Tie Something New Today

We should be in the middle of a weeklong snowstorm, but instead a warm front has turned it into rain and the temperatures keep rising. It’s supposed to hit the low 50s today, which means if you’re looking for a window to hit the water without layering up too much now is your chance. By the weekend it should be snowing and cold again, which is more ti my liking this time of year but doesn’t do much for the fishing. Great reports are coming back from the Missouri right now, where pink and red nymphs in the slow stuff are finding big fish still willing to hold on. I suspect there are plenty of spots closer to home that will fish well in this warmup, though the rivers are chugging a bit from the recent rains. For my part, I’ve been on a small nymph tying kick, with most of the patterns I’m tossing into the boxes having some sort of UV aspect to them.

Charlie Craven’s Jujubaetis is a great fly any time smaller mayflies are about, and their epoxy coated super hair bodies hold up fairly well for a smaller fly. Flourofiber wings and wingcase add a lot of UV flash for such a small fly.
Here’s a dozen size 18s. 

When tying nymphs for the season I like to have lots of patterns on hand that are suggestive of a series of bugs, and I find attractor nymphs are a great place to try out a new material here and there. Most of the popular patterns lend themselves to modification readily, and sometimes a slight tweak can make a pattern more effective, easier to tie, or more durable. I see a lot of tiers making a simple modification and having a sort of “Eureka!” moment, running off to instagram to give it a quirky name it and show it off. I don’t really name my patterns because I’m not exactly Kelly Galloup up in here, but in the winter I can rarely make it through a day without spinning a couple of new flies in the vise. Not all of the experimental flies are winners. Most aren’t. Ask any of my fishing buddies and they’ll be happy to give you a handful of my “discards”, though sometimes a one-off becomes a go-to for a friend and they’ll ask me to tie some more. Usually I’ve forgotten what the hell it was, so they’re out of luck. But with mayfly nymphs, there is one modification that I have been using for a while now that just seems to work better all around – the loop-wing. 

Slim-bodied mayfly nymphs tied with a squirrel-dubbing thorax and a flourofiber loopwing are some of my favorite patterns to carry. They tie up quick, and they’re effective on all kinds of water. Here’s a few size 16s. 
 Substituting a little krystal flash and some flourofiber for wing buds and wing cases gives a dull fly just a bit of flash without being overly gaudy, and like a great deal of tiers these days I’ve been finding it useful in lots of situations. I’m no great tier by any means, but by thinking about what the end result of a modification will be I can make my flies more effective. Try a slight change to your favorite pattern next time you’re at the vise and see what happens. Just make sure you have a cool name picked out beforehand.

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