Fly of the Week

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.

Fly of the Week: Grouse & Pink

Photo by John Juracek

We're all quite fond of swinging soft hackles here at Blue Ribbon, especially in the fall when we get to fish large flies for aggressive fall-run fish on the Madison in the Park. Pink has been a highly effective color here for years on a variety of patterns, from nymphs to dries and everywhere in between, and a few years ago we realized that no one seemed to be fishing big pink soft hackles for these fall fish. From there, the Grouse & Pink was born, and it has proven to be a very successful pattern for us over the past few seasons. If the usual classic paterns fail to produce for you and you want to show the fish something different, give the Grouse & Pink a try this fall.

Materials

Hook: Dai Riki 075 Size 8

Thread: Fuchsia Uni-Stretch

Tail: Ruffed Grouse fibers

Rib: Black Small Ultra Wire

Thorax: UV Black Ice Dub

Hackle: Ruffed Grouse

For tying instructions, check out our How-To video HERE!

Fly of the Week: Callibaetis Cripple

Photo by John Juracek

Our mayfly Cripple series, originally designed by Rowan Nyman, has proven to be an extremely effective collection of patterns over the years, and the Callibaetis Cripple is no exception. Big trout on local lakes like Hebgen, Quake, Cliff, and Wade love to cruise in search of emerging Callbaetis mayflies, and the cripple is an exceptional pattern for fooling these fish that are keyed in on emerging duns. It is very visible and also floats very well, meaning it can support a small dropper nymph with ease as well. 

Materials

Hook: Tiemco 100 or Dai Riki 320 Size 16

Thread: Rusty Dun or Grey 8/0 Uni-Thread

Shuck: Mayfly Brown Crinkled Zelon

Body: Adams Grey or Callibaetis Superfine Dubbing

Wing: Grey EP Fibers

Hackle: Natural Grizzly

Tying Instructions

Step 1: Tie in thread behind the eye and wrap back to the bend. Tie in a strand of zelon for the shuck, and trim just shorter than the length of the shank.

Step 2: Dub a slightly tapered body of superfine dubbing forward about two thirds of the way to the hook eye.

Step 3: Tie in EP Fibers for the wing, clipping the butts short in the back and leaving the fibers long over the eye of the hook.

Step 4: Tie in a hackle feather on top of where the wing fibers were tied in. Then move the thread forward in front of the wing, and make a few turns of thread in front of the wing to stand it up a bit.

Step 5: Make two to three turns of hackle behind the wing, and then about two more turns in front of the wing. Tie off the feather, trim, and whip finish.

Step 6: Trim the hackle flush with the hook point.

Fly of the Week: Longhorn Beetle

Photo by John Juracek

The Longhorn Beetle has been a favorite terrestrial pattern of ours for years now. The fly is the perfect size to provide a substantial meal for a trout, yet the profile is just different enough to convince a trout that's seen a million hoppers to take. Cutthroat love it, but don't sleep on it for big browns and rainbows, either. 

A note about tying the Longhorn Beetle: the foam Tiger Strips that we have long tied this fly with are unfortunately no longer commercially available. These strips function primarily to make the fly more visible, but we've found that they aren't really necessary to the fly's success. So if you don't have any Tiger Strips handy, simply substitute solid black fly foam and tie a nice, tall deer hair wing on top for visibility. 

Materials

Hook: Dai Riki 280 or Tiemco 2312 Size 10

Thread: Black 6/0 Danville

Body: Longhorn Zelon Dubbing and Black 2mm Fly Foam

Legs: Black Medium Round Rubber Legs

Wing: Bleached X Caddis Deer Hair

Antenna: Black Krystal Flash

For tying instructions, check out our video of Bucky tying this fly HERE.

Fly of the Week: SLS Sparkle Dun

The SLS Sparkle Dun was designed to minimize the number of fly patterns needed for Slough Creek, the Lamar River, and Soda Butte Creek this time of year. It effectively imitates PMD, Epeorus, and Heptagenia mayflies, and also has proven to be a great searching pattern when there aren't any insects on the water. We created our own blend of zelon dubbing for this fly, and it has become a go-to pattern for us on many other local rivers, not just in the northeast corner of Yellowstone. 

Materials

Hook: Tiemco 206bl Size 16

Thread: Light Cahill 8/0 Uni-Thread

Shuck: Epeorus Crinkled Zelon

Wing: Natural Sparkle Dun Deer Hair

Thorax: SLS Zelon Dubbing

For tying instructions, check out this VIDEO of Craig tying the SLS.

Fly of the Week: Lime Trude

Photo by John Juracek

Trude-style dry flies are classic patterns that have fallen out of favor with many anglers these days, but the trout still have the same affinity for them as always. The Lime Trude has proven to be a highly effective attractor pattern on area rivers like the Madison, Gallatin, and Lamar, particularly in mid-summer when yellow sallies are present. This fly does an excellent job mimicking small stoneflies, and just looks generally buggy enough to attract fish in a variety of other fishing situations. If you've never fished one, be sure to give the Lime Trude (and it's cousin the Royal Trude) a try.

Materials:

Hook: Dai Riki 320 or Tiemco 100 Size 16

Thread: Black 8/0 Uni-Thread

Tail: Medium Golden Pheasant Tippet

Body: Rhyacophila Zelon Dubbing

Wing: White Calf Body

Hackle: Brown Whiting

Tying Instructions

Step 1: Begin wrapping thread behind the eye, and wrap back to the bend of the hook. Tie in a small clump of Golden Pheasant Tippet for the tails, about two thirds the length of the hook shank.

Step 2: Dub a slightly tapered body of zelon dubbing forward about two thirds of the way up the hook shank.

Step 3: Tie in a wing of calf tail, extending just past the bend of the hook and just a bit shorter than the end of the tail.

Step 4: Tie in a brown hackle feather just in front of the wing, and make about three to four turns of hackle forward to the eye. Trim the excess feather, whip finish, and trim thread.

Fly of the Week: Gray Drake Foam Spinner

Photo by John Juracek

The Northeast corner of Yellowstone park is just rounding into shape for the season, and some of the first bugs to appear will be gray drakes on Slough Creek. Big cutts will rise to these bugs readily, and this fly is the best we've fished to mimic spent spinners. We've also fished this fly successfully on other local waters that feature drake hatches, including the Henry's Fork and Yellowstone in the park, so make sure to have a few in your box for your next trip to Yellowstone country.

Materials

Hook: Tiemco 100 or Dai Riki 320 Size 12

Thread: Gray 8/0 Uni-Thread

Tails: Grizzly Hackle Fibers

Abdomen: Gray Drake Superfine Dubbing

Rib: Brown 3/0 Uni-Thread

Wings: Grizzly Whiting Hackle

Wing Case: 1/8" Gray Evasote Foam

Tying Instructions

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

Step 2: Tie in a strand of brown 3/0 thread for the rib, then dub a tapered body of superfine two thirds of the way forward. Wrap the rib evenly over the dubbing and tie off.

Step 3: Tie in a strip of evasote foam about 1/8" wide. The foam will extend towards the rear of the hook for the moment.

Step 4: Tie in a grizzly hackle feather and wrap forward to just behind the eye, about five to six turns.

Step 5: Trim a few hackle fibers out of the way on top of the hook shank, then pull the foam strip forward and tie down behind the eye. Whip finish and trim thread, then trim the excess foam.

Step 6: Trim the hackle fibers on the bottom of the hook shank, so that you are left with fibers extending only out each side of the hook, forming spent wings.

Fly of the Week: Partridge & Floss

Photo by John Juracek

Partridge & Floss soft hackles are absolutely classic flies. The simple, elegant design is simple to tie, will withstand the abuse of multiple toothy trout, and most importantly, is a fish-catching machine. Everyone here is currently gearing up for opening day on the Firehole this weekend, and you can be sure that our boxes will be well-stocked with a variety of colors of this fly. We've found orange, green, and yellow to be particularly effective choices, but don't be afraid to experiment with other colors as well.

Materials

Hook: Dai Riki 075 or Tiemco 3769 Size 14

Thread: Pearsall's Silk Thread in color of your choosing

Thorax: Hydropsyche Tan Zelon Dubbing

Hackle: Natural Premium Partridge

Tying Instructions

Step 1: Begin wrapping thread behind the eye, and wrap an even base back to the bend. Then wrap thread evenly back to the front of the hook to form the thread body.

Step 2: Dub a small ball of zelon dubbing just behind the eye to form the thorax, leaving a bit of space betweent the thorax and the eye for the hackle.

Step 3: Tie in a partridge feather by the stem just in front of the dubbing. Then wrap about two turns of hackle, tie off and trim any excess feather. Whip Finish.

Fly of the Week: Micro Beeley

Photo by John Juracek

For years, Nick's Shakey Beeley has proven itself to be a must-have soft hackle in Yellowstone waters, especially in the fall when pre-spawn brown trout are most prone to chase a swinging fly. A few years ago, we began experimenting with smaller versions of this fly for more general use, and the Micro Beeley was born. This version is simplified a bit to make it easier to tie in smaller sizes, but still features the same fish-catching sparkle and color scheme as the original. It's proven to be a particularly effective pattern for early season on the Firehole, so if you're gearing up for the park opener next week, you'll want to add a few of these to your box.

Materials

Hook: Dai Riki 280 Size 16

Thread: Antique Gold Pearsall's Silk Thread

Shuck: Mayfly Brown Crinkled Zelon

Rib: Copper-Brown Small Ultra Wire

Thorax: Rusty Orange Hare'e Ice Dub

Hackle: Natural Premium Partridge

Tying Instructions

Step 1: Attach thread to hook two hook eye widths behind the eye. Tie in a strand of mayfly brown zelon and a piece of copper brown ultra wire, and wrap the thread over the zelon and wire back the hook shank until even with the barb of the hook. Trim the zelon to about the same length as the abdomen.

Step 2: Wrap the thread forward to create a smooth, even body, stopping at the tie-in point. Make five evenly spaced wraps of the wire for the rib, then tie off and trim the wire.

Step 3: Dub a small amount of the rusty orange Hare’e Ice Dub onto the thread and wrap behind the hook eye to create a small ball for the thorax.

Step 4: Tie in a Hungarian partridge feather by the stem right behind the hook eye. Take one and a half to two turns with the partridge feather, tie off and trim, and then whip-finish.

Fly of the Week: March Brown Spider

Photo by John Juracek

The March Brown is the first big mayfly of the year here in Yellowstone country, and while they rarely emerge in huge numbers, trout relish their first opportunity to feed on these large insects. The March Brown Spider is a classic soft hackle pattern that we swing before the hatch, as the bugs are just beginning to become active, and it works dead-drifted to selective fish as well. The tan color also does a great job of mimicking light-colored caddis as well, and we definitely won't be without this fly on the Firehole in a few weeks when the Park opens. All told, this is a great all-around soft hackle that should definitely find a home in your box.

Materials

Hook: Dai Riki 075 or Tiemco 3769 Size 12-14

Thread: Rusty Brown 8/0 Montana Fly Company

Dubbing: Light Hare's Mask Natural Fur Dubbing

Rib: Extra Small Gold Mylar Tinsel

Hackle: Natural Premium Partridge

Tying Instructions

Step1: Tie in thread behind the eye and wrap back to the bend. Tie in a strand of tinsel for the rib.

Step 2: Dub a shaggy body of Hare's Mask dubbing forward, stopping just behind the eye. Wrap the tinself forward evenly for the rib and tie off just behind the eye.

Step 3: Tie in a Premium Partridge feather, make about two turns for the hackle and tie off. Trim the excess feather, whip finish, and trim thread.

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