Fly patterns from Chuck Hawkins, Jon Ray, Ed McCoy and Russ Maddin. The patterns that catch fish.

dry fly

Fly Patterns for Michigan Hatches

Fly Patterns for Michigan Hatches

I remember way back (45 years ago) when I was learning to fly fish out west, the most intimidating facet of the sport was bugs. Pale Morning Duns, Blue Wing Olive, Green Drakes, I had no idea what these were or how to proceed in learning more.

Fast forward 35 years. One night during Hex and Brown Drake (the big bugs) season my son, Zach, was wade fishing while I was on the water, working. When all the guides and customers gathered in a friend’s garage Zach was showing a picture of a nice brown that he landed that night. A customer of one of the other guides asked Zach “how did you know what fly to use”? Watching from across the room I wanted to make sure that Zach was polite and respectful. He said to the angler “ just a moment sir, I’ll be right back”. Minutes later he returned with his fly box, opened it and told the angler “I catch the bug that the fish are eating, set it in my fly box and pick the bug that looks like the natural”! At 10 years old he had that figured out. Read more

trying with beads

Tying Flies with Beads

Tying Flies with Beads Alaskan Trout and Steelhead anglers have known about fishing with beads for years.  Bead fishing is an effective way to imitate fish eggs.  Fishing with beads has really exploded here in the midwest over the past few years especially when targeting fall steelhead . While most anglers use beads by themselves […]

American's Favorite Flies

American Favorite Flies, New Book

Chuck Hawkins and Russ Maddin featured in a new book, America’s Favorite Flies

American's Favorite Flies

This is a new book, America’s Favorite Flies. It showcases 224 favorite flies from such notables as Yvon Chouinard, Lefty Kreh, Joan Wulff, Craig Mathew, Huey Lewis and others including Russ and I. All of the profits are given to two nonprofit organizations. They are the Native Fish Society and the James River Association.

America’s favorite Flies is fun to read. In addition to Russ and I, I’ve seen other Michigan anglers featured. John Kluging and Dennis Potter are in the book. Each fly tier answered some questions and did a write up about themselves and or the fly the called their favorite fly. I’ve enjoyed both the stories and the photos,  I’m sure you will too . There is also a ton of artwork by well know artists including Dave Ruimveld, Bob White and others. This is a substantial book, 656 pages, 1700 color images, it weighs 7 1/2 pounds! It is is a great coffee table book for the avid fly angler! You can get more information about it at American’s Favorite Flies.

How to Purchase America’s Favorite Flies

America’s Favorite Flies is available for sale for $145, shipping included, directly from the printer. It may be purchased by emailing me at chuck@hawkinsflyfishing.com or by calling 231-228-7135. If you would like Russ and I to sign it, we will be happy to! Just add $10 to the price to cover the extra shipping.

As Jason Borger says in the introduction “These pages represent the diverse fly patterns of a diverse group of anglers,but more than that  these pages celebrate experiences and revere waters. With an underlying mission of preservation and conservation, America’s Favorite Flies is a visually engaging storybook for all fly fishers who share such ideals”

Many thanks to John Bryan and Rob Carter for inviting Russ and I to participate and for creating such a beautiful book.

Capt. Chuck

Hex hatch

Hexagenia Limbata

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 […]

Isonychia

Isonychia bicolor Dun – Slate Drake

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 […]

Sulphur Dun

Sulphur Hatch

Sulphur Hatch

Sulphur Hatch

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 Sulphur Dunbut 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.

Hawk

steelhead flies

Top 5 Spring Steelhead Flies

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 […]

streamer fishing

Upcoming Fly Tying Demo’s

Scientific Anglers Muskie

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.

Thank you

dragon fly

Dragonfly Hatch

dragon fly hatch

Dragonfly Hatch

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!

 

Hawk

manistee river fishing

Nomad Anglers, Fly Tying, and River Report

  • 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

manistee river