It’s tying night at the Hackle again, wrapping up the winter with another free pizza and beer bash with Big Sky Brewing, Zimorinos Pizzza and KYSS FM all on hand. The gang down at the Hackle has been putting on these great events all winter, and if you have any tying questions these are the guys to ask. Patient teachers and enthusiastic fly guys all. Head down to the shop at 6:30 to start working on those skwala patterns before they’re here!
This week Charlene from KYSS has a great idea up her sleeve, and you won’t want to miss it. IRON FLY! Three divisions: beginner, intermediate and advanced, set materials for each group, and the best flies in each division get some awesome prizes. Get your creative fly tying on and get set for the best night of the week. This contest sounds like a whole lot of fun, and if you haven’t stopped by to a tying night yet, this one might be just the one for you- beginners will have a chance to tie before the event starts, and we’ll “warm up” for a few hours before we challenge the contestants. Looking forward to it!
Here we go! The 2017 Fly Fishing Film Tour is headed back to Missoula for two showings on January 28th. This annual event is a great time to break the cabin fever and get some fish porn in. Second to none, the Missoula show’s crowd is always as entertaining as the films themselves. Loud and lubricated by one too many beers, you’re likely to hear more fish story bullshit in one night than the rest of the year combined. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. Get your tickets at the local shops, or directly from the source here. I’ll bet you a beer you’ll see more buffs, nano puffs, and scruffs than ever in the Wilma on this night! Get your tickets soon, they tend to sell out quick.
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!
There is a little known side to fly fishing that rarely gets the kind of attention it deserves. I’m talking about the competition side, where nymphing is king and anglers count fish by the dozens in rapid succession. Some of the best anglers in the world are in the european competition scene, and the scene drives the development of new techniques and equipment in ways the average angler rarely sees. Thanks to Devin Olsen and Lance Egan, who have a collective 20 years representing Fly Fishing Team USA, those techniques are brought to the screen in one of the best fly fishing videos I’ve watched this year. If you’re a wade angler that simply wants to up your fish count, then Modern Nymphing is for you. If you’re an expert that is ready to step up to long leaders and bang out thirty fish days in water you usually skip over, then Modern Nymphing is for you. If you’ve got an itch for a well produced fishing movie, then Modern Nymphing is for you. Watch the trailer and check it out for yourself. Modern Nymphing is available on demand from Vimeo, or get a hard copy sent straight to your mailbox at tacticalflyfisher.com
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.
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is always working to protect our right to access our public lands and waters. And with their latest campaign they’re hoping to keep our waterways safer from motorized boat traffic. After an extensive study last season, they’ve released their findings with their Quiet Waters Initiative. You can read their report here, and submit your comments to Montana’s Fish, Wildlife and Parks at the link above.
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.