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Post Info TOPIC: Fly tying ideas for Putah Creek


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Fly tying ideas for Putah Creek
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Anyone who has been tying for a while has probably developed some tying ideas that help him out on the stream. Here are some ideas that I believe have helped me at Putah:

- Use bead head flies. Many flies can be tied either with or without a bead. Almost always I prefer the beaded version (preferably a tungsten bead). I was slow to adopt bead head flies, but as soon as I began using them, my success rate went up.

- Use dark colored beads (black, black-nickel) for mayfly nymphs. When was the last time you saw a natural mayfly nymph with a gold head? I know of at least two well-known anglers who have said that gold bead head flies are so overused that fish not only ignore them, they move out of the way when they see one. The one exception I've found at Putah is the Copper John. For some reason, a dark bead head Copper John has not worked as well for me as a gold bead head.

- Use crystal flash to add sheen to your mayfly nymph wing case. Hal Jansen, a Hall of Fame angler, suggests using clear epoxy on the wing case to give it more sheen. Instead of epoxy, I use several strands of pea**** crystal flash tied on top of the wing case. The crystal flash not only provides sparkle, it gives the impression that the wing case is ready to break open.

- Heavily weight your flies. For mayfly nymphs I not only use over-sized tungsten beads, I also wrap several turns of lead under the thorax. Most large Putah creek trout are down deep so you have to design your flies accordingly. To secure the lead wire in place, use thread to build up a "ramp" behind the lead. Also, put a drop of super glue on the lead and the thread ramp. If you don't secure the lead, the tungsten bead is so heavy that it can make the whole body slide down the hook shank.

- When winding on lead wire, make sure that both ends of the wire you break off are pointing up. This will ensure that the bottom half of the fly has one more turn of wire than the upper half. The added weight on the bottom half of the fly will help keep the nymph drifting upright.

- Take advantage of all the available colors in body materials. Dubbing comes in many colors and can be blended to get the exact shade you want. Wires for midge nymphs come in a variety of colors. Pheasant tail also comes in many colors. Changing the color of your nymphs is a very simple way to distinguish your flies from what others are using.

- When tying a PT nymph, put some Dave's flexament on the hook shank before winding on the pheasant tail. Pheasant tail can be brittle and the flexament helps secure the material to the hook. Also, don't use too small a wire for the rib; too small a wire can cut into the pheasant tail.

- For the Fox Poopah, use marabou and pea**** to create the fly's collar. The marabou adds movement to the fly while the pea**** adds iridescence. Before tying the collar, twist the strands of marabou and pea**** around your tying thread. This will add durability to the collar.

- Take advantage of wide gap hooks. I tie most of my mayfly nymphs on a #16 3769 Tiemco hook. It has the gap of a #16, but the length of a size 18. For my midge nymphs, I use either a 3769 or a #16 2457 Tiemco hook. When I have tried smaller flies with normal gap hooks, I found that I lost a greater percentage of hookups.

- When tying a mayfly nymph, wrap one or two turns of the ribbing wire underneath the tail. This will elevate end of the tail. If you have ever seen a swimming mayfly nymph, it arches its back and its tail points in an upward direction. Elevating the tail more closely mimicks the natural's position.

- When dubbing the body of a nymph, I prefer to use synthetic dubbing. Synthetic dubbing can be found that is more translucent and shinny than most natural dubbings and more closely matches the natural's body. Most often you can obtain the color you want by blending several synthetic colors, but sometimes you'll need to blend in some natural dubbing to get the right color.

 

Final comment: Don't be afraid to experiment with your fly tying. Sooner or later you'll find things that improve your success rate. In thinking about my own personal fishing history, I realized that my biggest fish on a dry fly and my biggest fish on a nymph were caught on experimental flies. My biggest fish on a dry was a 22-inch rainbow and was caught on an experimental Callibaetis emerger on Silver Creek in Idaho. My biggest fish on a nymph was a 29 inch, 10 pound Cutthroat that was caught from Pyramid Lake. The fly was a chronomid pattern that I had modified. Both Silver Creek and Pyramid Lake are heavily-pounded fisheries and I truly believe that I wouldn't have caught these big fish if I had been using store-bought, generic patterns. Big fish are more selective than their smaller counterparts so the idea is to use your tying skills to trigger a larger trout's feeding response.



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Fantastic tips! I have definitely seen improved hook ups with wider gap hooks. I'm going to try a few of these other tips in my PC flies.

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Great read Nohackle I really enjoyed it.  Not sure what I can really add after that tying clinic right there.  You've been at the vice awhile obviously.  Glass beads are not as heavy as normal bead heads-tungsten, but match color much better.  Not to mention you get 1000's for a buck or 2 instead of 25 for 6$ 



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Great post!!! I have nothing to add and well am not really a great tier anyway, but definately agree with the fact that variations on patterns work so much better than the old store baught flies that the fish see a lot of. My best fish was on a Zebra midge variant, I called my "Hollywood" midge. The fish was 20+ on -20 fly!!! (I know what you are all thinking but Berryessie was there and can varify that yes I actually caught a fish onetime!!!.... he might not vouch for the size though!!) biggrinbiggrin



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When I think of Putah Creek I think of smart fish and tiny flies. I typically use # 18-20 bwo nymphs with a # 20-22 midge pattern like a zebra midge. I get lots of hook ups but the larger the fish, the less likely it is to get it to the net. The thing is, when I tie on larger flies, I fool less fish and have less hook ups. When I switch back to tiny flies, I get more hook ups, but ............ Anyway, I'm going to start tying all my Putah patterns on larger than normal hook sizes while trying to keep the fly's profile as close to what it is when tied on the smaller hooks. This is certainly not a new concept, but one that I've yet to take advantage of. Thanks for your tips! Viking   



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The hydropsyche caddis the big tan ones were back on the creek this year and are still hatching in smaller quantities during sept oct and november you can tie up some large soft hackles and dead drift or swing them throughout the creek. In august and september you can tie them in size 12-14. As the hatch progresses drop down to size 14 and 16. The soft hackles also work very well on the Yuba. Wood duck tall, tan or olive possum dubbing. crystal flash rib, partridge hackle three wraps and rust thread head. You can also tie up some attractor soft hackles with UV ice dubbing.

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chris


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I've definitley had better succes with flies I've tied than the ones i used to purchase in fly shops. I've been modifying flies and the succes rate has gone much higher! Best skill I've picked up this year.

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Viking, I admit that my midge flies are probably bigger than those most commonly used.  However for mayfly nymphs, a #16 3769 hook is about the same length as most #18 nymph hooks (5262 or 3761) so it's only the hook gap that is extra wide.  Thus, the fly isn't any larger than most #18 flies.  That said, I've found that stubby looking mayfly nymphs work better than slender or average sized mayfly nymphs.  If you have ever seen a Mercer Micro May, that's the profile of what most of my mayfly nymphs look like (stubby, with an oversized bead). 



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Those are all great hooks and I have used all of them for different flies.  Speaking of the micromay, Mercer ties his on a TMC 921 which is a dry fly hook with a very wide gap.  Anyone interested should pick up his book, the trigger nymph in different sizes and colors is flat out one of the best mayfly imitations I have fished the last few years not to mention the knock off trigger caddis. 



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You're so right! the micro mayfly style can be tied on a shorter shank hook with a larger gap. I will experiment with some variations. Definitely some pt's. Thanks for the suggestion! 



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Ty


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Good info guys.  I've heard a little about the memory capability of trout and from what I can recall, it doesn't seem very impressive, at least long term anyways.  But, why is it that going to a highly pressured stream and using a "new pattern" or a variant always seems to pick up high number of fish? Any thoughts?



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Great tips/info for all streams and rivers, but extremely relative for Putah. I use the same hooks as No-Hackle when tying up  RS2s' and have a lot better landing ratio vs. hookups. I've also "shortened up" the RS2 similar to Mike Mercers Micro May and it seems to make a difference.

Thanks, No-Hackle, for the shopping list of excellent tips.....great topic!

Birddog



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Great ideas and post.  I'll add one that's worked for me.  Put floatant on you nymph (but not weight) and weight back a way on your tippet so that the nymph floats up of the bottom a little.



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If fly tying for Putah you need to think skinny on midge or mayfly.
Those need no weight no bulk if you will.
Find contrasting colors of materials and employ them. Basic fish killers I use have three materials for that little size 18-20.
So many we 40 variants look like algae.
That won’t get it done.
The real deal is finding a caddis that they will take a heavily weighted one.
I have several variants but one is the primary.
With a large weighted tie it allows you to run at min 4x flours strength to the top nymph.
Also this helps get the rig down.
You gotta get down!
I have given out a couple flies on the creek over the years to people who were nice and asked. Windknots was one.
I’ve never ever led my arsenal to anyone tho and never will.
The best Putah ties I have are very easy to tie.
Contrasting material colors no algae blob ties!
Over 30 years experience talking and sorry, but I won’t give up the results of my years of research except conceptually.
The guy who invented the micro may is a guy whose patterns to check out.
His work stands out by contrasting material colors.
Do that and keep it skinny for your midge and mayfly and for gods sake don’t use San Juan worms.
There’s MUCH better stuff.
Have fun!

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