Fly of the Week: Peacock & Starling

Photo by John Juracek

The Peacock & Starling soft hackle is a great all-around soft hackle pattern for spring. The peacock herl body has long been a favorite material for general attractors, and it also mimics the emerging Mother's Day caddis extremely well. It's also on the smaller size, meaning that in a pinch it can even be used to imitate the larger spring Baetis emergers. We particularly love this fly on the Firehole river, but be sure to give it a shot anywhere you find these insects emerging.


Hook: Tiemco 102Y Size 17

Thread: Black 8/0 Uni-Thread

Tag/Rib: Hot Yellow Small Ultra-Wire

Body: Natural Peacock Herl

Hackle: Natural Starling

Tying Instructions

Step 1: Wrap thread back to the bend. Tie in a piece of ultra wire, and make about five tight wraps to form the tag. Tie off, but do not trim.

Step 2: Tie in one or two strands of peacock herl, and wrap forward to form the body. Tie off and trim the excess peacock just behind the eye.

Step 3: Wrap the wire forward to form the rib, about four turns, and then tie off and trim just behind the eye.

Step 4: Tie in a starling feather by the stem and wrap to form the hackle, about one and a half to two turns. Tie off and whip finish.

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Dialogue with Existence

Photo by John Juracek

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A Walk Down Memory Lane

A few of you are no doubt familiar with the Little Lehigh creek is southeast Pennsylvania. I grew up in the area and spent countless hours walking the banks of this stream searching for trout, and recently took another walk along the creek on a recent visit back home. I didn't do any fishing, but simply standing there again brought back many great memories.


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Fly of the Week: Baetis Foam Nymph

Photo by John Juracek

With both spring and fall emergences, we spend a lot of time here in Montana fishing Baetis hatches. Trout often get fussy when eating these tiny bugs, and we've seen many occasions where the biggest fish will only eat a nymph in the film, and will constantly refuse bushier adult patterns. We developed the Baetis Foam Nymph for situations like this, and it has proven to be just the trick. The simple design is easy to tie, durable, and most importantly, fools those big trout. 


Hook: Tiemco 100 or Dai Riki 320 Size 18-22

Thread: Olive Dun 8/0 Uni-Thread

Tail: Lemon Wood Duck

Rib: Black 6/0 Uni-Thread

Dubbing: Grey Olive Superfine Dubbing

Wing Case: Gray 1/8" Evasote Foam

Tying Instructions

Step 1: Begin wrapping thread behind the eye, and wrap back to the bend. Tie in a few wood duck fibers for the tail, about half the length of the hook shank.

Step 2: Tie in a strand of black 6/0 Uni-Thread for the rib, then dub a slim abdomen of superfine dubbing, about two-thirds the length of the shank (if you prefer a slimmer profile, a simple thread abdomen works well also, especially on smaller sizes).

Step 3: Warp the rib forward over the abdomen and tie off. Tie in a thin strip of evasote foam for the wing case.

Step 4: Dub a slightly bushier thorax of superfine dubbing up to the eye. Pull the foam strip forward and tie down just behind the eye to form the wing case.

Step 5: Pull the extra length of foam back and whip finish just behind the eye, then trim both the foam and thread.

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Mid-April Snowpack Report

Here's your mid-April snowpack report:

Not much has changed since our last update a few weeks ago. We've had some warm weather which has melted some more snow here in town, but the high mountains still have plenty of snow.

The Madison drainage is holding steady around the 109% mark, which should bode well for a good supply of water this summer. Expect things to be a bit more normal this year than the last few in regards to run-off, with high dirty water through much of may and early to mid-June.

The Gallatin drainage as a whole is just slightly below normal at 94%, but the all of the Snotel sites in the upper reaches are still registering over 100% water content, meaning that we should be in great shape here as well. Expect run-off to be ending and dry fly fishing to begin somewhere around the beginning of July.

The Upper Yellowstone drainage has dropped a bit since our last report, but is still in great shape at 118%. The upper Lamar drainage is still particularly high, meaning that fishing on the Lamar (and the Yellowstone River downstream of the Lamar confluence) may be starting a bit later than usual. Don't plan on seeing any hatches here until at least mid-July.

As always, keep in mind that this is only an estimate based on current conditions, and all of this can change, depending on the weather this spring (warmer weather will typically accelerate run-off, while a cool, rainy and/or snowy spring could push thing back later than usual. We hope this helps in your summer trip planning, and feel free to call us any time with any questions!

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