Leeches are an important food source for all things “fishy” subsequently most Fly-Fishers have a go to pattern that they use.Mine has always been a very basic Mohair Leech as it’s simple to tie and fishes well.Fishing Leech Patterns on both Rivers and Lakes can be done in any number of ways and all methods are effective.You can hang underneath a Strike Indicator and Nymph them, trail a leach pattern behind a larger streamer and strip them back or fish a couple leeches in different of combinations and see which works.A popular method on Alberta’s Bow River is to tie a “light” Leech pattern and drop it off the bend of a Foam Stonefly or Hopper Pattern.Leach Patterns are versatile,effective, and impressionistic,meaning your quarry might be eating them for a number of reasons on top of looking like leeches.
My fishing Clients from Arizona always raved about the Semi Seal Leech and we would fish them with excellent results.For whatever reason I did not completely embrace this pattern even after moving to Arizona.The Mohair Pattern seemed to work fine so I just never bothered tying The Simin Seal Leech until this year. John Rohmer’s Simi Seal Leech is even easier which makes it faster to tie.It’s also just as effective as my old “go to” !Best of all it requires one Material which is Simi Seal Dubbing,throw a Bead on it and you are set.It is just as effective as more elaborate patterns and with the variety of colors you can cover the whole gauntlet of what you can use it for.Normally we are tying it in sizes #8-#10 on a Mustad 9672 nymph hook. Colors I like are Black,Brown,Tan and white.These colors cover the gauntlet on which fly can represent which are Leeches,Baitfish,Crayfish,Damsel,Dragon and Stone fly nymphs.Checkout JohnRohmer’s Video below have fun tying.Click Here for Materials.
Saint Mary River B.C. CutBow that ate a Gold and Silver Kreelex
Looking for a flashy streamer that’s easy to tie,gets to the bottom of things and catches the crap out of a variety of Gamefish ? Look know further than the Kreelex Streame !Even though it has been popular in the East for sometime,The Kreelex gained popularity in the West 10 years ago and it has become a “go to” Streamer for a lot of Fly-Fishing Guides because of it’s all around simplicity and effectiveness.I tie the Kreelex Streamer in sizes #4 and #6 which seems to work well for Trout and Bass The color combo’s are up to you but for starters go with Gold and Silver,Olive and Silver and Blue and Silver.Copper and Gold can also be a big hit.
5 wt with floating line and a Gold and Silver Kreelex -Crownest River Alberta
On Large Rivers I fish it on a Sink Tip but fishing the Kreelex on a Floating line can also be deadly, the weighted Eyes get it down in a hurry and can be very effective on Small to Medium sized Rivers. Below is how I tie The Kreelex Streamer,some people tie Their’s different via the over and under wings are the same length as the tail.That’s personal preference.Tie up a variety in different,sizes,colors and styles and see what works for you.
Crowsnest River Cutbow that ate a Kreelex Streamer
The Kreelex Fly is a flashy Clouser Minnow variant.Approach tying the Kreelex the same way.Because of the Dumbbell Eyes tied on top of the hook shank,The Kreelex Streamer rides or swims up side down, the darker material are always tied on the bottom of the fly.Contact me if you have any questions.
Tying Instructions & Materials
Hook TMC 5253 #4 -#6
Thread UTC 140 White or Black depending on fly color combo.
Dumbbell eyes Medium – Large
Tail and Wing Montana Fly-Company Kreelex Fish Flash Material *see picture below this is very important because other materials do not move the same in the water*.
Use this and nothing else !
Tie in dumbbell eyes using figure 8 method, glue and wrap thread to back of the hook shank before the bend
Tie in Tail and fold the material that is facing the front of the hook back over so it also forms the tail and tie off.
Trim tail so its the length of the Hook shank or 3/4 of the length wrap thread forward so it is in front of the eyes.
tie in wing using the same technique as on the tail then fold over and tie off behind the eyes Clouser Minnow style.The wrap thread forward of the eyes.
Trim the under wing (The fly rides upside down ) so its 1/2/ -3/4 the length of the tail.
Turn hook over and tie in the Over wing in the same manner as the Under wing and tail.Pull the forward portion back over the rear portion and tie down.Cut the over wing so it is the same length as the under wing which should be 1/2 -3/4 the length of the tail.
Build head via thread wraps ,whip finish and cement with your favorite UV Cement or Resin.
Let’s face it this Corona Virus has placed the World on “pause” until further notice.Fishing Trips requiring flying are being postponed or canceled severely impacting the Fy-Fishing Industry especially Destination Guides, Oufitters and Lodges as no one wants to risk travel and you cant blame them.I had high hopes of traveling north to Ontario to help a friend out with his Guide Service focusing on Great Lakes Steelhead,that would be a kick I thought but now the U.S. -Canada Border is closed.
So much for that great idea.A case of “Cabin Fever” has also set in and I am thinking I may have to continue to lay low and perhaps squash my guide season in Montana and Alberta which would result in me staying right here in Patagonia Arizona which for all intensive purposes is not the Fly-Fishing Capitol of the World.If that scenario becomes reality Ill miss my northern fishing season however the main thing is stay healthy and limit contact with People.
Urban Brown Trout
Hopefully this situation that we are in sorts itself out sooner than later, but in the mean time I plan on fishing local.Checking out different Bass Lakes and perhaps some Small Arizona Trout Streams,places I have never been before but wanted to go.I’m sure a lot of you are having the same thoughts and want to make the best of a crappy situation.
Great Lakes Steelhead from a river thats 3 hours of Detroit and 2 hours from Toronto
If you live in the east or Midwest perhaps its time you checked out that Smallmouth Bass River you have heard about but never fished,or that little creek that via the rumor network you heard holds Brook Trout the further up you go.East Coasters have a myriad of Salt Water opportunities and if you live close to the Great Lakes their Tribs offer shots at some decent migratory rainbow and brown trout plus various Salmon Species.Farm Ponds stocked with Bass or Panfish can be a hoot ,sure its not Rocky Mountain Trout fishing but all this could be close to your home.Speaking of which, if you live in the West generally you don’t have to go far to find a Trout Stream,maybe this is the year you get into fly-fishing Alpine Lakes or getting off the Tailwaters and fishing back country streams for Cuttys.
Small Stream Brook Trout
Of course all of the above might require some tackle and Fly purchases and rather than order everything online give your friendly neighborhood Fly-Shop a call,Im sure they would love to hear from you and need the business.A suggestion to limit your contact with fly-shop staff would be to order your flies, leaders and hopefully that new rod and reel over the phone and have everything ready to roll for pick up or maybe delivery.
Panfish can be a riot on light tackle
The people that are really going to hurt while this pandemic carries on are Guides.If you enjoy fishing with a local guide why not give him or her a call and see how they are doing ? Question them on what they have been doing to prevent the spread of this virus, most I’m sure have been laying low tying flies or fishing solo.If you are comfortable with their precautions and they are with yours perhaps book a trip.A few Caveats to add would be you would take your own vehicle and follow the guide, if you are floating have your rig shuttled also.I would suggest providing your own lunch and drinks, finally consider tying your own flies on your tippet.This would give you a chance to get out with a Pro,help a fellow Human out while at the same time ensuring social distance is maintained.
Buddy Dan with a nice Arizona LMB
At the end of the day we will all get through this.Of course taking the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of and catching the Corona Virus is on everyone’s mind.However you still need to go fishing and I’m hoping these suggestions help.Stay Healthy and Safe Amigos !
As far as the trout hierarchy goes nothing beats Brown Trout.Cutties are cute,Rainbows fill a void and I would rather take a disobedient Labrador Puppy for a walk than catch a Bull Trout.Opinionated ? You bet.Targeting Big Brown Trout is a lot of fun, wether its a big floatable river or a tiny creek they are a blast.Enjoy the pics from this ongoing seasonI’m sure there will be more.
Good Friend Lindsey Channel hooked up on a streamer eating Missouri River Brown Trout
D.B.O. Guide Gavin Stookes with a Bow River Brown Trout
Congrats ! You have gotten far in a guiding career by working hard and being a good person to be around on a fishing trip.However chances are the reason why you are reading this Blog Post is because Mid Life may have hit you hard. Let face it,The past 20-30 years have been a blur and perhaps now you are starting to feel it…. in more ways than one.
You’ve noticed you can no longer drink like you use to, late nights hanging out at the bar get you feeling really crappy the next day, rowing back up stream to do Merry go rounds up at the dam takes a little longer, you feel uncomfortable wearing Flat Brims,You call your clients Sir instead of Bro or Dude,after a windy day you are “hurtin” from back rowing a lot and finally the “Bobber Game” is getting really friggin old.You might feel stuck ! as it’s too late in life to go back to school and become a Doctor or a Lawyer.What to do ? Plough forward of course.Here is a few things that might help.
By now you (should) have an established clientele that respects you and your fish sense, use that to your advantage by getting them to fish how you would fish on a day off.I’m sure that’s not going down the middle of the river chasing bobbers and caching cookie cutter rainbows…No.Hopefully its throwing streamers and setting up for Dry Fly fish,targeting the “big Boys”.I find myself wanting to pick up clients either early or late, depending on what going on hatch wise.By doing so I’m either ahead or behind other boats, its an easy sell and it seems most clients are into that because most Fly-Fish via the same way you would.This also offers you ample opportunity to showcase your instructional skills by teaching your clients other methods (other than nymphing) on how to get the job done.
Aleve works wonders, the mild anti inflammatory is great for soar joints and muscles.Embrace it ! You’re older clients that you have throwing streamers might be a tad sore, they will be in awe of your mid life sensitivity when you magically pull the bottle of Aleve out from your gear bag or from your under Rower’s Seat.If you are feeling a wee bit sore pop one yourself.
Hang with The Young Guns
New Guides bring a wealth of intel and enthusiasm to the table, they are up on all the latest tactics and flies. Hang out and buy a few beers for these up and coming guides and most importantly listen ! They are on it and like all things fly-fishing chances are you will learn some things to improve your game.Become their Mentor and share your knowledge, its rewarding and you are helping out the overall guide community because of it.
Fish “new” Rivers
Be a Fly-Fishing Guide Commando by getting off your home river and fishing other stuff.Why ? The change forces you to power up and bring that wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm that might be simmering on the back burner up the front burner and to the boiling point.If other rivers are not an option, then maybe scope out potential boat ramps that will change your floats up so you it feels fresh to you and perhaps Shock and Awe your clients with your crazy tactics and enthusiasm for change.
Get out of Your Boat and go for a walk
Its pretty easy to sit in a boat all day and go with the flow.But I find I get cramped up and need to get out and go for a walk.Rather than rowing your boat up an inside bend, get out and walk it up,It’s great exercise and gets your blood flowing.I also like to spend time out of the boat working runs, side channels or risers.This is a great opportunity to show off your intstuctional skills to your clients.As the fishing season gets closer to Bird Hunting Season these little walks gain more importance.
Go Fishing !
Whether you are an older or younger guide go fishing on your days off. Why ? It keeps you enthused about the sport…period.
Hopefully these points help you get thru the remaining years of your guiding career.Enjoy the ride.