Most Flies are made to catch people!
This is the time of year when many people start tying flies
for next years fishing season. What flies do I need to catch fish in
Wyoming? Every year we are bombarded with literally hundreds of new flies
that you must have in order to catch fish out west. In my experience 99.9%
of flies are made to catch people. They may be nice looking patterns but how
much do you really need. I love seeing new and innovative fly tying as much as the next
guy but for many people all the choices just become confusing especially
when you are trying to figure out new water. I personally believe that presentation is far more important than
the fly pattern in most situations. I fish one or
two attractor patterns, one or two dry flies, a couple of nymphs, a couple emergers, worms, a scud
and a streamer. A grand total of about a dozen patterns have
caught fish year in and year out for 15 years now in every stream or lake in
and around the Cody area. With these flies or combinations of these flies I
can cover almost every situation I come across. My clients can attest to the
fact that they are highly effective and all are quite simple. Most of
the guys have taken these patterns home and found they work just as well at
home as they do here.
First lets define what a good fly pattern really is. I tend to go through a lot of
flies. First, I need to be able to casually tie at least a dozen to
dozen an hour. I'm just not in the position to spend 30 minutes per pattern.
If a patterns has to many materials or steps it just doesn't make any sense
to use it. Secondly, I
like for the flies to be durable. I remember seeing an old video of Joe
Brooks tying a crane fly larva. He had a baby food jar of glue with a small
paint brush and after
every step he added a little more glue. I had to laugh but I guarantee that
sucker wasn't coming apart and that guy caught tons of big fish so I took
his advice. Just a dab of super glue will do it. No one fish flies for me.
Thirdly, They have to be cost effective. My main expense in tying flies are
the hooks. I don't cut corners on hooks so the rest of the materials have to
be cheap as well as effective. The price of flies has gone off the charts in
the last couple years and honestly you just shouldn't need to pay $2.50 and
up for flies.
How can you decide which dozen flies to use with all the
choices out there? For me this goes back to presentation. I approach it by
trying to have a selection of flies that can cover all the different depths
I am trying to fish. The fish are feeding at certain levels in the water
column and I need a selection of flies that can be fished from the surface
all the way to the bottom. Simple!
1)Large attractor. The Bah Behr. This is a fly that floats
like a cork and is capable of suspending a couple of nymphs. It has a wing
you can see for miles. No floatant is needed to keep it on top. It can
resemble anything from a hopper to a stone fly or dragon fly. I tie a large
#8 and small version #12.
2)Terrestrials. Beetles and Ants. In many cases these work
far better than a hopper. There is no change in materials from one to the
other. The tie is just slightly different.
3) Parachute CDC Sparkle Dun. This pattern tied in different
sizes and colors can imitate any mayfly or even sometimes a caddis in the
west. It is more durable and floats better than the standard pattern.
4) LBB CDC Emerger. This fly can be fished in the film or as
a nymph below another nymph. Works fantastic for BWO's, PMD's, and even as a
5)CDC Midge Emerger. Killer for top water midge fishing in
the spring and fall. Tied in #18 to #22 and in black, tan, and grey.
6)Soft Hackle Sow Bug. This is an old Bighorn pattern that
is just a killer in this area. I've tied them from an #18 all the way to an
7) Zebra Midge. With or without a bead and from size #14 to
#18 the number one midge pattern in my box.
8) Copper John. The only nymph you need! This fly gets
down like no other. I use red and black
in size #10 to a size #18.
9) Wine San Juan Worm. I tie mine about 3/4'ers of an inch
long with the head of the worm even with the eye of the hook so it doesn't
10)Walmart Wiggler. Killer on the freestones before the bugs
start hatching in the spring and later in the fall when the bugs quit.
Number one fly on the North Fork since 2004.
11)Olive UV Ice Scud. Size #14 through #18 Works great in
the lakes as well as the rivers.
12) The Beldar Conehead. I tie this in a #4 extra long
and a #8 2 x. I use 35 wraps of .035 lead on the big one and 12 wraps of
.035 lead on the small one. The extra weight is the key to this flies
So there you have it! Tied in different sizes and colors and
fished in different combinations these patterns will catch fish anytime and
anywhere in Wyoming year round. Fly fishing Wyoming is really not
complicated at all. Honestly, I do carry plenty of other patterns simply
because it provides a comfort
zone just in case I run into a situation where the fish become very
selective. Day in and day out though these are the most effective
patterns for catching fish around here! Don't leave home without them!