Chewy October Caddis


Chewy October Caddis Nymph



Chewy October Caddis Nymph

Hook: Dai-Riki 135 #6-#8
Bead: Black Nickle (-1) Size
Abdomen: Orange Antron Yarn
Rib: Hare’s Ear Dubbing
Collar: Black UV Caddis Dubbing
Wing Buds: Starling
Antennae: Pheasant Tail
Weight: .015 Lead (or substitute) Wire
Thread: Black 8/0


This is an October Caddis pattern with extra fish sauce. The perfect imitation that is heavy enough to get you in the zone and keep you there. I typically run this fly as a dropper off an even heavier fly but your mileage may vary. While I consider it a Steelhead Nymph it has the added benefit of catching plenty of trout to keep things interesting.  In tying this pattern I am using a new technique that adds a little something extra to the segmented body.  By layering in a dubbing rope of Hare’s Ear you get some extra movement and segmentation.  Enjoy!




Posted in Fly Pattern, Steelhead Flies, Trout Nymphs, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Tailwater Micro Midge

Micro Midge

This simple pattern has become one of my go-to patterns for skinny tailwaters like the Crooked River in Central Oregon.  I fish it just like I would a Zebra Midge as my bottom fly with heavier flies above.  Using a loop knot is critical to get the proper action during your dead drift.  You can easily tie well over a dozen an hour with minimal materials making this a perfect guide fly.  I tie this pattern in three primary colors; black, olive and brown.   Experience tells me that the smaller the better, I prefer to tie these mostly in the 20-24 size range but you can adjust to your local conditions.

Posted in Fly Pattern, Trout Nymphs Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Glo Bug – Clown Color

Glo Bug - Clown

Egg Fly Steel

This past year I experienced the power of the fly fishers PowerBait; McFLYFOAM eggs.  As many of the other videos on youtube will tell you this pattern is much more challenging to tie than it looks at first glance.  It takes incredibly strong thread, some luck and [my secret] superglue!  There are a number of variations that can be tied and I encourage you to tie some with tungsten beads for extra weight, veils also add extra fishiness.  I have historically tied this egg about a dozen different wasteful ways but after some internet research I think I finally perfected my process and I can crank them out almost faster than I lose them.  The video shows how I tie Steelhead sizes #6 and #8.  Smaller eggs for trout will need a smaller diameter barrel and less McFLYFOAM.  I will suggest that you do as I say and not as I do and don’t obsess about the perfectness of your sphere; you can honestly bind some yarn on a hook and do just as well.


McFLYFOAM GLO Bug – Steelhead Egg Fly

THREAD: Gel Spun (GSP) in White 50
HOOK: Dai-Riki 135 or other suitable glow bug hook
BODY: McFLYFOAM (color or mix of your choice)
CEMENT: Zap-A-Gap (Brush on)




Posted in Fly Pattern, Steelhead Flies Tagged with: , , , , , ,

The Original – Lady Caroline

Lady Caroline

Lady Caroline Steelhead Fly

On a recent trip in my early morning haste I tested my knot so thoroughly that I pulled the delicate wing from one of my Lady Caroline’s.   Stuck at home today I decided to repair the wing with an old Mallard Flank (gasp!) and snap a quick photo to record the repair.  I find it strange that while I carry a box of 50 Steelhead flies on a normal day that it just never feels like enough.  This one will live to fish another day.



Posted in Fly Pattern, Steelhead Flies

Simple Thread Snow Cone Chironomid

Snowcone Chironomid

Simple Thread Snow Cone Chironomid.


After taking almost 10 years off from fly fishing, I had two firsts that significantly changed my life forever.  A friend had called me to see if I was interested on going on an afternoon fly fishing trip with him and a friend.  Years ago, fly fishing or more specifically fly tying had been a huge part of my life but after going to college and moving away from home I lost touch with this once important hobby somewhere along the way. Growing up, I fished mostly small valley streams, until this trip I had never actually never fly fished on a lake and because of the cost, I had also never taken a guided trip.

I remember that our little outing did not provide the hottest fishing and our guide was quick to point out the anomaly.  However, I learned an incredible amount of valuable information about lake fishing in those few hours on the water.  This experience also taught me the value of time spent obeying the every command of a knowledgeable guide when fishing new water.  Behind chasing Steelhead, fly fishing the high lakes of Central Oregon has become one of my greatest passions.  On the surface it seems so simple, some actually make fun of it and call it “bobber” fishing with a fly rod.  There are days that it really is that simple and there are other days that will leave you in a tantrum as you watch the guy next to you reel in one fish after another while you throw literally everything you have.

I had one such experience this summer while fishing up at Lava lake just west of my hometown: Bend, Oregon.  I launched my fancy new float tube amidst a massive midge hatch.  These bugs were huge and looked and sounded like a mosquito but did not bite,  I had never seen such a thing.  It was early in the season and the fishing reports had been incredible, I figured this was a done deal.  I finned out and proceeded to toss my “bobber” expecting immediate action, an hour later; nothing.  I adjusted my flies to fish deeper until I was snagging on the bottom, then I tried a slow count down retrieve, pause retrieve, still no fish.  I then look over and notice this guy who was anchored in a pontoon just off the shore and he was literally catching fish about every other cast.  He was also completely surrounded by other guys trying to get close enough to figure out his secret.

Getting frustrated I tried everything, I actually hooked a nice fish casting to the bank and stripping a buggers and then broke it off because I was too lazy to tie on a heavier streamer leader.   This guy was clearly fishing bugs under an indicator so I switched back to my standard two fly Chironomid rig.  Knowing it’s always about getting the right depth I went deeper and deeper and deeper until I was regularly losing my bottom fly to wood on the bottom.  I just couldn’t get the job done no matter what I tried and I literally threw almost every Chironomid pattern I had in my box and tried to run each at every depth from about six feet to twelve.

I stayed on the water with this guy until the wind could no longer be tolerated and the sun began to set, everyone but the two of us had headed for the pub.  Knowing that the game was lost and he would have nothing to lose at this point I walked over and asked the master if he would share his secrets.  He holds up a white thingamabobber with a size 12 Chironomid that had a white bead head and a bare [ragged] black thread body.  This fly was hanging at best 2 inches below his indicator.  I was just shocked, I had thrown 2-3 of almost the exact same fly for hours without a fish.  I was right about one thing; it was all about depth and it appears I should have been thinking inches instead of feet.  As I am chatting with him he proceeds to tell me that he forgot all of his fly boxes at home on accident and that this was the only fly he had with him but he decided to fish anyway.  By the looks of it that fly was a bit skinnier than when it had started but it was still functional.  Needless to say, it was an incredibly valuable lesson and is one of the reasons I carry a dozen of that exact fly in every size; no rib, no clear goo, nothing but thread on a beaded hook!

Over the next few weeks I am going to present a series of simple Chironomid patterns that you can use to stock your boxes for the spring.  This pattern is a variation of the common snow cone pattern and can be tied in every color combination typical to Chironomids.  You will rarely go wrong with red and black with a white head.  If you are just learning to tie there is no better place to start than these incredibly effective patterns.  This video explains the absolute basics of what you need to tie a Chironomid that will catch a trophy trout on almost any freshwater lake that exists.


Thread Based Chironomid

Hook: TMC 200R (12-20)
Thread: Black 6/0 and Red 8/0
Head: White Bead Appropriate to hook size or smaller
Body: Thread coated with Clear Cure Goo Hydro
Posted in Fly Pattern Tagged with: , , , ,

Radioactive Rock Worm

UV Radioactive Rock Worm

UV Radioactive Rock Worm

Radioactive Rock Worm

RRW – Steelhead Pattern

While spending a long winter weekend refilling my boxes with next fall on my mind, I was working through the design of a nymph pattern that I could fish confidently in all conditions for summer steelhead.   I was searching for something that inspired a bit more confidence in it’s profile and weight.  I needed a pattern that was more substantial than the skinny little unweighted glass bead head patterns I have been fishing with these past few seasons.  A few variations later, I landed on this pattern that has all of the accoutrement required of a summer steelhead magnet.  It has enough weight to get down and glows like it was birthed in the bowels of Hanford.
Radioactive Rock Worm
Hook: TMC 2457   #6
Thread: Black 6/0
Head: Black Nickel Bead 4.0mm (5/32)
Weight: Lead or Lead Free .015
Rib: Ultrawire sm black
Body Material: Ice Dub Olive
Shell Back: Fl. Green Edge Bright
Legs: Black CDC
Wings: Starling feathers
Collar: Black Caddis UV Dubbing or similar
Posted in Fly Pattern Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Wetlander Bottom Coating on a Driftboat

A good friend of mine Rob Naughton of Pendleton Oregon has been telling me about his plans to upgrade his Willie Driftboat bottom from Gluvit to something a little higher tech.  He has been researching a specialty coating called Wetlander which he tells me was designed for use on airboats and race foils, because of it’s ultra slippery but durable properties.  Rob has always been a great mentor to me in my professional, personal and fishing life and he definitely did his research on this project.  I think the results look spectacular and I can’t wait to go for a ride in some skinny spring water.

Wetlander has a great video on their website of a dog trying to stand on a finished boat bottom and it is unable to even stand, this stuff is REALLY slick.  Rob agreed to let me post his great how-to video for the benefit of the Central Oregon drift boat crowd.  At the end of the video he has some great drift boating photos and some great music.  Enjoy!

Posted in Tips and Tricks Tagged with: , , , , ,

Biot Butt Blue Winged Olive Klinkhammer

This past week I have been tying every BWO pattern I can get my hands on.  My work has been in anticipation of dropping water levels, after massive rainfall, that has blown out everything in Oregon including the Metolius these past few weeks.  I have been playing with CDC in a number of variations from Catskill dries, Parachutes, Spinners and Klink’s.  This is a pretty simple pattern that is a true winner.  Shown is a sized 18 and that should be sufficiently small for most needs but when it comes to a winter BWO hatch smaller is often better.

Blue Winged Olive Klinkhammer

Blue Winged Olive Klinkhammer


Biot Butt BWO Klinkhammer

Hook: Light Wire Scud 16-22
Thread: Olive 8/0
Abdomin: Olive Goose Biot (wrapping over some loon water based glue or superglue will improve longevity)
Thorax: Ultrafine dubbing BWO / UV
Wing: Dun CDC
Hackle: Light – Med Dun sized to hook

Posted in Fly Pattern Tagged with: , , , , ,

RMP – Summer Steelhead Fly





This fly has been floating in my head since I first saw a picture of Dec Hogan’s B&O fly. Purple is one of my favorite Steelhead colors and red is a great compliment to the two tones of purple in this pattern. What I like so much about this pattern is that it doesn’t have a traditional wing which makes it a better combination for a brighter day once the sun gets a bit higher in the sky. This will create a dark silhouette against the bright summer sky. I like the name RMP as that is the name of a NYPD police cruiser; Radio Mobile Patrol. Dec Hogan is a Fire Fighter and ties a fly called the Pompier (Fireman in French) I work in Law Enforcement so I thought this variation of his B&O is appropriately named. I just acquired my first 4 x 5 x 2 Model 1461 Richard (RW) Wheatley fly box and this will be the first of 30 additions to it. These flies will be for fishing, not for show; they will attempt to bridge the gap between a 3 day atlantic salmon fly and a 5 minute chenille based GBS. I look forward to sharing the progress of the completed fly box.  Thank you to Amy Hazel at Deschutes Angler for helping me out in selecting just the right box:

Pattern Details

Hook: Alec Jackson Spey, Silver
Tag: Purple Floss, Silver Oval Tinsel
Body Rear: Angora Red Dubbed
Body Rear Hackle: Three Turns Bright Purple Saddle
Body Front: Angora Purple Dubbing Loop Brushed
Rib: Oval Silver Tinsel
Cheeks: Jungle Cock (optional)
Hackle: Dark Purple Schlappen
Horns: Lady Amherst – White
Thread: Purple 8/0

Posted in Fly Pattern Tagged with: , , , , , ,

I love tying Steelhead Flies

I discovered this week that it had been nearly 3 months since I even tried to catch a trout and at least six months since I tied a single trout fly.  I have been absolutely obsessed with chasing Summer Steelhead on the Deschutes this summer and fall.  This past weekend I decided that I needed to get out one last time and chase a trout before the weather turns completely cold and the fishing slows to a crawl.  I drove out to the Crooked and fished for a few hours while the sun was in the canyon.  It was a perfect day, probably 50 degrees and calm winds.  I landed a few nice fish and it was a challenge to get the job done in the low and relatively clear Crooked.  It just wasn’t the same, what I really wanted was a 13 footer in my hand, casting and stepping the day away.  The weather has just not been cooperating with my weekend warrier schedule but there is a long weekend coming I thought and the 10 day looks promising.

I drove home and immediately started tying traditional flies for next summer with a few intruders just in case I make it over to the coast in the next few months.  I am actually worried that I will not stop and thus have no trout flies for next summer.  I quickly realize, I have touched almost none of the hundreds of trout flies I tied last winter, I should be safe.

B & O Summer Steelhead Fly

B & O Summer Steelhead Fly


Lum Plum Steelhead Fly

Lum Plum Steelhead Fly

Posted in Fishing Report Tagged with: , , , ,

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