Thoughts on stripping. And Hooking up. June 16 2016, 0 Comments...if you pay a little attention to how a particular fish feeds and what is happening with respect to water flow, you'll consistently hook up more.
Some down time January 05 2016, 0 Comments
Well, it’s been a long time between blog posts. Plenty going on with the store, and we’ve neglected this space. Watch the website, Facebook, Pinterest, and perhaps even Instagram for added new products for 2016!!
With things slowing down and the winter in the northern hemisphere upon us, it’s as good a time as any to tie up a few winter steelhead patterns. To be honest, these are just fun to tie, regardless of whether or not you’re even going to fish them.
When tying these patterns, I like to use a combination of known, tried and tested patterns, as well as things that don’t look like any other patterns out there. When the water gets pressured, showing them something they’ve never seen before can really work. And you have little to lose at that point.
In saying that, confidence is key to steelhead fishing, particularly in the winter. You have to truly believe the next cast will be THE cast. And you have to truly believe you have the right fly on. With that, I give you our version of the Lady Gaga, aka the Twiggy Gaga. It’s a proven pattern and a confidence fly under most medium to high water conditions in winter. Hell, even low water if tied a little more sparsely. They take awhile to tie, so tie them on a tube and they’ll last a bit longer.
Marbou leech March 23 2015, 1 Comment
Quick, easy, and stupidly effective, this is a stillwater staple. Make sure you have a bunch of these in black, brown, olive, maroon, and even red before hitting your favourite lake this year!
Back to the future - steelhead nymphing! December 01 2014, 1 Comment
fishing on the swing isn't always the answer..."
Frankenfly. The egg-sucking sculpin. November 27 2014, 0 Comments
Ever been fishing a fly in a hatch and wonder why a fish will take your fly over all the naturals? It still makes even the most seasoned angler wonder sometimes. Your silly fly that looks only vaguely like what the fish is feeding on, but will cause the fish to ignore everything else. Welcome to fly fishing!
The trick is often to suggest one or multiple things that will trigger a fish's interest, and trigger it to take your fly.
At the moment in many of the coastal rivers in North America, resident and searun trout are keyed in to a few food sources. Right now, that's salmon eggs if they are on offer. But "on offer" is subject to conditions, and when the water spikes with rain, eggs wash down and the trout feed on them. When the rain stops or temperatures plummet, the water drops and clears, and with that, eggs are no longer washed downstream to feeding trout. At these times, trout can then turn to their regular food sources, and at such time will turn to the larger food sources like sculpins. Sculpins, unlike trout for the most part, will take eggs directly from salmon redds. It doesn't take a genius to work out that a little sculpin struggling to swim with an egg sticking out of its mouth might make an attractive meal for trout. Without further ado, here's our take on the egg-sucking sculpin!
Fish the fly on the swing during low water conditions, or tie it with heavy dumbell eyes and strip it just downstream of salmon redds and watch the trout follow.
If you'd like to see a tying video of how we put this little beastie together, please comment on this blogpost.
When flashing pays off! September 26 2014, 0 Comments
When coho or silver salmon return to their native rivers to spawn, they become a good target for fly fishermen. Deep pools of almost still water connected to the main river flow should see the salmon stacking up. Typically the fish will sit near the bottom, so you need to get your presentation down. Short strips in the right zone, and a fly that attracts their attention is all you need to bring one of these beauties in. There isn't much written about flies for coho in rivers, and to be honest, most of the flies written about have simply not worked for me. Small bead head flash flies work time and time again. In the deep pools, I'll use these 90% of the time.
Here's a proven fly. Quick, simple to tie, cheap, and drives the coho mad.
Tie up a few yourself and flash those coho. With your waders on of course!
Can anyone say "Pumpkin Spice Latte"? September 08 2014, 0 Comments
If the weather doesn't let you know the changing of the seasons, the coffee shops surely do. Like clockwork, out come the pumpkin themed everything. Muffins, coffees, you name it. This makes life easy for us, as we know it's time to start thinking about river fishing for salmon, and those beautiful trout that can't get enough of their eggs! The trout will key in on the eggs, and you'll key in on the trout.
In preparation, have a look at a couple of our videos on how to tie the easy egg fly, and how to rig it!
Tying the Reel Egg Fly
Pre-rigging leaders to fish egg patterns
So tie a few egg patterns, catch some of those trout, then head back for a warming pumpkin spice latte to celebrate. With or without whisky...
Autumn Fishing Tactics September 02 2014, 1 Comment
As the seasons start to slide by and we head into Autumn, the trout start to change their feeding behaviour. With winter looming, it's a race to pack on as much fat as possible. It's at this exciting time of the year that trout can become less picky, and can often be taken in shallow water.
Often the ticket to success here is having a near enough is good enough type pattern. Enter the woolly bugger. Arguably the most famous pattern of all time, and for good reason.
Here we tie our version of the pattern, specially for fall fishing. While not representing anything in particular, in the colours we've chosen, it could represent any of the following:
- Chironomid Larva
So tie a few up, either weighted or un-weighted, and fish them around the weed beds on your favourite lake. A floating line should suffice, and make sure to vary the retrieve until you figure out what works.
As always, we love to hear any feedback you may have on using flies or tips we post. Please share your success (or failure) stories either at firstname.lastname@example.org or on our Facebook page.
Coho driving you nuts? August 13 2014, 0 Comments
Try the Coho Coconut fly! As we wind down on summer, the loss of the sun is made bearable with the exciting fishing that accompanies the change of seasons. Coho that have been staging for some months now begin to enter the rivers, and with that comes the joy and frustration of trying to catch them. Aggressive biters one day, totally shut down the next. Sometimes it takes something different to stimulate them to bite.
Try tying this fly up. It's quick to tie, cheap, and very effective at producing during shut down fishing. Fish it on a full sinking lines through deep pools, and hold on!
Ants in your pants? May 02 2014, 0 Comments
At some time during the spring, many lakes will see a hatch of ants. This can make for amazing fishing as we get to use a dry fly to concentrated, surface feeding trout. It can also be miserable if you forgot your ants. We offer a short video on a basic ant pattern.
Remember on the black ants to add a sighter post or you'll miss every take that comes your way. Tie some in black and some in light brown in sizes 8-16 and you should cover most eventualities.
It should be obvious when and how to fish the ants, but some things to look for include overhanging vegetation or thick vegetation near the lake edge. Wind will often concentrate the little critters, so look for where the wind is blowing to and you'll be in the money, either towards the shore or in concentrated wind lanes. Oh, and all the trout rising should be a dead giveaway.
Enjoy, and make sure to send us your feedback on how this pattern worked for you! email@example.com.
Sky High Gold! April 22 2014, 1 Comment
We were out on the river again, this time testing out the new Sky High Gold 5wt rod. We put it to the test casting fry patterns to large Bulltrout, Rainbows and cutthroat. Even in heavy wind, rain and fast water, it held up brilliantly. We also tried our hand at some nymphing and it handled a long indicator rig and heavy nymph with ease and produced a couple of nice fish as well. Very impressed!
We'll be putting together a feature on a suitable setup for lake fishing in a coming blog post, and this rod is sure to feature. Stay tuned!
Sky High First Time April 11 2014, 0 Comments
We recently took out a first-time fly fisher, and paired them with the Sky High 5wt fly rod, HVB fly reel, and a floating fly line. 30mins of casting instruction, followed by a little on-the-water instruction saw a newly competent fly caster catch his first fish on fly - a beautiful rainbow trout caught on the Rubber Legged 20incher fly. Incredible effort first time out!!
Steelheading Gear Talk Part 3 - Reels March 31 2014, 1 Comment
Reels don’t need to be fancy for steelhead, but steelhead will make decent runs and can require a bit of backing to consistently fight them on the fly rod. That means your minimum criteria for a fly reel are plenty of line capacity, and a decent drag. But is there more to the story?
Fly fishing for steelhead is somewhat steeped in tradition and aesthetic. After all, why else do we choose to swing flies instead of float fish? It’s, for us, the most enjoyable way to fish. And so it can be with equipment. A few years back, I fished with a gentleman that had a gorgeous classic fly reel. I talked to him about it and he told me that he was really lucky and got it for $1200. My emotions were toyed with – no way would I be able to spend that sort of money on a reel simply because it looked nice.
So we set about finding a way to remedy that situation. We managed to source a cheaper alternative to that reel. Much cheaper. Check out the line of classic fly reels. All of them have large capacity, relatively large arbour, an incredibly strong modern disc drag (something most classic reels lack), and have the look and sound of something from yesteryear.
Try one, and send us your pic so we can see how happy you are!!
Steelheading Gear Talk Part 2 - Fly Storage March 28 2014, 0 Comments
Steelheading can definitely be done walking the river when fly fishing. But to get the most out of a trip, try to do a float down a river, or if you’re able to, a jetboat trip. You’ll cover a lot more water and thus increase your chances of finding where the fish stack up.
When fishing on a boat, you have the luxury of larger equipment. More food and drink, photography equipment, change of clothes, lights, and most importantly, room for flies. A large fly box is by no means needed, but it doesn’t hurt either. How many times have you decided to take just one small box, get to the river and decide the flies you really wanted were in another box? Get a big box, stock it for all scenarios, and take it every time. Sorted.
Different fly boxes work, and will depend on personal preference. We like the guides choice fly box. It’s big, it’s really tough, is waterproof and floats, and you can see your flies through the clear lid. Perfect for a float trip. Try one and enjoy your day on the water!
Steelheading Gear Talk Part 1 - Weight for flies March 26 2014, 0 Comments
Steelheaders are a funny bunch. We deliberate over so many different things, when in fact there are only a few things that really matter. When it comes down to it, it’s all about getting the fly in the right place at the right time. Steelhead will eat more or less anything, and often have, so fly selection should be based more on weight than anything. Getting the fly to where the fish are is paramount, and can be achieved in a number of ways. What I’ve found requires the least amount of work is to start with an intermediate sink tip and simply vary the weight of the fly. Unweighted and weighted patterns. 95% of the time, the fly could all be the same pattern. Most people choose to use dumbbell eyes to weight, given they both add weight and provide a trigger point to the fish to induce a strike. Lead eyes, brass eyes, tungsten eyes, bead chain eyes, and of course beads. They all work and all serve different purposes.
In a nutshell, if you want to make sure your fly rides a particular way, put dumbbell eyes on it. If you just want weight, either eyes or a bead.
We try to avoid lead wraps for weight as it doesn't offer the trigger point eyes or beads do.
Good eyes can be found about anywhere. We’ve selected a few that we think are a little unique and offer them at wholesale prices. An assortment of different colour metallic brass eyes and beads. Check them out at our site:
That little extra flash doesn’t hurt, and will help get your flies to where they need to be.
When it comes to colour, try to stick to the theme of your fly. Remember that the darker colours such as blue, black, purple as more visible to the fish. A large orange brass bead tied on an egg sucking leech pattern is about as deadly as it gets, and only takes a minute to tie. Not that sexy, but it works.
Be sure to check back with us for the next in the series of steelhead gear… Fly storage!
Big Fish Leech - Seal Bugger March 21 2014, 0 Comments
Big fish often take small flies. It's true. But sometimes to consistently target large fish, you need to upsize your fly. Match the largest food items in a lake and your chances of catching the largest fish in the lake go up.
With that, we tied a bugger that combines different colours, uses a black and brown marabou tail for motion, pearl flash, black, brown and green seals fur with added sparkle for the body, a red wire rib, palmered hackle with a nice marabou head, and red thread head as a final hot spot. This one is about 3". It has a large profile, has incredible movement, and really disturbs the water when stripped. Not the sexiest fly around, but then a big real leech is hardly sexy either...We suggest upsizing your tippet before tying one on!
Our top Chironomid pattern March 19 2014, 0 Comments
When approaching a new lake in spring, it's wise to play the numbers game when working out what to tie on first. 50% of what trout eat will be chironomid pupae. Chironomid pupae are all sizes and colour combinations, but the one to tie on first should be the numbers play if you don't know what's going on. The black and red does just that. More times that not, this will work, and it's a stupidly fast fly to tie. Throw on a white bead and you'll stand out in the crowd. A size 12 is a good starting point, but have a number of sizes between 8 and 18.
Make sure to start your fishing within 1ft of the bottom, keep all slack possible out of your line, and hang on!
The black and red chironomid pattern in size 12 is a deadly way to start your spring lake rainbow trout fishing.
St Paddies Day Guineas Special! March 17 2014, 0 Comments
We brought you the Christmas Chironomid, now time for the St Paddies Day Guineas Special Fly! We used green Guineas for the tail and collar, a green peacock body with gold rib. The pearl in the tale is optional... Great searching pattern as it could represent anything from a scud, caddis or mayfly to a damsel or a leech. Use it when you don't know what you're doing or what's going on, and hang on!
Leeching off friends? March 10 2014, 0 Comments
We've been tying up some leeches. Old patterns, new patterns, combinations of different patterns. Generally, just stocking up for the season to come. Every now and then, it doesn't hurt to try something different.
If you've ever bought a partridge skin, or similar, you'll notice that some feathers have smaller fluffy feathers attached to their shaft. These are known as aftershaft feathers, and you generally can't buy them on their own. They're usually seen as throwaway, as they're often quite small, and hard to work with. But if you take your time, you can tie the most incredible flies with them. The leech pictured has the best movement of anything I've ever tied. You just have to look at it, and it out leeches real leeches. I wouldn't be surprised if this thing catches leeches as well... In any case, it has amazing movement in the water and a great small profile.
I use two or three small feathers for the tail and additional bulk to the body (use nice wide wraps of thread to secure), and then another 2-3 feathers to palmer a body. Try some yourself - they're cheap, fairly quick, and will be one of the best patterns you've ever tried...
Aftershaft leech tied in natural partridge colour. For scale, head to tail is less than 1 inch.
Thoughts on a killer patter February 21 2014, 0 Comments
Anyone ever fished in a lake full of scuds and the trout are keyed in on them? I have, and it can be tough to stand out from the millions swimming about in the water. With that in mind, here's a pattern I've come up with to accomplish three things:
- Create a largely imitative pattern
- Stand out from the naturals
- Provide numerous feeding triggers
Most prominently, we've got an orange glass bead to indicate an egg sack, something that trout often choose over scuds without eggs. We've included rubber "legs" at the front and back of the fly for extra movement and because I have a thing for rubber legs... The dubbing is a blend of three of the most common colours we see scuds in locally (choose your own as appropriate) and some added UV ice dubbing for extra visibility. Note that scuds will adapt their colour to that of their environment. An exact match makes it much harder for the trout to find your pattern, so don't drive yourself crazy with colour - near enough is good enough.
The final two points are a pearl strip for a little flash, and a strip of orange stretch floss running the length of the body. This extra orange strip probably isn't necessary, but probably doesn't hurt either. Scuds often carry parasites that cause the digestive track to appear orange. This gives the scud away to the trout (the parasite's definitive host), and in turn the trout look for this orange when searching out scuds. Here's the "final" product.
We haven't had the chance to take this for a test drive, but we're already looking forward to lake season! We'd love to hear your thoughts on this pattern, or if you have any questions on how to make it yourself. If so, please leave a comment, visit us at Facebook or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next Season? December 21 2013, 0 Comments
Anyone cold? The salmon are done. Rivers are low, clear and in some cases, slushy. Christmas is here. Time to spend a few minutes, or hours, thinking about the next season. Sure, winter steelhead will be up soon, but with snow in many parts of North America, I'd prefer to think about something a little warmer. For me, it's getting ready for lake season. We've been experimenting with some different patterns and tying up some go to patterns. Check out our Youtube channel for some tying of go to lake patterns.
The zebra midge (in different colours), chromie and simi-seal leech make up about 80% of what we fish on lakes. Watch the videos and see how easy these patterns are to tie, then fish them and see how effective they are!
From everyone at Twigg & Barry, wishing you all the best for the festive season.