The Brown Roach is an old pattern from the Missouri Ozarks originally tied on a jighead. Here it’s on a jig hook with a tungsten bead, with a couple other slight tweaks. Sometimes derided as a “pellet fly,” this pattern works just fine on wild or holdover trout that either have never seen a pellet or have long since stopped eating them. I think it suggests a cased caddis or possibly a sowbug.
The basic pattern is also good in other colors for various species. Try it in black, white, chartreuse, and yellow for stocked trout and panfish, or in other earth tones for wild and holdover trout.
New fly tying vid: Jigged Soft Hackle Caddis. Use this as an anchor fly in Euro-nymphing situations or when short-leash nymphing. I use the latter technique a lot on the Lower Madison River, which is very shallow and has heavy caddis concentrations. Tie this fly or something similar to your main leader, then rig an unweighted dropper to run about a foot above it. Use the smallest strike indicator you can and rig it only a couple feet above the jigged soft hackle. The heavy tungsten bead is the only weight in this system.
This video is mostly designed to show a cool material taken from the craft world, King Cole Chunky Tinsel yarn, and to show the technique used to twist up this material sufficiently to create a one-step bushy body. This is a good all-around baitfish pattern for a variety of fish.
The pink AMEX is one of the most popular nymph patterns in winter and early spring on the Missouri River, and a good bet on any tailwater stream. It suggests both eggs and dead/dying scuds, and as such is a good “junk bug” attractor pattern on tailwaters.
While normally tied on a scud hook, I prefer to tie larger versions (#12-14) on jig hooks with tungsten beads, to cut down on hangups.
It’s also worth checking out the “Rainbow Czech,” which is generally similar except with the dubbing colors reversed and a full scud-style shellback. Both patterns bear some similarity to the Pink Squirrel nymph popular in the Driftless region of the upper Midwest.
We tied the May-Midge as something of an experiment prior to last season, intending it to combine attributes of midge patterns like the Griffith’s Gnat while maintaining the overall silhouette of tiny, sparse mayflies. Our goal with this fly was to come up with something that would fool the spooky, lazily-rising fish we often see in the morning in flat water in late summer and early fall. These fish seldom eat any one thing in particular, but are feeding on a mixture of midges and the duns of three or four species of mayflies, as well as the occasional odd ant, mayfly spinner, and other “schmutz.” The May-Midge proved extremely effective in this role this season, particularly in the Lamar Drainage, where it turned out several very large fish on lower Slough Creek that were turned off by larger and/or more heavily-dressed flies.
Note: This fly is intended for use in slow water, particularly big eddy lines or places with many complicated micro-currents. It should not be used in choppy water, as it won’t float well in chop.