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Category: Fly Fishing Tips

Fly fishing tips by Walter Wiese

New Fly Pattern Spotlight: Euroflash Nymph

New Fly Pattern Spotlight: Euroflash Nymph

olive euroflash perdigon nymph
Olive Euroflash Nymph

I developed the Euroflash Nymph in several variations in late summer and fall 2018. This is the production version, which will be available in the shop in March of 2019. This slender, tungsten-weighted nymph sinks like a brick and worked wonders for us on the Yellowstone and Gardner in red and purple versions late in the season. In fact, it was our best fly on our last guided trips in late October.

There are five key design elements that make the fly effective in its intended role as a slender, fast-sinking, flashy yet not ostentatious mayfly nymph. First off, the brownish tungsten bead is secured in the fly’s thorax, somewhat hidden by the wing case and the thread thorax. This somewhat mutes its flash while still providing weight. Fish nowadays can spook at beads, particularly in low, clear water, so this one gives the advantage of a bead’s weight without the prominent flash of a normal beadhead. Moving back, the speckled coq-de-leon tail provides variegation, while the Holographic Flashabou abdomen provides flash and hints of segmentation and variegation from the way the light reflects from it in different colors. The thorax and wingcase combination continue the theme of muted, somewhat three-dimensional flash. The wingcase is made from opalescent tinsel which reflects in an almost violet spectrum, but its color is muted by the brown thread underneath, making this flash subtle. Finally, the sparse Fluoro-Fibre legs do not retard the fly’s sink rate as denser legs can, but because this material is fluorescent and moves well in the water, it still provides the subtle motion and attraction of standard legs.

We’ll be stocking the pattern in the following colors for sure: red/black, purple/black, orange/brown (PMD), olive/brown (BWO), and black/black color combinations, all in #18. If we have time, we’ll also tie it in some other colors and sizes.

The olive and brown version is pictured above. This color combo works best in the Lamar, Firehole, and Madison, though it’ll also work on the Yellowstone and Gardner when the water is clear. It roughly imitates BWO (Baetis) mayflies, which hatch primarily in spring and fall, but occasionally in the winter too. So it’s a good choice from August on through into June.

Look for a fly pattern video covering the Euroflash sometime in the spring of 2019.

The Biggest Mistake…

The Biggest Mistake…

The single biggest mistake anglers visiting the Yellowstone area for the first time is simple, and probably surprising: they fail to bring a rod heavier than a nine-foot five-weight.
It might come as a surprise that this qualifies as a “mistake.” After all, five-weight rods are the reigning king of fly rods, the usual “do it all” rod suggested to rookies and experts alike. In a lot of the country, they probably are the right choice for a one-rod quiver. Around here, they’re not.

Why?

I’d like to say it’s because our fish are so big, but that’s seldom the case. The situations in which giant trout (or other fish) are a big part of why heavy rods make sense are the following: you’re chasing fall-run brown trout, you’re after carp on the Missouri River, or you’re fishing the “Land of the Giants” stretch of the Missouri River for big rainbows in the spring. That’s it.

Otherwise, these are the reasons to go heavier, all of which reinforce one another:

1.) Big, heavy, wind-resistant flies

Simply put, our flies are often bulky enough to cast that a stiffer rod than even a fast-action broomstick of a five is helpful. Fives are going to struggle with the latest articulated streamers, of course, which are bugs that many visitors aren’t going to fish anyway, but they also struggle with some of the “standards” we use all summers: large hoppers, Chubby Chernobyls, and Salmonflies. Notice that these are all dry flies. Where these bugs are concerned, it’s the wind resistance that counts, rather than their mass. A five-weight in the hands of a skilled caster can usually handle even large nymphs, since they punch through the air with greater ease than fluffier flies.

2.) On the other hand, a stiffer and longer rod than your average five-weight really helps when nymph rigs get complicated

The average five will struggle when you tie on a big stonefly, another nymph, a couple split shot, and a giant indicator. In particular a five-weight may require more time and power to lift this rig from the water than a heavier rod. This hurts casting as well as hook-setting.

3.) Wind

Wind is ever-present around here, particularly on large float rivers like the Yellowstone, Missouri, and Madison. When the wind is blowing right in your teeth, or even at your back, having a rod with some muscle is exceptionally helpful in getting good turnover on your casts. Good turnover means good accuracy, fewer tangles, and less “forcing it” into the wind, all of which makes for a more-efficient day of fishing.

So which rod do I suggest, then?

By far my favorite “do-it-all” rod around here is a nine-foot six-weight, particularly a relatively fast-action model (though not a true saltwater thunderstick) using a line rated a half-size heavier than the AFFTA standard. If you don’t know what that means, don’t worry about it. Just ask for a contemporary general purpose trout line and that’s probably what the fly shop guy will sell you.

In essence, this rod and line combo (reels matter less) is a “6.5-weight.” This makes it heavy enough to cast big streamers, fight big fish, punch wind-resistant dry flies into a gale (assuming you’ve practiced casting lately), and pick up big, dirty nymph rigs. This rod is also still light enough to fish all sizes of dry flies with all but the lightest tippets, to cast without too much fatigue in a day of fishing, and to land the cast softly and accurately enough save on the gentlest, clearest streams like the Paradise Valley spring creeks and various meadow streams in Yellowstone Park.

What should you use on such gentle streams? Why, your nine-foot five-weight (or four-weight) of course! I never said you shouldn’t use a lighter rod, just that it shouldn’t be your heaviest rod available.