Tuesday Tutorial: Dolly Llama

In spring, when rivers are bumping and settling, breaking banks and creating all new lurking spots for big trout to feed from, a good streamer can make all the difference in your success rate. Articulated flies have been around for a while now, and though there are worthy debates regarding small streamers and big streamers, and which to throw when, the big articulated meat certainly has a way of turning the big fellas this time of year. There is always the problem of enough stick to throw the big stuff- all that weight comes with a price. Sure, you can toss another rod in the boat and get it done with a big 7 weight. But if you’re a wade angler, or If you’re the kind of angler who doesn’t want to lug a bunch of different rods to the river, then sometimes the big meat isn’t worth the time. Enter the Dolly Llama, which has all the action and very little of the weight of the big boys. This is a fly that shimmies like a belly dancer and pulses like a strobe light in the water, while still remaining fairly light and easy to throw. Hands down one of the most popular flies in Alaska, the Dolly Llama works very well in western Montana as well, and will surely work on your home waters if you give it a shot. This tutorial from Fly Fish Food is a great starting point for this great streamer. The most commonly asked question regarding this fly is, “Why clip off the first hook?” And the answer has to do with state regulations where this fly was first tied, where only one hook per fly was permitted. As for the necessity of the first hook, I don’t think it really matters. In fact, I have left the hook on a few of these, and it caused more problems than it was worth. The loose white rabbit strip, which undulates and moves like a wounded baitfish with the hook clipped, fouled on the hook more often than not, and stopping to untangle it while fishing from a boat often means cruising right past that cherry water. So clip it and be done with it. Get after it, toss this tight to the overrun grassy banks and willows on the Blackfoot, and pray for rain in western Montana. Lots of it. I want to be fishing come August, and throwing this streamer in the deep stuff.

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