Fly of the Week: Improved Killer Bee

Photo by John Juracek

Our original Yellowstone Killer Bee pattern has proven to be an effective late summer fly over the years, but unfortunately, the pre-cut foam bodies that we used to tie that fly have become increasingly hard to come by recently. To solve this dilemma, we set out to redesign our bee pattern with more readily available materials, and the Improved Killer Bee was born. This fly floats better and is more durable than it’s predecessor, and the addition of a few strands of Krystal Flash adds just a bit of sparkle that fish can’t seem to resist. Bees often catch the attention of trout that have already seen a million hoppers and beetles, and we always have a few stashed away in our boxes during July, August, and September in Yellowstone.

Hook:  Dai Riki 280 or Daiichi 1260 Size 12
Thread:  Black 6/0 Danville
Body:  Yellow 2mm Fly Foam
Rib:  Black Razor Foam
Wings:  White Widow’s Web and Pearl Krystal Flash
Hackle:  Grizzly Whiting

For tying instructions, head on over to our HOW-TO page for our step-by-step video.

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New Mugs in Stock for the Holiday Season

Kirk Belding, a potter and Bozeman native, has been creating with clay since the early 1990s. He developed a line of trout inspired pottery while going to school at Montana State University. With the success of his trout design, he decided to leave the food service and construction industry and start his own pottery studio.

In 1997, Kirk began his current business adventure in Virginia City, Montana. As he was looking for a retail location in this quaint historic gold mining town, he found Bob's Place, which at the time was a bar without a liquor license. This became his new retail space, and home of the Amazing Bob's Place Pizza! So here is the full circle enterprise of Kirk Belding Pottery. Depending on the time of year, you will find Kirk shaping clay or pizza dough and bringing about works of art! 

So now for the science of the art, straight from Kirk himself...

The salt firing process:
In a self-made brick kiln, the propane torches are lit. Pieces undergo 16 hours of firing time at high fire temperature (2300 F). Then salt is introduced through ports in the kiln, and the flames carry the salt throughout the kiln where it melts on the art, resulting in a unique surface texture and coloring to each piece. So even with the same glaze, each piece has its own unique finish depending on the placement of the piece in the kiln, making each creation one of a kind!

All of Kirk's work is individually formed using a potter's wheel and a hand building process. Always Montana made with an exceptional, out of the ordinary style.

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New Umpqua UPG Fly Boxes

We are very excited to stock the full line of Umpqua's new UPG fly boxes. These boxes feature Umpqua's new FlyTrap inserts, which are made of injection-molded TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer). This material is extremely grippy and will keep your flies in place better than any other material on the market, and is much more durable than comparable foam inserts. We have both the LT (Light) models and the HD (Heavy Duty) models in stock. Check them all out HERE.

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New T-Shirts Available Now

Our Shakey Beeley shirt is now available in a brighter Royal Blue color. We also have a brand new design available called the Montana Drifter, which is available in a Military Green Heather color. Both shirts were designed right here in Montana by our own Peter Scorzetti and Siana Mihova!

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Two-Handed Rods for Fall Fishing

Two-Handed Rods for Fall Fishing

John Juracek spey casting on the Madison

Two-Handed Rods for Fall Fishing

John Juracek

Thirty-some years ago, Mike Maxwell, the Canadian steelhead guide and fly-casting instructor, demonstrated the use of two-handed (spey) rods while visiting the Yellowstone area for a Federation of Flyfishermen conclave.  A few local anglers watching his demonstration were immediately struck by the utility of such rods for fishing the “swinging fly” during the fall run of fish out of Hebgen and Quake Lakes.  For those of us interested in pursuing this kind of fishing, there weren’t many options when it came to choosing a rod.  Orvis was the only American company building two-handed models; they made them principally for Atlantic salmon fishing.  Our choice for the Madison ended up being their 15’ 11-weight model—a beast of a rod by today’s standards. 

Fast forward to now and almost every rod company offers two-handed models, most in a wide range of lengths and line weights.  It’s become ever more common to see these rods in use by anglers plying the waters of the Madison in the fall, and why not?  They offer unparalleled advantages over single-handed rods—less tiring to use, easier distance when necessary, no need for stripping in line before making another cast, no need for false casting or for maintaining backcast space behind you, superb control of the fly swing, and an ability to fight fish more efficiently.  Not only that, but they’re just a heck of a lot of fun to fish with, too.

If you’re a fisherman that enjoys swinging flies for fall-run fish (or if you’re a steelhead or salmon angler) you owe it to yourself to try a two-handed rod, if you haven’t already done so.  Once you discover the pleasures and efficiency of fishing with two hands, I doubt you’ll ever revert to a single-handed rod.  I sure haven’t, and I don’t know anyone else that has either!

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