesn´t unwind while you are working on the rest of the fly. Using a even stronger Dyneema, cut a 30 cm length and double it. Place the looped end through the tail hook eye as shown.

12
Now thread the two ends of the core Dyneema through the loop in the hook eye.

13
And pull tight. You can now place a little drop of super glue on the knot.

14
Colour the core Dyneema with a black waterproof felt pen and then lie it down on top of the spun dubbing loop.

15
While holding the Dyneema core and the dubbing loop in your right hand, catch the centre of the dubbing loop with the hook end of a whip finish tool.

16
Fold the dubbing loop over as shown towards the tail hook.

17
While holding the dubbing spinner in place with your left hand remove the whip finish tool from the loop. You will now see the loop spin automatically together. Secure the dubbing loop to the tail hook by tying down a small section, and then folding over the dyneema and tying down again (see stage 23). Repeat this until you are sure it is secure. Remove the access dyneema tying thread and carefully apply a drop of super glue to the whippings . Taking care not to get it on the marabou.

18
Find the core loop again and attach your whip finish tool. Now you should be able to slide the marabou dubbing loop down the core a little. Remove the hook from your vice.

19
Place a bead onto the # 6 shrimp hook and secure in the vice. Once in the vice place a few wrapping of lead wire behind the bead head. This extra weight gives a much better swimming action.

20
Using your thumb nail push the lead wire into the bead head.

21
Attach your tying thread and secure the lead wire and bead head.

22
Tie in the core of the fly as shown.

23
Once the first part of the core is attached apply a drop of super glue.

24
Fold over the core and tie down again. Apply another small drop of super glue.

25
Once you have secured the core slide the dubbing loop up and tie this down. Once you are happy that everything is in place apply another small drop of super glue.

26
Move your tying thread to the rear of the hook shaft and make another dubbing loop. Don´t forget to colour the dyneema black. Spin in some olive marabou.

27
Wind on the last dubbing loop, making sure that you stroke the marabou fibres back with each turn.

28
Take a few black marabou fibres and tie these in over the olive ones. Whip finish and apply a tiny drop of super glue through the eye of the bead.

29
Cut off the point of the front hook with a strong pair of pliers. Be careful with your eyes when doing this as the point comes off like a bullet.

Proof of the pudding!


Helter Skelter Pike Fly jig.

My Helter Skelter pike jig works on all the pikes attractor senses!

Hook Mustad S74SZ # 2/0-4/0

Thread Dyneema

Body E-Z Body XL filled with 3-5 beads

Under wing White buck tail

Wing Chartreuse and white Icelandic sheep

Over wing Lime green Big fish fiber

Sides Grizzle cock hackles coloured yellow

Eyes Large mobile eyes and bug bond or epoxy

I developed the Heltor skeltor to maximize all the attractor elements possible in one fly.

The Icelandic sheep and big fly fiber are extremely mobile in water, but their effect is enhanced by the weight of the brass beads that roll back and forth in the body tube giving not only a sporadic jerky swimming action but also rattle against each other sending out an audial signal to predators. Not forgetting the eyes which are an attack point, are oversized for additional predator impact. If you keep all these factors in mind when designing predatory patterns you wont go wrong.

1
Secure your hook in the vice. Attach your tying thread at the bend of the hook as shown.

2
Cut a length of E-Z body XL and singe the fibers at one end with a lighter. This is important as it will give purchase for the tying thread and stop it slipping off the tube.

3
Thread the E-Z body over the hook shank until you come to the tying thread.

4
Tie the end of the E-Z body down. Make sure this is secure.

5
Whip finish and remove your tying thread. You must now apply varnish or bug bond to the tying whippings. Trim the E-Z body down to about 4 mm longer than the hook eye and seal the fibers again.

6
Draw back the E-Z body tube and attach your tying thread 4-5 mm behind the hook eye.
Now insert 3-5 large beads inside the E-Z body cavity. These have several purposes. They not only give weight and sound by rattling against each other while fishing, but they also influence the swimming action of the fly. As you retrieve, the beads roll back and forth in the belly of the streamer making it tip up and down and extremely attractive.

7
Tie down the E-Z body tube to seal the the body.

8
Tie inn a under wing of white buck tail, this will support the finer more mobile over wing material.

9
Now tie in a length of white Icelandic sheep, the wrong way as shown. This will give a little volume to the head section. This should be a little longer than the buck tail under wing.

10
Now fold over the white Icelandic sheep. You will see that the head of the fly will be lifted, like a pompadour.

11
Cut a length of chartreuse or yellow Icelandic sheep and tie this in the correct way over the white wing.

12
Cut a smaller bunch of lime green big fish fiber keeping the crimped ends, these again will give volume just above the head of the streamer.

13
Colour two large grizzle hackles yellow with a waterproof felt pen.

14
Tie these in as the sides.

15
Using a drop of super glue attach two large mobile or dolls eyes, one each side and central to the hook eye. Once the eyes are attached you can then fill the opening between both eyes over and under the hook eye with Bug Bond or Epoxy.

16
The finished Helter skelter pike streamer.


Elasticaddis in the house!

The elasticaddis is a Impressionistic larva house built from rubber legs.

House building caddis larva are available in most waters all year round, and are an important segment of the diet of trout and grayling.  There are many techniques that have been developed over the years from fly tying benches all over the world to imitate the house of the caddis larva, but this technique really gives the right impression.  This is a pattern I believe was developed in the US, but other than that I cant find any other information about it.  The great thing about this pattern is if you trim the rubber legs close to the body you get the impression of a caddis larva house built out of gravel, but if you spin the rubber legs not so tight and trim them a little longer it makes for a great house made of vegetation and sticks.  Also the rubber gives that extra needed weight when you need to get down deep and not least extremely durable.

You may find that this isn´t the easiest pattern to tie at the first attempt as the rubber legs seem to have a life of their own, but after a few attempts is no more difficult then any other pattern.  Try mixing colours and rubber types to achieve different effects.

Hook Mustad R72NP-BR # 12-6 with Bead head

Tying thread Dyneema

Body Rubber legs

Collar CdC

Head Course antron dubbing

1
Place a bead head on hook and your hook in the vice.

2
Attach tying thread to hook and run a foundation of thread along the whole hook shank.

3
Cut 3 small strips ca. 2 cm long, of double rubber legs in various colours and diameters if available.

4
Tie in the three rubber legs at the rear of the hook. If you are going to use heavy rubber legs, with a large diameter it is best to make a foundation of tapered loose dubbing on the hook shank first, otherwise the rubber will not flare as easy as fine rubber legs.

5
Once they are secure you can pull on them to split the double legs into single.

6
Carry on with the same procedure, mixing the colours as you go along the hook shank.

7
After each bunch of rubber legs is attached use the bead head to push the legs and pack them tightly. This will give a more compact body.

8
Attach more rubber legs until you have covered all but 3-4 mm of hook shank.

9
Now you can trim the house / larva case.

10
Continue all around the body of the fly until you have the desired size and shape.

11
Spin a couple of CdC hackles in a dubbing loop, just behind the bead head.

12
Wind on the dubbing loop brushing the CdC back over the body of the fly with each turn, so as not to trap the fibers.

13
Now dubb the tying thread with a little coarse dubbing with longish fibers and dubb the head of the fly tight into the bead head.

14
Whip finish and remove the tying thread. Using an old tooth brush brush out all the CdC and dubbing fibers, so they lie back over the body.

15
The finished elasticaddis.

No matter what you tie there is always room for artistic expression.


Tying the fur crab

1
Place your Mustad circle hook in the vice.

This is a quick and easy salt water crab pattern that I haven’t done any text for, other than the step by step. Enjoy.

Hook     Mustad circle streamer

Tying thread    Dyneema

Beard    Siberian squirrel & Grizzle hen hackle

Eyes    EP crab eyes

Claws    Red fox zonker

Body    Muskrat crosscut zonker

2
Tie in a good bunch of Siberian squirrel tail hair for the crabs beard.

3
Trim off the excess squirrel hair and tie down, Turn your fly up-side down in the vice.

4
Tie in a grizzle hen hackle at the base of the crabs beard.

5
Wind on a a trditional wet fly hackle over the base of the beard.

6
Now tie in the EP crab eyes one each side of the hook shank.

7
Cut two red fox zonker strips for the crabs claws. You can use rabbit zonkers if red fox is not available.

8
Tie in the red fox zonkers one each side of the hook shank tight into the beard base.

9
Take a short length of muskrat crosscut fur for spinning.

10
Make a dubbing loop and spin the muskrat fur into a dubbing brush.

11
Wind on the dubbing brush, taking care to brush down the fibers each turn. Tie off.

12
Brush out the fibers with an old tooth brush and whip finish. Varnish.

13
With curved scissors trim the body shape of the crab.

14
The finished crab.

15
Only just realised that the crab when viewed this way will double as a long eared owl!


A quick and simple one for Friday night.

This is a quick Friday night, simple and realistic melt glue caddis pupa. Although it takes a little practice to master the use of melt glue, once mastered its a great material.

1
Secure your caddis hook in the vice and tie in a long olive osrtrich herl at the bend

2
Remove your tying thread and apply a little melt glue on top of the hook shank.

3
With a lighter soften the melt glue, so it runs around the hook shank. But be careful not to burn it.

4
While the glue is still soft, but not too soft, wind on the herl rib so it sinks a little into the glue.

5
Once the rib is on wet your finger and wipe the top of the body from the eye to the bend so the herl sits fast into the glue.

6
Take a water proof felt pen and mark the top of the body. Attach your tying thread again.

7
The body should now look like this from above.

8
Make a dubbing loop and spin a little CdC for the collar.

9
Wind on the CdC dubbing loop.

10
Now apply a little buggy dubbing to form the thorax.

11
Whip finish and brush out the fibers of the dubbing. I use an old tooth brush.

12
Your finished melt glue caddis pupa. You can see the transparent body.


The fly for Autumn Pike…

Pike Steamer, a sure attractor for autumn pike

“Steaming is term given to a style of mugging where an unsuspecting victim is chosen, followed and attacked suddenly at great speed without warning”.

The art of camouflage, surprise and speed are the pikes most powerful weapons for securing a meal. Of course some meals are obtained easier than others, but generally speaking the freshwater crocodile wont say no to a free meal.  Like the muggers victims the pikes are chosen for much the same reasons, easy pickings! weak and old, or both, unable to move fast or get away, once attacked and of course the bounty.

The idea behind this pattern is to work on all the pikes predatory instincts, and make the victim (the fly) as attractive and irresistible as possible. I do this through fly design and presentation.  When designing predatory patterns there are several things to consider and a few key elements that all patterns should have. If you want a general pattern that you could use just about anywhere for anything, then you should choose to imitate a natural food that is widely available – like small bait fish. Then you have to consider the four most important attractor factors:

Movement… colour… eyes… and sound.

The movement in this pattern is achieved through a combination of materials. Both the marabou and Icelandic sheep hair are extremely mobile in water, but their effect is enhanced by the weight of the Epoxy head. Predators find this swimming action, irresistible.

The eyes, which are always an attack point, are oversized for additional predator impact.

If you keep all these factors in mind when designing predatory patterns you won’t go wrong.

During a three week fly fishing tip to the Amazon, home of more fresh water predatory fish than anywhere else on the planet, I developed a technique using surface splashing to stimulate feeding and awareness of my streamer, which works just as well for our own pike. Maybe you’d like to add this technique to your own armoury of tactics.

It requires though a specific leader set-up to work at it’s best, especially when fishing large flies. And it’s simplicity in itself – take around 1.5m of 30lb mono, and connect the fly to the mono with a Rapala knot. This will give a better swimming action on the stiff mono. (By the way, I have never encountered a leader shy pike, and seldom use a wire trace.)

This short, stiff leader will not only give bigger flies better turn-over when casting, but also better control and precision in presentation, and (touch wood), I have never had a break-off. The following technique is only possible with such a leader.

Firstly, find a likely spot on the water, where there’s maybe a pike lying in wait, or resting after a hunt. Before casting, make sure that your streamer is well-soaked and all air removed. This will not only make it sink quicker but also make it more aerodynamic and so easier to cast. Then with a short, hard and direct cast, shoot your streamer into the water as hard as you can – then repeat this three or four times in the same area of water. Splash that fly and heavy leader as loud as you like, it will surely attract the immediate attention of any pike within spitting distance.

Make one last cast and this time let your streamer sink… and then retrieve as normal. If there’s a pike in the vicinity it will come to the fly, the rest, as they say, is up to you…

Hook: Mustad S71SNP-ZS # 3/0-5/0

Thread: Dyneema

Wing: Icelandic sheep hair

Flash: Holographic tinsel

Over wing: Light Brite

Collar: Spun rabbit

Cheeks: 2 Grizzle hackles

Wing topping: Five strands of long natural peacock herl

Hackle: Spun Marabou Yellow

Eyes: Large mobile eyes coated with resin

1
Place hook in vice as shown and attach tying thread at the rear of the hook shank.
Tie in a long length of fine tapered Icelandic sheep hair or synthetic sub. If you choose a synthetic substitute make sure that its not so stiff it doesn’t pulsate in the water, and that its not so soft it lacks body.

2
Now taking the wing material in your left hand, back comb the sheep hair. This means run the comb the opposite way you would normally, like girls did the the early eighties to get more body for bigger hair. This will accumulate the shorter hair fibers at the base of the tail and create the illusion of more body volume, with out adding extra weight to the pattern.

3
Tie-in on top of the wing approximately 10 long strands of holographic tinsel, or another chosen flash material of your choice. Place a few drops of glue or varnish on the whippings to make the fly stronger and more durable.

4
On top of the wing tie in a bunch of pearl light brite to add a little more volume and attractor flash to the wing and body.

5
Cut a short length of cross-cut rabbit strip and place the rabbit strip in a dubbing loop and spin to make a nice dense dubbing brush.
NB. If spinning a thick-dense rabbit fur, with under wool, you will need an extremely strong tying thread to make the dubbing loop. If you use a standard thread it will most likely break before the loop is spun enough to hold the fur securely. It also helps to use a heavier dubbing spinner rather than a lighter one.

6
Wind in the spun rabbit hair making sure you comb back the fibers with each turn when winding inn to form the collar as shown.

7
Select 2 broad grizzle hackles and colour on both sides of the hackle with a waterproof felt pen.

8
Tie in the grizzle hackles one each side of the collar.

9
For the wing topping tie in 5 long strands of peacock herl. The strongest herl is found just below the peacock eye on the tail feather. If you are having problems getting the herl to curve over the wing correctly, run them one at a time, carefully over the blunt side of a pair of scissors, between your finger and thumb, just like you would with a ribbon when wrapping a gift.

10
Make another dubbing brush as in steps 5 & 6 but this time with long fine tapered marabou.

11
Wind the dubbing brush on to make the front hackle. Finish off with a couple of whip finishes.

12
Glue on 2 large mobile dolls eyes. Make sure that these are evenly balanced on the hook shank. Or if you wish to give your steamer a injured affect, glue on the eyes unevenly or even, two different eyes, one much larger than the other, and the fly will fish off center.

13
Give the eyes and head a coat of Bug Bond or Epoxy resin, making sure that you coat both eyes in a “glass ball” of resin.

14
Once the Bug Bon is applied you give it a quick blast with the UV light to cure. Or if you have used Epoxy place it on a rotary dryer if you have one until set.

15
Your finished and fish ready Pike steamer.


Just thought I would re-publish my most popular post. Bee Cee Caddis Pupa

Caddis Pupa

Bee Cee Caddis Pupa

Hook Mustad  C49S curved caddis # 6 -14

Thread Dyneema

Gills Ostrich herl

Body Fine leather strip (chamois)

Under body Dubbing / Lead free wire if required

Legs Partridge hackle & CDC

Collar/Head Hares ear dubbing & CDC Dubbing

Each summer a few fishing freinds and I make the annual fishing trip from our home town Skien in southern Norway to Lofsdalen in Sweden. A journey that under normal circumstances will take six hours driving, from door to door.

Lofsdalen is acctually known for two things, skiing and bears. During the winter, when the bears are sleeping, Lofsdalen is a Mecca for ski and snowboard enthusiasts and becomes a throbbing white metropolis of snow scooters, snow cats and ski lifts. But at the time of our annual trip, the first week of July, most of the snow, and all of the winter turists have long gone, and the bears along with the vast amounts of mosquitoes awake hungry from their long winter sleep.

The timing of our trip is not coincidental,  with the help of the internet and telephone, 14 days before our trip we start a network of weather information between us. Sending web cam links weather forcasts and any other related info as to the conditions in Lofsdalen. Beacause each year around the first week of July ephemera vulgata can start hatching in fantastic numbers on these mountain lakes, and the big brown trout that have also spent a long winter, under the ice, are also hungry.

Yes, I know what you might be thinking, ephemera vulgata is a mayfly and this is a piece about caddis pupa ? well the past two years we havent managed to get our timing right, because of freak weather conditions, Lofsdalen is from 600 -1200m above sea level, and is subsiquently, subject to dramatic weather changes.

The back up plan, if you like, for not getting our mayfly timming right is the hatches of aeuropes largest caddis fly Phygania Grandis or great red sedge.  These first hatches are not as proliphic as the vulagta hatches and no where near as challanging for the fly fisherman, but a emerging pupa fished correctly, just under the surface can result in fantastic sport.

A good  caddis pupa  pattern can make the difference between no fish and fish !

When the caddis fly hatches into the adult insect the species are more or less, divided into two. The ones that hatch at the surface in open water and the those that make there way to the shore, where they climb out on plants or any other structure that is available.  When this occurs and caddis pupa are on the move  this pattern fishes extremely well.

When fishing this pattern, I like to dress only the head and collar with a good floatant ie: cdc oil, this also creates a perfect air bubble around the head just like the natural, and only when the pattern has soaked a little water does it begin to fish correctly.  When the porus leather and dubbed underbody have taken on water and the head is dressed with floatant, this pattern sinks so slowly that it almost “hangs” just under the surface.  I like to let it sink for 10-12 seconds or so, but you should keep alert during this “free fall” period, as criusing fish will also pick this pattern up “on the drop”. After the pupa has had time to sink I carefully mend the slack out of my fly lineand then lift the tip of my rod so that the pupa rushes towards the surface, this is when the take normally comes.

Decpite the multitude of families, sub families and species of caddis flies, the only thing you have to change is the colour and size, the pattern can remain the same.


Gallery

Contre-jour Fine art photographic prints

Arctic char detail from the comming Contre-jour exhibition of photographs by Barry Ord Clarke

The 32 images in this coming exhibition endorse Barry’s love and passion for the sport as a fly fisherman, photographer and artist.  The viewer is taken on a journey into the world of fly fishing that is rarely seen. On first encountering these beautiful images, they are sufficiently recognizable as images of fish and fishing, but as you approach and view them at close range, they transform into a graphic and sometimes abstract, overlapping of organic patterns and colour.

All images are for sale, signed and numbered by the artist. Barry is also making a series of limited photographs with hand tied flies in beautiful mounted frames. I will keep you posted regarding the exhibition. For sales and enquires please contact:

barrycl@online.no

Skyrise. Black & White hand print 80×60 cm

Vulgate mayflies. Colour hand print 80×60 cm.

Sea trout fishing. 80×60 cm Black & White hand print


A Shrimp for all seasons

Circle shrimp

From late autumn until early spring the majority of bait fish around our coastline leave the shallows and head out for deeper water where they will be protected from the bitter cold of winter. Many of the species of shrimp that can be found on the other hand move into deeper tidal pools and onto shelves were the coastline is steeper.

Therefor shrimps are on the coastal sea trout’s menu the whole year round, and are found in great numbers all over Northern Europe’s coastline.  These are particularly important to fly fishermen because they mature in the shallows where we do most of our fishing, and all sea trout fishermen should have at least a couple of good shrimp patterns in there fly box at all times.

The most effective colours for shrimp patterns in my experience are Red, Pink, White and Orange.  Sometimes it can be rewarding to tie some very small shrimp flies in sizes 10-12-14 and in more natural mundane colours. Shrimps of all shapes and sizes are without doubt one of the most important food sources for salt water sea trout. Unlike other important seasonal foods like rag worms, sand eels and small bait fish, that the sea trout feed on throughout their first years in salt water.

 Where, When & Why ?

A perfect small translucent shrimp pattern fished blind, is not the most easy prey for a sea trout to notice in a large body of water. But if you fish something that   “ stands out in a crowd ” a little colour and movement,  increase the chances of it being noticed and picked-up proportionally.  Natural selection takes a favorable view of effective and adaptable feeding, a proficient predatory fish when feeding will maximize energy intake and minimize energy consumption. Predators quickly learn to avoid areas where there is little or no food. These rules also apply to the fish adapting their feeding locations and habits to the different seasons.  So its paramount that the effective fly fisherman is aware of this and adapts his techniques, flies and strategy to that of the sea trouts feeding habits. This is especially important during the winter months when food is few and far between. Look for the signs, deeper bays with vegetation and structure, where prey can have sufficient food and cover from predators. If there is ice on the surface, pockets of open water generally indicate warmer water or flow. Both these elements will attract prey and predators alike.

Fast or Slow ?

Shrimp have three very different ways of locomotion. When foraging for food or resting on the bottom they use their front walking legs (periopods) for moving short distances on vegetation and other structure. When migrating or moving over larger distances they use their swimming legs (pleopods) These are located under the abdomen and undulate (like a Mexican wave) when swimming, and can be used to propel the crustacean in all directions slowly. But when alarmed or fleeing from a predator they use a contraction of their strong abdomen muscle which results in a powerful rapid snap of the tail plates (uropods) propelling the shrimp quickly backwards.

With this in mind one has a better understanding of the type of retrieve required to imitate a swimming or fleeing shrimp. Your retrieve will not only decide the speed of your fly but also its action in the water. If you know your prey and choose the correct retrieve, your overall chances of connecting will increase. If you choose the incorrect retrieve even the right pattern may not result in a take or even a follow.

1
Secure the circle hook in the vice.

2
Run the tying thread along the hook shank until it hangs over the barb of the circle hook.

3
Tie inn two lengths of lead wire side by side on the underside of the whole of the hook shaft length. This will ensure that the shrimp fishes a little deeper and the right way up. Tie in a short bunch of Ultra hair as shown on top of the hook shank. This should be approximately 10 cm long. You can trim it down to the size and taper required later.

4
Once you have trimmed it down to size you can tie in a small bunch of twinkle or crystal hair to add a little sparkle. This should be a little longer than the Ultra hair.

5
Burn the ends of two lengths of mono and dip in black varnish and then coat with Bug Bond. These should be prepared before hand as they take some time to dry. Alternatively you can use fly eyes.

6
Tie in the eyes one each side of the ultra hair as shown. these should be about one third of the beard length.

7
Select two hackles for the claws. This detail can be left out if wished, but its a useful technique to know for other shrimp and crab patterns.

8
Strip off the fibers from the shaft of the hackle and carefully cut away the point of the hackle to form a claw shape of the correct size in correspondence to the hook size being used.

9
I use Bug Bond a UV cure resin to coat the claws. If you dont have Bug Bond you can alternatively use epoxy, it just takes a little more time to dry.

10
Coat the claws in Bug Bond and give them a few seconds under the UV light, until cured.

11
Tie in the finished claws one each side at the bottom of the shrimp beard as shown.

12
Cut a length of crystal chenille and tie in at the base of the shrimp head.

13
Wrap the chenille around the whole length of the hook shaft to form the body. You should take care as to comb the fibers forward each turn, so you dont trap them with the following turn and get a nice full body.

14
Tie off the Crystal chenille and trim off the fibers on top of the hook shank as shown.

15
Now tie in two long Ultra hair fibers, just behind the hook eye.

16
Tie in another bunch of Ultra hair fibers at the tail of the fly. These should be just a little longer than the existing bunch.

17
Firstly make a whip finish and remove your tying thread.
Now place a drop of Bug Bond on the Ultra hair just behind the hook eye. Unlike epoxy Bug Bond doesn’t dry unless exposed to a UV lamp of natural day light.

18
Give the Bug Bond a blast with the UV light for a few seconds. Now while holding all the long ultra hair fibers down with your left hand apply a small amount of Bug Bond or epoxy to form the shell back. Be sure not to use too much epoxy as this will make the pattern top heavy and fish up side down. You may have to hold the ultra hair in place a short while until it sets.
Repeat this process until the whole shrimp shell back is adhered to the chenille body and forms a nice transparent shell that tapers off just beyond the shrimps eyes.

19
To give a little extra touch to the pattern pull the two long fibers between your finger and thumb nail, as you would do with ribbon on a christmas gift to curl it. Your finished circle shrimp ready for the salt.


Edson Tiger

 

 

The modifide Edson Tiger with the Brass Eyes.

One of the great classic American streamers, developed by the well know fly tier  Bill Edson in 1929. The Edson Tiger dark & light where influenced by a streamer called “Dick´s Killer” that Edson received from fellow fly tier Dick Eastman of New Hampshire in 1928.  The original patterns tied and sold by Edson where with jungle cock cheeks, but later he replaced the jungle cock with small teardrop brass plates which was apparently done, not only because of the increasing price of the already expensive jungle cock but also difficulty in obtaining a regular supply of it. But soon after the introduction of the metal cheeks they became so popular with his customers that they replaced the jungle cock on all his streamer patterns. But truth be told,  the metal cheeks added a whole new dimension to how the patterns fished. With extra flash and weight in his streamers, there where few other patterns at this time that offered this. Although this pattern is almost a century old it still accounts for many a trout and has proven an excellent late season pattern for salt water sea trout fishing here in Scandinavia. A couple of years ago while tying at the Dutch fly fair, I was lucky enough to meet Chris Helm, who had for sale, the Edson Brass eyes.

Chris Helm doing his thing at the Dutch fly fair

If you contact Chris and purchase these eyes to add that extra dimension to you Tigers they do need a little work doing to them before they are ready to tie in. Using a pair of sharp wire cutters, these are not difficult to cut, they are made from brass after all, but sharp cutters make for a neater finish. You need to trim the side of the eye that is square into a point. Once this is done I use emery paper to sand the edges of the point to a fine taper, otherwise you will get a distinct mark under the tying thread where the the eye is secured.

Hook: Standard streamer # 6

Tag: Flat gold tinsel

Tail: Barred wood duck

Body: Peacock herl

Wing: Yellow buck tail

Topping: Red hackle fibers

Cheeks: Jungle cock or Edson Brass Eyes

Head:  Yellow varnish

Secure your streamer hook in the vice. Attach your tying thread and run this along the hook shank.  Tie in a length of flat gold tinsel for the tag, this should be just three or four turns.

Once you have tied off your tag and removed the surplus you can tie in three or four long strands of peacock herl at the base of the tag.

Select a wood duck flank feather with good barring and cut out a slip, line up all the bars if uneven and fold in half. This will give barring on each side of the tail. Tie off.

Run the tying thread back to the tail and twist together the peacock herl and tying thread to strengthen it and wind on to form the body. Tie off the peacock herl.

Select and clean a small bunch of yellow buck tailf or the wing. Stack the hair in a hair stacker. This should be no longer than the tail end.

The topping is a small bunch of red hackle fibers tied in on top of the wing as shown. It should be approximately one-third of the total wing length.

Now tie in the jungle cock cheeks, one each side. Make sure that both jungle cock eye´s are equal in size and well balanced. Whip finish.

All that is left to be done now to finish your EdsonnTiger is varnish the head yellow.

The Eyes are available along with a good

selection of Mustad streamer hooks from

Chris Helm at:

http://www.whitetailflytieing.com/


E-Z Sand Eel

A great pattern for salt water sea trout and Sea Bass.

Hook Mustad S70SNP-DT Big Game Light # 4-6 http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/na/product.php?id=191

Thread Dyneema

Body E-Z body tube http://www.e-zbody.com/

Tail 15 strands of Flashabou 

Eyes Fleye Foils http://www.theflypeople.com/

Head Bug Bondhttp://www.veniard.com/section188/

The original pattern this is based on is form the vice of my late, old friend Jack Gartside. This is not only an extremely effective pattern but also requires the minimum materials and once you have mastered the technique is very quick to tie.

Like the most effective coast wobblers that represent Tobis this pattern is a darter, and has next to no movement in the materials, but like a fleeing sand eel it “darts” in a short fast “zig zag” movement.  Another “problem” for many fly fishermen is that the hook on this pattern is mounted at the head of the fly, leaving a good length of body for the sea trout, sea bass to bite at without being hooked.  This can be the case with smaller fish but larger fish tend to take this pattern contant.  Also a interesting little experiment that I have undertaken a few times is, if you are cleaning a fish that you see has been feeding on sand eels just have a look at which way the head of the sand eel is facing in the stomach of the fish, nearly always, has the sand eel been swallowed head first!  The attach point for pradatory fish is the eyes and these new Fleye foils from Bob Popovics make very realistic sand eel and bait fish patterns.

Sand eels shoal in very large numbers, but are seldom seen during the day in the shallows as they lie buried in the sand, away from predators.  They first appear during the evening, when they come out to feed through the night.  But despite there nocturnal habits sand eel patterns can be fished around the clock the whole year.

You can also try other colour combinations, but keep in mind the general rule of the lightest colour on the stomach and the darkest colour on the back.

Secure your salt water hook in the vice. I like to use a Mustad C70SNP Big game light for this patter beacause of its wide gape and short shank.

Take a length of medium E-Z Body tubing about 6-7-cm long. Measure the the tubing along the hook shank, so that you know where to insert the hook eye into the tube.

Make a opening in the tube where you are going to thread it onto the hook shank.

Thread the tube onto your hook as shown.

Slide the tube back and attach your tying thread behind the hook eye.

Thread a long loop of mono through the E-Z body tube towards the tail.

Thread the bunch of Flashabou through the mono loop and pull this through the tube and out at the hook eye.

Tie down the Flashabou just behind the hook eye.

Tie in the end of the tube and make a neat tight head.

Select your chosen Fleye Foil product. I have used small 25 mm. sand eel foils.

Remove the Fleye Foils from there card and stick them in place, one each side of the eel head and tie down using the small attachment on the foils.

Once you have whip finished and removed your tying thread, turn your fly in the vice so you can tie down the tail at the base of the E-Z body tube. Once secure give it a small drop of Bug Bond just to hold it in place. Remove tying thread and reset hook the correct way in the vice.

The sand eel should now look like this. You can trim the Flashabou tail down to your required size and shape.

You can now colour your sand eel if wished with water proof felt markers.

Carefully coat the foils and head of the eel with Bug Bond and cure with the UV light as you go.

If you want a more three dimentional effect make small colour ajustments with felt pens after every coat of Bug Bond. This builds up layers and gives more depth.

If you ‘open’ the tail of Flashabou and place a tiny drop of Bug Bond at the base and cure! the tail will remain flaired and open.

One of the great things about E-Z body tube is that it remains flexible.

Fleye Foils. Orders and info at: http://www.theflypeople.com/

Bug Bond. Orders and info at: http://www.veniard.com/section188/

E-Z Body Orders and info at: http://www.e-zbody.com/


Mayflies and More

A Fly tyers’ Guide to the Chalkstreams

Mayflies and More

A fly tyers Guide to the Chalkstreams

Chris Sandford

Chris is better known in the UK for his many years work as an actor and his numerous appearances on TV and in Film.  More recently for his international angling TV series, Just Fishin’ on the Discovery channel.

Mayflies and More, is an elegant, well presented little book and DVD combo, that covers the tying techniques for ten modern patterns, that Chris recommends for the English chalk-streams. Although these patterns will work just about anywhere else as well!

If you are relatively new to fly tying and wish to try something a little more challenging than a red tag, or even a well seasoned tyer for that matter, Mayflies and More, is a joy.

The DVD reflects Chris’s background in TV and film, through a clearly professional production and execution, unlike the majority of the fly tying DVD’s produced to date! Chris, also has the on-screen charisma, to make these ten patterns, not only fun to tie, but also to keep you entertained throughout. It also gives extra clarity to the already clear and well presented step by step images and text in the book. These are simple but extremely worthy patterns to tie and include in your fly box.

Booklet & DVD £19.80

Copies: Unlimited

Extent: 32 pages plus DVD

Size: 210mm x 148mm

Binding: Booklet with inset DVD

Illustrations: Photographs throughout

DVD Running Time: 70 minutes

To order:

Chris Sandford Mayflies & More

Check out a preview of the DVD on the link below:

Chris Sandford talks about “Mayflies & More …


Minnivallalækur, Icelands prehistoric monster trout

One of the huge wild trout from the Minni

After a short drive, south east from reykjavik, a small farm road leads us the last few kilometers to the fishing lodge at Minnivallækur, the weather was perfect, for September. A little overcast, with small patches of blue, a slight breeze and 14 degrees “dry fly fishing was written all over the sky.

Jan and I where so hyped, we could almost hear heavy brown trout rolling in the surface and sucking in size 22 midges, over the sound of the engine of our four wheel drive hire car.  But in true Icelandic fashion, by the time we had pulled on our waders and put up our rods, Ice cold pounding rain and hail , that with the help of a force 10 gale from the north, made not only up-stream dry fly fishing, but any kind of fly fishing, down right impossible.

Minnivallækur is approximately one and a half hours drive along the coast road south east of  Reykjavik, through the most interesting volcanic landscape.  If you mention Iceland to most fishermen, they immediately think of fast flowing rocky rivers and million dollar salmon fishing.  This is of course what Iceland is internationally known for, but the fantastic fishing that is to be found in it’s slow – winding  trout rivers and streams can only be compared to that of Patagonia and the Russian tundra.

Fishing one of Minni’s many pools, with mount Hekla in the background

Situated in the shadow of Mount Hekla, Europe’s most active volcano, Minnivallækur is small to Scandinavian standards, and for the most is quite shallow.  Snaking it’s way slowly through the impressive treeless landscape of flat volcanic fields and improvised farm land,  like a giant serpent, each bend in the river revealing  new pools and new fish.

It was my fishing friend and companion for this trip, Jan Idar Løndal, that first turned me on to Minnivallækur.  He had fished the river for the first time some years ago, and Jan being a hardened salmon fisher, this was a little out of character to be so enthusiastic about brown trout fishing, so I immediately new that it had to be something special !

Our first day was, to say the least, disappointing, NO – disastrous! After arriving late in the afternoon to be met by the worst weather imaginable, we could only manage a couple of hours of waving carbon. We retired to the fishing lodge, and indulged ourselves in 12 year old Scottish culture, while searching text TV for the mornings weather forecast, and admiring the two monster brown trout trophies  the walls of the sitting room taken from the river last year. One of 8 kg taken on a nymph and another of 10 kg that was found dying in one of the pools.

The next morning we where out and fishing at day break.  The wind had dropped but there was still a light rain, and heavy black clouds hung low in the sky hiding Mount Hekla.  We began fishing at the hatchery pool.  This is one of the widest stretches of Minnivallækur and the uppermost beat. Not the prettiest beat, as there is an old hatchery research center on the west bank, one of the few buildings to be found on the rivers banks.  This hatchery caused some problems a few years ago. Some visiting foreign fishermen had travelled long and far to fish for these monster wild trout. While two of them where fishing the hatchery pool one of the employees emerged from the hatchery with a big landing net containing some huge brown trout, made his way down to the river, and released them !!!  To say the least the fishermen where shocked ! This was supposed to be a wild fishery, with NO stocked fish. The fact that the trout are so big fueled there misunderstanding. There was no way that such a small river could  possibly grow such large wild fish.  Our host Throstur Ellidson explained that several times each year the hatchery which grow salmon to fingerling size have to remove the brown trout that have made their way into the settlement pond of the hatchery in search of food. And as for this river not being able to sustain trout to this size: this is nonsense.

Jan’s tiny dry worked again!

Jan began fishing with the fly that produced the most fish for him on his last vist, a tiny #22 dry. Constructed of nothing but a little dubbed body of black seals fur.  After a short while when our eyes adjusted to the low light and the ripple of the uppermost part of the pool, we began to see small steady careful rises, but still no sign of insects.  I positioned myself up on top of the highest advantage point of the pool upstream form Jan. As I approached the river a huge long thick shadow shot out from under the bank and into deeper water. This was a fish of 5-6 kg. I turned and gestured to Jan with both my hands wide apart, he responded with the same gesture and then pointed a few meters up stream for him,  this is what we had come for.  Like most big fish rivers, Minnivallælakur doesn’t grow fish.  These huge trout spend the winter months in large lakes and migrate up this small river in search of food and spawning.  Thrustor Ellidson who,s is as a fresh water biologist, leases this river along will several others in Iceland told me about this special strain of brown trout in Minnivallalækur. We believe that they are some of the very last remaining trout of this strain. It was this brown trout that was over the whole of Northern Europe, this is the original “Salmo Trutta”

It didn’t take long before I heard Jan shout “Fish On” . His # 5 weight rod was bent double as he tried to back his way out from the middle of the river to the east bank.  The fish managed to round him twice before he reached terra firma.  After several powerful runs, ripping line of his reel, our first Minnivallækur brown trout was in the net.  We where both, nothing but astonished!

A fish of  no more than 600 grams. Even Jan who had fished this river before was amazed by the sheer fighting power and strength of this fish.  On closer examination this trout was very different from any trout that I had ever seen.  Apart from the condition of the fish, short  and deep, with a small well proportioned head,  the spots on its side continued around and under it’s stomach.

The next few hours we explored the pools of the upper 3 km of the river.  Its essential while fishing in Iceland that you have a four wheel drive, as there are no roads, only farm tracks that follow the river, if your lucky.  The last part of the day produced several more fish up-to, and just over the kilo mark, most of which fought  with just as much passion and determination as the first.

Our last days fishing produced better weather, with the occasional sunny period, we could now observe the smallest midges hatching everywhere and the odd caddis fly coming off, but for some reason there where less rising to be seen.  This is a challenging river to fish as these big trout are spooked easily, with gin clear water, high banks and a minimum cover. We spent a lot of time on all fours crawling to the bank and spotting fish, rather like fishing for big trout in New Zealand.  The traditional Icelandic method of fishing here is with large normally traditional streamers, Black ghost, Muddler minnow etc;  in the early part of the season fished down and across stream, and later on it the year with small weighted nymphs fished upstream in combination with a strike indicator when fishing deep. Iceland has no tradition with dry fly fishing.

We had spotted several big fish during first half of the day but with no results, we tried fishing some of the pools Iceland style with streamers and heavy nymphs, but without producing a single take. We both agreed to move back up stream.

As we made our way to the uppermost pool it looked like the weather was about to go sour on us again, we had to hurry.  While crossing the bridge, some 100 meters below the pool we saw a good fish,  tight into our bank, he was a steady riser. We played stone, paper, scissors, and it was decided that Jan would put the first fly over him. I moved up stream to the bend above the pool, giving his fish a good birth so as not to spook it.  To my surprise as I crawled to the edge I saw several fish rising just of a point some 15 meters above me, a sandy coloured caddis fly danced across the surface in a back eddy just behind the rising fish, “SPLOSH” it was gone.  I quickly clipped of my tiny midge and and tied on a streaking caddis.  With the minimum false casting possible I placed my fly behind the rising fish, and as my fly line hit the water, that big dark shadow, right under me shot out into deeper water, F****!! How could I be so stupid. To make things worse just at that moment another fish rose, splosh, my fly was gone. I lifted into my rod to find only slack line and a drowned streaking caddis.

Releasing another huge Minni brown

Jan on the other hand was doing things right! He was into another fish, but this time it was bigger.  After a good fight and several acrobatic leaps the best and last fish of our three days at Minnvallalækur was in Jans net, not a monster but a perfect specimen of a brown trout. We never did catch that huge trout, but we saw them!! Not just one but several.  Taking into the weather factor and that we fished the very end of the season, I am without doubt that this is some of the best dry fly trout fishing in the world. Our return trip is already booked.

Fishing Home pool right outside the lodge

Our short stay at Minnivallalækur, produced 16 fish, the majority of which where taken on dry fly, with a couple of fish on small gold head nymphs.

The fishing at Minnivallalækur is fly only and catch and release, but you are allowed to take the occasional fish for the table. The beat covers about 7 km of river, which is fished by only four rods at one time.  The season runs from 1 April – 30 September. The average size of the fish in Minnivallalækur is an amazing 1 to 2 kg.  The new fishing lodge is first class and has 4 double bedrooms and a view from the sitting room over home pool.  A visit to www.strengir.is  will give you all the info you need.


X flies – I want to believe…

Madam X

Two great patterns but do they really have the X factor ?

X Caddis

We all have patterns that for some reason or another, deliver every time, here are two that I just wouldn’t go fishing without.  But its strange, some of my fishing friends know how many fish I catch with these patterns, especially when nothing else will work, but they still wont use them. They wouldn’t even consider  having them in their box, not to mention tying them on !

What’s that about ? No really, I mean it,  is it all down to personal taste or does it go deeper into aesthetics and traditions or is it just down right stubbornness ? Which leads to the next question, do you have to really believe in a pattern for it to work ?

“If you fish the wrong fly long and hard enough it sooner or later becomes the right fly” – John Gierach

Although I tie flies to fish for just about everything that has fins, and then some… When it comes to trout fishing I am a simple soul, and could probably manage with a handfull of patterns, that would cover most situations on most waters. But what about you ?

Let me know why you choose the flies you do and why you don’t or wont fish with others.


Caddis Pupa

Caddis Pupa

Bee Cee Caddis Pupa

Hook Mustad  C49S curved caddis # 6 -14

Thread Dyneema

Gills Ostrich herl

Body Fine leather strip (chamois)

Under body Dubbing / Lead free wire if required

Legs Partridge hackle & CDC

Collar/Head Hares ear dubbing & CDC Dubbing

Each summer a few fishing freinds and I make the annual fishing trip from our home town Skien in southern Norway to Lofsdalen in Sweden. A journey that under normal circumstances will take six hours driving, from door to door.

Lofsdalen is acctually known for two things, skiing and bears. During the winter, when the bears are sleeping, Lofsdalen is a Mecca for ski and snowboard enthusiasts and becomes a throbbing white metropolis of snow scooters, snow cats and ski lifts. But at the time of our annual trip, the first week of July, most of the snow, and all of the winter turists have long gone, and the bears along with the vast amounts of mosquitoes awake hungry from their long winter sleep.

The timing of our trip is not coincidental,  with the help of the internet and telephone, 14 days before our trip we start a network of weather information between us. Sending web cam links weather forcasts and any other related info as to the conditions in Lofsdalen. Beacause each year around the first week of July ephemera vulgata can start hatching in fantastic numbers on these mountain lakes, and the big brown trout that have also spent a long winter, under the ice, are also hungry.

Yes, I know what you might be thinking, ephemera vulgata is a mayfly and this is a piece about caddis pupa ? well the past two years we havent managed to get our timing right, because of freak weather conditions, Lofsdalen is from 600 -1200m above sea level, and is subsiquently, subject to dramatic weather changes.

The back up plan, if you like, for not getting our mayfly timming right is the hatches of aeuropes largest caddis fly Phygania Grandis or great red sedge.  These first hatches are not as proliphic as the vulagta hatches and no where near as challanging for the fly fisherman, but a emerging pupa fished correctly, just under the surface can result in fantastic sport.

A good  caddis pupa  pattern can make the difference between no fish and fish !

When the caddis fly hatches into the adult insect the species are more or less, divided into two. The ones that hatch at the surface in open water and the those that make there way to the shore, where they climb out on plants or any other structure that is available.  When this occurs and caddis pupa are on the move  this pattern fishes extremely well.

When fishing this pattern, I like to dress only the head and collar with a good floatant ie: cdc oil, this also creates a perfect air bubble around the head just like the natural, and only when the pattern has soaked a little water does it begin to fish correctly.  When the porus leather and dubbed underbody have taken on water and the head is dressed with floatant, this pattern sinks so slowly that it almost “hangs” just under the surface.  I like to let it sink for 10-12 seconds or so, but you should keep alert during this “free fall” period, as criusing fish will also pick this pattern up “on the drop”. After the pupa has had time to sink I carefully mend the slack out of my fly lineand then lift the tip of my rod so that the pupa rushes towards the surface, this is when the take normally comes.

Decpite the multitude of families, sub families and species of caddis flies, the only thing you have to change is the colour and size, the pattern can remain the same.