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.
Full recipe at Walter’s blog at https://fishstories.ycflyfishing.com/
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.
While caddis hatches on the Yellowstone River were sort of “meh” in 2019, the nymph fishing during caddis season was quite good. Usually we fished our nymphs as droppers, sometimes deep under bobbers. Either way, my most-productive caddis/attractor nymph was an old tie by Matt Minch, the Copper Matt. Essentially a version of his Bead, Hare, and Copper with a peacock herl head and heavier wire ribing, Parks’ Fly Shop has been stocking the Copper Matt in larger sizes for at least ten years, to modest sales at best. This year I happened to tie a few in smaller sizes in my box, probably due to guiding on the lower Madison during heavy caddis hatches and having strong success with them earlier in the season. The smaller size (#16) seemed to be the ticket. The fish loved this one this year. Let’s hope they do next year. My new fly tying vid for the pattern is embedded below.
Unquestionably our top new dry mayfly in 2019 were two colors of the “Upbeat” (or Upright) mayflies by Bucky McCormick from West Yellowstone. We originally purchased the Baetis version pictured above for use in late summer and fall on the Lamar River and its tributaries and in the fall on the Firehole, but after Kody found great success with it, we started experimenting with other colors. Given the time of year we started “playing,” typical fall-colored bugs were the most effective. The purple version pictured below was a runaway success on the Yellowstone and Gardner on late season trips. On my last trip of the season (working through a Bozeman outfitter I do a few trips for each season), the purple version produced ten times as many trout for the single angler in my boat during a sparse, brief BWO hatch as two anglers caught in the other boat! Some of this was skill, but a lot was the bug, too. Some of these were fat, solid 15-17″ trout, too, and the tiny (#20) hook held up just fine. In fact, we never had to change bugs except after a single breakoff.
One of the big surprises of this pattern, which is more or less a synthetic-winged Comparadun with a thread abdomen and flashy Ice Dub thorax, is that it floats great. Now, you aren’t going to be hanging nymphs under the fly, but it holds its own in a two-dry rig. It’s visible, too!
We are really excited about this fly for 2020 and will be stocking it in the original Upbeat Baetis configuration as tied by Montana Fly Company and in the following colors tied in-house: purple, PMD Yellow, and (at Kody’s insistence) copper and Trico black.