Favorite Contributor Flies
Picking favorites is never easy, and as we all know it can sometimes lead to jealousy, but this being the “Favorite Flies” issue gave me the idea to revisit some of the contributor flies that have really struck our fancy over the years. Perhaps, I should not go so far as to say that they are my favorites, because they all are, but if I had to pick one from each….
I should begin with my own favorite, at least for this year. The Dark Pink Spanker was my most successful salmon fly this fall, taking numerous pinks and several very nice silvers in the lower stretches of my favorite river. It was only outperformed by the Humpy Chaser for Pinks when we were actually targeting them on my trip with Dennis Dickson (mentioned in this issue) to another river.
Idaho fly tyer, Clark Lucas was the first ever contributor to Salmonfly.Net back when it was started in 1998. It is difficult to pick any one of the signature Speys and Dees that he ties so masterfully, but our choice is one of his originals, Clark's Silver and Black. This fly has all the classic proportions, yet shows Clark's originality and keen perception of what will catch fish. The colors in this fly match those of his favorite team, the Oakland Raiders.
Bill Lovelace started sending flies a couple years ago, but within that time he has surpassed by far the number of flies that any contributor has shared with Salmonfly.Net readers. He has so many great flies on the site, but my choice is one that is simple, yet proven to be highly effective, the Purple Matuka, Matukas may be simple looking, but they are not always easy to tie. Bill show's us how and to the proportions conceived by the originator, Forrest Maxwell.
Red & Green Hot Chilli Pepper Shrimp from Swedish tyer Petru Dima won the MUSTAD Scandinavian Open Fly tying Competition 2002, cat. 8 Open. It is striking because of the braiding technique used to create it, creating durability and a very pleasing look. I've always liked the European-style shrimp flies because they are made for a purpose - to catch fish, not just for looks.
The Rolled Muddler from Dennis Dickson is mentioned in my story this months about fishing the Stillaguamish tidewater with Dennis Dickson for Sea-Run Cutthroat and Pinks. I can attest to the fact that it is a highly effective fly for Silvers, Pinks and Sea-Run Cutthroat and who knows what else.
Halebop is a tube fly tied by Contributing Fly Tyer, Stuart Anderson, owner and operator of Adipos Flytying and The Canadian Tube Fly Company. It is a fly with the perfect color combination that is both pleasing to the user and to the fish. If you like tube flies you will like this one.
There was never a fly that the late Scotty Howell tied and submitted to Salmonfly.Net that I did not like. They were all so beautiful and enticing. For some reason, though, Madore's Bug always caught my fancy. I once asked Scotty how he made those ostrich herl bodies so vibrant looking and his answer was that he always got quality materials. They can make the difference between a good and a great fly.
It would be impossible to mention a favorite flies issue without showing one of the beautiful flies from the collection of Dr. David Burns. The River, shown here, is one of my favorites just because of the colors. I am impartial to green, but so are fish. This fly was tied to be admired by humans, but what many do not know is that Dr. Burns uses many of his classic flies for steelhead fishing and is successful with them. ...More about that in the next issue.
Swedish tyer Jan Faltin ties his flies for Atlantic Salmon and Sea Trout, but what I like about them is they look like they could easily be used for our Pacific Salmon, Steelhead, and Sea-Run Cutthroat. I liked Faltin's Royal Gold, especially for its colors and form. I'd tie up a few and try them if I weren't so darn busy doing this page!
No steelhead fly tying website would be complete without the flies of Syd Glasso, so I was happy when Stu Farnham offered up his collection of Glasso flies. This Sol Duc variation was tied by Stu Farnham. Several years ago he was invited to see a collection of Syd Glasso's flies owned by Bob Taylor of Vancouver, BC., and he was struck by the color variation. It is my favorite of Stu's flies tied for the site.
Midnight Scruffy was originated and tied by by Contributing Fly Tyer Mike Foster whose flies can be also found in the Fly Fishing for Pacific Salmon books of Bruce Ferguson, Les Johnson, and Pat Trotter. This and Mike Foster's other marabou flies are quite striking in appearance and really look "fishy".
Estonian fly tyer Sergei Fesko has so much talent for tying classic flies, blending colors and marrying wings, I hope that he is still not wasting it. I haven't heard from him for awhile, but hope that he will someday send more flies like Patriot, shown here. This fly is modeled after the colors of the Estonian flag (a blue stripe on top, black stripe in the middle, and white stripe on the bottom).
Australian tyer Bob Frandsen is also one of Salmonfly.Net's more prolific contributors and there is not a fly of his I don't like. I have to pick a traditional steelhead fly as a favorite, though, so the Golden Demon fits the bill. It appeared to have originated in England in the 1930s, then was tested in New Zealand by Zane Grey. From there, he brought it to the West Coast where it became popular as a Salmon and Steelhead fly.
Dr. John Glaspy's flies for Pacific Salmon are all his own design's and tested on his trips to Alaska. I probably like Paddy's Spey a lot gain because of the color blending and its attractiveness to salmon. Maybe I like it, though because of my Irish heritage. John has a full set of instructions for tying this fly on the page about it.
Leon Guthrie's contributions to Salmonfly.Net are legendary. His flies were often whimsical, often very lifelike, and always something to look forward to. Leon's Epoxy Alevin is another in his realistic fly series that is hard to distinguish from the real thing.
Another green fly? Am I showing a pattern here? This Green General Practitioner from Swedish contributor Tobbe Hedin has all the ingredients for making a real enticing offering for just about any species. General Practitioners have a reputation for success and Tobbe's green rendition is no exception.
Bob Kenly, co-author of Tube Flies Two: Evolution designed the Foxbat after his friend, the late Yuri Shumakov (also a contributor) introduced him to his "Russian Bullet" method of tying flies. He was good enough to send a set of instructions for tying this tube fly as well as the history behind it.
Blue, is an apt name for this fly from Andrew Marshall's Deschutes River Dee Series. These flies were designed specifically steelhead and have proven their success. You are probably surprised that I chose the Blue, instead of the green. The color is underrated, I believe, as an alternative choice when the fish do not seem interested in other colors, but all of the Deschutes River Dees are just plain fishy flies, so take a look.
It is no wonder that Skrunk, an original creation by Oregon tyer, Eric Martin has attracted a lot of attention. Just look at it. I almost want to put into a stir fry. Eric has a whole page of originals on Salmonfly.Net, but this one is my favorite.
We'll go from the Skrunk to the Skunk, the Green Butt Skunk to be exact and what tyer does not know this venerable fly. Monte Smith tied numerous flies for Salmonfly.Net and all of them are masterfully done, but for some reason I am biased when it comes to traditional flies that have a long proven record of success. Monte's rendition should is well worth a second look.
Irish guide and casting instructor, Stevie Munn sent Whiskey Fly because, he says that it has "worked for me amazingly well at times and perhaps when you would least expect it." I think that shows a pretty strong conviction that this is a good fly. I like it because it's Irish and it has the name Whiskey in it. Those are pretty alluring characteristics for someone of Irish descent.
Paul Smith's flies for Pacific Salmon are reminiscent of many of the big Alaskan flies and River Chum Killer is no exception. Given that this is not a green fly, you might be surprised, but sometimes white with the red throat will work for Chum. He also ties this in Chartreuse, by the way.
What is not to like about Grandma's Coat from Mark Willigar. Just the name, evoke's good feelings, so you have to try it for fishing, but there are more paractical reasons. Mark writes's, "First day of using it, I had landed 2 brown trout of more than 3 lbs, and one grilse. By the end of the season, I had taken 3 salmon, and 5 rather big browns, and in reality that is not prime time for browns in my home water." That's all the evidence I need.
The late Yuri Shumakov wanted to influence his native Russian culture bringing fly-fishing to prominence in his country, but in the process he had a considerable influence in North America fly fishing culture with his tube flies. Deeply Yours is from his Pacific Salmon series. It is a perfect fly for deep presentations to King and Coho salmon.
I am going to finish up with one last fly of my own that is a favorite, or at least it was this fall. This Teeny Egg-Sucking Leech variation took several nice Kings in my favorite river and became my go-to fly. The Teeny nymph series was designed by Jim Teeny as an alternative to those large bulky flies and I was quite pleasantly surprised at how successful they really are.
Happy Fly Tying,
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