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

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

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.

Posts: 59
Chris_3g on Feb 1, 2007February 1st, 2007, 6:14 am EST
Hello everyone. I felt like I could make a small contribution to this particular forum after attending "The Fly Fishing Show" in Somerset, NJ this past weekend. I'm not trying to advertise a company or anything; I'm just spreading the word about an innovative (at least to me) fly-tying technique I saw while at the show: flip a slightly curved hook upside down and tie the fly backwards. I can't really do the technique justice in words, so I'll refer you to this site.

First, I want to say that I have no affiliation with these guys. I just saw them at the show, and am in no way trying to push their products; I was simply wowed by the their technique. The flies they tied looked like real flies! I just started tying flies in November, and a lot of mine look like they're supposed to (according to whatever book I'm referencing), but I have to be perfectly honest: they don't look real. Flies tied in this manner just look a lot more realistic, and after watching someone tie a Light Cahill, it doesn't appear to be any more difficult than tying a fly the standard way.

I don't think it's necessary to tie all of your flies like this, but it's certainly a worthwhile consideration if you think a more realistic looking fly would get more fish to rise. I'm certainly going to give it a shot if I ever get good enough to fish for "selective trout." Anyway, I just wanted to let everyone know of the highlight of my learning experience at the show. Hopefully this sparks some discussion, and if anyone has any opinions to the contrary, I'd love to hear them! Thanks a lot.

Troutnut's profile picture
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Feb 1, 2007February 1st, 2007, 6:45 am EST
An interesting tying style. Those flies kind of remind me of Paul Weamer's Truform mayflies, which are oriented on a similar curve, but instead of being on an upside-down convex hook they're right-side-up on the concave back of a swimming nymph hook. He gave me a few in his shop in Hancock, NY this summer, and they seemed pretty effective.

If you're interested in realistic but fish-focused flies like that (as opposed to for-display realistics), you've gotta try the ones in Gonzo's book. It'll be right up your alley.

Also, check out Kelly Galloup's book Cripples and Spinners. His bent cripple and the Ellis Triple Wing spinner are among my favorite flies.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Martinlf's profile picture
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Feb 2, 2007February 2nd, 2007, 7:54 am EST
Chris, Thanks for posting on Waterwisp flies. There is much to be considered on the topic of offering fish a new look, and although it is a topic we have discussed previously, no one has brought up the Waterwisp flies. My experience with these flies is that they do work well on pressured fish, and I have some of the hooks. Some tiers may find it useful to clamp the eye in the vise rather than the bend of the hook. I had some thread orientation issues when I first tried to tie on these hooks. With the bend in the vise, to make all come out right with a whip finish I found I had to start wrapping the thread in the opposite direction from what I (and I believe many) typically do. With the eye in the vise, I found that wrapping the parachute and tying it off became much easier, and should you do this, at the end you can even reposition the hook with the bend of the hook down, toward the floor, and the point of the hook generally toward the ceiling and to the right, so that the hackle and tie off are oriented in basically the same position a standard hackle fly’s are. Recently looking at some of Jason’s photos of a stillborn Hendrickson I decided to use the Waterwisp hooks to tie stillborn flies, making most of the body resemble a nymph with a segment of dubbing the color of the dun right below the hackle and wing. The wing can be positioned forward, or swept back toward the eye (a bit harder for me) I’ve tied some of these, and will try them out on the Baetis eaters when this arctic blast turns to grey misty showers come March. Here is another new fly to take a look at.

umbrella fly 1

umbrella fly 2

I’ve tied some of these and like the look of them. I’ll also second Jason’s thumbs up for Weamer’s, Galloup’s and Gonzo’s patterns. I have tied some of these patterns also and look forward to using them to give fish something new to consider. One other source for some interesting patterns is a great book Jeremy and Gonzo recommended,

Ames Hatch Guide
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell

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