I’m crazy about CDC, and it’s kind of a weird material to be enamored with since it comes from a duck’s ass and all. But I love it for lots of applications, most importantly, realistic wings that hold a dry fly right in the film where fish are most likely to take a swipe at it. This pattern from “The Feather Bender” is a great traditional-style green drake from across the pond that will surely take fish on the rivers of western Montana. Lots of green drake patterns these days are flashy and loud, and I get the sentiment of the tyer: A big mayfly is the prefect chance to show off a little. But the reality is these bugs are often in the ugly slow water, where silt-bottoms allow their nymphs to get chunky and hatch. The bugs aren’t so much flashy as they are bland. But fish love them, and I have a feeling some of these would do nicely in your box this season. It’s a chance to use some of that lovely CDC you’ve got, and your custom dubbing blend you know you want to bust out.
The Grizzly Hackle is keeping the fly tying community in Missoula pretty happy this winter, and dragging them out of the basements, spare rooms and cubby holes yet again with a couple more fly tying nights for February. These are an awesome time, with free pizza and beer and giveaways for great prizes every time. Free lessons on beginner patterns, and an expert table that has been spinning out some big streamers and more. Lots of fun. On top of that, the Hackle staff is working tirelessly at getting the latest materials in stock, and they have what you need. Their new tying section is coming along nicely, and with weekly orders coming in, let them know what you need and they’ll get it in fast. Your guide tying just got a whole lot easier. No more crumpled lists of materials you won’t find at the store. They got it. February’s tying nights are the 9th, and the 2rd, always at 6:30 PM. See you there.
You know we love these! Grizzly Hackle’s fly tying nights for January are on the board, so get your vise loaded up and head down to twist up some bugs with a great crew. Thursday January 12th and Thursday January 19th from 6:30 to 8:30 at the Grizzly Hackle. The guys behind the counter have been giving great tutorials on some of the most effective flies for Missoula’s rivers, and no matter your skill level there is something going on you’re going to want to be a part of. Grab a beer and a slice of pizza and tie some flies, or just cruise around and check out what people are up to. I bring the kids, but then if I tried to go without my 8 year-old she would never forgive me. She loves to tie wooly buggers, worms, and other creations that fill up her boxes, and there’s plenty of fun for anyone interested in getting into fly tying. For you old pros, this can be a great time to check out some of the hot new materials that the guys have been stocking this season. Seriously good stuff on the shelves these days like grizzly dyed schleppen from Whiting… Flashy body wraps… Ugh, its all good.
It doesn’t take long fishing in Montana before you start to feel like Forest Gump listening to Bubba talk about all the ways you can prepare shrimp, only you just have to exchange the word shrimp for the words “Prince Nymph”. We got more ways to tie a prince nymph than there are fish to catch on them. But damn do they work. One of my favorite winter versions comes from the inimitable Johnny Mac at Montana Troutfitters in Bozeman, Montana. The Hot Head Ghost Prince is barely a prince – I mean, where’s the peacock already!? – but it will take fish all winter long. Get to the bench!
Who doesn’t love woolly buggers? If you consider all the variations of this fly, it has to account for more fish caught than any other. It works on all species, and is such a simple tie that beginners can get started catching fish on their own flies fast. The classic olive, black, and traditional colors all work well. But my favorite for swinging and stripping is white, and none better than a krystal bugger. I like white streamers because you can see them in the water, and then see the fish chase them. Lovely. A big white fly will move a lot of fish, but I’ve found the smaller krystal bugger will catch a lot of fish big and small. Why will trout eat a smaller white fly? Well, it catches the eye, for one, fish bellies are white, and dead minnows are white too. Lots of theories, but you’ll have to interview a trout to get the real reason. But in order to talk to a trout, you’re going to want to tie some of these up for the box.
It’s “bugger and worm” season right now in western Montana, but soon enough as the shelf ice settles in and we see some sunny winter days it will be midge time, and what better than finding a fish willing to grab on to a little fly in the winter? With light tippets and small flies some of those little fish that seem to be the most eager in the winter can be a whole lot of fun. And this Dark Knight Riser is a great midge pattern to tie up for those times, though it works throughout the year as well. Midges don’t have to be particularly fancy, but a few thoughtful ties in the midge box will soon become your favorites. Give this one a shot when you’re in the mood for the small stuff.
We’re at it again down at the Grizzly Hackle, with the guys offering two more great tying nights in December. The first is tonight, Thursday, December 8th at 6:30 pm, and we’ll be back at it on December 15th as well. These nights have been a whole lot of fun, with some cool flies and a lot of fishy conversation to be had. The shop has plenty of new materials in for you to grab up and toss on a hook, and you might just find that Christmas gift you’ve been looking for. Come on down and join in, whether you’ve been tying for years or just starting out there is a place at the table for you.