Fly of The Month 2016

December 2016
The Gotcha was created by Jim McVay for targeting bonefish off Andros Island (the Bahamas).  The pattern is a stellar shrimp imitation and one of the world's top producing bonefish fly patterns.  A descendant of the clouser minnow, this pattern rides hook point up which aides in avoiding snags. The pattern was first tied with yellow carpet fibers snipped from the back of a cab.  Since then, other synthetic fibers like craft fur or EP fibers have been used.  White and tan colors are great shrimp imitations in saltwater. Tie in olives, browns, and rust colors to mimic crayfish in freshwater. 

The Gotcha (Traditional Bonefish Style)
Hook: Size #1 through #8 saltwater hook. (Gamakatsu SL45 is a good one)  
Thread: Pink - 140 denier Ultra Thread
Eyes: Bead chain, brass, or lead eyes (depending on desired sink rate)
Tail: Pearl braid or pearl flashabou
Body: Wrapped pearl braid or pearl flashabou 
Wing: Tan craft fur, or tan EP fiber, or tan antron carpet fiber
Wing Topping: 2 or 4 strands of crystal flash

December's Winner - Denise Morazov

November 2016
Royal Coachman

The Royal Coachman, created by John Haily in the 1878, is THE standard "attractor" fly pattern and probably THE most recognizable fly pattern in recent history.  Some say this fly is the first great American fly pattern.  The signature peacock, red, and orange color pattern is what makes this fly "royal".  Like most "attractor" or "searching" fly patterns, it doesn't mimic any insect in particular, instead it acts like a bright beacon used to draw a hungry fish's attention.  Original renditions of this pattern were tied as a winged "wet" flies for salmon and steelhead, but dry fly, streamer, nymph, flatwing, and bucktail Royal Coachmen patterns have historically been tied up by anglers.

Royal Coachman (Soft Hackle Nymph Version)
Hook: Size #14 through 6 nymph hook  
Thread: Black - 70 denier Ultra Thread
Tail: Golden pheasant "crest" fibers
Body: Peacock herl
Body Segment: Red thread wrapped over the body
Wing: White calf tail
Hackle: Ginger or Rust soft hackle

The November winner was Denise Morozov's Textbook example!

October 2016

Royal Wulff
The Royal Wulff, created by Lee Wulff in the 1920s, is one of the standard "attractor" fly patterns created as a spinoff of the Royal Coachmen.  It's typically, big, bright, and bushy which helps it float high on the surface.  It doesn't mimic any insect in particular, instead it acts like a bright beacon used to draw a hungry trout's attention.

Royal Wulff
Hook: Size #18 through 8 dry fly hook  
Thread: Black - 70 denier Ultra Thread
Wings: White calf tail (split into a 'V')
Tail: moose body or squirrel tail or golden pheasant "crest" fibers
Body: peacock herl
Body Segment: Red thread wrapped over the body
Hackle: Ginger or Brown dry fly hackle

President elect, Mike Lach won the October contest!

September 2016

Deer Hair Slider
Late summer and early fall is the best time of year to target largemouth bass on topwater here in Nebraska.  A great pattern to use is a Deer Hair Slider.  This pattern causes commotion on the surface to draw violent strikes from big bass (and pike too!) The action of this fly is somewhere between a "popper"and a "diver".  More subdued than a popper, but more surface slithering action than a diver.  This is also a great pattern to hone your deer spinning/clipping technique.  Chose natural colors like browns, olives, and blacks to mimic frogs and mice, or tie in bright reds, whites, or pinks to use as an attention grabbing fly.  Use large and tightly packed clumps of deer hair for a higher floating fly, and smaller, loosely packed clumps for a lower or slowly sinking fly.

Deer Hair Slider (black)
Hook: Size #6 through 2/0 bass bug hook.  
Thread: Black - 200 denier GSP
Tail: Black flashabou
Tail 2: Black rabbit strip ~ 3 inches long
Head: Black deer Body Hair
Eyes are optional

Ed Swantner's Scruffy Slider won the September contest! (Along with Larry Dostal's black version from the recipe above^^^).

August 2016

Summer and fall is hopper season in Nebraska.  Bluegill, bass, trout, carp, even catfish will gladly sip a hopper off the surface of the water.  The longer the year goes on, the bigger the grasshoppers get.  There are deer hair grasshopper patterns, balsa wood patterns, foam patterns, and hackle floated hopper patterns.  An easy to tie and easy to customize hopper pattern is the Chubby Chernobyl.  Tie in yellows/browns/greens to mimic natural grasshoppers.  Tie in black or grey to mimic crickets.  Or tie in bright pink or chartreuse as an attention grabbing pattern.    

Chubby Chernobyl
Hook: Size #10 - #4 -  2XL or 3XL nymph hook.  
Thread: White - UTC 140 denier 
Tail: Rainbow or root-beer Krystal Flash
Body: Rust colored dubbing
Back: Strip of yellowish closed-cell foam
Legs: Rust colored silicone legs
Wing: White poly-yarn

The Gurgler
The Gurgler is the top-water equivalent of the woolly bugger.  Invented by Jack Gartside, this fly is designed to cause a commotion on top of the water to draw a fish's attention and provoke a strike.  This fly is quick and easy to tie with infinite variability.  This fly can mimic anything a on a predatory fish's menu such as fleeing bait fish, frogs, mice, dragonflies, even shrimp! Originally tied with a mix of natural materials and synthetics, this fly can catch just about everything that swims.  The sky is the limit with variations to this fly with whatever colors and materials you have on hand.  I prefer to tie them with synthetic materials so they float high and dry.  Click HERE for tying instructions from Jack Gartside himself!

Simple Black Gurgler Materials
Hook: #10 - 2/0  Mustad 3366 (smaller for bluegill/trout, bigger for bass/pike/striped bass)  
Thread: Black - UTC 140 or 210 denier 
Tail: Black flashabou
Under Body: Black or peacock color palmer chenille
Shell/Body: Strip of black closed-cell foam, trimmed past the hook eye after whip-finishing

June 2016

Foam Beetle
Super simple to tie, almost as easy as a San Juan Worm, and a fish catching machine!  This fly is perfect for bluegill, it's small and compact fly that floats like a cork and is easy to munch.  Infinitely variable, this pattern can be as easy or complicated to tie as you feel.  Sit down and crank out half a dozen of these... You'll be glad you did!

Simple Foam Beetle Materials
Hook: #16 - #4 Dry fly hook, Caddis Hook, or Mustad 3366   
Thread: Black - 140 denier or 6/0
Body/Shell: 1/4 inch wide by 2 inch long strip of black craft foam (2mm)
Under Body: Black or peacock color dry fly dubbing
Wing: Pearl krystal flash or white EP fibers/Congo Hair
Legs: Black silicone or rubber

May 2016

Copper John
John Barr created this fast sinking, versatile nymph in the early 1990s.  It is considered one of the standard modern nymphs to carry in your fly box that is a great imitation of an emerging nymph (due to the appearance of a small bubble around the wing case).  This fly is excellent for trout and panfish here in Nebraska.   Step by Step Tying Instructions From John Barr and Charlie Cravin

Copper John Materials
Hook: #18 - #8  2x long and 2x strong Nymph hook
Thread: Black - 140 denier or 6/0
Weight: Bead and several wraps of lead
Tail: Pair of Biot feathers
Body/Rib: Copper/Red/Gold/Green Wire
Thorax:  1 or 2 strands of peacock herl (wrapped around shank)
Wing Case: Epoxy or varnish coated Pheasant tail fiber/Turkey Quill/Nymph Skin/Large pearl flash
Legs: Hen Neck feather fibers or soft hackle fibers. Evenly spread on both sides of the hook (like wings)

April 2016

Pheasant Tail Nymph
From rainbow trout to bluegill to carp, there isn't a fish that swims in the Cornhusker state that will turn down a Pheasant Tail.  This is considered one of, if not the only nymph patterns you should never leave home without.  There are several variations of this fly that all catch fish. Believe it or not the original Pheasant Tail Nymph, created by Englishmen Frank Sawyer in the 19th century, was made almost entirely out of copper wire!  The fly was created using copper wire instead of thread to lash down a few pheasant tail fibers and sunk like a rock when fished (to get to the bottom of those deep pools).  Modern pheasant tail nymphs are a little more complicated but are not difficult to tie.

Modern Pheasant Tail Materials
Hook: #18 - #10  Nymph hook
Thread: Black - 140 denier or 6/0
Tail: Pheasant tail fibers
Thorax: Pheasant tail fibers (twisted and wrapped up the hook shank)
Rib (Optional): Fine gold or copper colored wire
Thorax:  1 or 2 strands of peacock herl (wrapped around shank)
Wing Case: Pheasant tail fibers
Legs: Pheasant tail fibers (from creating the wing case, folded back)

March 2016

Bully's Bluegill Spider
This is the deadly and durable bluegill pattern that sinks vertically.  Use as a dropper beneath a popper, below and indicator, or as a stand alone nymph and hang on!  Original yellow is the standby, but all black is a killer!

Our March 2016 winner is Ken Whisenhunt's textbook example....

Hook: #12 - #8  Nymph hook or Caddis Hook. 
Thread: Yellow - 140 denier or 6/0
Weight: Lead wire wrapped near hook bend
Body:  Yellow standard or medium chenille
Legs: Yellow rubber legs.

February 2016

Griffith's Gnat
This small fly was designed to imitate a single midge (or any other small insect) or a cluster of midges floating along the surface.  Although midges are small, they can make up the majority of a trout's diet (and just about any other fish's) certain times of the year.  Throw this fly when midges or tiny mayflies are hatching.  This is also a great fly to use as a dropper behind a larger dry fly or hopper pattern. 

Hook: #12-24 Standard Dry Fly Hook (either straight or standard down turned eye)
Thread: UTC 70 Black
Body:  Peacock Herl (typically one strand)
Hackle: Standard Grizzly, size to match hook.

January 2016

San Juan Worm
Some people call this a "trash" or "junk" fly... call it what you want, this little guy flat out catches fish!!! Everything swimming loves eating worms.  From rainbow trout, to bluegill, to carp, this fly is a warm-water staple.  This fly in some shape or form should be in your box.  A great thing about this fly is it's ease of customization.  Tie it in red/pink/wine/olive.  Add a bead or a few turns of lead to sink it deep.

Our January 2016 winner is Rich John's Beaded San Juan Worm 

Standard Materials
Hook: #12-8 Caddis or Glo-bug/Egg style hook
Thread: UTC 70 or 140 in color to match body
Body:  Small or Medium Ultra Chenille - Pink/Red/Olive/Wine/Maroon colors

*Note* -  Ultra Chenille (also called Vernille) is REQUIRED for this pattern.  Ultra-Chenille won't unravel like regular chenille.

Photo By Larry Dostal

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