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Artistic view of a Male Pteronarcys californica (Pteronarcyidae) (Giant Salmonfly) Stonefly Adult from the Gallatin River in Montana
Salmonflies
Pteronarcys californica

The giant Salmonflies of the Western mountains are legendary for their proclivity to elicit consistent dry-fly action and ferocious strikes.

Dorsal view of a Skwala (Perlodidae) (Large Springfly) Stonefly Nymph from the Yakima River in Washington
This Skwala nymph still has a couple months left to go before hatching, but it's still a good representative of its species, which was extremely abundant in my sample for a stonefly of this size. It's obvious why the Yakima is known for its Skwala hatch.
27" brown trout, my largest ever. It was the sub-dominant fish in its pool. After this, I hooked the bigger one, but I couldn't land it.
Troutnut is a project started in 2003 by salmonid ecologist Jason "Troutnut" Neuswanger to help anglers and fly tyers unabashedly embrace the entomological side of the sport. Learn more about Troutnut or support the project for an enhanced experience here.

Wiflyfisher
Wiflyfisher's profile picture
Wisconsin

Posts: 622
Wiflyfisher on Feb 4, 2010February 4th, 2010, 5:57 am EST
I was looking at the Cree capes and saddles at this website and I started to think about... "What patterns call for using Cree?". I can't think of many. Does anyone use a lot of Cree hackles in their tying?

http://www.jimsflyco.com/catalog/Cree_Hackle-155-1.html

Side note: I created this e-commerce website for Jim. I not looking to spam it, but I am bewildered by Cree hackle and what makes it such a big deal to so many fly tiers.
CaseyP
CaseyP's profile picture
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
CaseyP on Feb 4, 2010February 4th, 2010, 6:52 am EST
well, i bought my cree saddle because it seemed to me that bug legs aren't entirely one color. thank you Jason! "Fishy" Fulham recommends using grizzly hackle in all cases because it gives more visual movement to the fly, but i think grizzly is a bit harsh. cree has lots of barred ginger, red, and brown colors.

oh, and as you see, patterns are mere points of departure for some of us tyers. :-)
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
Martinlf
Martinlf's profile picture
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Feb 4, 2010February 4th, 2010, 10:08 am EST
Cree is great for parachute Adams (and regular Adams as well). You only wrap one hackle. For tiny flies this is especially helpful, to me at least. Wrap parachutes shiny side down to show fish all the Cree's colors (I think parachutes work well concave side up or down, and have seen arguments for both ways. I don't think it matters one jot to the fish, but the color may). One reason Cree is such a big deal is that good Cree, with a full range of well-defined, vibrant colors, good barb count, and flexible stems, is scarce as hen's teeth. Supply and demand. Plus the "cool" factor of having such pretty feathers in a cape.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Softhackle
Softhackle's profile picture
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Softhackle on Feb 4, 2010February 4th, 2010, 10:18 am EST
Hi Wi,
I just saw a post in another forum about cree, online. Jim, of Jim's Fly Co, said cree prices have skyrocketed, and the price he has listed is, in my opinion, a great deal IF you use the stuff. I don't very often use it. Cree is hard to get, and I've seen necks sold, online for about $150. Jim has said for a really good neck he could, often times, get between $300-$500. Ridiculous, of course, but----.

Anyway, I guess the cree hackle is popular because of the multi-colored markings. It probably be used on almost any pattern. Many tiers find this MOST desirable.

Casey,
regarding Grizzly and its use. I just would dye them to the desired color. There are places that sell dyed Grizzly hackle for tying both wet and dry.

Mark
"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders: http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/index.html
Wiflyfisher
Wiflyfisher's profile picture
Wisconsin

Posts: 622
Wiflyfisher on Feb 4, 2010February 4th, 2010, 10:37 am EST
Hi Mark!

Jim and I have discussed this subject several times and I am still amazed at the Cree demand at the prices they can get. No doubt it is beautiful, but I don't see it listed in any pattern dressing descriptions. Yet, everyone wants it.

BTW, Mark did the digital logos for Jim's website and he does a terrific job!!

Mark, I sent you an email a a few days ago to your Yahoo account. Did you ever get it?
Softhackle
Softhackle's profile picture
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Softhackle on Feb 4, 2010February 4th, 2010, 12:33 pm EST
Hi John,
Yes, I did. I did reply I believe. I'll check to make sure. Perhaps you did not get my response.

Mark
"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders: http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/index.html
Softhackle
Softhackle's profile picture
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Softhackle on Feb 4, 2010February 4th, 2010, 1:30 pm EST
John,
Here are a few flies tied with Cree. The first is by friend Roy Christie.

Mark

Mayfly Emerger

Parachute Hopper

Paraloop Emerger

CDC Biot Parachute

"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders: http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/index.html
Wiflyfisher
Wiflyfisher's profile picture
Wisconsin

Posts: 622
Wiflyfisher on Feb 4, 2010February 4th, 2010, 1:42 pm EST
Mark,
Those are the first patterns I have seen with Cree. I especially like the CDC Biot Parachute.

Thanks!
RleeP
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
RleeP on Feb 4, 2010February 4th, 2010, 2:03 pm EST
If anyone has a listing of the numbered John Atherton dry fly patterns, I think some of them call for cree hackle. The only one I remember for sure is the Atherton #5, which has upright wood duck wings, an aussie possum body (or maybe hare's ear, I'm not definite), maybe moose hair for the tail and definitely cree hackle wrapped at the wings.

It's a good attractor fly, although I haven't tied or fished one in 25 years. I used to do well on it though, back home in PA.

Other than that, what everybody else has been saying. Cree is (or can be) a good shortcut to get the Adams "mix".
Softhackle
Softhackle's profile picture
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Softhackle on Feb 5, 2010February 5th, 2010, 2:02 am EST
Yes, Atherton did use Cree. It fit in well with his theory of impressionistic fly tying, utilizing multi-colored dubbing and other materials. It makes a lot of sense.

Mark
"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders: http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/index.html
RleeP
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
RleeP on Feb 5, 2010February 5th, 2010, 3:39 am EST
Thanks, Mark..

Well, I'll be dipped. Seek and ye shall find. I'd been looking for the numbered Atherton dry fly patterns online (although I also knew all I really had to do to find them was buy another copy of The Fish and The Fly, having lost my other one during a move..), but couldn't find them.

Then this morning, I Googled it a slightly different way and lo and behold, here they are (or at least 1-6, I forget how many there originally were):

http://www.classictrout.com/dryflies.php

#1 through #5 do indeed call for Cree hackle, usually specified to be "light" cree. #6 calls for rusty dun.

Martinlf
Martinlf's profile picture
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Feb 5, 2010February 5th, 2010, 8:45 am EST
Mark, thanks for posting up that mayfly emerger. As I understand, Roy Christie ties it this way to get the tippet underwater so tippet shy fish won't notice it as much. Brilliant! I'd forgotten about this pattern and have several times meant to try it out.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Softhackle
Softhackle's profile picture
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Softhackle on Feb 5, 2010February 5th, 2010, 11:57 am EST
Louis,
You are right on with Roy's pattern. Roy gave me full explanation regarding keeping the tippet underwater. He finds that where he fishes this is extremely important. He not only ties his flies reversed, but also reversed upside down.

One fly he tied for me was this one:

Copper Wire Hare's Mask

It is SO simple it is amazing it catches fish, but Roy said don't let it fool you it takes trout consistently.

Mark
"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders: http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/index.html
Oldredbarn
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Feb 5, 2010February 5th, 2010, 12:30 pm EST
Mark,

I don't know about this one! Is this for those dinks that hit my blood knots during the Trico hatch? Just a bit too minimalist for my taste...

Mark I guess this is the old Jackson Pollack question...Is it art?

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Softhackle
Softhackle's profile picture
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Softhackle on Feb 5, 2010February 5th, 2010, 3:11 pm EST
Spence,
If it works, it is. According to Roy, it works. There is a saying that Marshal McLuhen used, and I'll quote it here, " ART is anything you can get away with." Not that Roy is getting away with anything, but there are times when I've heard of trout hitting bare hooks, and some of the most chewed up, de-dubbed wet flies fishing better than those fully dressed ones.

I forget who, as a young and inexperienced fly fisherman, it was that told the story about meeting a wet fly fisherman that gave him flies to fish. The only stipulation the generous fisherman attached was that when the story teller was done with the flies, they be returned. Later the story teller found out why, because the generous fly fisherman was letting him break-in his flies.

Mark
"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders: http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/index.html
Delablobbo
Posts: 21
Delablobbo on Feb 8, 2010February 8th, 2010, 11:04 am EST
Cree works anytime you need a mix of white, black and brown. With a good Cree cape you can use less hackle than you would using grizzly and brown. Elk hair caddis, adams, henryville, brown drake, various emergers... It's a useful feather. But very hard to find.
Oldredbarn
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Feb 9, 2010February 9th, 2010, 7:05 am EST
Mark,

That's funny! I knew I'd tweek your sensibilities with that "But is it art?" question. Is it form before function or the other way around?...He, he...

I dated a sister of a friend of mine years ago that was working on her masters in art history at U of M in Ann Arbor and I used to have sooo much fun upsetting her with questions along this line...I guess I was such a cretin! She was in love with Jackson Pollack and I guess I was not...Just in to tying representative flies I guess...Impressionist yes, but recognisable...

I have been to Berlin twice and both times visited the Gemaldegalerie to see Vermeer's, The Girl with a Pearl Necklace...I know I'm of dutch ancestry and I don't want to lose my "Man Card" here, but that painting brings tears to my eyes and I can't explain why...Mister Pollack has never had that effect on me...

Now back to fly tying...I belong to a tying group that's run by the Challenge Chapt of TU and we hold classes on Monday evenings. In honor of Jack Gartside we tied the Gurgler and a Softhackle of his last night...I just realized that this has nothing to do with this thread...There was no Cree involved...Never mind!

Spence

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Gutcutter
Gutcutter's profile picture
Pennsylvania

Posts: 470
Gutcutter on Feb 10, 2010February 10th, 2010, 8:35 am EST
hey spence
i dated a girl who was part cree many years back. i think i made her cry. does that help you feel better...
gut
All men who fish may in turn be divided into two parts: those who fish for trout and those who don't. Trout fishermen are a race apart: they are a dedicated crew- indolent, improvident, and quietly mad.

-Robert Traver, Trout Madness
Oldredbarn
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Feb 11, 2010February 11th, 2010, 7:40 am EST
Tony,

How do you know when a thread has run it's course???????

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Gutcutter
Gutcutter's profile picture
Pennsylvania

Posts: 470
Gutcutter on Feb 11, 2010February 11th, 2010, 3:26 pm EST
Spence
When we start talking about old half breed girlfriends and some necklaces...
Tony
All men who fish may in turn be divided into two parts: those who fish for trout and those who don't. Trout fishermen are a race apart: they are a dedicated crew- indolent, improvident, and quietly mad.

-Robert Traver, Trout Madness

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