Fundraiser | Flies for Fins!

Let's all take a minute to consider the steelhead we chase and the fisheries in which they run...



Chances are, most of us enjoyed a short, sweet rush of images.
A cartwheeling steelhead. A taught Spey line. A crystal clear adipose fin. The fishy smell on your hands after successfully releasing a bright hen, fresh from the salt.

Despite these magical images, I'll bet at least a few of us entertained at least a few less positive thoughts as well. Were you confident in the current health and long term management of your favorite stretch of water? Were you at all nervous about the dwindling numbers of wild steelhead returning to your home river?

If you were at all concerned, you're not alone, and as in all things, there is hope. British Columbia-based steelhead guide and concerned steelhead lover, April Vokey (pictured below), has decided to team with Reaction Fly and Tackle, Pacific Angler, Michael and Young Fly Shop, Sea-Run Fly and Tackle, and Whistler Fly Fishing to test out an innovative way to raise some extra cash for the Steelhead Society, a non-profit group dedicated to providing advocacy on behalf of wild steelhead in British Columbia.

So what does this have to do with fly tying? Good question.

At April's brilliant suggestion
, local fly shops in her area have decided to sell FLIES TIED BY YOU in their stores with all proceeds going to the Steelhead Society. According to April, "This money will be put towards habitat restoration and several other similar projects, which ultimately will help to save all anadromous species."

We think this is a fantastic idea, and will be donating a selection of Beyond the Bug's flies to the Steelhead Society.

If you've got some extra bugs in your boxes or if you'd like to tie up some special creations for the Flies for Fins fundraiser, you can put them in an envelope and mail them to:

Flies for Fins
8505 Norman Cres.

Chilliwack, B.C.
Canada V2P 5C6

You can send one fly or 50, fancy or plain. Just remember to include your name in the package. You can also follow the developments on Facebook.

Evan LeBon is a regular contributor to beyondthebug.com


Fly Recipe: The Slow Dance

In my last post on movement and flies, I neglected to include a recipe. I've received several requests for the material list via email and the comments section of this blog. So, let's get to it:

The Slow Dance, a fly for sea run brown trout and steelhead >>

Hook >> Tiemco 202SP (or similar), sizes 1/0 - 6
Thread >> Wapsi UTC Ultra Thread, 210 Denier, red
Tip >> French oval tinsel, silver, medium
Tag >> Danville 4-strand Rayon floss, light pink
Tail >> 3 Siskiyou Aviary Long Emu Feathers, 2 dark purple, 1 pink
Dubbing >> Angora goat dubbing, dark stone, heavily teased
Rear Flank >> 2 Golden pheasant tip feathers taken from the joint of the crest and neck
Front Flank >> 2 guinea feathers sized and stripped to fit, natural
Collar >> Schlappen feather, purple

Evan LeBon is a regular contributor to beyondthebug.com


The Slow Dance: A Fly for Sea Run Browns and WInter Steelhead

When flies hit the water, everyone talks about movement. "This fly moves well." "That fly has great movement on the swing." "I love how that pattern moves under the surface." As anglers and fly tyers, we've all heard (and uttered) these words, or a similar arrangement of these words at some point or another. But we haven't wasted breath; the concept of movement is important, particularly when showing flies to large, aggressive feeders.

Here's a fly designed to move well in the kind of water sea run brown trout chasers and steelheaders often face.

The Slow Dance is an impressionistic fly designed to attract, not to closely imitate. Its squid-like emu "tentacles" make it deadly on coastal steelhead water, its length and bulk through the body render it downright nasty with a greased line technique, and the dark, but contrasting color scheme has proven successful on water from Tierra del Fuego to British Columbia.

Swing it through a seam, or run it through a moderate-to-fast pool or pocket. It's great in slow water and it's wicked when stripped hard through the second half of a swing and into the hang down.

The Slow Dance gets its great movement from three materials. The primary movers in the equation are the three emu feathers that form the long, wispy tail section. These feathers are tied in convex side up and over a thick wad of dubbing to keep them from fouling about the bend of the hook. The secondary mover in the fly is the wrapped collar of purple schlappen just behind the head. The tertiary mover is the darkly colored and heavily teased Angora goat dubbing through the thick body section of the fly. Flanking feathers of guinea and golden pheasant top the fly off and impart contrast and a visual order to things, but don't do much on the movement front.

Big flies designed to move are fun to create, and even more fun to fish. Grab some material and make some moves.

Evan LeBon is a regular contributor to beyondthebug.com


Fly Recipe: The Emerald Shiner Tube Fly

Recently, Wylie Haggerty took an exploratory trip to New York State's Niagara River in search of some of the biggest lake-run steelhead on the East Coast. Wylie loves to swing for chrome, and some of the most effective swing patterns on the "Big River" are those that represent bait fish.

Here's a relatively simple fly he brought with him, and is sure to carry again.

The Emerald Shiner Tube Fly

Tube >> 2-inch copper, brass, or aluminum tube
Thread >> Wapsi UTC 210 Denier, red, green, or purple
Body >> Flat Mylar tinsel, large
Ribbing >> French tinsel, oval or Antique tinsel
Wing >> Canadian and Russian Goat hair, married, dark green, light green, and white
Throat >> Webby schlappen fibers, red
Collar >> Wrapped schlappen feather, grey or white
Eyes >> Jungle cock nail feathers, sized to match
Head >> Silver cone head, large

Evan LeBon is a regular contributor to beyondthebug.com

Fly recipe and photo courtesy of Wylie Haggerty


Battling Winter with the Guinea Wing Orange Spey

This week has been cold, snowy, grey, and icy in Manhattan. Perfect weather for staying in, catching up on episodes of 30 Rock and Mad Men, planning summer steelhead trips, and tying Spey flies.

Here's a simple winter-blues-fighter of a pattern I whipped up using only the materials at the top of my Spey storage bin.

The Guinea Wing Orange Spey >>

Hook >> Tiemco 202SP, 1/0
Thread >> Wapsi UTC 210 Denier, red
Tip >> 3 turns of French oval tinsel, silver
Tag >> Danville 4-strand nylon floss, blue
Ribbing >> 5 turns of French oval tinsel, silver
Butt Dubbing >> Angora goat dubbing, 50/50 blend of orange and red
Body Dubbing >> Angora goat dubbing, dark stone
Collar 1 >> Wrapped pheasant rump feather, blueish green
Collar 2 >> Wrapped schlappen feather, orange
Collar 3 >> Wrapped guinea feather, nautral
Wing >> Guinea feather layed flat and secured to the hook shank just behind the eye

This is a solid winter steelhead pattern designed to honor the past with a flourish of gaudy materials, but tied with a modern, nearly deconstructed style.

I like to really tease out the dubbing on these flies, especially in the butt section. It gives the fly an attractive translucence in the water while allowing it to maintain its great body and shape.

Evan LeBon is a regular contributor to beyondthebug.com