The Hex Hatch The most highly anticipated may fly hatch in Michigan is the hex hatch. These large mayflies bring the largest fish in the river up to the surface to feed. Hexagenia Limbata is a floating filet mignon to a trout. Therefore the Hex Hatch, whether duns or spinners probably produces more large trout […]
Fly patterns from Chuck Hawkins, Jon Ray, Ed McCoy and Russ Maddin. The patterns that catch fish.
Isonychias, are the best mayfly for anglers in Michigan! In Michigan, and elsewhere, the Isonychia mayfly provides the best dry fly opportunities of the year. That’s heresy to many in fly anglers in Michigan, who would argue vehemently that the mighty Hex beats Isonychias hands down. Isonychias are the best mayfly in Michigan for many […]
Many anglers that I know in Northern Michigan consider the Sulphur hatch to be the very best hatch of the year. It is a fairly long and usually very prolific hatch. It can last as long as a month in northern Michigan. Due to the usually large numbers of bugs, Sulphurs will produce some very large fish for the size of the dry fly.
There are two Sulphurs, the Ephemerella invaria and the dorothea. The first to hatch the invaria is a size 12-14 and the next bug, dorothea is a size 16-18. Don’t worry, that’s the last of the Latin!
What you really need to know about sulphurs follows. It is good to carry Sulphurs from size 12 to 18. I’m a big fan of the Robert’s Yellow Drake pattern and use it primarily for my sulphur imitation. I carry it in all four sizes. Hatch times vary by bug and weather but look for them anytime from mid afternoon until dark for the little guys. Fish can get very selective on these flies. At times you may encounter duns of one size hatching and spinners of another size falling at the same time. They can also get focused on emergers of any size. Close observation is key here.
Speaking of spinners, they are a different color than the duns. Instead of the sulphur yellow they spin having changed to a tannish to rusty color. So again you need to have three or four sizes of rusty spinners. Sulphurs will spin over riffles very late in the day, even at dark.
To effectively fish the Sulphur hatch a fly angler should have emergers, duns and spinners in at least two sizes, 14 and 18. It is better to carry them in all four sizes, 12-18 if possible. You should be on the water by 3:00 pm and stay until close to dark. You need to be very observant because this time of year is generally the most complex time of year hatch wise. In addition to all of the sulphurs there are many other mayflies that may be present.
Good luck, see you on the water.
Top Five Spring Steelhead Flies Most fly anglers eagerly await the start of the spring steelhead run. In this blog post I want to point out what I believe are the top five spring steelhead flies and when to use them. Any list of the top five steelhead flies for spring or for anytime has […]
- Ed McCoy will be at Nomad Anglers Jan 26th
- Russ Maddin will be also tying at Nomad Anglers on Feb 15th
- Jon Ray will be tying Pike and Muskie patterns at Muskegon River Fly Shop Feb 19th
Any questions about location or time, feel free to contact us and we will do our best to let you know more details. Also feel free to call the shops, as they can explain the layout of each event a little bit more in detail.
We continue to work on the site, as you will see in the main navigation there has been a new tab added. FLY PATTERNS, we are trying to make the navigation easier and have added three sub categories. New patterns are being photographed and filmed now, we have added only 4 patterns so far, but new ones are on the way. Check out the layout and let us know if you have any thoughts.
Tips and Techniques for fly fishing in Patagonia!
On my recent tip to Rio Manso Lodge in Patagonia near San Carlos de Bariloche, I had some eye opening experiences. I learned a lot about the dragonfly hatch. I learned some tips and techniques from the guides there that showed me ways to catch trout unlike anything I’ve seen in Michigan. Fishing the dragonfly hatch in Patagonia will blow your mind!
Those of you that know me realize that I’m an unapologetic streamer junky. If I go fishing I throw streamers unless I see good fish rising to dry flies. Fly fishing in Patagonia I’ve always brought my streamer staples, Nutcrackers, Hat Tricks, Triple Doubles and Lapdancers. These streamers, along with some simpler, bugger kind of stuff, has yielded me many large fish all over Patagonia.
On this, my most recent trip to Fly fish in Patagonia, dry flies were king. We left Michigan a couple days after Christmas on the advice of John Bleh. He’s the marketing director for Rio Manso Lodge near Bariloche. John advised that we would hit the dragonfly hatch. This hatch is like having an all day hex hatch. We caught brookies to 22 inches, rainbows to 24 and brown trout to 25 inches.
Fishing dragonflies is different then most other dry fly fishing I’ve done. The dragonflies are hatching mostly near the reed beds so that’s were the majority of the action happened. We were fishing mostly 2X, 9 foot leaders. You would cast as close to or even into the reed areas and twitch the fly. If you were in the reeds a very light touch would allow you to work the fly through the reeds and clear it before casting again. If you pulled you hooked the reeds, which were very unforgiving, you had to row in to retreive your fly. That alerted the fish to your presence and “blew” that area for awhile.
The other different thing to learn was the set. Most of the time the fish blew up on the dragonfly imitation, many times going straight up in the air with it in their mouths. So you set on fish flying through the air. A different method, but very cool.
It’s hard to describe the excitement of the dragonfly hatch and its importance in fly fishing Patagonia. One of the best patterns was a staple in our boxes here in Michigan, it’s our Damsel Pattern (see video below) , invented by Jon Ray. In this video I will show you how to tie this dragon fly, damsel fly pattern. We tie it in three colors, black, blue and green. The black variation was dynamite for the dragonfly hatch recently.
If you love dry fly fishing, big trout and explosive takes, fly fishing in Patagonia for the dragonfly hatch is for you. Join us next year!
- Russ Maddin will be tying some of his signature patterns at Nomad Anglers this Monday Jan 18th, at the Avery Tavern (2086 Crooks Rd, Rochester Hills, MI 48039) from 6pm – 8:30pm. If you can’t check out Russ and want to tie some of patterns check out the Mangled Fly VOD Page.
- Ed McCoy will be tying as well at Nomad Anglers on Jan 26th, sign up on Facebook or call Nomad 517-349-6696 . This event has been sold out before. First come first serve. Ed will be tying at Coral Gables Restaurant, 2838 E Grand River Ave, East Lansing, MI 48823.
- New Manistee River report for below Tippy Dam. Ed McCoy and myself went for a little pattern test session . Catching trout on a variety of patterns and techniques. If the trout bug is itching you, give us a call, 231-228-7135
The Russ Maddin Flash Monkey
The Flash Monkey by Russ Maddin, is the latest streamer pattern from the creator of the popular Circus Peanut, Mad Pup, and South Bound Trucker. As in the past, Russ continues to push the evolution of fly tying – this pattern combines new materials from FlyMen and Hareline Dubbing with traditional hackles from Whiting Farms.
Requiring over 2 years to perfect, the Flash Monkey needed to meet Russ’ strict streamer standards. Countless trips to the river testing the Flash Monkey ensured it was properly balanced and moved in the river currents for maximum effectiveness.
This video is more than a simple tying demo. It breaks down the Flash Monkey and gives you full access into the mind of fly designer, fisherman , and river steward Russ Maddin. As he discusses his methods of tying, how to fish the pattern, and more. It also includes Q&A with Jon Ray discussing several retrieves to bring this fly to life, the best Scientific Anglers fly lines for the pattern, and how to build your leader to get the most out of your fly.
No matter your experience level you’ll learn something from this video. If you’re into streamer fishing – no matter the species – this is a must-watch video.
- Couple new reports the past few days on the Manistee River and both Ed McCoy and myself had a chance to get out. Water is still not that clean, so making fishing still a little more difficult than we like, but some nice fish are around.
- 2016 Winter Project is to expand the Fly Patterns Page, so far have added the Triple Double and Mad Pup. Look for this page to grow over the winter, as Ed McCoy, Russ Maddin, Chuck, and myself sit down and tie patterns that we can share.
- Speaking of new Patterns the Flash Monkey is coming soon to Mangled Flies VOD page. The Flash Monkey is a Russ Maddin pattern that has been a work in progress for the past 2 years. This pattern has caught all the major predators pike, trout, salmon, and steelhead.
Black Damsels seem to get very little attention from Michigan anglers. But when they fly gets too close to the surface of the water. Brown trout and brook trout love this easy meal. With water levels up, and some big fish close to shore hunting. The Black Damsel is getting noticed. Also this fly has a big profile and with dirty water in most trout streams from all the recent rains. It is best to go big or go home. Here is a keep it simple foam based pattern that is easy to tie but still catches fish.