Fly-tie-a-thon: Spring fly selection for the Willamette Valley

For the past few years The Mule has only fished with flies he ties himself. And he’s pretty smarmy about it; he likes to rub it in my face, especially when the only fly that works on the river is this lime green stimulator that he cooked up. So I’m reduced to using store bought flies, my flies that don’t work, or mooching off The Mule.

Well not this year, due to a perfect storm of factors:

  • An inspiring article on getting organized for serious tying;
  • The upcoming FFF fly tying expo in Albany;
  • And my waning interest in actually catching a steelhead this winter.

I will be spending the next month tying up a selection of spring flies to last me through May in the Willamette Valley. I stopped by the Caddis Fly today and Chris Daughters helped me cook up a nice list:

Soft hackle hare’s ear — size 12/14
Soft hackle March brown — size 12/14
A heavy golden stone — size 6/8
Possy bugger — size 8/10
Black winter stone — size 16/18
BWO comparadun — size 16/20
March brown comparadun size 12/14
Mothers Day caddis (peacock caddis) 16/18
Green caddis size 8/10

What do you think of the list? I’ll put up some pics if I can get these going. Oh, and by the way Mule, you’re put on notice.


About mstansberry

Matt Stansberry currently lives in Eugene, Oregon with his wife and son.
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10 Responses to Fly-tie-a-thon: Spring fly selection for the Willamette Valley

  1. onemuleteam says:

    I think that could get you through the first week on June. I might add an Adams in there just in case–but, it’s obviously been too long since you hooked a steelhead otherwise, your interest would be waxing not waning.

    Six years I think but smarmy? Jeesh.

  2. onemuleteam says:

    I’m going to try some reflective listening. What I hear you saying is:

    While I’m out catching 7-15 pound chrome rockets in wild settings or taking running my boat down one of Oregon’s beautiful coatal rivers, you are going to be inside having arts and crafts time?

    Seriously though, we should have a tie in sometime when the rivers are blown out.

  3. mstansberry says:

    So when aren’t they blown out exactly?

  4. Bpaul says:

    I’d say some parachute adams are in order, maybe flourescent foam posts to make ’em quick.

    What speed water do you fish? I have some other favorite styles of mayfly dressing I could suggest too.

    Oh and always, always standard no-bead pheasant tails in 20 – 14… I have more luck with pheasant tail nymphs I swear, especially the 20’s.

    I had a lot of luck on the McKenzie caddis hatches with a fuzzy Canoe Fly (imagine a hackle-less elk hair caddis, with a fuzzy iridescent dubbed body). They float low in the water, the fuzzy sparkle body looks like a partially shucked skin, and you can fish em dry or wet or on the swing.

  5. Bpaul says:

    I’ll drop my super secret midge fly too… what the hell. I normally use it in the off season in the surface film.

    #20 starling and herl, tied with the peacock wrapped around green krystal-flash (like you would spin it around thread before you wrapped it on the hook, to strengthen it).

    I tie the body demi-tied as well, not all the way to the shank. This fly KILLS for damp midge situations.

    Only one and a half turns of starling herl at the most, not super fuzzy, just enough to dangle some legs out and grab the surface film.

    Oh man, I’ve got to get this school thing under control and hit the streams, I really do.

  6. Bpaul says:

    I’m going to point my fishing buddy Stu over to this post, he’ll remember more what we used to get some nice action on both the March Brown as well as blanket caddis hatches on the McKenzie a few years back.

  7. onemuleteam says:

    cmmmon, I got plenty of those . . . let’s fish.

    Oh, and this year they’re blown out alot but 4-2 years ago they were low, low, low all season. There will be a time.

  8. onemuleteam says:

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say Sunday they won’t be blown out. Now, that is informed speculation . . . but think of it.

    Hike in, beautiful old-growth, wild fish, no other people, great photo-ops, good exercise, explore new territory. I’d bet we have a 95% chance of catching based on our last trip. Cmmon, I’m counting on you.

    Interest piqued at all?

  9. sierratrout says:

    I haven’t fished any rivers in Oregon, but I think you should include some flashy shit like various colors of the Copper John or Hotwire Prince. Throw some rubber legs on them too, they are very effective. The majority of the fish I’ve caught in the last 6 months (including steelhead) have been on flies that are either flashy or rubber legged, or both.

  10. Pingback: Backcountry Steelhead Bonanza « One Mule Team . . .

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