Welcome to 'just old flies,' a section of methods and flies that
used-to-be. These flies were tied with the only materials
available. Long before the advent of 'modern' tying
materials, they were created and improved upon at a
far slower pace than todays modern counterparts;
limited by materials available and the
Once long gone, there existed a 'fraternity' of anglers
who felt an obligation to use only the 'standard' patterns
of the day. We hope to bring a bit of nostalgia to these pages and to
you. And sometimes what you find here will not always be
about fishing. Perhaps you will enjoy them. Perhaps you
will fish the flies. Perhaps . .
My Home River - Part Two
By Old Rupe
Archive of Old Flies
I have a meadow near the castles, (yes we have two here,) where
if a person was sharp some real monsters would come out from the
undercut banks to a small elk hair caddis. If the fly is more than
three inches off the grass don't even bother.
Just above that section was about 600 yards of little dams and pools
that a local trout club built years ago. I would walk the road and fish
risers. The trick was to fish from the road and lay the fly line on the
berm. With a long leader a three foot float was a possibility. Like
always presentation was the key.
I had a bridge where real nice fish would come to the fly. The only
problem was those ugly trout would only take midge pupa size 22
and smaller. I have wasted many an afternoon watching 'flashing'
fish work midges under that bridge while I did without. Maybe
this is purgatory?
I finally got kind of smart and would call the canoe livery about
the clarity of the water and whether the fish were jumping or not.
Since I provided the beer they would describe water clarity and
fishing reports as best they could. The problem was they were
not trout fishermen and a person had to be smart enough to ask
the correct question. Some times I was and sometimes I wasn't.
I have read a lot on entomology and actually consider myself fairly
knowledgeable with respect to stream inhabitants. I have really
looked and never seen stone fly husks on stream side vegetation.
Since I don't fish it in the winter, due to my poor circulation, I
can't rule out the little winter blacks. I suspect that these at least
are there. I hear of those little black flies on the snow size 18 or
so. Sounds like little winter blacks to me.
My river is undergoing a transition. Ten years ago we had no
hatches except a few caddis and some small stuff that was size 32
or better. Now I regularly see Hendricksons and their male
counterpart the Red Quill, along with a bunch of different blue
wing olives in 18 to 20's. I regularly fish an 18 to 20 blue winged
olive (BWO) as the preferred up-wing during the majority of the
year. Search with the green machine Old rupe says. If it ain't green
it's just not king. A elk hair caddis (EHC) in size 16 to 18 completes
the act. Tie it in the Troth tie with a peacock body. Use Diiachi
1310's like Troth does for the hooks. I have used all my hooks up
and now am awaiting my order. I now use that hook for most of
my ties. It's amazing how smart old Al Troth is, he is the most
aware fly fisher and fly designer I have seen. His EHC tie has
accounted for probably 80 percent of my fish during my fly-fishing
Al you are one of my heroes, but even with my bad circulation I can
probably tie a fly on as fast as you can. That's how I judge my guides.
If they can't tie a fly on faster than me I don't fish with them. Its sort
of an 'in' joke. I can see it now, he who loses has to row. I may
regret saying that. My hands have grown soft. I will decline on
philosophical grounds. I will have to await the adjustments to my
new glasses. I have never competed with someone that has more
hair on his face than me. I suspect it's an unfair advantage.
He who fails to fish an indicator for nymphs on my river just doesn't
understand the act. The Heenan crew have refined that act to a fine
art. Both kids now work for high profile fly shops in Montana. They
go to college there while the old man continues to sore mouth all the
fish on the river here. Never try to fish behind a Heenan. He would
walk over big rocks barefoot just to fish. There are just some things
you can not stop. All serious fly fishers hope the price of his company
stock will drop, and he will have to get a real job. If Tim didn't
release all he caught, my stream would be as sterile as a Macdonald's
My best fish have been on streamers. Size six muddlers thrown on the
bank and hopped into the water. The retrieve, a six to eight inch quick
pull has produced for me better than all the classic methods. I will
never forget the 17 inch brown that nailed my muddler after jumping
over a partially awash sweeper to connect. Quick six to eight inch pulls
right on the bank seems to win the lotto.
I have never forgotten my rivers mandate. Presentation is two places
in front of what ever is in second place. One year when I did stomach
samples bark beetles were the critter. I matched it with a size 16 EHC.
Those days when the wind blew in gusts really seemed to be bark beetle
events. It's a 16 to 18 black beetle with a small red dot on top. On a
windy day when you can't see what they are sporadically rising to
remember its small bark beetles.
Early in the year when nothing is happening I work my high dollar metal
detector around a couple of spots that are supposed to have hidden
treasures. I never found a penny and my White Spectrum 90 can tell
the difference between a dime and a quarter. My river has it all. Trout
and treasure, what more could you ask. I really believe those old hermits
spent their money on cold beer and young honeys. They sure didn't hide
it around their old home sites.
In the final analysis learn your home river. Spot more beers for Old Rupe,
a bright red marker flag would be helpful as my eyesight seems to be less
than what it used to be. Release a few fish for me, and try to promote
better manners on the stream. For those lesser infractions an ash
wading staff really helps.
Always remember Old Rupes advice, in life "what you see is what you get."
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