On the Fly: Tie those flies
Tying season is nearly upon us, and glancing through my boxes alerted me to the fact that I have a lot of work to do this winter. I have trouble sleeping when I am getting low on certain patterns, and there are some large swaths of empty space in my usually well-apportioned boxes. You don’t need a ton of different flies around here, but there are flies I simply can’t do without.
Rim Chung’s venerable RS2 catches fish all over the world, and the Roaring Fork Valley is no exception. Rim is a friend of mine, and I learn something new every time I fish with him. His simple little baetis nymph catches fish, plain and simple. First on the list are RS2s in sizes 18 to 22 and color schemes of olive, gray and black. He doesn’t get the recognition he deserves for inventing this fly, but his pattern is in every trout fisherman’s fly box from coast to coast.
Frank Sawyer came up with a little fly called the Pheasant Tail while river keeping on the chalkstreams of England many years ago. His fly remains very important to the fly-fisher to this day. The fly is tied differently these days, but the shape and profile remain the same. I carry this pattern in sizes 18 to 24, in varying colors of brown, black and red. You can never carry enough Pheasant Tails, especially on the Fryingpan River.
On the dry-fly side of things, Leonard Halladay’s Adams can be utilized for almost any mayfly hatch from blue-wing olives to green drakes. Bill Fitzsimmons used to joke about the “Adams hatch” here in the valley, and he was right. I tie this fly from size 10 all the way down to 26, and I would never leave home without them.
Tim Heng’s Autumn Splendor streamer fly rounds out my list. His bait-fish pattern catches plenty of fish, and not just during autumn. You can’t beat his original rusty color scheme, but tying this staple streamer in olive, black and white will bring you success, too.
I wish you happy tying this winter, whatever your restock list may be. Late nights on the vise make for incredible days on the water.
“On the Fly” is provided weekly by the staff at Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt.
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