Tuesday, February 22, 2005


Lady Caroline
The conventional Lady Caroline uses a golden pheasant hackle and bronze mallard wing. The bucktail+grizzly substitutes are used here to provide a buggier appearance, esp. effective in the fall when October Caddis are available.
Hook: light wire, #8
Thread: Claret
Tail: Golden Pheasant crest
Rib: flat silver tinsel
Body: blended olive & brown
Hackle: soft grizzly hen
Wing: fine brown bucktail

Andrew's Black
Hook: light wire, #8
Thread: Claret
Tail: Claret
Rib: flat silver tinsel
Body: Black
Hackle: Black
Wing: fine brown bucktail

Spider Spade
Hook: Partridge CS2 (looped down-eye)
Thread: Black
Tail: fine bucktail
Rib: fine oval silver tinsel
Body: black seal substitute (SLF)
Hackle: teal flank tied spider-style


Green Butt (Hairwing Atlantic Salmon pattern)
Tag: Silver oval tinsel

Butt: Fluorescent green antron over flat silver tinsel

Tail: Golden Pheasant crest

Rib: Silver oval tinsel

Body: Black seal substitute (SLF)

Hackle: Black
Wing: black or brown mink or equivalent fine hair
Purple and flourescent green seem to work well for Willamette Valley steelhead. "VRC" is for the Valley River Center shopping mall, where Eugene steelheaders can park their cars or bicycles when fishing the town run.

VRC Purple

Tag: Silver flat tinsel

Fluorescent green antron over flat silver tinsel
Body: Purple Antron ribbed with oval silver tinsel

Underwing: Purple Antron (same as body)

Hackle: Purple

Overwing: Bronze Mallard

VRC Purple Spey

Tag: Silver flat tinsel

Fluorescent green wool or antron over flat silver tinsel
Body: Purple Kreinik's Blending Filament (shown) or Antron, ribbed with oval silver tinsel.

Hackle: Spey hackle over front portion of body, faced with a beard of teal or guinea fibers
Wing: Cinnamon colored Mallard flank


WINTER STEELHEAD PATTERNS General Practitioner (Shrimp Fly)
Hook: Partridge CS10/2
Thread: Orange
Tag & Rib: Silver Braid
Tail: Orange Elk
Body: Scintilla/Mohair blend
Wing: Golden Pheasant body feather tied in several stages
Hackle: Golden Pheasant rump

Polar Shrimp
Hook: Partridge CS10/2
Thread: Orange
Tag & Rib: Silver Braid
Tail: Orange saddle hackle & Golden Pheasant tippet
Body: Orange seal substitute (SLF)
Hackle: Orange, with GP tippet & natural guinea beard
Wing: Calf body hair

Pocket Pal

Pocket Pal

Derivative of the Trude, this has become my go-to dry fly for small mountain streams. on either slope of the Cascades, in the Rockies, or in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. It is visible in shaded pockets, durable enough to bounce off the rocks, and the fish grab it with abandon.

hook: dry fly hook #12 - 16
tail: Golden Pheasant tippet (shown), or brown or cree hackle fibers, or moose hair
body: black dubbing ribbed with silver oval tinsel (rib optional)
wing: white calftail or pref. calf body hair, downwing (caddis/stonefly) style
hackle: brown or cree dry fly hackle in front of the wing

Here's a pretty Baker River (NH) brookie that rose to the Pocket Pal:



A downwing version of the Irresistable. Like the Goddard Caddis above, this is a great combination of flotation & silhouette.

hook: #12-16 standard dry fly
thread: tan or brown
tail: moose hair (optional)
body:caribou or deer hair spun & clipped. Try tan with a black stripe in the middle.
hackle: For best silhouette, none. For *huge* flotation & skateability, palmer a stiff hackle through the spun hair.
wing: Deer or elk hair, downwing with butts uncovered to form head (a la Elk Hair Caddis).

Goddard Caddis

Goddard Caddis: Another simplified pattern (antennae are omitted). This floats for a long time & provides a great silhouette. The flotation comes from the caribou, so hackle quality isn't critical. This fly has fooled some large trout in the Deschutes & Snake Rivers. I am currently experimenting with an all-black version; haven't had time to fish it but will post reports if it proves successful.
hook: #12-16 standard dry fly
thread: tan or brown
body: natural caribou hair spun & clipped into tent-like adult caddis shape
hackle: a few turns of brown hackle

Blueblack Stone:

Andrew's Blueblack Stone: A good generic weighted nymph.
hook: #12 TMC 3761, weighted
thread: black or dark brown
tail: black biots
body: abdomen: dark blue floss overwrapped with closely spaced segments of flattened out 15# brown monofilament (or dark brown swannundaze)
thorax: black angora mixed with some brown, palmered with dark brown hen hackle
wingcase: black quill section with plenty of lacquer for durability

tying durable flies

Since I'm tying non-commercially, I don't mind taking some extra steps to be sure that the fly holds up for more than one or two fish.

Securing body materials & hackles: A light coat of head cement (I like Dave's Flexament) over the shank helps secure body materials. Some kind of cement is especially important under a tag of flat tinsel, but I like a dab under oval tinsel as well. A body of flat tinsel always get counterwound with oval tinsel, & palmered hackles counterwound with wire &/or oval tinsel. I often run a few turns of thread back through a regular hackle, then forward to the head before tying off. In the Brown Hackle Bee pattern above, the thread is lightly dubbed before this step.

Depending on the size of the fly, I always use at least two and usually three whip finishes of five turns. On trout flies, I usually don't worry about an overcoat, but wax the thread really well before whip finishing, or put the whips over a little dab of head cement. Steelhead flies get a final coat of 30-minute clear epoxy.

Brown Hackle Bee

Tied & photographed by ARB

My favorite fly -- when in doubt, fish the BHB. This is a simplified (i.e. wingless) cousin of the McGinty, Western Bee, or Hari Kari Bucktail, developed a few years ago during a bad yellowjacket season. The fly works well wet or dry, in rivers or in lakes. The fish seem to take it for a yellowjacket, stonefly nymph, or dragonfly nymph, depending on where & how it is fished.

hook: #10-14 TMC 3761 or equivalent wet fly hook
thread: black or dark brown
tail: claret hackle fibers; substitute red-colored Golden Pheasant fibers (from body feathers)
body: black angora or similar dubbing, ribbed with dark gold floss (Pearsall's #156 Stout)
hackle: brown hen or soft rooster, palmered through front 1/3 of body. Counterwind a lightly dubbed thread through the hackle before finishing the head; this improves durability & provides a full, buggy silhouette.

The McKenzie River trout finally chewed through the silk rib of this BHB, but the fly is otherwise intact. (photo by ARB, September 2008)

image of Brown Hackle Bee

The Brown Hackle Bee was featured in Gene Trump's "Fly Wrap-Up" column in Flyfishing, November/December, 1997 (Portland, OR: Frank Amato). Tied & photographed by Gene Trump, reprinted by permission

A BHB Testimonial From Maine
Thu, 28 Jun 2001 09:14:31 -0700
From: "Werner J. Rothbacher"
Subject: Re: oregon flies (was:Fishing guy's address)
To: "Andrew R. Bonamici"
Organization: Bowdoin College

Thanks for your message and yes my son and I had good luck with your Brown Hackle Bee in one stream up in the woods of Maine, we had a bite
in almost every pool and we had great fishing for two days, but there were lots of biting flies too. Nothing like the fishing in Oregon.

A BHB Testimonial From Eastern Oregon [Blitzen River]
August 11, 2003
Andrew --
Thanks again for the flies.... I used your bee imitation with great success. I caught at least two dozen fish on them before breaking them off (poor tippet). They held up beautifully....
Best regards,