Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fly Tying,

Where do you draw your inspiration from for flytying. Do you scour through magazines for fly patterns, or the many books available to flytyers these days, or does it come from the internet, via blogs, websites, flyshops, forums, ect... Over the last 10 years there have been many great names associated with fly tying. Vince Wilcox, Mike Mercer, Renee Harop, John Barr, Charlie Craven, Scott Sanchez, and others. Lets not forget to mention our friends from across the pond. Paul Whillock, Steve Thorton, Oliver Edwards, and some of the up and comers. is a great way to meet and see some of the patterns that are coming from across the pond, down under, South of the boarder and our own backyard. There are a ton of fly fishing forums popping up on the internet with sub forums leading to flytying.

I was recently asked where does a fly tyer get some of the materials to tie patterns from European tyers. So I have decided to put a little list here of web sites to acquire materials to tie the Czech Nymph, Realistic Golden Stone, Caddis, ect...

The first site here is out of California and is run by Steve Korbay. His website is
He specializes in realistic materials from a company called Virtual Nymph. Virtual Nymph has a bunch of products for the realistic tyer. Some of the products that Steve offers on his website are Japanese Nymph Legs, Nymph Skin, Porcupine Quills, Realistic Caddis, Stonefly and Stoneclinger Wings, and Freestone Caddis coating. He also specializes in Czech Nymph products from Jan Siman products from the Czech Republic and some of those materials are the Magic Shrimp Foils, Czech Nymph Dubbing, Skalka and Knapek hooks, dubbing brushs, flat lead, and Oliver Edwards Caddis Legs. Steve has a great site and is quick in turning your orders around.

The next site is out of the Czech Republic and they specialize in Czech Nymph products carrying Hends products, Klima products, Hanak Hooks, and Air Fishing. If you are confused about the currency exchange, don't be, they have a currency exchange rate changer for the current day built into their site, so if you are buying in Euros, dollars, and pounds, it will show you todays current rate. Since you will be ordering from Czech Republic, don't expect to get your products super fast. The usual turn time is about 3 weeks. But they offer some neat materials from body glass(similar to our larva lace, magic stretch, d-rib, and micro tubing), Body Quills, dubbings, backside foils (like magic shrimp foil), Live body(like nymph skin) and various other products.

This next site is Jan Siman from the Czech Republic as well.
And his offerings are for Czech nymph products from the Magic Shrimp Foils, Czech Hooks, dubbing brushes, dubbing, and various other tying materials as well. They too have a currency conversion calculator built into their site so you know what your paying for your products at the time of checking out. They are also shipping from the Czech Republic so expect your goods in about 3 weeks after placing your order.

Now for some of the American materials that are we are all accustomed to, Wapsi, Hareline and Spirit River found in almost all American shops across the states. I don't think I need to go into detail about their offerings since they are readily available in all most all shops here in the U.S.

Now some of the magazines that are dedicated to flytying. The first one is Hatches which released its first issue this past fall with a new issue due out this fall. Hatches is from the website and the magazine offers fresh water, saltwater and warm water tying.

Next is the Fly Tyer which has been around for a long time that is dedicated to flytying of all kinds. Fly Tyer offers easy to hard patterns for the home flytyer to experiment with. It is published 4 times a year and has both U.S. based and European tyers submitting patterns to the magazine.

Next is the Flyfishing and Tying Journal from Amato publishing and has been around for sometime as well. The magazine is really well done and is not like the other fly fishing magazines hotspotting places to fish, but goes in a different direction offering styles of fishing, how to fly fish and flytying. There is usually about a 2 dozen different flies in each issue, which is nice to see some of the patterns being developed. They offer new patterns and old standbys. They also have from time to time flytying contest of certain patterns and fly tyers from across the globe submit patterns to this little contest. And from this contest there was a book published on Patent Patterns that shows flies tied from various tyers across the globe. A really good source of fly tying patterns for all levels of flytyers.

Some books that are coming from Europe is Listen to the River and Flytyers of the World by Steve Thornton. Listen to the River is Steve's own patterns that he has come up with. The photos and description of step by step on some really interesting patterns are available in his two different volumes with a third volume coming soon. Another project Steve has been working on is a Fly Tyers of the world books. A four volume series of books bring you some of the worlds best flytyers. Volume 1 is out now and volume 2 is due out any day now, with 3 and 4 following later this year and next. This book series is done very well and should not be overlooked, because it will offer the insight into some of the worlds best flytyers.

Now jumping back to stateside I am going to offer up Charlie Cravens Fly Box. Charlie Craven opened up a really nice fly shop in Old Towne Arvada a few years back and is becoming known as one of the best flyshops in the country. Not just for the Great customer service that Charlie, Greg and Ross give on a daily basis but for the Flytying tutorial's Charlie has up on his website of step by step patterns from Charlie, Greg, John Barr and others. He has a 145 pattens up on his site and is adding more patterns as time permits. Charlie also has a book that is hitting shelves any day now called Charlie Craven's Basic Fly tying. The book will have 17 popular nymph, dry and streamer flies with over a 1000 photos to boot. This book will become a collectors item because it covers flytying fundamentals, tools, materials and techniques to tie a wide range of patterns. I expect the photos to pop off the pages like another book that Charlie spent some time tying and taking photos for, which has already become a collector book in flytying circles John Barr's book Barr's Flies.

Now for the best reference books out there to date come from the minds of Ted Leeson and Jim Schollmeyer called The Fly Tier's Benchside Reference and The Benchside Introduction to Flytying. For folks that have been tying flies for a long time the Fly Tie'r Benchside Reference should be on your desk to consult when you need to learn a move or how to tie some material a certain way. This book is the best book out there on how to help!!!. For new Tier's the Introduction book is great resource to help you begin and learn your way into the art of fly tying.

There are hundreds of books dedicated to the art of flytying and I have only listed a few that I think are very valuable resources for the flytyer and should be used as much as possible to help you expand on your knowledge of flytying.

Over the course of time I hope to expand on some of the other books, resources, websites, patterns, and flytyers available to us the fly tyer to help us become better fly tyers and experiment with different patterns.

Thanks for stopping by and hope you enjoyed this segment of Life on the Fly.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Roaring Fork Valley

Headed up to the Roaring Fork Valley this past weekend with my Dad. We left Denver around 9:30am on Friday. We drove straight to Basalt with a quick stop at Taylor Creek before going to the campground at Rudei Resivoir. We set up camp back in the gully campground, there were only two sites left, so we made the right choice to set up campe before fishing.

Once Camp was set up, we put on our waders and headed down to the Frying Pan for some fishing. We decided to fish fish just below the dam for awhile, (wanted to get my dad into some fish right away). Got into the river and I tied on mysis and dirty cdc caddis. It didnt take long to get into my first fish. Within the hour I had caught about a dozen fish. My Dad also got into some fish soon after getting into the river. We worked my favorite stretch just below the little diversion dam for about an two hours before we moved down river.

Next stop was about 2 miles down river right before the first no trespass signs. We fished this section for about two hours and after many trout later we decided to head back up river to my favorite section on the Pan. We fished this section for about 3 hours and witnesses an incredible hatch of Rusty Quills. We didnt see many fish rising, we waited and hoped for a spinner fall, but that never materialized, so we headed back up to the dam area to fish the last hour of daylight we could.

Back at the campsite a little after 9:30 had a beer and got ready to turn in for the night. I had to kinda of keep my ears open for Jason, since he was going to try to find us at the campground so we could float the Roaring Fork on Saturday. Jason showed up almost close to 1:00 am with raft in tow. After a bit of chat with Jason upon his arrival, I headed back to tent to crash.

Woke up Saturday morning to a very nice day and after we got all of our bearings together, we headed down to Breakfast over America for breakfast, but they were jam packed and the wait was long, so we headed down to Carbondale for the grub. After breakfast, we headed to the flyshop across the street to arrange our shuttle and find out about what section to float. After a little of bit of discussion we decided to float Catherine's Bridge to Glenwood Two Rivers Park.

We finally got on the river around 11:00 am and launched soon after. The flows were a bit higher then expected. We started pounding the banks for fish. Since the river was higher, we had to work the soft seams next to bank for fish. I landed two fish from the boat after being on the river for an hour or so. It was after 1:00 pm before we found some public land to stop and wade fish. Since none of us were really familiar with floating the Roaring Fork we really didn't know what to expect and where to stop. At our first wade fishing, I had two hook ups, dad had none, Jason landed a really nice 22" bow and got a kiss from Stout the dog. Jason had another two hooks and that was about it, before we decided to move on.

Time for me to take the oars. Rookie is now Captain of the Raft, look out and secure your belongings. I didn't do too bad, I rowed for the next two hours down river, trying to concentrate more on what I was doing, being new to the oars and staying closer to the middle of the river, making it a bit harder for Jason and Dad to get to the fish. Finally I found an island were we docked and fished for a while. I did ok, a few hook ups of nice fish, landed a hunch back brown and lost a few more. It was starting to get late so we headed for Glenwood. Dad in front, Jason on oars, me in the back, I didn't fish too much at this point, but let my dad work the edges and try to get him into fish. We landed in Glenwood a bit after 4:00.

Now for the comical stuff of the day. Got the gear unloaded of the boat, somebody swiped my streamer box, what a bummer, I am still mad its gone. But Jason went to get the truck and back it down the dock, I noticed he was next, so I thought I could move the boat into the docking area, big mistake, I got out into the current and completely missed the dock, and I was on my way back down stream towards the canyon, I was able to get it to land but a good two hundreds yards past the dock. Boy I have a lot to learn on the oars, I was back rowing and still going forward, something didn't quite work out right for me. Oh well, I guess its part of the learning curve on how to row! Got the boat loaded up and gear stored away, said bye to Jason and Dad and I head into Basalt for Dinner with a quick stop at Frying Pan Anglers so I could get a new net. We had dinner at the River Bar and after dinner headed back up to the pan for some fishing.

We headed straight to the dam section and fished there until 9:30 or so. Both Dad and I caught fish which was nice since the first half of the day was pretty rough. We had the river pretty much to ourselves and fished a few different sections. Hoping for some pretty good dry fly spinner fall action, never really happened, so we headed back to the campsite. Rolled in around 10ish and talked about the day. Crashed around 11.

Woke up around 8:00ish on Sunday and broke camp down and loaded the truck up, headed down to Basalt for breakfast before heading back up to the river to fish. Got on the river just after 10ish and fished various sections working our way down river. After getting into the river I did alright when I first got into the river, but then it cooled down and took about an hour before I started hooking up again. Caught up to my dad and again moved further down river to a section I have never fished before. Started working the pockets and faster water with my streamer/dirty caddis rig and started hooking brown after brown for the next two hours. We decided to pack it in around fourish and head back to Denver. So Dad could spend Monday with the grand kids.

All in all it was a good trip!
Now back to the vise for the up coming Yellowstone trip in two weeks. Look for a few patterns to be posted in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Welcome To Father Natures Life on the Fly

Hi there and Thanks for stopping by. In this blog Father Natures Life on the Fly, I will be posting snippets of flyfishing and flytying in the Rocky Mountain West.

This first post is going to be about the Dirty CDC Caddis Fly that I created earlier this month.

The Dirty CDC Caddis came to life from the Dirty Caddis I produce only a few days earlier. The CDC really brought the Dirty Caddis to life when under water. I have tested the Dirty CDC Caddis on the Colorado River and Blue River. The Colorado River I fished the pattern just before dark when the caddis started hatching in swarms. The neat thing about the Dirty CDC Caddis is that is more of an Emerging Caddis that was brought to life. I was hooking fish as soon as the fly hit the water, on the drift and on the swing. I was really pleased at how the fly performed on the Colorado. The following Friday I took it up to the Blue because of the major Caddis Hatch the Blue river was seeing and I intended to fish the Palmer Gultch section, but with traffic and getting a late start from leaving Denver and wanted some good daylight fishing, I decided to try under the I-70 bridge and work towards the damn. This was a good call because the patterns I had tied were in sizes of #14 and #16 and not your normal sized tailwater fare of #18 and smaller, so this was a good test. I was very pleased because it performed just as good the Saturday before on the Colorado river. So this past week, I took it back to the vise to tweak the color combonations a bit. I decided to do some in a Olive, Natural Grey, and the brown ones. That was about the only thing I really tweaked with the pattern. The pattern is going to get another test run this upcoming weekend on the Frying Pan and Roaring Fork rivers.

The pattern-

Dirty CDC Caddis

Hook: Dohiku HDN 302 -

12Thread: Power Silk Brown 10/0

Underbody: .010 leadfree wire

Ribbing: Brassie Ultra WireBody: Dirty Dubbing (own Blend)

Emerging Wing Buds: Swiss Straw BrownLegs: Partridge

Wing Case: Magic Shrimp Foil Brown and recolored

Thorax: Brown CDC Dubbing mix w/Siman czech brown dubbing

Chad Gauerke
Father Natures Life on the Fly