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  • Monday, October 27, 2008

    The Halloween Flies

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    .. This is the time of year to break out the Halloween Leech. This leech pattern is one of the most effective of the Halloween Flies. We mention it every year at this time and we do it again here. The recipe is given below for those of you that feel inclined to roll your own.
    ..The Halloween Leech is well known among the neighbors in West Yellowstone. We use it to fool the giant spawners running up the Madison River from Hebgen Lake.
    .. It is also useful for entertaining the fish in Duck Creek, the South Fork of the Madison River, and Grayling Creek. Surprisingly, we have never, (to our recollection,) fished this fly on the Gibbon River or the Gallatin River.
    .. The recipe is simple and the fly is effective.
    Recipe - Tail: plucked throat fibers from midnight black emu, (the short ones right next to the beak,) - Body: dubbed orange and black scrotum fuzz from the hindermost parts of a wild Yellowstone Wolverine, (since this animal is about to be listed as endangered you must shave it alive,) - Body Hackle: Orange & Black barred neck feather from a Little Black & Orange Indian Hawk, (reverse palmered forward,) - Head: Black thread, a little on the long side for the attachment of a riffling hitch. Fish it deep, or skitter it across the surface - steelhead fashion.
    .. There are other traditional favorites used both here and abroad during this time of year. They are usually large flies and are based on the sensibility that big fish want groceries and not just nibblies. A trait becoming most common among the trick or treat vandals roaming the dark streets on the eve of fright.
    .. Many of these seasonal flies are just adaptations of salmon or steelhead flies used for centuries and modified for the holiday occasion. There are stuffy old farts that poo-poo the fun to be had with these flies. Sad for them; these flies work, and work very well indeed. The recipes are, of course, a bit idiosyncratic and personal. You'll recognize the pattern and can improvise your own renditions.
    .. You've probably used these patterns but called them by different names. One of the most useful is a leech/bugger cross called the Black Cat. It can be tied with either an orange or chartreuse body and the fluffiest of marabou. It's just as good as the traditional black leeches and 'boogers' for big fish in deep runs. If you've a mind to, you can get them for $4.50 at Davecom Fish Flies.
    .. A variant of the pattern with lead or bead chain eyes is sold by Gray's Of Kilsyth (#1, #2.) These renditions from Scotland work well in both the fall and the spring when you need to get down and deep. Gray's will ship them to you for free.
    .. Streamers are common fare this time of year and, interestingly, there are a pair of Black Cat Streamers used in the neighborhood. These are a bit less popular than the dark and light Spruce Flies that most folks use. They are found in as many fly boxes as the others, just seldom pulled out.
    .. The two variations are found at FlyTyingForum.com. The first is by Robert S. and features a rainbow dubbed body, no beard and peacock for the tail. The second is by Redwings1 and has a silver tinsel body, beard, white buck tail and a red hackle tail. Both feature jungle cock cheeks.
    .. One of our neighbors ties these for gifts at this time of year. We used ours to catch fish and he hasn't spoken to us since. They do work, and if tied large and in a sparse fashion are very effective - especially on the Gibbon River in the plunge pool below the falls.
    .. The rediscovery of spey casting and flies over the last 15 years has spawned many adaptations of old flies. Again, idiosyncrasy and personal whim have influenced the patterns. One fly that is tremendously effective for both Spring and Fall fish is the Jack O'Lantern Spey.
    .. A commercial version is sold by TheFlyFishingShop @ 3/$7.25. Their rendition is quite nice, though the density of the dressing is a bit heavy for our thin water. An excellent rendition of the fly appeared back in April on Jeff Kennedy's site.
    .. The fish currently in the Madison River are moody and sulk as much as they eat. Love does funny things to all critters.
    .. A lively fly presented well and right in their face will, however, usually elicit action of the desired variety. Spey flies, properly tied, with a gob of 'internal' action will usually provide fishers with an exuberant - if unsuspecting - dance partner.
    .. Ralph Cutter has developed a fly for the East Walker River that is excellent for fall run fish everywhere; it's called The Goblin. This hybrid Bunny/Marabou fly is well worth adding to the Halloween fly box.
    .. If you fish it locally then it's best to pluck the bunny fur for fall fishing in clear and thin water. It's just fine 'as-tied' for spring. It's also an excellent fly for early morning and late afternoon. It's density holds up well and it presents a clean silhouette in dim or stained water.
    .. This is the season for prospecting and searching for fish, dwindling hatches, endurable weather, and success before the winter weather sets in. It is a time for the last bit of fun on many of our rivers. Try these flies and you'll enjoy the novelty and the rare pleasure of having taken a fish on a fly that no one in your party has.
    .. Action is rampant this fall in the blogsphere. Pete, over at Fishing Jones is off to Florida to stick some peacock bass. Talk about wanderlust! He also posted a note about the recent piece on the Patagonia page by Joe at Protect Your Waters.
    .. The National Geographic wants you. Their new series "Hooked" is on T.V. If you missed the first episode, you were probably searching for fish quite a bit smaller than are featured on the series. The series web site features a bushel basket full of photos for your edification, and some nifty wallpaper.
    .. Jeff over at Drawing Flies, 365 has been both busy and creative, and is on the downhill road toward his goal of drawing a fly a day for a year. He's up to the recently discovered number 293, the Brookie Oatman.
    .. Posting a bit more frequently than usual is the Horse's Mouth. We're not sure whether the wahines or wipeouts are more interesting. The photos are spectacular! They also turned us on to the Never Sea Land site that has mermaids swimming all over its pages . . . zowie!! The sea nymph to the right is the most modest of the bunch.
    .. Fujioka's Home Page has added some interesting new features and a link is provided for purchase of pictures from this talented flyfisher. These custom, made to order prints, should be a delight for any art or fishing buff. Now then, how much is ¥33,000 JPY in dollars?
    .. Rose River Farm reports an influx of Brook Trout has been washed into the waters from the park. A result of the recent rains: no doubt. If you would like to feel at home while on the right coast drop in and fish a bit.