Some Ways To Use The Shorter CDC feathers

CDC feathers have become extremely popular in many fly patterns from Hans Weilenmann’s CDC & Elk to CDC emergers, to CDC floating nymph and many other designs. Unfortunately, not all CDC feathers are created equally, with some short and stubby to some long and sleek. I prefer to buy my CDC feathers from Trout Hunter in Last Chance Idaho. Also, I prefer to buy natural CDC feathers, not dyed. Not matter where you buy CDC feathers you will find a mixture of different sizes and shapes. But don’t despair you can still find good uses for the feathers that are … Continue reading

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Tying nymphs with competition jig hooks

I recently decided I wanted to try tying small nymphs on competition jig hooks for a trip to West Yellowstone. This was a first for me, since I have never used jig hooks and I had actually never seen one up close, just photos online. Jake at Competitive Angler was extremely helpful through my hook selection process and their service was outstanding! I decided to try both Hends and Hanak jig hooks in sizes #16 and #18. Both jig hook brands are barbless and are about the same hook length and gap. The Hanak H400BL jig hooks seem to be … Continue reading

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My rant on fly tying hooks

It seems today that every brand of hooks has a different standard for their hook sizes and gaps. This lead me to a rant on a forum, which lead to a good discussion with others. One of the gentleman on the forum posted his hook chart that he devised along with a link to his blog. I wanted to share this with everyone who cares about dry fly hooks sizes (especially barbless hooks). This is a good hook reference chart. See… I received today some barbless dry fly hooks from Competitive Angler ( . They are in size #20 … Continue reading

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A Simple Hendrickson Nymph Pattern

This time of year the trout on many central and northern Wisconsin trout streams are feeding on the Ephemerella subvaria, commonly referred to by most fly fishermen as the Hendrickson hatch. These prolific little mayflies offer some great trout fishing in the Spring. The Hendrickson hatch usually lasts for 2-3 weeks under normal weather conditions. During this time an effective nymph pattern can be deadly on trout looking for the nymphs drifting in the current. I prefer a simple nymph pattern that is super easy to tie and extremely effective cast across and down.  It is just a tail and … Continue reading

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A Simple Crayfish Pattern

I saw on a forum a while back a fairly simple crayfish pattern that I really liked and I thought it a good job of resembling a crayfish. It was also designed to have the hook pointing up so it won’t snag as easily. A crayfish pattern can be very effective on the northern freestone streams so I decided to try my hand at tying a simple crayfish fly pattern similar to what I remember seeing. I first tied in dumbbell eyes on top of the hook by the bend so hopefully the hook point will face upward and keep … Continue reading

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Hardy Zenith Rod Review

This is a quick, first-hand review of the Hardy Zenith fly rod. I first tried the Hardy Zenith fly rod in the summer of 2013 while staying out at Campfire Lodge in West Yellowstone. At the time I only lawn cast it in front of their Cafe/fly shop. I was surprised how easily I could throw a lot of line and yet still drop it where I wanted it. They sold 4 Hardy Zenith fly rods while I was staying there that week. Later on I ended up getting a 9 foot, 5 weight, 4-piece Hardy Zenith rod from Jim … Continue reading

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Whiting Hackle – Wall to Wall

I received an email sales newsletter tonight from and they seem to have even more Whiting hackle in stock than what I saw last Fall while out at Campfire Lodge (see photo below). I snagged some of the Whiting hackle they had in the newsletter and listed it below for anyone interested. This should make any fly tier drool!! 🙂 Whiting Red Label Capes ( Whiting Gold Capes: Brown, Light Ginger, White Whiting Silver Capes: Grizzly dyed Olive, Grizzly dyed March Brown, Grizzly, Furnace, Speckled Badger Whiting Bronze Grade Capes: Grizzly, Barred Medium Ginger, Golden Badger, Barred Dark Ginger, … Continue reading

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A Trout’s Window of Vision

For more indepth information see Below are the diameter of a trout’s window (also called the cone of vision) in flat calm conditions from the book. (I am keeping this simple and avoiding any discussion of the laws of refraction and the degrees that light bends in water, etc.) 3″ below the surface – 7″ diameter 6″ below – 14″ diameter 1 ft below – 2′ 3″ diameter 2 ft below – 4′ 6″ diameter 3 ft below – 6′ 10″ diameter 4 ft  below- 9′ 1″ diameter 5 ft below – 11′ 4″ diameter 6 ft below – … Continue reading

Posted in Trout Feeding Habits | 1 Comment

How a trout might view an emerger fly pattern

Playing around again this past weekend I tied a CDC Hendrickson parachute-style emerger pattern on a TMC 2487 curved hook. I attached my fly to 2 feet of 5x tippet and cast it several times into my aquarium to see how it would land. Every time the fly landed exactly as i wanted it to. Then I proceeded to take a few photos. Notice in the bottom right photo I have the camera submerged in the water. You can clearly see the fly’s body hanging below the surface film but because of the mirror reflection caused by the surface film you … Continue reading

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So What Do Trout See From Below?

I have often pondered what does a trout actually see and why does a trout eat our impressionistic fly patterns that actually do not look anything like the real insects? These questions popped into my head again early in the morning on this New Years Day. So I grabbed an early morning cup of coffee and began to ponder these questions that I have done so many times before. In my small fly tying cubicle I have once again this year added a 10 gallon aquarium full of water and no fish. I prefer to use it to see what … Continue reading

Posted in Fly Tying, Trout Feeding Habits | 2 Comments