Flyfisher Fall 2011-Winter 2012

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Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012 • $3

Conserving, Restoring & Educating Through Fly Fishing

Behind the Former






DEPARTMENTS Meet the Board


Chairman of the Board Phil Greenlee shares some good news.

22 28 7

24 29

Just Fishing


Letter I Am a Member Meet Rick Williams.


Home Waters Fly fishing news and notes.


FFF Fly Fishing Fair Awards review.


Biology on the Fly Learn about the life cycle of the damselfly. By Lynn Scott






Membership/Casting Certification/ClubWire: Barbara Wuebber • Bookkeeper: Ruth Fowler • Guides Association/Education/Social Media: Judy Snyder • Collection/Library/Donations: Carin Wolfe • Receptionist/Merchandise: Gay Penney •

Fly Box Some beauties from the 2011 FFF Fly Fishing Fair. By Verne Lehmberg


Fly Fishing Heritage A special fly tied by a special person. By Harry Merritt


Casting Keep it simple to make casting easier. By Tom Tripi


FFF Headquarters

Federation of Fly Fishers 5237 U.S. Highway 89 South, Ste.11 Livingston, MT 59047-9176 (406) 222-9369 • fax (406) 222-5823 Office Manager: Rhonda Sellers • Fly Fishing Fair Coordinator: Jessica Atherton •

Fly Tips Melt your own monofilament eyes. By Kelly Glissmeyer

Damsels – the Key to Large Fish How to fish damsels and damselflies over and under. By Lynn Scott

At the Vise Tie the Ultra Damsel. By Jason Morrison

Two Dams Removed A conservation victory dance, and a call for continued persistence to protect the Elwha River. By Will Atlas



Fly Fishing Slovenia Explore this little-known European fly fishing treasure. By Bill Toone


Damsels and dragons. By Verne Lehmberg

Autumn Bronze Improve your chances for fall smallmouth bass using these great techniques. By Terry and Roxanne Wilson

Focus on the Fly

Fly Rod Corner Getting started with a bamboo planing form; you have a choice. By Ron Barch


Woman’s Outlook The lifestyle of a newly retired couple. By Carol Oglesby


Photo Contest Winners from the 2011 Fly Fishing Fair

Flyfisher: Magazine of the Federation of Fly Fishers

Editor-in-Chief: Bill Toone Flyfisher is published for the FFF by: Keokee Co. Publishing, Inc. P.O. Box 722, Sandpoint, ID 83864 (208) 263-3573 • fax (208) 263-4045 • Publisher: Chris Bessler Editors: Al and Gretchen Beatty Art Director/Designer: Jackie Oldfield Designer: Laura Wahl Copy Editor: Billie Jean Plaster Editorial Assistant: Beth Hawkins Advertising Director: Clint Nicholson Regional Sales Manager: Scott Johnson PRINTED IN THE USA

Flyfisher is the official publication of the Federation of Fly Fishers, published two times a year and distributed by mail free to members. Send membership inquiries, fees and change of address notices to the FFF Headquarters in Livingston, Montana, at the address above. Flyfisher is produced for the FFF by Keokee Co. Publishing, Inc. Address all editorial and advertising correspondence to the address at left. Contents of Flyfisher copyright © 2011 by the Federation of Fly Fishers. Written permission required to reprint articles. “FFF,” “FFF & Reel Design” and “FFF & Fish Design” are registered marks of the Federation of Fly Fishers. The next Flyfisher editorial deadline is February 10, 2012.

Please remember to recycle this magazine and any other appropriate material.

Cover photo: A beautiful damselfly (top) is imitated by the damsel pattern tied by Chuck Escher (middle) and Fluttering Damsel tied by Tom Travis (bottom). See pages 29-37 for a wealth of information on damselflies. Photo by Verne Lehmberg. Feature photos, clockwise from top, left: Terry Wilson enjoys an autumn day while pursuing smallmouth bass. Photo by Terry and Roxanne Wilson. Steelhead like this will soon be able to travel the Elwha River as they were meant to. Photo by Will Atlas. A damselfly is ready for his closeup. Photo by Lynn Scott. Rok Lustrik holds a nice Slovenian marble trout. Photo by John Sunderland.

C o n s e r v i nMagazine g, Resto i n gFederation a n d E d u of c aFly t i nFishers g T h r o•u g h F l y 2011 Fish ing ofr the Autumn - Winter 2012 Volume 44, No. 2


Conserving, Restoring and Educating Through Fly Fishing

Meet the FFF’s Directors and Officers Council Presidents Eastern Rocky Mountain: Pat Oglesby 970-434-3912 • 3095 Evanston Avenue, Grand Junction, CO 81504

Ohio: David Snyder 216-372-7751 • 67 Aaron Street, Berea, OH 44017

Florida: Bill Gunn 321-773-5334 • 101 Marion Street, Indian Harbor Beach, FL 32937

Oregon: Sherry Steele 541-420-5532 • 69077 Chestnut Place, Sisters, OR 97759

Great Lakes: Jim Schramm 231-869-5487 • P.O. Box 828, Pentwater, MI 49449

South Eastern: Anthony Hipps 336-249-0338 • 815 Maple Tree Road, Lexington, NC 27292

Great Rivers: Open Contact FFF National Office

Southern: Michael E. Ames 870-243-2637 • 303 J D Drive, Harrisburg, AR 72432

Gulf Coast: Kyle Moppert 225-342-7551 • 2170 Terrace Avenue, Baton Rouge, LA 70806

Southwest: Michael Schweit 818-601-9702 • 7933 Jellico Avenue, Northridge, CA 91325

Mid-Atlantic: Jim Porter 301-621-4081 • 10320 Little Patuxent Parkway, Ste. 1100 Columbia, MD 21044

Washington: Carl Johnson 360-863-9889 • P.O. Box 1206, Monroe, WA 98272

North Eastern: Leslie Wrixon 508-733-8535 • 27 College Road, Wellesley, MA 02482

Western Rocky Mountain: Lee Davison 208-538-1462 • 238 N. 4700 E., Rigby, ID 83442

Northern California: Gene Kaczmarek 510-657-4570 • 5432 Borgia Road, Fremont, CA 94538

THE FFF COUNCILS The Federation of Fly Fishers represents the interests of fly fishers across the United States through its regional councils. Much of the FFF’s most important work is carried out through its regional councils and the fly fishing clubs in those regions. If you’re a fly fisher, stay in touch with the activities of your council – and get involved! Western Rocky Mtn Washington Southwest Southern South East Oregon Ohio North East


Flyfisher Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012

Northern California Mid Atlantic Great Rivers Great Lakes Gulf Coast Florida Eastern Rocky Mtn

Exec. Comm • Chairman of the Board/ President • Philip Greenlee 530-356-9430 • 1911 Bechelli Lane, Redding, CA 96002

Don Gimbel: 406-222-2932 22 Sunset Trail, Livingston, MT 59047

Exec. Comm • First Vice President Keith Groty: 517-290-8284 • 1396 S. Palmerlee Road, Cedarville, MI 49719

David Lemke: 713-502-1809 4002 Aberdeen Way, Houston, TX 77025

Exec. Comm • Secretary Herb Kettler: 434-977-6703 809 Winston Terrace, Charlottesville, VA 22903

Bob Long: 208-520-5055 1002 Webster Street, Clarkston WA 99403

Exec. Comm • Treasurer Ron Winn: 321-723-3141(work) • 321-777-3341 315 Eutau Court, Indian Harbor, FL 32937

Dan McCrimmon: 778.989.4327 1270 Nicola St., Vancouver, Ste. 804, BC, V6G 2E9

Exec. Comm. – Council Presidents’ Representative • Tilda Runner-Evans: 970-683-8879 • 3602 “G” Road, Palisade, CO 81526

Education Chair • Roger Miller 559-226-4351 • 1107 E. Fedora, Fresno, CA 93704

Exec. Comm. • Bud Frasca: 208-762-2631 • 2699 E Packsaddle Drive, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83815 Exec. Comm.- Membership Chair – Government Relations Chair • Howard Malpass: 318-780-3739 • 5825 Southern Avenue, Shreveport, LA 71106

Rick Pope: 214-821-8172 8115 Sovereign Row, Dallas, TX 75247 Carl Ronk: 909-560-6041 8961 Whirlaway Court, Alta Loma, CA 91737

Exec. Comm • Financial Development Comm. Chair • FFF Foundation President Earl Rettig: 541-330-9670 • 19928 Antler Point Drive, Bend, OR 97702

Wolf Schrey: 616-648-1572 • 2141 Deer Hollow Drive S.E., Grand Rapids, MI 49508

Exec. Comm • Legal Counsel (not a member of the BOD) Jim Schramm: 231-869-5487 P.O. Box 828, Pentwater, MI 49449

David Snyder: 216-372-7751 67 Aaron Street, Berea, OH 44017

Exec. Comm • Flyfisher Editor in Chief Bill Toone: 406-556-7241 • 198 Game Trail Road, Bozeman, MT 59715

Communications Committee Chair Sherry Steele: 541-420-5532 • 69077 Chestnut Place, Sisters, OR 97759

Exec. Comm. – Conservation Comm. Chair Rick Williams: 208-938-9004 524 West Two Rivers Drive, Eagle, ID 83616

Mike Stewart: 860-653-4203 215 Loomis Street, North Granby, CT 06060

Don Gibbs: 303-526-9256 108 Chokecherry Road, Golden, CO 80401

Robert Uselton: 870-935-5569 995 Conway, Jonesboro, AR 72033

Larry Gibbs: 253-820-0475 18112 South Tapps Drive, Lake Tapps, WA 98391

Finance Committee Co-Chair • Carl Zarelli 253-460-7752 • 4630 Memory Lane West, University Place, WA 98466

Conserving, Restoring and Educating Through Fly Fishing

Board of Directors & Executive Committee

Conserving, Restoring and Educating Through Fly Fishing

Just Fishing TRADITIONS ARE IMPORTANT By Philip Greenlee, Chairman of the Board of Directors


or me the fall season brings a sense of tradition and is one of my favorite times of the year. In October I believe there is nothing better than fly fishing and college football. One of the traditions I really miss is hunting quail in the fall with my dad, who is no longer with us. I think tradition helps stimulate our lives. For example, I have friends who like to fly fish the Trinity River on Thanksgiving morning. Another tradition for me is my longstanding relationship with the Federation of Fly Fishers. We’ve been together since 1968, and over the years I’ve watched the organization grow. It now has a presence in 16 foreign countries and really is the international voice of fly fishing. I have met wonderful people from all over the world through my FFF experience. In fact, now that I think about it, I have never had a bad moment with anyone connected to fly fishing. Another tradition I enjoy is the International Fly Fishing Fair. The recent fair in West Yellowstone, Montana, was one of the best FFF events I have ever attended. I couldn’t be prouder of the staff based in Livingston who managed the event. Financially, it was a great success; items at our live auction sold very well. The trip to Argentina donated by The Fly Shop in Redding, California, sold for $7,500, and the drift boat donated by Hyde Drift Boats from Idaho Falls, Idaho, sold for $6,200. Thanks to the Auction Committee along with the bidders and buyers, items at the event sold for 99 percent of their market value, which exceeded my expectations. Proceeds from the Fly Fishing Fair are important to the organization and help sustain the funds we need to further our goal to teach fly fishing through education and conservation. It takes both financial support and volunteers to keep this organization afloat; quite frankly, we couldn’t survive without all the help we get from our membership and fly-fishing community. My deep appreciation goes out to all those

hardworking volunteers, including the coalition, has taken the position that planning committees, the Fly Tying hatchery fish threaten the recovery of Group, the Casting Group and all native salmon and steelhead. The show volunteers. members of the coalition believe this On another subject, you may be is a chance of a lifetime to create a wondering why we have eliminated river with native fish, and they want the word conclave when referencing to have input on the future manageour annual event. Since the word ment of the fishery. The coalition filed implies meeting privately or secretly a 60-day notice of intent to sue nambehind closed doors, the FFF Board of ing the National Park Service, U.S. Directors voted to eliminate the use of Fish & Wildlife Service, NOAA the word. It’s been offiFisheries Service, the cially retired with great Washington honor and respect. Department of Fish & For your information Wildlife and others. the International The groups involved Federation of Fly Fishers in the suit are the Collection (formerly Wild Fish called the International Conservancy, the Fly Fishing Center) and Wild Steelhead the Lewis A. Bell Coalition and the Memorial Library is now Conservation Angler, located in our headquarall based in ters in Livingston. On Washington state September 26, 2011, a along with our organigroup of FFF volunteers zation headquartered arrived at our office to in Montana, the Phil Greenlee, update the FFF Federation of Fly Chairman of the Collection records that Fishers. Only time Board of Directors included cataloging and will tell if we can suctaking photographs of all cessfully protect this the antiquities. The volunteers were potential wild fish recovery. Sherry Steele, Eric Steele, Carl Ronk, I recently attended the Southern John Kimura and Carin Wolfe. Wolfe, Council (SOC) annual fundraising the only non-volunteer in the group, event in Mountain Home, Arkansas. is a part-time employee who recently The council’s excellent tradition is cargraduated from Montana State ried forward under the leadership of University; she majored in American President Michael Ames. Federators studies with a minor in museum from five states attended. One of the policies. many functions enjoyed by all was a On another front, the FFF free dinner for attendees. Steelhead Committee recommended One of the items in the auction that our organization join a wild-fish was an International Fly Plate. Have advocate coalition lawsuit against the you ever wondered who makes those future management policies of the fly plates and where? The answer is Elwha River in Washington state. Steve Jensen from Springfield, Currently those policies include hatchMissouri. Jensen told me the plateery fish as part of their overall plan. building process takes about 20 hours The removal of two of its dams will to complete and that he only charges open miles of river to thousands of the Federation for the cost of the matenaturally spawning wild salmon and rials. The plates are a major fundraiser steelhead. Wild-fish advocates claim for the organization and are only possithat recovery can only be fully realble due to his true generosity and ized if hatchery fish aren’t allowed in hard work. the river. The FFF, along with the Another treat for me was an inviContinues on page 8


Flyfisher Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012

Mending ending more more than lines. lines.

For For some, some, fly fishing is more more than a hobby. hobby. It’s It’s a way way to to heal. heal. At At Project Project Healing we teach teach fly fishing and fly tying tying skills skills to to disabled active active duty duty Waters Waters Fly Fly Fishing, Fishing, we veterans, bringing bringing them closer to to physical physical and emotional military military personnel and veterans, share the power power of the water water with those who need it most. most. recovery. recovery. Help us share Visit us at P roject Healing W aters Fly Fly FFishing, ishing, Inc., Inc., is a 501(c)(3) 501(c)(3) non-profit non-profit organization. organization. Project Waters

Conserving, Restoring and Educating Through Fly Fishing

I Am a Member RICK WILLIAMS, PH.D. Residence Eagle, Idaho FFF Council Western Rocky Mountain Member since 1997 (Life Member since 2004)

Home Waters

South Fork Boise River; Salmon River and all its tributaries in central Idaho

Favorite fish This is difficult. As a fisheries conservation biologist, cutthroat trout are my favorite native fish; but as an angler, it’s a toss-up between steelhead and bonefish. Both are wonderful fish that live in habitats that are wild, memorable and soothing to be in. Memorable fishing experience Steelhead fishing on the Bulkley River when my wife, Shauna, hooked and landed a 40-inch steelhead on her 7weight Spey rod. She didn’t realize how big the fish was, and the photo of her struggling to hold up this huge steelhead shows how stunned, yet pleased she was. I’m glad to have witnessed and photographed the experience.

Reason for being a member Two reasons, both close to my heart. First is the FFF’s conservation work on native fishes and their habitats, and second is the wonderful Casting Instructor Certification Program (CICP). I love teaching fly casting, particularly using two-handed rods. There’s such a blend of elegance and efficiency in twohanded casting; it’s gratifying to help students find that balance.

What others say Bill Toone, Flyfisher editor-in-chief said: Rick is a quiet, unassuming guy who channels his energy into action, not a loud presence. His tireless work at the national level on FFF conservation policies as well as the CICP has been extremely beneficial to the organization and will pay dividends for years to come. Rick also serves on the FFF’s national board of directors and the Casting Board of Governors. In addition Rick is an FFF master certified casting instructor as well as an FFF certified two-handed rod instructor. The Federation is extremely lucky

Just Fishing TRADITIONS ARE IMPORTANT Continued from page 6

tation to attend the SOC Woman’s Outreach luncheon that raised funds for worthy causes in the council. I would like to recognize those women for their efforts and community spirit. The event was a lot of fun, and I have never laughed so much in a long time. The SOC Woman’s Outreach Program really gives an added dimension to the stability of the organization. I think all councils should have an outreach program, especially now that more women are getting into fly fishing. Throughout the year I visited several councils. In fact, I just returned from the Florida Fly Fishing Expo that was held in Kissimmee on the eastern side of the state. It was a two-day event with good attendance by both


the public and saltwater fly-fishing personalities. The saltwater classes were excellent, and the casting demonstrations by Chico Fernandez and Flip Pallot were very informative and entertaining; the two were in rare form. The evening pizza party on Friday was fun with classical guitarist and longtime FFF member Oscar Feliu providing the entertainment. The Saturday banquet included a Golden Dorado presentation of a fly-fishing adventure to Bolivia with Dave and Emily Whitlock. My visit to Florida was the 10th FFF Council I visited this year. I plan to continue this practice in 2012 by visiting the remaining five councils sometime during the year.

Flyfisher Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012

to have Rick with all his energy and talents as a member. Does your council or club have an individual you would like to be considered for a future “I Am a Member” Profile? If so, please e-mail Bill Toone, Flyfisher Editor-in-Chief, at with your consideration. Please include a brief bio (25 to 40 words) along with the reason you feel this person exemplifies the best of the Federation of Fly Fishers.

Letter Fly Fishing for Bass in a Tournament In the Spring-Summer 2011 issue of Flyfisher (page 13), Ted Warren writes, “For some reason fly fishing evolved from freshwater trout fishing to saltwater fishing and somehow bypassed bass fishing.” Actually, James Henshall’s classic “Book of the Black Bass,” published in 1881, describes fly fishing as the primary method of casting artificials for bass. Trolling with spoons is mentioned but not casting with spoons or lures. Bass plugs were not invented until the early 1900s. Frank Perkins Melbourne, Florida (via e-mail)

Home Waters To supp o tion, re rt any FFF con storatio servan progra m, plea or education se mak deducti e a tax ble con tr The Fed eration ibution to: 5237 U of Fly F ish .S. Livingsto Hwy. 89 S., S ers te. n, MT 5 9047-9 11 176

CONSERVATION NEWS Northwest Wild Fish Rescue Puts FFF Grant to Work By Dave Brown Photo by Ben Dennis


he Northwest Wild Fish Rescue developed by Dave Brown received the first half of the Federation of Fly Fishers conservation grant in the middle of September, and it is already being put to use. In late September, volunteers laid nutrient analogs and also placed more than 12 yards of spawning gravel in several riffles in the now dry Mill Creek, a tributary of the East Fork of the Lewis River and Salmon Creek. In the fall and winter when the rains return, coho and steelhead will be spawning in this new gravel. The nutrient-rich analogs will provide food for the emerging fry in spring 2012. In late spring and early summer, Northwest Wild Fish Rescue will capture the fry as the stream dries. They will then be You can help conserve, held in spring-fed, cold-water restore and protect our facilities until the following precious fisheries. Read the spring, when they will be red patch at the top of the returned to their native stream page to read how. and released as smolts to go to the Pacific Ocean. In 2011, with help from the Washington State Council, Federation of Fly Fishers, Clark Skamania Fly Fishers and other community organizations within Clark County, Wild Fish Rescue rescued and will rear and release more than 30,000 juvenile salmon and steelhead from tributaries of the East Fork of the Lewis and tributaries that are severely compromised by habitat loss. This is a start. How many tributaries within the state and beyond can

Index of Articles Northwest Wild Fish Rescue Puts FFF Grant to Work . . . . . . . . .9 Conservation Grant Money Available to FFF Clubs . . . . . . . . . .10 Meet Bob Tabbert . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 It’s Easy to Support the Organization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 Council Leads Effort to Help Disabled Veterans . . . . . . . . . . . . .11

Federation volunteers spread gravel on the East Fork of the Lewis River.

benefit by using Brown’s methods? Find a compromised, drying-up stream in your own community and use it to spawn fish that will eventually return to the Pacific Ocean. Become a part of an exciting effort to save fish. It’s a great option and it works. Ask Brown how to follow his process. He can be reached at or 360-687-7049. Contributions can be made to: Dave Brown’s Northwest Wild Fish Rescue, P.O. Box 2936, Battle Ground, Washington 98604. This organization is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your financial contributions may be tax deductible. Learn more at

FFF Events and Casting Certification Calendars . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 Fly Tying Group Adopts Strategic Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Pattern of Success: Fly of the Month a Popular Resource . . . . .13 Cuttcatch Conservation Award . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Southwest Council Offers Casting Instruction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Obituaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14

Flyfisher Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012


CONSERVATION NEWS Conservation Grant Money Available to FFF Clubs By Bob Tabbert


n winter 2011, the FFF Board of Directors approved an increase in funding for the organization’s Conservation Small Grants (CSG) Program to $22,500. This increase approximately doubled past investment in the CSG Program. This new CSG Program is planned to run for three years from 2011 to 2013. The increase in CSG funding is congruent

with the FFF’s increased commitment to conservation; it provides a FFF NATIONAL CONSERVATION DIRECTOR $1,500 grant Bob Tabbert is a retired exploration geologist who winters opportunity for in south Louisiana with the Acadiana Fly Rodders, where he each of the FFF’s teaches casting and chases red 15 councils. fish with a fly rod. He summers in The first cycle a cabin in northern Wisconsin where he teaches casting and of the 2012 CSG watches out for Wisconsin’s Program is native brook trout. Tabbert is a ready to life member of the Federation of accept your Fly Fishers (FFF) and Trout CSG requests, Unlimited (TU). with a deadHe is an FFF certified casting line for subinstructor, teaching casting and missions set performing conservation work for June 1, within the FFF and TU programs. 2012. Any He is active in FFF’s native fish conservation projects and is curFFF club can rently chair of FFF’s Cold Water submit a CSG Committee. Fly fishing, conservation and teaching casting application are his passions. He previously served as vice president of through their conservation for both the Southern and Gulf Coast councils council’s vice and is currently FFF’s national conservation director. president of conservation. If advantage of this great conservation your club has a conservation project program. that needs seed money, please take All applications must be submitted using the FFF Conservation Grant Application form, available on the FFF’s website near the center of the page for Conservation Grants ( bid=4389). The council’s vice president of conservation will review, sign and forward the completed application to the FFF’s Conservation Committee (CC), made up of the 15 vice presidents of conservation, one from each council. The CC will review, and in a fair competitive process, approve the funding of the successful CSG requests. Your vice president of conservation is the vital link to gaining approval of your request. In the initial 2011 cycle of this new program, the committee approved funding for 12 club projects. In 2012, PACIFIC MISTY SAND SKY your club could be the lucky recipient of a conservation grant. Don’t let this great opportunity pass you by. Visit the website to get your grant request started today.

Photo courtesy of Lower Mt. Fork Foundation


FFF member Bill Sargeant (left) and guide Jesse King set one of the FFF’s Whitlock Vibert Boxes charged with brown trout eggs in the Broken Bow River, a tailwater fishery in southeast Oklahoma.


Cattcch More Catch More By Melting M elltting Into Into to Nature Nature AQUA SKY

Camouflage Fishing Clothing


For sunny to partly sunny skies


Blends with trees Earth tones that and shoreline conceal in sandy, vegetation rocky areas

Flyfisher Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012

Compatible colors for an overcast sky


Bob Tabbert is the conservation director for the Federation of Fly Fishers.



By Earl Rettig FFF EVENTS


t is easy for you to support the Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF) and also gain income and/or estate tax advantages. All donations to the FFF or the FFF Foundation are tax deductible. Gifts to the FFF may be used for current federation needs, while your gifts to the foundation are retained and only investment income is distributed. A new law makes it easier to give, and the legislation extends through 2011. The provision allows tax-free distributions from Individual Retirement

Accounts of up to $100,000 per taxpayer per year. This means that IRA owners age 70½ or older may directly donate to the federation or its foundation. Your gifts to the FFF are important and needed to enable the organization to fulfill its charter. To obtain further information or to initiate a gift, please contact the FFF office in Livingston, Montana. For more information, contact me at 541-330-9670. Earl Rettig is a longtime federator and member of the FFF Board of Directors who lives in Bend, Oregon.


By Ken Brunskill and Marty Seldon


cross the country, the Federation of Fly Fishers has been active in supporting disabled veterans. For example, disabled veterans receive free FFF membership. In the Northern California Council (NCC), projects to support veterans have their origins at the Golden Gate Angling and Casting Club under the leadership of Nicholas Strelchuk (, followed by a number of active programs led by Mission Peak Fly Anglers member Ken Brunskill ( and Fly Tying Group Board of Governors member Gene Kaczmarek ( Included in this effort is Veterans First Fly Fishing (VFFF), a committee established under NCC Vice President of Education Larry Lack to teach fly tying, casting and fishing to veterans who are using the Veterans Administration (VA) for medical treatment.

Veterans and their NCCFFF Veterans First Fly Fishing guides on the water in May 2011.

It all started several years ago when Strelchuk, a former carrier pilot, realized that fly fishing and tying flies would be a healthy addition to include in rehabilitation programs at VA hospitals near the Golden Gate Angling Club. He worked to implement a plan through his Reel Life Recoveries program to teach interested veterans fly fishing and tying skills and to organize fly-fishing trips around California. Building on similar efforts in the

November 2011 Caddis Fly Fishing Club – Davy 22 Wotton at meeting Western Sizzling Restaurant, Russellville, Arkansas

December 2011 Caddis Fly Fishing Club – Seventh 3Pleasant Annual Trout Day View Park pond just off Highway 7, north of Russellville. 9 a.m. to noon

July 2012 47th Annual FFF Fly Fishing Fair 10-14 Spokane, Washington. Watch the website for registration information to become available!

Monthly Santa Cruz Fly Fishermen Fly fish the surf on Monterey Bay, California, beaches the first Sunday after the first Wednesday of every month. For information, time and exact location, check the website at or contact Sam at

2011 FFF C ASTING INSTRUCTOR CERTIFIC ATION *Schedule subject to change – see most current schedule with details at The following events offer FFF Casting Instructor Certification. Pre-registration is required. Call 406-222-9369 to register. There is a $100 fee for Certified Instructor (CI) Testing plus a $50 fee if you pass; $175 fee for Master Instructor (MA) Testing plus $50 pass fee; $175 for Two-Handed Casting Instructor (THCI) Testing plus $50 pass fee. You must also be a current FFF member.

November 7, 2011, CI Test #1127 US, Kuala, Malaysia, contact Chie Kai Ling, November 17-19, 2011, CI, MA, THCI Test #1126INT Bergardo, Italy January 20-21, 2012, CI, MA Test #1202US Marlborough, Massachusetts, contact

Rod McGarrity, January 27-29, 2011, CI, MA Test #1201US Somerset, New Jersey, contact Gary Kell, February 2012, Teaching the Teachers Long Beach Casting Club, California, contact Marshall Bissett,

Continues on page 12

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Flyfisher Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012



Photo by BT’s Photography


or the first time, the FFF Fly Tying Group (FTG) is working with a full board of 21 governors. A new slate of officers is in place: Carl Ronk was elected chairman of the board, Dean Childs is vice chairman, Jim Ferguson is secretary and Steve Jensen is treasurer. Five new governors were elected to the board: Dean Childs, Fred DuPré, R. Scott Erickson, Al Ritt and Kit Seaton. The other governors either re-elected or remaining on the board include Bob Bates, Gretchen and Al Beatty, Peggy Brenner, Sister Carol Anne Corley, Jerry Criss, James Ferguson, Russ Forney, Dennis Reed, Bill Sargeant, Sherry Steele, Michael L. Stewart, and Leslie Wrixon. David Nelson was recognized as “governor emeritus” for his dedication to the group – a non-voting, lifetime board position. Frank Johnson demonstrates his fly-tying skills. A first-time strategic plan

VETERANS HELPED Continued from page 11

Washington State Council, Mission Peak Fly Anglers built one of the Evergreen tools developed by Jesse Scott, making it possible for veterans with one hand to tie flies. NCC member Ken Brunskill advanced the idea when he built 10 of the specialized vise attachments for distribution to disabled veterans. His ultimate goal of building on Strelchuk’s idea was starting a program for veterans. While doing volunteer work at a local VA clinic Strelchuk connected with one of the recreational therapists and asked about the potential for creating a fly-fishing oriented activity. The OUR


was developed over the past year, circulated among the governors, and after a short discussion was unanimously adopted. As it is implemented, the plan will go far in bringing the FFF to the forefront of fly-tying instruction and education. It will create an international directory of fly-tying instructors, demonstration tiers, and workshop and specialty seminar presenters. The directory is a tool whereby instructors can connect with potential students. Ultimately the FTG tying instructors will connect with student groups not only in FFF but other organizations and individuals such as Project Healing Waters, Wounded Warriors, Boy or Girl Scouts, schools, colleges and other fishing-related organizations such as Trout Unlimited. The project will also work toward the development of a database of fly-tying instruction, informational handouts, pattern and technique guides, class outlines, lesson plans, and other student and teacher information. This will expand the work of Jim Ferguson and Fly Tying Instructor’s Resource. The next year will be an exciting and eventful time for the group as it moves toward education and involvement in the fly-tying world. Anyone wanting to be involved may contact any governor or visit the FFF website at

idea was met with enthusiasm. With the support of Gene Kaczmarek and several Mission Peak Fly Anglers club members, the program got under way in early 2009. It was eventually named Veterans First Fly Fishing. VFFF functions due to volunteers from five NCC clubs: Mission Peak Fly Anglers, Diablo Valley Fly Fishers, Peninsula Fly Fishes, Tri Valley Fly Fishers and the Tracy Fly Fishers. The VFFF is conducting its fly-fishing oriented workshops in one of the largest of the VA regions in the country – the Veterans Administration’s Palo Alto Health Care System – with the support of the Recreational Therapy department. Plans are progressing to start the first disabled veterans FFF charter





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Flyfisher Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012

fly-fishing club at the Veterans Administration’s Menlo Park facilities. Once details such as articles, bylaws and approval by the FFF and the VA are completed, the new Veterans and Mentors Fly Fishing Club should become a reality. The VFFF committee can help other clubs start a fly-fishing oriented workshop or program with their local VA. For more information, contact Brunskill at or visit his Facebook page, Veterans First Fly Fishing. For information about the Evergreen Hand, go to homepage.htm. Ken Brunskill and Marty Seldon are longtime federation members from California.



Photo by Bob Bates


he Federation of Fly Fishers website,, is a great resource for many things including a wealth of information regarding fly patterns. I’m referencing the Fly of the Month (FOM) section ( x?tabid=4478) where dedicated members (me included) have posted about 150 flies from 1997 through 2011. The first fly was posted by Jim Abbs in December 1997. He was interested in the classic patterns and researched each pattern carefully. This history was used to build a detailed introduction. A materials list and tying instructions completed the page. Included you will find the Adams, Comparadun, Hendrickson, Lefty’s Deceiver, Swisher/Richards No-hackle, Brooks Montana Stonefly, Quill Gordon and many more of the early patterns that still catch fish. His backgrounds were so complete that I often use them for details. Most of the early FOM pages had illustrations drawn by Abbs. After posting the April 2001 FOM, Abbs retired from the volunteer position. In December 2001, the FOM resumed and the Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear was posted by an FFF person hired to work on the website. (To be truthful, I chose the pattern because I had a good picture of the fly.) At this point in history I made two changes to the column: A single color photograph replaced the drawing at the top of the page, and I elected to use patterns sourced at FFF conclaves (local, regional and national). Other than those modest changes, the column remains a showcase of your efforts and talent as flytiers. The FFF has many great flytiers,

Size 10 March Brown parachute tied by Monica Mullen at the Northwest Fly Tying and Fly Fishing Expo in Albany, Oregon.

and this column was an opportunity to introduce them. It was also an opportunity to educate new tiers in tying methods and materials. The chosen patterns were easy to intermediate in difficulty. Also, I tried to make the tying instructions complete enough that new tiers could follow them. Patterns posted included: Chickabou Soft Hackle, Kings River Caddis, X-Caddis, Llama Popsicle, Goddard Caddis, Alice’s Don’t Ask, Circle Sculpin, Mini Pop, DF Damsel, Emerging Callibaetis and a bunch more fish-catching patterns. Things went well until after the July 2004 posting. Our webmaster left the FFF and there was no one in the national office who could post the

FOM. So there is a year with no Fly of the Month postings. Finally, the new-and-improved FFF website was put online for the 2005 conclave. The FOM pages were improved to include step photographs of the flies, and the first posting was in August 2005. A wide variety of tying difficulty are included. Some patterns are simple: hook, thread and poly (November 2009 – NTE); others are more complicated (December 2009 – Crease Fly), (February 2010 – March Brown). So many fish-catching patterns are posted that I have trouble highlighting a few teasers. Just go and check out the archive listing; you won’t be disappointed. I am not a total lone wolf on the FOM process. I say “thank you” to the tiers, and even welcome those who want to contribute. A few articles since December 2001 were written by others, and a few have been co-authored. If you are interested in helping with this column, please contact me at to share your pattern with fellow members. I look forward to your correspondence.

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Flyfisher Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012




everal weeks ago the staff at the FFF office in Livingston received an announcement from Robert Marsett, a longtime Federation member from Tucson, Arizona, that he had successfully completed the Cuttcatch Conservation Award requirements. He had caught, photographed, documented the loca-

West Slope Cutthroat, British Columbia, Fernie, Elk River, July 1, 2010, 12 inches, Golden Stone. Outfitter Dave Brown holds the fish for Robert Marsett, Cuttcatch Conservation Award winner. Marsett was the program leader for a Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) trip for wounded veterans from Fort Huachuca and southern Arizona area. Photo by Jim Alexander, one of the soldiers in the PHWFF program.

tion and released four subspecies of cutthroat trout. It had taken Marsett the better part of three years to accomplish the feat. Marsett is from Tucson, Arizona, where he spends much of his time catching cutthroat trout and introducing the species to injured armed service people through Project Healing

Waters Fly Fishing. Marsett is the author of the book “don’t mean nothin’,” a soldier story of Vietnam and Cambodia available at or For those of you who don’t remember, the Cuttcatch Conservation Award was developed several years ago by the Conservation Committee under Verne Lehmberg’s leadership. Yellowstone National Park Director of Natural Resources John Varley first suggested the program idea to Lehmberg after a discussion about the decline of native cutthroat trout due to competition from nonnative rainbow trout. Varley’s suggestion was to model an FFF program to conserve them as a native species in or near the communities in which they reside. They hoped that increased interest would translate into greater effort and funding for habitat protection and maintaining the cutthroat populations. The Cuttcatch Conservation Award program was a success for the most part, but it eventually fell by the wayside when Lehmberg retired from his position with the Conservation Committee. Then Robert Marsett entered the picture by proclaiming he had finally completed the challenge. Present-day FFF Conservation Director Bob Tabbert is interested in reviving the program. Keep an eye on this magazine and the FFF website ( for more information as this program once again comes to the fore.



l Wilkie was born February 8, 1938, and passed from this life in Wills Point, Texas, on June 19, 2011. He lived 73 years, accomplishing much and enjoying the life sport of fly fishing among other activities. Al faithfully served as the Southern Council President in 1985 and was a past president of the Federation of Fly Fishers. He was the recipient of council and national awards: Man of the Year (1987, Southern Council), Federator of the Year (1989, Southern Council and FFF), Tall Tale Teller Award (1989, Southern Council with Steve Jensen), and President’s Award (1993, Southern Council). Al was inducted as a Legend of the Southern Council in 2010. The son of Leon Rodgers Wilkie and Gladys Irene Jordan Wilkie, Al was raised in Dallas. After graduating from North Dallas High School, he attended college in Dallas. While living in Dallas, he owned and operated Al Wilkie Enterprises, a real estate consulting firm specializing in land planning. He retired in the late 1980s and in the early 1990s moved to Wills Point. On December 31, 1997, Al married Ouida Ryan. He enjoyed fly fishing, golfing, traveling in his RV, cycling, spending time at his favorite destination, Yellowstone National Park, and Dutch oven cooking. Along with his wife, he received the Master Chefs by the Lone Star Dutch Oven Society in 2005. Information from the Southern Council website and Howard Malpass, member of the FFF Board of Directors.

Thomas Fredrick Wood


TEACHING THE TEACHER SOUTHWEST COUNCIL OFFERS CASTING INSTRUCTION A group of casting instructors and master casting instructors from Southern California are conducting a series of workshops in February 2012. The workshops are designed to take average casters from local clubs and teach them how to offer basic casting instruc-


tion to their club members. The workshops will offer syllabus suggestions and FFF-approved teaching methods and tips. Workshops will take place at the Long Beach Casting Club. Interested parties should contact Marshall Bissett at 818-259-551 or e-mail

Flyfisher Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012

homas Fredrick Wood, age 66, of Benton, Arkansas, passed away July 19, 2011. He was born February 10, 1945, in Caldwell, Kansas to the late Eugene and Aline Wood. Tom was a U.S. Army Veteran, a retired federal employee and also managed Orvis Shape. He was a charter member of the FFF club the Arkansas Fly Fishers, past Master of Westwood No. 353, which is now Mary Williams, 32nd Degree Mason, an Eagle Scout leader and a member of the Eastern Star, York Rite and the Shriners. He is survived by his wife, Mary

Irwin G. Conner


rwin “Irv” Gerhardt Conner, 70, a lifetime resident of Washington’s Wenatchee Valley, died Saturday, August 20, 2011, after a difficult fight with brain cancer. He was born on February 13, 1941, in Wenatchee and lived his life by “doing the right thing.” This attitude was reflected in everything he did, from the way he served his clients to the love he had for his family and friends. After high school Irv attended Central Washington University, and there he met the love of his life, Judy Lappier. Irv and Judy were married on November 30, 1969. After graduation he became a certified public accountant and, with Judy, was employed in that field for most of his working life. Irv had several passions in life, but none greater than the love he had

Shane Stalcup for his wife, Judy, and his dog Mollie. A close second was his love for fly fishing. He traveled all across the world doing what he loved best – fishing with his friends. He served on the Washington State Council Board of Directors and was the past president of the Wenatchee Valley Fly Fishers. His survivors include his wife, Judy, and their dog Mollie; brother Phil Conner; “daughter” Elly Gellatley; brother-in-law Chuck Dunham; three nieces and nephews; and four godchildren. A celebration of Irv’s life was conducted on August 26, 2011, at Grace Lutheran Church in Wenatchee. Information courtesy of the Wenatchee World newspaper staff.

Larry Allen Martz


arry Allen Martz, 64, of Martinsburg, West Virginia, passed away on August 4, 2011, surrounded by his family. Born on June 19, 1947, he was the son of the late Chester and Nellie Martz. He was a 1965 graduate of Waynesboro High School, and a 1968 graduate of DeVry Institute of Technology in Chicago where he earned a degree in electronics technology. Larry retired in 2002 from IBM following a 34-year career as a customer service engineer. Larry was an outdoor enthusiast and enjoyed hunting, fly fishing and shooting. He was a lifetime member of the NRA, a member of The Izaak

Walton League of America and a member of Creekside Anglers. He is survived by his wife of 44 years, A. Suzanne (Bingaman) Martz; three sons, Eric, Shawn and Brian; two grandchildern; sister Theda and brother Jeff. Funeral services were held August 6, 2011. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Berkeley Senior Services (Attention: Adult Day Service, 217 N. High St., Martinsburg, WV 25404), Hospice of the Panhandle (122 Waverly Court, Martinsburg, WV 25403), or the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration ( Information and photo from the West Virginia University’s The Journal website.


n May 17, 2011, Shane Stalcup, age 49, passed away at his home in Denver, Colorado. Born September 21, 1961, in Denver to Jim and Mary Ellen Stalcup, he spent his early years primitive camping in the North Park area and learning to fish in the small streams and Arapahoe Lakes. When he was about 10, Shane acquired a fly-tying kit, and it was the beginning of a long career. As a young man he tied commercially for a fly shop in Walden, Colorado, and for the Colorado Angler in Denver. Following high school, Shane attended the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley majoring in business. After college he returned home and spent his time tying commercially and designing flies. He studied entomology and developed materials so he could better replicate the aquatic insects he fashioned on hooks, eventually selling those materials as part of his business. Shane produced videos on nine different fly-tying subjects, and his book, “Mayflies, Top to Bottom,” has been a top seller. He was a frequent contributor to fly-tying magazines and was in demand as a demonstration tier and instructor. Shane’s business took him all over the world, but 12 years ago while returning from a trip to China, he felt dizzy and lost his sense of balance. He sought medical help, but the condition worsened and he battled it for the rest of his life. The fly-tying world lost a talented, innovative fly designer and developer of fly-tying materials. Information courtesy of Pat and Carol Oglesby.

Ronald T. Bishop Ellen Wood, of Benton; three daughters, two brothers, a sister and five grandchildren. Tom was the recipient of the 1990 Southern Council Fly Tyer of the Year Award. He was a longtime participant at the Sowbug and at the conclave. Information from the Southern Council website; photograph from the North Arkansas Fly Fishers website.


onald T. Bishop, 80, of Winfield, Illinois, died Sept. 5, 2011, at his residence. He was born Sept. 5, 1931, in Chicago, the son of Stanley and Cecilia (Reilly) Bishop. Ron worked as a trial attorney specializing in medical standard practices in Chicago. He enjoyed hunting and was an avid fly fisherman, traveling to many places in the world to fish. He is survived by his seven children, Stephen (Pam) of Schaumburg, Michael (Mary Beth) of Geneva, Patricia (Gene) Unterman of California,

Margaret “Peg” Bishop (Allan) of Indiana, Thomas (Sue) of North Aurora, James (Tracy) of Michigan and Scott (Ann Marie) of Oak Forest; 14 grandchildren and four great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, three siblings and son Robert. Memorials to DuPage Rivers Fly Tyers, P.O. Box 5028, Wheaton, IL 60189, would be appreciated. Information courtesy of Malone Funeral Home in Geneva, Illinois.

Flyfisher Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012


The 2011 National Fly Fishing Fair Recap

Articles and photos by Pat Oglesby





Buszek Memorial Award ....................................Tony Spezio Charles Brooks Award ........................................Al Brewster Conservation Award ...................................Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia Company and 1% for the Planet Dick Nelson Fly Tying Teaching Award ..........Frank Johnson Federator of the Year Award ............................Carl Johnson FFF Environmental Conservation Scholarship....Lee Van Put Governor’s Mentoring Award (Casting BOG) ............................................Aaron Reimer Governor’s Pins (Casting BOG) ................Jerk Sonnichsen, Lars Christian Bentsen, Denise Maxwell and Macauley Lord Lapis Lazuli Award...............................................Tom Jindra Lee Wulff Award ..................................Hardy North America Lee Wulff Award..........................................Hyde Drift Boats Leopold Conservation Award ......Dr. Jack Stanford, Director and Jesse Bierman Professor of Ecology, Flathead Lake Biological Station, University of Montana Lew Jewett Life Memorial Award........................Bob Krumm Lifetime Achievement in Fly Casting Awards....................Gary Borger, Macauley Lord McKenzie Cup Award ...........Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishers Robert Mariott Scholarship ........................Audrey Djunaedi Silver King Award............................................Nick Curcione

COUNCIL AWARDS OF EXCELLENCE Eastern Rocky Mountain Council ........................Jim Aubrey Gulf Coast Council..................................................Ned Lunt North Eastern Council........................Patricia “Sam” Decker Northern California ...............................................Dave Ford Oregon Council................................................Jim Ferguson Great Lakes Council ....................................Colleen Jenkins Southern Council.................................................Chet Smith South Eastern Council ......................................Karen Brand Southwest Council............Club – Long Beach Casting Club Individual – Stephen Piper Washington Council...........................................Mike Clancy Western Rocky Mountain Council .....................Will Godfrey

he Federator of the Year Award is presented annually to an individual who has demonstrated unusual devotion to the FFF and through outstanding contributions has benefitted the Federation as a national or international organization. This award is bestowed upon an individual for achievements wide in scope and not limited to local or regional activities. The criteria require devotion and contributions to the FFF in order to be consistent with FFF’s objectives. Carl Johnson joined the FFF in the mid-1970s while living in the high mountains of Colorado. Born in New Jersey, he was fortunate to have been raised in a family that enjoyed the outdoors where he received exposure to fishing. During his senior year of high school, he decided to learn to fly fish, and that was when his passion for the sport started. Following graduation he attended Colorado School of Mines and found great fly-fishing opportunities in the Rocky Mountains. His career in the mining industry took him around the West, and he eventually retired to Monroe, Washington, where he currently lives. He joined the Evergreen Fly Fishers in Everett near his home and immediately became an active member. One of his first duties was to represent his club at the Washington State Council. This led to him assuming duties as council treasurer and then presidency. He is currently in his third term as council president. Under Johnson’s leadership the Council developed the successful Washington Fly Fishing Fair held each year in Ellensburg. The fair features the best selection of flytiers to be found at any one location within the state. He is proud of the fair and the fact that next year it will celebrate its sixth year.

FFF President Phil Greenlee, left, presents the Federator of the Year Award to Carl Johnson.

Johnson has been successful in uniting the clubs within the state and has created excitement and interest within the council. He annually puts around 8,000 miles on his vehicle while traveling around the state on council business. Since he took over leadership of the council, membership and participation has increased significantly. Johnson holds membership in two clubs: Evergreen Fly Fishing Club and Northwest Fly Anglers. The first National Fly Fishing Fair and Conclave that Johnson attended was in 2004 when it was held in West Yellowstone, Montana, and he has since attended them all. He can be found around the exhibit hall, volunteering, selling merchandise from the FFF booth and attending meetings pertaining to his council. He is proud to be a member of the President’s Club and a Life Member of the FFF. In 2010 he was the recipient of the Don Harger Memorial Life Award, an award presented to an individual for exemplary contributions to the FFF and fly fishing. Johnson is honored to be the recipient of the prestigious FFF Federator of the Year Award and is humbled to join the list with those who have received the award in the past.

CASTING BOARD OF GOVERNORS AWARDS Lifetime Achievement in Fly Casting Awards


he Lifetime Achievement Award is given by the Board of Governors of the FFF Casting Instructor Certification Program in recognition of those who have made significant contributions to the art of fly casting instruction. The recipients for 2011 are Macauley Lord and Gary Borger.

Macauley Lord Macauley Lord was a member of the Casting Board of Governors for several years and has remained active in emeritus status. Lord is known in casting circles as one of the most creative and inspirational fly casting instructors and has influenced many others to become instructors. As a member of the Executive Committee, Loop editor and active board member, Lord had direct and positive impact on the management of the growing program. He has been the head casting instructor at the L.L. Bean School of Fly Casting for 20 years. He has taught thousands of people how to fly cast and is the author of the L.L. Bean “FlyCasting Handbook,” an indispensable book that clearly demonstrates his abilities as one of the foremost fly casting instructors in the United States. He has been a regular contributor of casting

articles to Fly Rod and Reel, American Angler and the FFF’s own Loop. On receiving the award, Lord said: “I am so deeply humbled by this award. Other recipients of this award have been important mentors.”

Gary Borger Gary Borger is an icon in fly fishing, and his contributions to fly fishing and fly casting are enormous. He was one of the original 15 governors enlisted by Mel Krieger in 1990 and helped create the successful Casting Instructor Certification Program. Borger remained active on the board and played an active role until 2009. He received the Buz Buszek Memorial Award in 2006; in 1979 he was the first recipient of the Lew Jewett Memorial Life Award. In addition to being known as one of the world’s foremost fly-fishing educators, he is also a photographer, author and freelance writer. Upon receipt of the award, Borger said: “I am deeply gratified, not only by this award, but by all the continuing efforts of so many dedicated casting instructors and board members to improve, enhance and work toward making the Casting Instructor Certification Program the very best it

Bruce Richards presents a Governors’ Pin Award to Denise Maxwell.

can be. Thank you all.”

Governors’ Pins Governors’ Pins are awarded in recognition of continued support for the Casting Instructor Certification Program in areas of administration, committee involvement or program implementation. Recipients of the pins for 2011 are Jerk Sonnichsen, Lars Christian Bentsen, Denise Maxwell and Macauley Lord.

Governors’ Mentoring Award The Governors’ Mentoring Award is presented to a member or members for continued support of the program through mentoring, teaching and inspiring students. The recipient for the Governors’ Mentoring Award for 2011 is Aaron Reimer.



he Lew Jewett Memorial Award is presented annually to an individual who has promoted the sport of fly fishing through distinguished efforts to draw more people into fly fishing and/or enhance the knowledge and ability of the fly fisher. Bob Krumm caught his first fish, a carp, when he was 5 years old, and the fishing bug has stayed with him. He attended Albion College in his home state of Michigan and graduated with a degree in biology. He obtained a master’s degree in zoology from the University of Wyoming before starting a guiding career around the Jackson area. He took a short, six-year break from guiding to work with the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality.

In 1985 he starting guiding on the Big Horn River in Montana and is still there today, 26 years later. When the National Fly Fishing Fair and Conclave is held in the Greater Yellowstone area, Krumm is always willing to present programs and conduct workshops. In fact, he conducted the first-ever streamside program at the 1991 conclave. In addition to his flyfishing and fly-tying presentations, he has conducted programs for the nonangler on picking and cooking berries. Krumm has written four books that are all guides to finding, harvesting and preparing wild berries and fruits. Since 1981, Krumm has been a contributor to The Billings Gazette, writing a weekly outdoor column. He has

been widely published in fly-fishing magazines, and his expertise is referred to in numerous books. His innovative fly patterns have been featured in some of the major flytying magazines. Locally around his home in Sheridan, Wyoming, Krumm has taught fly fishing and fly tying at Sheridan College and is active in the FFF. Krumm is a quiet, gentle individual. His demeanor and easygoing style make him one of the most popular guides on the Bighorn River, a river that he believes has some of the best fishing in the world.

Flyfisher Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012


The 2011 National Fly Fishing Fair Recap

Articles and photos by Pat Oglesby


he Buz Buszek Memorial Award is presented annually to that person who has made significant contributions to the art of fly tying. The recipient may be either an amateur or professional who displays tying skills, creativity, innovation, shares knowledge by teaching or publication, and promotes the advancements of the art. Anthony “Tony” Spezio, a professional flytier and bamboo rod craftsman from Flippin, Arkansas, started tying flies in 1944 after watching a friend craft a crude fly from basic materials and handmade tools. He obtained some thread from his mother’s sewing box, collected some “road kill,” and began a lifelong career as a flytier. At that time his meager selection of tools and materials would all fit in a cigar box. Four years later during his senior year in high school, Spezio was elected president of the high school fly fishing club and taught other club members to tie. Following high school graduation, his time

fly fishing and fly tying came to a halt as he entered a career in the U.S. Air Force. When his military career ended in the late ’50s, he was able to again enjoy what he loved: fly tying and fly fishing. While living on the East Coast, he taught fly-tying classes including two, six-week classes at a department store in New Jersey. He quickly gained attention as a demonstration tier and was soon receiving invitations to show his skills at fly-fishing shows along the Atlantic Coast. Upon moving to Arkansas Spezio became a featured tier at the FFF Southern Council Conclave and other events around the country. In 1997, he was the recipient of the Southern Council Fly Tier of the Year Award. Other involvement included acting as tying chairperson for the council conclaves in 1999, 2000 and 2001. His flies have appeared in the FFF’s “Patterns of the Masters, Volume 6” (1999) and “Fly Pattern



he Order of the Lapis Lazuli Award is the highest honor in the Federation of Fly Fishers and is not necessarily awarded each year. The award is for exemplary and individual achievement, and the selection is by a two-thirds majority vote of the Executive Committee. The recipient receives a one-of-a-kind, specially designed gold ring with a lapis stone and the FFF logo. Lapis lazuli is regarded as the stone of friendship and truth. The deep azure stone is said to encourage harmony in relationships and aid its wearer in authenticity and the ability to display his or her opinion openly. Tom Jindra was recognized for his extraordinary contributions and service to the FFF and was inducted into the Order of the Lapis Lazuli. While growing up in southern Ohio, Jindra discovered his father’s cane rod and was introduced to fly fishing. Later he discovered the FFF in 1983 soon after he relocated to Louisiana. While searching for a fly fishing club in the New Orleans area, he heard about the FFF and contacted the national office. He discovered there were only 12 FFF members in the state and no organized FFF clubs. After contacting the three FFF members in his home community, he started the New Orleans Fly Fishers and served as president for several terms. As club president he attended Southern Council meetings and was eventually seated as a board member. In 1991, Jindra was instrumental in the founding of the South Eastern Council and continued to work for that council, including co-chairing the 1995 SEC Conclave held in


New Orleans, the most successful held up to that date. In 1995, the FFF was struggling for leadership and Jindra stepped in midyear and assumed the duties as interim president. The following year he was elected president and held that position for three years. Membership had dropped below 9,000 members and was on the decline. During his tenure, membership grew by nearly 3,000 to a record high of 12,000. This increase eased the financial crisis and led to stabilization. Jindra was eager to increase communications within the FFF and was instrumental in the establishment of the Club Wire, a publication that was a major component in the FFF’s communications with members and clubs. He was added to the Casting Board of Governors in 1996, and in 1997 he was one of the voices that helped keep the casting Board of Governors and the Casting Instructor Certification Program within the federation. An FFF member since 1983, Jindra has served the federation in multiple capacities, including the three years as president. Most recently, he served on the Casting Board of Governors for the FFF Casting Instructor Certification Program and chaired that program from 2004 to 2007. Many husbands and wives volunteer together within the FFF. While Jindra was leading the organization, his wife, Debra, became active and took on leadership of the Women’s

Flyfisher Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012

Encyclopedia” (2000). Spezio is especially proud of being one of the originators of the Sowbug Roundup – a fly-fishing function held in Mountain Home, Arkansas, each spring. In 1997, he and members of his local club, North Arkansas Fly Fishers, founded the Sowbug Roundup as a small flytying event, and now 14 years later it has grown to feature more than 100 tiers from many states around the country as well as international guests. Due to its huge success, the show will be moving in 2012 to a new venue with a much larger facility. To honor Spezio, the North Arkansas Fly Fishers established a scholastic scholarship in his name to help students studying environmental and fisheries sciences. FFF President Phil Greenlee, left, presents the coveted Lapis Lazuli Award to Tom Jindra.

Outreach Program, for several years. After retiring as an editor of The TimesPicayune newspaper in 2010, Jindra joined Guy Tillotson’s Grand Slam Group as a representative of fly fishing and outdoor products to the South and Southeast. This keeps him closely associated with the fly-fishing industry and the people involved. He has a deep love for the sport and has enjoyed fly fishing throughout North America, New Zealand, Argentina, Ireland and Germany. In 1999, Jindra was the recipient of the FFF Man of the Year award for his outstanding devotion and contributions to the organization. “What I accomplished had little to do with me. The credit should go to the volunteers and the FFF staff. I provided the leadership and they accomplished the task by working together. This is a big moment for me, and I can’t begin to express my appreciation,” Jindra said, after receiving the Order of the Lapis Lazuli Award. “When you look at the list of past recipients, you will see some of fly-fishing’s giants, people such as Lee Wulff, Joan Wulff, Lefty Kreh and Mel Krieger. To find myself included in that circle is humbling.”

Photo courtesy of Tony Spezio


In 1999 he began making and selling exquisite bamboo rods. The demand for these finely crafted rods far exceeded his ability to meet supply. Nonetheless, he has delivered well over 100 handcrafted rods to customers around the country. Spezio is in demand for presentations at bamboo rod gatherings around the country, including the Catskill Rod Gathering. One of Spezio’s heroes is his neighbor, flyfishing personality Dave Whitlock. Spezio credits Whitlock’s books for assisting him to become a better flytier. In 2008 Whitlock was the recipient of the Don Harger Memorial Life Award, an award presented to an individual for exemplary contributions to the FFF and fly fishing. On receiving the prestigious Buz Buszek Memorial Award, Spezio said: “When I first learned I had been selected to receive the Buszek Memorial Award, I was breathless, overwhelmed and at a loss for words. It is something I never expected. I am truly honored to be included with others who have received the award.”


Photo courtesy of Leslie Wrixon

CHARLES BROOKS MEMORIAL LIFE AWARD he Charles Brooks Memorial Life Award is presented annually to that person who has demonstrated a deep affection for the outdoors and fly fishing, is an innovative flytier, an active member of FFF, and a character. Al Brewster was born in Providence, Rhode Island, into a family that loved the outdoors. His father and grandfather fostered a love for hunting, fishing and gardening. Not only did he find these activities enjoyable, but they also put food on the table. Rhody Fly Rodders, the oldest saltwater fly-fishing club in the country, was founded in Brewster’s home. Thirty-one prospective members assembled in 1963 and signed the club charter. Brewster has remained an active member since the club’s inception. He was among the first to develop the notion of fly fishing in saltwater. Since there was no ready-made equipment for fishing in the salt, he and his buddies developed their own tackle and large flies similar to the commercial products used today. In time his interest turned to fishing in the Catskill Mountains for brook trout, which led to a long friendship with Art Flick and Rube Cross. It was during this time with Flick that he met, tied and fished with people who are legendary in the sport: Walter and Winnie Dette, Harry and Elsie

Darbee, Paul Jorgenson, Lee and Joan Wulff, and Ernie Schweibert are some of those names you may recognize. With his good friend, the late Walter Burr, Brewster was instrumental in the success of the United Fly Tiers. Founded in 1959, it is the oldest, continuously active fly-tying organization in the United States. The club is dedicated to the development and promotion of the art and science of designing and producing artificial flies. Brewster was a commercial flytier for the Orvis and Hunters companies, supplying them with saltwater and freshwater fly patterns. It was during this period that his circle of friends expanded to include notables such as Mike Martinek, the late Jack Gartside and Dave Whitlock. He is known by many to be a very generous person. During his life he has devoted countless hours to teaching fly fishing and fly tying, and has taken special pleasure in introducing children to the sport. He is regularly seen at charity events and fundraisers where it seems he is always the center of attraction. Brewster has slowed down some in his later years but still shares his love of fly fishing with club members. No matter where flytiers and fly fishers gather in New England, the name Al Brewster is often the topic of conversation.



he Silver King Award is presented to an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to the sport of saltwater angling over an extended period of time. Nick Curcione has been described by his friends as a flamboyant angler and a true saltwater renaissance man. His love for saltwater fly fishing began in the late ’50s when his family moved to Southern California. He pioneered saltwater fly fishing in front of a group who believed that general tackle was the only angling method. Many didn’t believe he could be successful with light fly-fishing gear. He proved them wrong. Curcione is an effective instructor for all aspects of saltwater fly fishing and has a gift for teaching casting, knot tying and rigging. Teaching casting is his true passion. Through his writing and teaching, Curcione has earned a position as a true ambassador for the sport of fly fishing. His books include “The Orvis Guide to Saltwater Fly Fishing,” “Tug-O-War: A FlyFisher’s Game,” “Baja on the Fly,” “Hot Rail” and “Doing It Stand Up Style.” He is currently a contributing editor for Fly Fishing in Salt Waters magazine, is a member of Temple Fork Outfitters’ pro staff and serves on the advisory staffs of Rio Products and Tibor Reels. He has been on the sport fishing show circuit for more than 30 years, where he has been a featured presenter for productions like the International Sportsmen Expositions, The Great Western Fishing and Hunting Shows, Marriott’s Fly Fishing Fairs and the Shallow Water Expositions. Curcione is a true ambassador for saltwater fly fishing and has shared countless hours promoting the sport. His fishing travels have taken him to a variety of locales and include all the coastal waters of the continental United States, Alaska, Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America, New Guinea, and the South Pacific. Longtime Federator Lefty Kreh summed it up nicely by saying: “He’s ethical and a real pro – everyone who knows him loves him, and he is especially revered on the West Coast. We just got a terrific member for our team.” Photo courtesy of Nick Curcione

Spezio’s signature fly pattern, Tony’s Froggie, received national attention and has been featured in numerous magazine articles and in other publications. Some of the other patterns he designed and shares with visitors when he is demonstrating his skills at shows are the Knit Pickin’ Mayfly, Epoxy Minnow, Stillborn Emerger, Chili Pepper, White River Demon and the Coffee Bean Beetle. In addition to fly tying, Spezio has a passion for another part of fly fishing, cane rod building. In 1946, soon after he became interested in fly tying and fly fishing, he determined he needed a new rod. After purchasing a bamboo blank for a quarter he wrapped his first rod. Later when fiberglass and graphite became available, he taught rod building classes using the modern products. He has a love for bamboo and is a regular attendee and featured speaker at the Southern Rod Gathering held each fall in Mountain Home. In 2007 he was named Southern Rod Gathering Rodmaker of the Year.

Flyfisher Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012


The 2011 National Fly Fishing Fair Recap



he Dick Nelson Fly Tying Teaching Award is presented to an individual who excels in teaching the art of fly tying to all skill levels. Frank Johnson of Sheridan, Wyoming, has spent his life involved with fly fishing. He started tying flies at age 10 while in grade school; two years later he was selling his flies commercially to retail outlets throughout Wyoming. During his high school years, he became interested in fly-tying instruction and held classes for Boy Scouts, and the public. From 1973 to 1984 he owned Streamside Anglers in Missoula, Montana, and taught fly-tying classes through his shop as well as through the University of Montana Recreation Department. Johnson developed a strong interest in learning to tie classic Atlantic salmon flies but couldn’t locate anyone for instruction. He wrote to a Finnish master and through nine years of correspondence, he became an accomplished tier. Wanting to share with others, he began teaching two-day classes on tying Atlantic salmon flies. Since joining the FFF in 1973, Johnson has attended most conclaves. He can be found sharing and demonstrating his talents at fly-tying events throughout the West. Having retired from his day job as a guide, he now spends time for himself fishing on his beloved Bighorn River in Montana. Johnson was familiar with the popular Franz Potts series of flies from Montana. He became fascinated with them and by careful examination, dissection and sacrifice of several of Pott’s original flies, he was able to solve the mystery of the technique Pott used to weave the hackle. During the 2011 National Fly Fishing Fair, Johnson conducted his first class to share Pott’s weaving method. He wanted to preserve an important part of fly-tying history. This is just another example of his generosity and dedication to the industry. In summary, Johnson has all the attributes of an excellent fly-tying instructor. He possesses exceptional technical skills and creativity. Beginners to advanced students benefit from his enthusiasm, warm personality and his enormous talent. He has spent most of his life instructing and sharing his lifelong love of fly tying. Johnson’s commitment to the federation and fly tying was exemplified in 1984 when he was honored as the recipient of the coveted Buz Buszek Memorial Award.


Articles and photos by Pat Oglesby



he FFF Conservation Award is presented to individuals, groups or organizations that have made extraordinary contributions to the conservation of our fisheries resources. Patagonia is a household word for almost everyone who has any interest in being outdoors. When we hear the word, many more people relate it to the outdoor retailing company rather than the region in South America. At the core of the organization is its founder, Yvon Chouinard, a legendary mountain climber, surfer, entrepreneur, environmentalist and philanthropist. A world-class climber from a young age, Chouinard quickly discovered he could manufacture higher quality and less environmentally damaging climbing aids than what one could purchase at that time. This was the beginning of the company. For almost 40 years, Patagonia’s reputation for unsurpassed quality, maverick innovation and long-term environmental responsibility has put it in a class by itself. Chouinard’s resolve to minimize Patagonia’s impact on the environment has, among other things, led the company to make their famous fleeces out of recycled soda bottles, use only organically grown cotton since the mid1990s, and donate at least 1 percent of its revenue

Conservation Coordinator Robert Tabbert, left, Conservation Award recipient Yvon Chouinard, center, of Patagonia, Inc., and Conservation Representative Rick Williams.

each year to environmental causes. In so doing, since 1985 it has awarded more than $40 million in cash and in-kind donations to domestic and international environmental groups. In 2002, Chouinard and Craig Mathews, owner of Blue Ribbon Flies in West Yellowstone, Montana, created a nonprofit corporation to encourage other businesses to do the same. 1% for the Planet is an alliance of businesses that understand the necessity of protecting the natural environment. Patagonia Incorporated is one of the earth’s most interesting and inspiring companies, whether you care about adventure sports, the fate of the natural world, or brand maintenance and business success. Everything in that company flows from its founder, Yvon Chouinard.



he FFF Leopold Award is presented to an individual for outstanding contributions to fisheries and land ecology. Dr. Jack Stanford, an ecosystem scientist working predominantly in limnology (freshwater science), has conducted research at the University of Montana’s Flathead Lake Biological Station since1971 and has held the position of director since 1980. His research and education have taken him around the world, but he focuses his work in an area encompassing the headwaters of the Columbia, Saskatchewan and the Missouri-Mississippi rivers lying in western Montana and southern Canada. He received his Bachelor of Science in fisheries science from Colorado State University in 1969, his Master of Science in limnology from Colorado State University in 1971 and a doctorate in limnology from the University of Utah in 1975. For more than 30 years he has directed research at the Flathead Lake Biological Station, demonstrating trends in basic limnological measures such as annual nutrient loading, water clarity, primary productivity, phyto and zooplankton species composition, and biomass dynamics. His work has expanded to other glacial lakes in the Flathead Basin to study the influences of invading non-native species on food webs and nutri-

Flyfisher Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012

ent cycling. Concurrent studies of the Flathead, Columbia, Missouri and Colorado rivers focus on groundwater and floodplain ecology. Penetration of river water into alluvial floodplains forms shallow Dr. Rick Williams, aquifers that are left, Conservation inhabited by a wide variety of hypogean animals, many of which Committee representative, presents the are new to science. Upwelling to the Leopold Award to Earth’s surface of groundwater from Dr. Jack Stanford. these aquifers creates wetland or riparian mosaics on the floodplains that are hot spots of biodiversity and bioproductivity. Stanford uses these studies to mediate conservation of pristine rivers and to determine restoration strategies for rivers that have been functionally altered by dams, water diversions, pollution and other activities. When not fully engaged in ecology, Dr. Stanford is deep in the backcountry, fly fishing the flats or climbing one ridge or another just to see what’s on the other side.

Photo courtesy of Jim Murphy



he Lee Wulff Award is presented to recognize the business side of fly fishing. The recipients have shown outstanding innovation in the industry and have shown outstanding stewardship for water and fisheries resources. The Lee Wulff Award is presented this year to Hardy North America and Hyde Drift Boats.

Hardy North America Perhaps the most widely recognized name in the world of fishing tackle, the United Kingdom firm of Hardy North America has been instrumental in bringing discerning anglers the highest quality fishing tackle for more than 135 years. Hardy tackle has been used by sport fishermen worldwide, from royalty to the everyday angler, to take every game fish species imaginable. Perhaps best known for their fly rods and reels, Hardy has set a standard for quality in the fly-fishing community. Jim Murphy, president of Hardy North America since 2008, said a new warehouse and distribution center have been opened in Pennsylvania to serve the North American market. Murphy started working in the fly-fishing industry for Thomas & Thomas in 1992. He later founded Redington Fly Rod Company, sold it and then founded Albright Tackle. Following that sale he assumed his position with Hardy. Murphy said, “We are great believers in the U.S. market, and our long-term commitment will bring that message home.”

Hyde Drift Boats One of the most popular drift boats on Western waters has the name of Hyde written on the side.



he McKenzie Cup Award is given annually to the FFF Club that has made the most outstanding contribution on behalf of the FFF. Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishers (OPFF) President Dean Childs graciously accepted the McKenzie Cup Award on behalf of the club’s 90 members. The Port Angeles, Washington, club has made outstanding contributions to youth education and Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (a group dedicated to helping injured veterans). Each year the club sponsors one or two youth to the local weeklong Youth Fly Fishing Academy. Currently the OPFF is manufacturing new flytying tools to donate to the academy for its program. The tool production is possible due to the expertise and equipment made available by Childs. Each summer 300 to 400 kids are invited to Fly Fishing Day held in Port Angeles. The club buys fish and stocks them for the kids to catch and supplies a variety of prizes to award, including

From left, J. Ann and LaMoyne Hyde, owners of Hyde Drift Boats and Jim Murphy, president of Hardy North America.

J. Ann and LaMoyne Hyde, owners of Hyde Drift Boats, grew up in a small Wyoming valley not far from their present home in Idaho Falls, Idaho. LaMoyne is proud of the fact that both his father and grandfather were fly fishers and taught him to fly fish using cane rods. J. Ann and LaMoyne owned and operated a successful water treatment and purification business before deciding to build boats commercially. Some of the same engineering LaMoyne had used building small aircraft was utilized in crafting boats. They started building metal and wooden boats prior to using modern fiberglass. What started as a hobby turned into a business in 1989 when they started commercially building Hyde Drift Boats. The Hyde family has been very generous in supporting the FFF by donating boats for fundraising. If you visit the Hyde main office in Idaho Falls, you will see fly plates and art gracing the walls that was purchased at fundraising auctions. “The donations are our way to give back to the industry that has supported us,” LaMoyne said.

fly-fishing outfits. The OPFF sponsors two additional youth programs that include fly tying and fly fishing. In total, 500 to 600 youth are introduced to fly fishing and fly tying each summer through the programs. The club works closely with Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF). Club members manufactured 250, eight-piece, fly-tying toolkits and donated them to be used by the various PHWFF programs across the nation. Club members conducted a fly-fishing magazine drive that produced hundreds of magazines for distribution to veterans’ facilities in the Northwest. For the past three years the OPFF has arranged a free day of fishing for the veterans on a trout pond, along with a free lunch and flies. Jointly the OPFF and PHWFF veterans invested more than 600 hours constructing by hand a cedar Rangeley fishing boat. Complete with trailer, it is available for use by veterans. The club along with Norm Norlander, originator of the Nor-Vise, has committed to the construction of

125 Evergreen Hands to be distributed to Veterans Administration Hospitals across the nation for use in their flytying programs. The Evergreen Hand is a device invented by Jesse Scott from Everett, Washington, that helps a person with one hand tie flies. Ed Nicholson with PHWFF said, “The Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishers has been steadfastly supportive of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing and has not only advanced our program and its mission, but has brought FFF President Phil Greenlee, left, credit to the presents the McKenzie Cup Award to Federation of Dean Childs, President of the Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishers Club. Fly Fishers and all that the organization embodies in the fly fishing community.”

Flyfisher Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012


In Search of

Autumn Bronze

Story and photos by Terry and Roxanne Wilson Fishing in the late fall can bring the most satisfying fishing of the year.


iverine smallmouth bass have been accused of being both incurable homebodies and of wanderlust. Modern research actually suggests that both are true. While individuality is as much a part of the smallmouth makeup as their human counterparts, most remain in a relatively small section of stream in winter and summer but roam, sometimes for relatively long distances, in spring and again in the fall. Angler success is largely confined to the summer months because many fishermen mistakenly believe that after a brief autumn feeding foray, smallmouth bass move into the deepest available water to lie near the bottom and become nearly dormant. Research shows

that populations of smallies located in divergent watersheds behave differently. Some research shows the majority of fish tends to stay in the same pool year around, while for other bass, migration is the norm. In 2002, a Wisconsin DNR research project conducted by John Lyons and Paul Kanehl found that the largest percentage of smallmouth bass migrated upstream, some for a distance of 11 miles, while a smaller number traveled downstream as much as seven miles. Some even wandered a bit in both directions while others remained in their summer haunts. The total average movement of all the studied fish was just over four miles. The autumn migration begins as overnight temperatures cool and water temperatures start to drop. The migration might occur in August in the North, while it might not begin until late September in the mid-South. Many assume the movement of migrating fish means they are rapidly moving purposefully from point A to point B. To the contrary, the bass tend to move slowly, meandering from one structural element to another, often spending hours or even days, seemingly observing the new location before swimming their way to another area. To understand the changes in our quarry’s location and mood, we must divide the autumn season into early fall and late fall. Generally early fall occurs between the water temperatures of 70 degrees and the mid-50s. During this time the fish’s metabolism is still high, and they are instinctively driven to ingest nutrients that will increase their sexual development for spring. New hatches of crayfish and minnows are no longer being produced, which diminishes food availability. Crayfish molting

ternoons that offer stops and their carapaces harden, which makes them less the warmest temperaappealing to the smallies. Despite remaining opportunistic tures of the day and feeders, minnows become the primary target because of enables higher fish availability. During early fall, one opportunity rarely byactivity levels. Neverpassed by the smallmouth population is the accidental theless, it’s important dunking of grasshoppers. A gentle breeze can deliver a to note that there feast for the fish that should not be overlooked by anglers. are exceptions when Just as this is a time of smallmouth migration, fly outstanding fishing fishermen should be on the move as well. The time for occurs on miserably casting patiently to a single pool throughout the evening cold days. It’s always is past. Make a cast or two to a suspected smallie hidegood advice to go out and move on. Don’t neglect that one protruding fishing whenever you rock that juts from uninteresting water. It could well be can, even when your the temporary rest stop of a migrating smallie, and it plan doesn’t coincide might be the season’s largest. with the best condiMinnow-imitating streamers are a good place to tions. start regarding fly selection. Traditional classic patterns If your favorite such as Black Ghost, Black-Nosed Dace and others are smallmouth river is always good choices, but more modern classics like fed by spring holes Keith Fulsher’s Thunder Creek series of streamers can and spring-fed tribube the ticket to success. Identify the minnow population taries, these late fall in your stream and match it with the appropriate Thuntactics can be abander Creek pattern. Coating the heads of these streamers doned. Often these with epoxy makes them nearly indestructible. Woolly springs stay in the Buggers are also dependable fish producers. Several sizmid-50 degree range es of high-floating hopper patterns, small floater/divers In autumn, smallies are found throughout the winand a few poppers are certainly worth carrying during along the slowest parts of eddies. ter. Bass will enter the earliest days of autumn, as well. even small spring Fishing the late fall period can bring the most enjoybranches but remain able and satisfying fishing of the year, but it is dramatiin early fall feeding mode, so tactics cally different. Although water temperatures can never be an absolute guide, late usually must be adapted. These miniafall water usually ranges from the mid-50 to the mid-40 degree range. Migrating ture rivers are fragile environments, and smallmouths will have reached their wintering destinations, which are typically the bass in them can be skittish. The pools less than the length of a football field. In smaller streams, this can be as small situation calls for light tackle, longer as 20 yards or less. Usually there is likely to be a relatively deep hole which offers and finer leaders, smaller flies, and a the fish a safe sanctuary – watch for it. stealthy approach. Stay back from the Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the Lyons/Kanehl study is in regard to water’s edge where possible, proceed the activity level of these cold-water smallies. Conventional wisdom has long held slowly and quietly, and abandon a stanthat river bronzebacks retreat to the deepest available water where the fish become dard cast in favor of poking, reaching increasingly lethargic, eventually not feeding at all. But the Wisconsin study reveals and dapping. Overhanging brush, bank that smallmouths often occupy slow-moving, rocky runs in less than 3 feet of water side grasses, and undercut banks are the – even with 10-foot-deep holes nearby. They feed even in the coldest weather in targets now. Small Woolly Buggers can these areas, as actively as their metabolism allows. perform well in these situations, as their In most years the river’s depth is at its lowest in autumn, and this coincides action responds to the slightest rod tip with the smallies’ decided preference for slower water. They aren’t found within the maneuvering. riffles nor even in fast pocket water now, but are located in slack sections, the sides As the leaves on the trees turn of pool tail-outs, along the slowest portion of eddies, and even flat stretches of river crimson and gold, the air gets colder, with sparse structure. and that old flannel shirt again feels Minnows remain high on the desirability dinner list for smallies, but they are good, it’s time to return to the river and diminished in number at this time. The most available prey is the stream’s aquatic create some golden memories in pursuit insect life. A naturally drifted nymph on a down-and-across presentation enables of bronze. the angler to swing the imitation into a suspected holding area without casting directly at or over the fish, and it allows the slow current to aid in the fly’s presenTerry and Roxanne Wilson of Bolivar, Missouri, tation in a natural manner. Nymphing provides a reasonably unobtrusive starting are longtime Flyfisher contributors focusing on point for late fall smallmouth bass and slowly fished streamers or Woolly Buggers warmwater fly fishing. For more articles, tips and can be another good option. tricks, or to schedule them to speak at your club, We must realize that bronzeback activity becomes inconsistent during late fall. visit their website at or e-mail them at Unseasonably warm days are usually good, so fly fishers should focus on late afFlyfisher Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012


Fly Fishing Slovenia


o the fly fishing trout angler traveling outside of Canada or the Lower 48, places such as Argentina, New Zealand and Alaska are generally considered must-fish destinations. While these areas are well-deserved of their excellent reputation, other lessknown gems can stand proud with those better-known destinations. Slovenia with its Socˇa, Sava and Idrijca rivers along with their tributaries is one such place. If you are willing to be a little adventuresome, this great destination may hold some of the best fly fishing you will encounter anywhere in the world.

The Country

While more popular with the European angler, fly fishing Slovenia is little heard about in the United States; many people would be hard-pressed to identify Top: The author with fish on in the aquamarine waters of the Socˇa River. Above: The Predjama Castle is one of many throughout the countryside. geographically where the country is located on a global map. Slovenia is a central European country bordered by Austria to the north and Italy to the west. Although not large, Slovenia’s diverse beauty, culture and rich never been an independent country unhistory could easily provide material for a Condé Nast Traveler log. With its Adriatic Sea til the breakup of Communist-controlled coastline, southern Alps, Roman ruins dating to A.D. 7, medieval castles and World War Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. As a new, I battlefields (where more than a million men saw combat), Slovenia offers plenty to do emerging citizenry, Slovenians are proud and see on non-fishing days or for non-fishing travel companions. If that isn’t enough, of their country and more than happy to the wonderful food and excellent local wines are a special allure to any visitor, angler or share it and its history with visitors. non-angler alike. While Slovenia has its own language, most of its citizens speak other languages, The Fishing including English. It is a relatively new country, as Slovenia has been ruled by other naThe country is blessed with abuntions throughout much of its history, including Rome, the Holy Roman Empire, France, dant rivers and streams, but it is the the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Italy, Germany, or as part of Yugoslavia. Slovenia had Socˇa, Sava and Idrijca rivers with their


Flyfisher Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012


By Bill Toone


A little-known European gem



Guide Rok Lustrik and a happy John Sunderland with a nice Sava River rainbow.

tributaries that are the primary fly-fishing waters. Within Slovenian waters, the visiting angler will find many different fish to target. They include four species of trout, the marble, brown, rainbow and brook; the Danube salmon or huchen, a cousin of the taimen; and two species of grayling. Of the seven species mentioned, two are limited in scope. The non-indigenous brook trout has a limited environmental range, and fishing for Huchen is restricted by law to winter months only. Because our visit was in early June, my fishing partner, John Sunderland, and I concentrated our fishing efforts on the remaining five species, which was more than enough to keep us busy. Slovenia has an extremely generous access policy that allows many fishable waters; however, licensing for the angler is a different story. Because there is no Slovenian fishing license, fishing rights are controlled by the local fishing club. A daily fishing license must be purchased for each specific river, tributary or drainage fished. Purchasing them is relatively easy as they are sold in area pubs and sports stores. The cost for each day license varies from approximately $40 to $128, based on the current

John Sunderland and his 20-pound marble trout.

Flyfisher Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012










A beautiful Adriatic grayling.

A monster marble trout.

The author landed this marble trout on a dry.

Rok Lustrik holds a nice marble trout.

dollar-to-Euro exchange rates. While this can be a bit pricey, it’s no different than paying a rod fee to fish the famous spring creeks and private waters here in the United States. Fortunately, guide fees are relatively inexpensive – by our standards anyway – so this helps take some of the sting out of the cost of the daily license fees. Fishing on your own is certainly possible. Some waters do lend themselves to blind fishing techniques; however, much of the waters are better sight-fished. Thus, hiring guides is highly recommended; their knowledge of the local waters and fishing techniques can save valuable time when your fishing days are limited. Sunderland and I were fortunate to have Rok Lustrik ( as our guide. Not only was he extremely knowledgeable, but his ability to spot fish was simply incredible. It was equal or better than any guide I have fished with on any of my travels, including both islands of New Zealand and bonefishing in the Caribbean. He often saw fish take the fly long before we had any indication they had made their move. This ability was most helpful because the fish in Slovenia have such an incredibly quick, yet subtle take that we would have missed many without his help. Hatches and fly patterns weren’t particularly complicated. For our arsenal of choice, we discovered that a standard American setup with a 4- to 6-weight rod, leader and flies successfully covered the Slovenian waters we encountered.

The fish

Marble trout, or Ghost of the Socˇa, as it is known in Slovenia, is an indigenous species unique to the drainages of the Adriatic Sea that is believed to have evolved from a brown trout lineage. In North American terms they loosely compare to our bull trout. While there are a few marble trout in Italy and other Balkan countries, they are most associated with the Slovenian Socˇa and its tributaries. Fishing techniques often include the use of dry flies or nymphs, but the most common approach was throwing large, heavily weighted streamers. This is true “chuck and duck” fishing because the large streamers seemed more appropriate for 9- or 10-weight saltwater rods than the much lighter 6-weights we were using.

Flyfisher Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012

An example of the well-managed Slovenian waters

When streamer fishing, we needed 100 percent concentration all the time. There is little room for error when using a strong strip-strike on the hook set for the marble trout’s extremely quick and almost subtle take. It’s definitely not the strike I would associate with a fish capable of reaching 50 pounds or more. You might think that Murphy’s Law wouldn’t be alive and well in Slovenia, but I assure you it was. Just when we would let our guard down and get distracted by the beautiful surroundings, a strike would occur. Having not known a great deal about marble trout before my trip, I was hoping to land one in the size range of a good rainbow or brown, maybe around 20 inches. I was taken back a bit when Lustrik, our guide, started talking in terms of 8- to 12-pound fish, and I was totally stunned when Sunderland landed a 20-pounder in a stream no wider than a two-lane road! In short order we learned that, in Slovenia, stream size was not indicative of fish size. For example: On a stream no wider than a single-lane highway, within three casts I hooked and lost a nice 6-pound marble trout and badly missed another in the 10-pound range. This was after bypassing a couple of rainbows in the 20-plus-inch range lower in the pool. The more typical marble trout,


River and its tributaries. Related to our Arctic grayling, Sava grayling, known as Black Sea grayling, are good fighters and readily take a dry fly or nymph. They have black spots on their head with a reddish-orange tail. Their take is quick, and they drop your nymph equally quickly if you are slow on the hook set. One must look for an excuse each and every drift to set the hook to stay prepared for their lightning fast, yet almost inconspicuous, takes. These 14to 18-inch fish were to fun to catch and worthy of the challenge.

The author landed this brute in a stream no more than 12 feet wide.

however, was in the 18- to 24-inch range, but there were enough big ones to keep your heart in your throat. Brown trout, unlike marble trout, are only in the Black Sea drainages of Slovenia that include the Sava River and its tributaries. Slovenian brown trout are also indigenous but not much different in size, fight or personality from the ones we catch in here in North America. Their coloring was stunning. The brown trout we caught were some of the prettiest fish I have had the luck to net. With their bright spots and color rings, they are a sight to see and visually much different than ours. Unfortunately, while we were there, the Sava River was blown out with an unusually wet, late spring, so we were only able to fish some of its clearer, higher tributaries. This didn’t dampen our fishing any; browns up to 18 inches seemed to be

common with larger ones lurking about. Rainbow trout are not indigenous to Slovenia but have taken to both the Adriatic and Black Sea drainages. In the Socˇa, Sava or Idrijca rivers and their tributaries, rainbows are available and in good numbers. Slovenian rainbows are similar in personality to our rainbows, including coloring and the fly patterns they find attractive. We caught many 20-inch rainbows, plus a few exceeding that size. As with the marble trout, stream size seemed to have no bearing on fish size. I landed a 6-pound beast – possibly larger – out of a stream not more than 12 feet wide while my partner landed one almost as large 75 yards up stream. Sava grayling are found only in the drainages flowing to the Black Sea; in Slovenia that means primarily the Sava

Adriatic grayling, as the name implies, are only found in the drainages flowing to the Adriatic Sea, namely the Socˇa and Idrijca rivers along with their tributaries. They are also similar to our Arctic grayling but have a golden-yellow coloring to their pelvic, pectoral and anal fins along with the bottom portion of their tail. This gives them perfect camouflage along the yellow, rocky bottom found in many of the streams they inhabit. From a sight-fishing perspective, this made our guide’s uncanny spotting ability that much more valuable. Their takes were equally as quick and low-key as the Sava grayling, but their fight was not as prolonged or dogged as their cousins. They were still a robust and exciting 16- to 18-inch fish to catch. To me, the mark of a good trip is not just whether I had fun but also considering whether I would do it again. I can say wholeheartedly I would, and will, fish Slovenia again. Its beautiful countryside, wonderful food and wines, and absolutely superb fishing have me already thinking of my return trip. With its quality of fishing, diversity of waters and variety of fish, Slovenia deserves to be in the conversation with the better-known, destination fly-fishing spots. As such, it should clearly be near the top of any traveling angler’s mustfish list; go soon before this well-kept secret gets out. You won’t regret it. Bill Toone is this publication’s editor-in-chief and lives with his wife, Arletta, in Bozeman, Montana, where he telecommutes to his day job as director of purchasing for the Hylton Group in northern Virginia. He is also an instructor and guide for the Yellowstone Fly Fishing School as well as an FFF master casting instructor.

Flyfisher Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012


Two dams removed But the battle is far from over Story and photo by Will Atlas


y the time you read this article, the removal of the two Elwha River dams (Lake Aldwell and Lake Mills reservoirs), which have for a century blocked salmon and steelhead from 90 pristine miles of habitat in the Olympic National Park, will be under way. This marks a tremendous step forward in the effort to recover wild salmon in the Lower 48 and should be cause for celebration among all lovers of wild fish. Unfortunately, what should be a great victory for wild salmon is threatened by a recovery plan that relies on unnecessary, overzealous and destructive hatchery programs. These programs will release almost 4 million salmon and steelhead into the Elwha River during the recovery period. The hatchery plan was concocted largely behind closed doors, and with the dams coming down in only a matter of days the public has still never had the formal opportunity to comment on the future of the river. Over the past several months, the FFF Steelhead Committee has been work-


ing with local partners to bring this issue to the forefront of the discussion on the Elwha River, pointing out the lack of scientific evidence supporting the claim that hatcheries can jump-start wild populations. A recent article in the Seattle Times did eloquent justice to the challenges and competing interests on the Elwha River. Of particular interest is this quote by the tribal hatchery manager, Larry Ward: “There is this whole philosophy of the Elwha being a living laboratory, when in reality it is the home of the Elwha tribe. After waiting 100 years for the dams to come out, they are not willing to wait another 100 years for the fish to recover.” It begs this question, though: After watching wild salmon populations dwindle for 100 years, are we willing to squander the greatest recovery project of our generation over the desire to have harvest opportunities in the near term? In the absence of the hatchery, it would likely take wild populations only a few generations to recover to levels that could sustain some

Flyfisher Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012

harvest, and eventually the river should support some of the healthiest populations of wild salmon in Washington. Instead, managers and the tribe appear willing to abandon the notion that wild fish – in a pristine watershed – can support sustainable, well-managed fisheries and rely instead on expensive and ecologically destructive hatchery programs. No doubt the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, like others in the region, has long been given the short end of the stick when it comes to the management of their home river. The Elwha River belongs to us all, and as such we all have a stake in its future – one that is jeopardized by our blind faith in hatcheries and a connection between a healthy watershed and wild salmon that we seem to have forgotten long ago. Will Atlas is co-chair of the FFF Steelhead Committee. He holds a bachelor’s degree in aquatic and fisheries science from the University of Washington and is working toward a master’s in biology from Simon Fraser University.


The Key to Large Fish

Story and photos by Lynn Scott


amsels! Oh, what my mind and body goes through when I hear that word. Visions of monster trout, vicious strikes and fun times! My truck even gets excited at the thought of them. Many days while driving to my favorite damsel fishing area, that truck takes over as if it’s possessed and heads directly to the water. When I first arrive at a body of water, I take a quick peek and usually see a few rings of the last midges and callibaetis being taken. What then follows is that special noise. Wow! Was that a “toilet bowl flush” caused by one of the bigger fish hammering a damsel? That’s a signal it’s time to get a “read” on the fishing conditions for me and my clients, get appropriate equipment assembled and get ready for a day of hard slams as the big fish tear into the damsel population.

Selecting equipment When gearing up for an experience like this, I generally prefer a 9-foot, 6-weight rod because the larger fish we target demand the heavier, stronger equipment. Being a guide, I’ve learned to keep things simple yet effective, and this rod fits the bill for the waters I like to fish with my clients. In smaller ponds and impoundments, the angler could use a lighter weight rod depending on the size of the targeted fish. Rod selection is a personal decision, but it is important to use heavy enough equipment to quickly land and release the fish without causing them undue stress and fatigue. Also in some situations, such as fishing from a float tube, a longer rod can be of value. Line selection is often based on whether the insects are hatching or not. When the hatch is on, I often use a dry-fly line or a just-under-the-surface, intermediate sinking line to present my fly. The intermediate sink is my personal favorite because it allows me to best imitate the nymphs as they swim from deeper water toward their ultimate goal, the exposed

vegetation near the water’s edge. The same line can also be used to imitate the nymph that is swimming on or near the surface. When the nymphs are not migrating to the shoreline to hatch, a full-sink fly line is helpful in getting farther down in the water and just skimming the fly over the tops of submerged weed beds. The floating line is less versatile, but it can be used to present a swimming nymph if the leader is long enough to position the fly down somewhat in the water column. The floating line is a must if offering an adult imitation, but I don’t find fish keying on adult insects very often. Several times, though, I wish I had not accidentally left my adult damsel patterns at home on the tying bench. Have you ever noticed how quickly you need something when you don’t have it? Like fly rod preference, reel selection is a personal thing. Almost any quality reel will do the job if you know your equipment and how to best use it to bring the fish to hand. Usually a good rule of thumb would be that the bigger the fish, the better the reel and drag system needs to be. Still I’ve landed some real brutes with a simple rim-control reel with no drag at all. When selecting leaders it’s important to slow down and carefully look at every fishing situation when determining what leader combination will best serve my clients (or me). I normally use a standard 9-foot leader with a 3X tippet, and it works well in most cases. I often increase leader length and reduce tippet size by adding more tippet material when the fish are being more selective or water clarity might warrant the change. On the other hand I often have to upsize the tippet when dealing with big fish that are feeding in dense vegetation. In this case, 2X tippet material may not be big or strong enough. A brutal, worst-case scenario can be a windless, blue-sky day casting to large, fish-eating damsels in three feet of crysFlyfisher Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012


On previous page, an adult damsel eats a callibaetis mayfly while sitting on a dry-fly line with a rainbow in the background. Left, Sheridan Lake rainbow trout

LAFONTAINE’S YO-YO RETRIEVE REVISITED By Kelly G. Glissmeyer Several years ago, prior to his untimely passing, Gary LaFontaine promoted an intriguing stillwater fishing method. Using a 30-foot, lead-core shooting head attached to monofilament running line, he would present a foam-filled, floating insect nymph imitation to fish feeding subsurface in relatively shallow water. After the fly line would sink to the bottom and he started his retrieve, things got interesting. LaFontaine called it the “Yo-Yo Retrieve” because the combination of a floating fly with the sinking line pulled the fly under the water’s surface; the leader length then determined how high the nymph rested in the water column. His goal was to suspend the imitation just above the submerged weed beds and he varied his leader length to accomplish that goal. He preferred making his presentation using a 9- to 10-foot rod balanced for a 6- to 8-weight line because the heavy line really needed a rod with the backbone to do the job. After the cast, LaFontaine used a hand-twist retrieve to swim the fly just above the submerged weeds. As the fly was retrieved it would yo-yo up and down due to the workings of the heavy sink-tip and the buoyant fly. The added benefit of the Yo-Yo Retrieve, though, comes after the lead-core line sinks into the weeds and the angler slowly advances it through them. The dragging line disturbs the mud and weeds, causing the insects, crustaceans and minnows to flee – creating a murky chum line in its wake. Trout are then attracted to the smorgasbord as if ringing a dinner bell, and there’s your fly, bobbing through the chum awaiting an aggressive strike. Give it a try, it really works! ILLUSTRATION BY KELLY GLISSMEYER


Flyfisher Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012

tal-clear water. Times like this are rare in the West, but they can and do happen. In this situation extending the leader’s length to 12, 15 or even 18 feet and decreasing the size of the tippet is not uncommon and will be an important key to catching fish. With leaders and tippets there are no hard-andfast rules. Be prepared for a wide range of possibilities by having a good selection of tippet material, and adjust your leader length if the situation might demand a change. A tip: If you are seeing fish activity and none are on the end of your line, consider a change of some type. The leader is a great place to start. The fly patterns that are tied to imitate these diminutive creatures are endless. They should have two key elements: a slender profile and motion in the water. Some anglers would say large eyes are important, but placing eyes on imitations is not always a necessary ingredient. When selecting flies it’s important to keep in mind that damsels swim through the water using a slow, side-to-side wiggle; designs that imitate this motion typically work best for me. If you think eyes are important, then by all means add them.

On the water After making decisions on the equipment to use, the next thing to consider is how to approach the water. I look for possible migration routes during the hatch that would include damsels moving from deeper water to the shore or exposed weed beds. I then position myself so that I can imitate a nymph working toward these areas. It is also good to note that most damsel activity during a hatch will be late morning and become stronger into midday. This is a hatch you don’t have to get up early to fish; sleep in and enjoy a morning cup of coffee before getting on the water. Mid-morning is a good time to start crawling a few nymphs from the depths into the shallows. If the fish are going to key in on adult damsels, the afternoon seems to be the timeframe; it’s also when they become selective. The damsel hatch varies depending on the body of water and its overall makeup and structure. Damsel hatches begin in mid-June in most places and continue into August. The insects are present throughout the year, starting their migration in early spring by moving from the deeper water toward the vegetation and ultimately returning to deeper water to hibernate again in late fall. Once they migrate to the safety and protection of the weed beds, thus surviving the gauntlet of gnashing teeth, they too become predators. Focusing their attention on smaller aquatic insects, the damsel nymphs will slowly crawl or lie in wait for any passing prey in the shallows. In turn, the fish will move through the area, bumping against the bulrushes, cattails or other vegetation to try to knock the nymphs off. After “bouncing” through the area, the fish then quickly returns to reduce the predator damsel into a ready-to-eat meal. Knowing your “bug” and their habits can help you identify techniques and determine where to position yourself when fishing damsels. The almost lazy swimming motion of the nymph while moving from deeper water toward the shallows dictates to some degree how you fish the little creatures. A slow, steady hand-twist crawl is a common retrieve that

Mike Smith and Ryan Scott fish a shoreline over a submerged weed bed.

MASTERING THE HAND-TWIST RETRIEVE By Kelly G. Glissmeyer Fishing damselfly nymphs can be both a gut-wrenching and heart-stopping experience. Keys to catching aggressive feeders are being in the right place at the right time and presenting a good imitation correctly. If you can’t mimic the movements of the natural insect, you will be disappointed with your results. Let’s concentrate on mastering the hand-twist retrieve, a necessary skill for good damsel nymph presentation. Position yourself correctly so you are casting from the shallows toward the deeper water. Make your presentation so that the line and leader are allowed to sink into the fish-holding zone, keeping your rod tip pointed at the water surface. After the cast begin by moving the line under your rod-hand index finger. Pinch the line with the thumb and forefinger of your non-casting hand and pull the line toward you. Lift the remaining fingers of that same hand over the top of the line, pulling the coil of line into the palm of your hand, all while holding the line with your thumb and forefinger. After you pull the line into your palm, your forefinger and thumb release the line they were holding and move up to repeat the process, essentially crawling the line and fly through the water. Allow the coiled line in your palm to drop to the ground as you go, or, if only making a short retrieve, allow them to build up in your hand. Good luck and hang on; fish will not lightly sip your fly but rather savagely attack with abandon. Fish on! Kelly Glissmeyer lives with his wife Cathy in Rigby, Idaho, where he enjoys using his spare time as a demo flytier, presenter, lecturer, author and photographer of all things related to fly fishing.


works well for me. At times I also include an occasional twitch of the rod tip or a few quick strips to add more motion to my fly and attract the trout’s attention. This motion also closely represents the nymphs’ pre-ascending ritual prior to emergence. In addition to the strip-crawl retrieve, other techniques I often use are listed here in no particular order of importance. They are just part of the arsenal of tricks I use that may also prove useful to you. One of my favorite alternate approaches is allowing the damsel to dead drift. As damsels are migrating to shore or to exposed vegetation, they occasionally take a rest; it’s during this rest period that fish often target them. This technique is best accomplished using a dry fly line to make the presentation, then allowing the wind and water motion to slowly move the fly when its force is applied to the floating line. At times during pre- and postemergence, use a dry fly line with a long leader to get a heavily weighted fly deep in the water and employ a slow retrieve to imitate a nymph crawling across the bottom through the vegetation. An optional approach is to present an unweighted nymph just under the surface and parallel to the shoreline or weed bed, again using a dry fly line with a slow retrieve. When fishing deeper water (6 to 12 feet), another technique is to move the nymph pattern in 8- to 10-inch strips, then allowing it to sink briefly (about five seconds) between the strips before resuming the action, all while moving it closer to surface. Sometimes a fast retrieve produces a smashing take from a big fish. Other times you may want to strip a couple of times quickly to imitate a damsel trying to escape – drawing attention to your fly – then resuming a slower, hand-twist retrieve. It’s one of my favorite techniques, and at times it’s the only thing that seems to attract the fish. As you can see, I fish damsels using a multitude of techniques, patterns and retrieves. I’m always astounded by the variety of approaches it takes to catch fish and the different reactions they have; when you think you have them figured out, you can expect disappointment. To avoid some of the disappointing times, though, it’s important to remember a few items. Damsel nymphs like weeds; therefore, you should at least tolerate them, and that means getting hung up from time to time. Keep a low profile. Wear dull-colored clothing and move slowly. In shallow water, presentation does matter. Make good, accurate casts without dropping the line over the fish you are targeting or creating unnecessary disturbances in the water. At times you may need to make long casts. Assume the fish will see you before you see them; get close if you can but not too close. Have a good selection of flies and a good range of floating and sinking lines to accommodate bug activity and the continually changing, fish-feeding habits. Always remember that fish will follow food; position yourself accordingly when approaching their feeding areas. This is important in any fishing situation but is especially true when presenting damsel imitations. I love fishing damsel patterns, especially when sight-casting to monster trout that are feeding with reckless abandon. I hope some of the tips I’ve shared here are useful and that you, too, can experience catching aggressive fish on damsel imitations. It really can be fun. Happy fishing! Lynn Scott from Cheyenne, Wyoming, is co-owner of BS Flies and Tackle in Island Park, Idaho. He divides his time between home and guiding stillwater fly fishing in Idaho, besides being a presenter, author and freelance photographer.

Flyfisher Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012


Conserving, Restoring and Educating Through Fly Fishing


Below: An emerging damsel has finally shed it nymphal shuck and has entered the world as an adult.

Bottom left: The predaceous damsel helps control pesky insects. Here one feeds on a Callibaetis mayfly.

Opposite page: Two damsels mate on shoreline vegetation. Adult damsels like vegetation for protection from predators and as a hunting area.

Story and photos by Lynn Scott


amselflies date back more than 300 million years ago to the Carboniferous Period of the Paleozoic Era, and that predates dinosaurs by more than 100 million years and birds by some 150 million years. There are approximately 450 North American species and roughly 5,000 species total across the world. The order Odonata is broken down into two suborders: Anisoptera, the dragonflies; and Zygoptera, the damselflies. The damselflies have been a stillwater or slow-moving stream staple for millions of years. Odonata comes from odontus, Greek for “tooth� owing to the large mandibles of these species. Zygoptera comes from the Greek words zygo, meaning joined or paired, and ptera, meaning wings. Damselflies and dragonflies are often mistaken for each other but can be identified using several features. Damselfly wings, unlike dragonfly wings, extend outward and can be folded back while the insect is at rest. Differing from dragonflies, damselflies have large, bulbous eyes that are separated. Damselflies have a slender abdomen, and their features are much finer than their dragonfly counterparts. The damsels are more likely to land

on you or your fly rod while you are fishing. In contrast, dragonflies are constantly on the move, seemingly never to land, but when they do come to a resting position, their wings stick out from their bodies rather than folding back like a damselfly. Damselflies undergo an incomplete metamorphosis with only an adult and aquatic nymph stage. Most damselflies complete a life cycle in one to two years. The adults often mate over water or in flight but also can mate while clinging to exposed vegetation or other surfaces. The males have accessory genitalia in a pouch located in the second segment of the abdomen; a female is pursued and grasped behind her head with the male’s anal appendages. The female then curls the tip of her abdomen toward the genitalia and fertilization occurs. The copulation process is often referred to as a mating wheel. After mating, the female will crawl down the vegetation and into the water to lay her eggs on the submerged portion of the vegetation. Once the eggs are laid, she will crawl back up the vegetation and fly away. When the eggs hatch, they do not go through the same larval and pupal transformations as do

mayflies. A newly hatched damsel nymph is just a smaller version of what it will remain until it reaches maturity. The damselfly is predaceous both as a nymph and as an adult. Using extendable hinged jaws, the carnivorous nymphs feed on daphnia, mosquito larvae, chironomids and various other small aquatic organisms. The winged adult eats flies, mosquitoes, mayflies and other small insects. They are agile flyers and at times will catch their prey midair, but in both stages they most often will wait for other aquatic bugs to get within range and grab their prey with their labia, which is much like a modified lower jaw. The newly hatched nymphs have body parts that are not distinct; they look more like a swimming stick than a nymph. As they continue to molt, the body parts become more distinguished. Over time their long slender bodies, gills and distinct wing pads become more prominent. The tail, called the caudal lamellae, is actually three gills at the end of the abdomen. These gills are an important part of the respiratory system and act as rudders or stabilizers during swimming. The damselfly nymph ranges from 0.625 inch to 2 inches long. When the

Flyfisher Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012


Conserving, Restoring and Educating Through Fly Fishing

Left: Damsel nymphs look similar throughout the time they spend under water. This guy looks like he is ready to go to sleep.

Conserving, Restoring and Educating Through Fly Fishing

Biology on the Fly

A damsel emerges as an adult then pushes fluids into its wings. During this time it is vulnerable until its wings dry and it can fly away from danger. It takes several hours of filling and extending its wings while drying in the sunlight before it can fly.

adults emerge they range from 1 inch to 1.5 inches long. In North America the adult male is usually a bright blue while the female is more of a slate color. The immature nymph colors range from olive green to a brownish green; however, just prior to hatching, they usually become darker than the younger versions. The nymphs are typically stationary while clinging to bottom vegetation and debris. At times they will move and search for food sources by crawling or by sweeping their tail back and forth, thus swimming much like a fish. Progress is slow


and sometimes the damselfly nymph will stop to rest and remain motionless for extended periods of time. The nymph’s habitats include shallow zones of the lake or stream. Ideal habitats are thick pondweed or milfoil typically found in depths of 1 to 6 feet. Damselfly nymphs hatch in shallow water and tend to stay there among weed beds where food is plentiful. They will take on colors of the surrounding vegetation to help protect them from becoming prey themselves. Although they may be found in slowrunning water, they seem to prefer the

Flyfisher Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012

still waters in marshes, ponds or lakes. They usually stay in shallow, clean water but at times can be found in water up to 35 feet deep. The nymph will proceed through approximately 10 to 12 molts before becoming fully developed. When they are ready to hatch, they swim toward the shore, eventually crawling up exposed vegetation. Upon reaching the shore or emergent vegetation, rocks, logs or even anchor ropes, the damsel waits for its exoskeleton to harden. A split forms along the thorax and the adult emerges. At first glance the newly hatched adult, or teneral, is a carbon copy of the nymph, but after a short time a distinct change takes place. Body and wings lengthen as the adult pumps body fluids into them until reaching approximately 1 to 1.5 inches in length. This process continues until their wings unfold and dry, and they are ready to take flight. Much to the delight of many people, including me, these tiny creatures provide control over pesky insects, such as mosquitoes, in their environment. They also provide hours of fun stillwater fly fishing. Lynn Scott also wrote the feature story on damsel fishing in this issue; see page 29.

DAMSELS AND DRAGONS Damsel Chuck Echer Pollock Pines, California

West Texas Dragon Michael Verduin Dallas, Texas

Not Much Draggin’ Mike Huffman Springfield, Missouri

Dragon Nymph Jim Cramer San Jose, California

By Verne Lehmberg


amsels and dragonflies come in a great variety of colors and sizes. Dragonflies are especially diverse, with the males usually much more highly colored than females. Dragons and damsels are drab insects when they first emerge. Since dragons usually emerge either at night or early in the morning, matching this vulnerable stage is best done with duller imitations early in the day, when they cannot fly well. Fishing dragon nymph imitations is usually more productive than fishing with the adult patterns. The nymphs of both damsels and dragons are rapacious predators. Mimic these hunters near the weeds where they wait to ambush other aquatic life. Dragons pump water through their bodies to jet after prey, so a quick two-inch strip can sometimes generate a strike. Damsels emerge from the midmorning to afternoon. Nymphs wiggle sideways as they swim to shore or lakeside vegetation to emerge. Flies with flexible marabou tails or flies like Newbury’s hinged-body damsel can imitate this motion. Dull-colored, recently emerged damsels take some time to pump up their wings, change color and mate. Many damsels lay eggs by dipping their abdomens in the water, and sometimes males and females are caught in the surface film. Flies like the brighter adults fluttering on the surface will produce fish. Verne Lehmberg from Dayton, Texas, is a longtime Federation member and Flyfisher contributor. See more of his excellent photography on the cover and in “Fly Box,” page 38.

Hi-Vis Damsel Al Ritt Longmont, Colorado

Damsel Nymph Dale Heath Medford, Oregon

Mating damsels Peacock Dragon (left), Rubber Band Dragon (center), Wiggle Damsel (right) John Newbury, Chewelah, Washington

Damsel nymph and shuck

Damsel (left), Woven Damsel (center), Floating Dragon (right) Hal Gordon, Aloha, Oregon

Fluttering Damsel Tom Travis Livingston, Montana

Female dragonfly with the red male

Dragonfly Michael Verduin Dallas, Texas

Dr. John Jackman College Station, Texas

Howard Patterson Louisville, Kentucky Flyfisher Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012


Conserving, Restoring and Educating Through Fly Fishing

Focus on the Fly

Conserving, Restoring and Educating Through Fly Fishing

At the Vise ULTRA DAMSEL NYMPH Story and photos by Jason Morrison


ver the past several years, I have conducted stomach samplings from fish in many of Utah’s local lakes and streams. The most common food source I’ve found in the stomachs of trout, bass, panfish and carp was a mix of adult and nymph damsels. Much to my surprise, damsel nymphs were still prominent in samplings late into the fall and winter months. With damsels making up a large part of the fishes’ diet, I started including an assortment of appropriate patterns in my fly boxes. In so doing I have experienced great results; more with some patterns, not so much with others. One day this last winter, while discussing my results with longtime friend and fly fishing guide Jason Haslam, I learned he also had similar success with damsel patterns. In fact, he likes damsels so much, he invested the time in developing his own fly that quickly became a go-to pattern for him. He calls it the Ultra Damsel Nymph and regularly uses it with customers of his business, Fly Drifters of Utah guide service ( It was originally designed for stillwater trout, but it has since proven deadly on warmwater species, as well as those living in some moving water. Having fished the Ultra Damsel Nymph in various sizes and colors, I find the profile and materials give it great movement in the water, requiring little action on the angler’s part when presenting the fly. The most effective presentation includes a slow, hand-twist retrieve. When fished from a pontoon boat or float tube, it is most effective on a dead drift, while just allowing natural water and wind motion to move you and the fly. When fishing on lakes for trout, I like to present the fly closer to the surface on an intermediate sink line. However, when sight-fishing to carp, I like to use a floating line, cast 2 or 3 feet in front of the fish and use a slow, twitching retrieve to entice the fish into striking. The color green seems to work well in lakes, while brown has been a great color on streams. On moving water it is best presented using a weight-forward line with at least a 9-foot leader. In this environment I find most of the fish seem to pick up the fly on the tail end of the drift as it rises toward the surface after swinging through the current. Fished deep with weight as a single fly or tandem as a dry-dropper (with no weight), it consistently produces on the wariest fish in a multitude of water types. It is definitely a pattern I’ll continue to keep in my fly box, and it should be a pattern included in your box as well. So much for fishing with this great Haslam pattern, let’s spend a few minutes tying it. Bountiful, Utah, author, photographer and fly fisher Jason Morrison ( likes to divide his time between family activities and quality time on the water.


Flyfisher Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012

MATERIAL S Thread: Thread: 8/0 olive Hook: Size 14 to 16 nymph Eyes: Olive green monofilament Tail: Medium-olive Antron, tied with a knot at the end Body: Olive fine Antron dubbing Thorax: Olive fine Antron dubbing Wing Case: Olive Swiss straw Legs: Olive partridge feather



Attach thread behind the eye and lay down a short base of thread. Attach the olive green mono eyes using figure-eight wraps of thread. Adding a drop of Zap-A-Gap will secure them firmly in place.



Pull the partridge feather over the mono eyes and securely tie it down at the eye of the hook. Pull the olive Swiss straw over the eyes and partridge to form a wing case. Secure it with two or three thread wraps.

FLY TIPS Damsel Eyes Made Easy Tip and photo by Kelly G. Glissmeyer



Cut a piece of olive Antron twice the length of the hook shank and tie a knot in the end. Secure the Antron tail behind the eye of the hook. Wrap the thread back to the bend of the hook, and apply dubbing halfway up the length of the hook shank.

Tie in a small piece of olive Swiss straw and an olive partridge feather using the tip end with the dull side up. Once secured to the hook shank, slightly preen back the partridge fibers. Continue to use fine olive Antron dubbing to cover the thorax and around the mono eyes.



Jason Haslam’s great pattern is effective in a range of sizes and also works well substituting brown for green.

Clip off any excess material at the eye of the hook, leaving proper room for a clean fly head. Wrap a whip-finish and trim the thread to complete the fly.

n tying most flies we look for “triggers” that will entice fish to eat our offering. I think one of those triggers on a damsel imitation is that of oversized, protruding eyes. If you agree and want an easy method for making your own monofilament eyes, then read on.


Materials needed: A length of 20pound monofilament (I like fluorescent red Amnesia or Maxima Chameleon), a pair of sharp scissors, serrated forceps, and a flame source such as a disposable lighter. Cut the mono into 1 to 1½-inch lengths. Grip the piece of mono in the middle with the very tip of the forceps. Lock the forceps so the mono doesn’t move, enabling you

Completed Ultra Damsel Nymph

to rotate them as the material is melted and cools. Apply the flame to the ends of the mono one side at a time, and allow the material to melt up to the forceps. (The mono may catch fire, which is OK – blow it out just before it reaches the forceps). Melt both sides, forming small barbells; allow the eyes to cool completely, and then tie them on your hook. When I have the materials assembled, I usually make several dozen sets of eyes, then store them to use at a future tying session. Kelly Glissmeyer lives with wife Cathy in Rigby, Idaho, where he enjoys spending his spare time as a demonstration flytier, presenter, lecturer, author and photographer of all things related to fly fishing.

To make a damsel nymph with melted monofilament eyes, apply the flame to the monofilament, allowing it to melt down to the tips of the forceps. Repeat the process on the other side.

Flyfisher Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012


Conserving, Restoring and Educating Through Fly Fishing



Conserving, Restoring and Educating Through Fly Fishing

Fly Box Photo essay by Verne Lehmberg


ver since Roman fishers used wool-wrapped hooks to lure fish, flytiers have continued to improvise and invent artificial flies. FFF flytiers meet at conclaves to share their ideas. Tiers strive to simulate life, sometimes with realistic flies or sometimes with just the vague impression of an insect. Some tiers make realistic stonefly imitations, using color and shape to attract fish. Dr. David Nelson’s Upright Stone has Hungarian partridge legs that dangle and move like the real thing. It may be fished with the foam back in the surface or drifting deep, depending on how it is weighted. It is kept upright because of the light, closed-foam back. Fish take George Grant and Franz Pott-style woven horsehair flies as stoneflies or other nymphs, the hackle waving as the fly tumbles in the water. Dorothy Schramm’s T.O.Y.B.A.L. is a simple fly. It is tied with a single CDC feather, a puffy thing that floats with tiny feather barbules pushing on the surface of the water, scattering the light like a real insect. Ed Berg’s more intricately tied Mini-Max floats with parachute hackle and its three Microfibbet tails that depress the water’s surface as do the real insect’s tails and legs. Classic dry flies, such as Al Beatty’s Lochsa Special, entice fish with beautiful splayed wings. The streamer’s hackle undulates under the water, as a baitfish’s fins move. JP’s Flyer by Jeff Pierce is a monstrous, 7-inch saltwater fly that catches yellowfin tuna, billfish, dolphin and wahoo. This flying fish pattern is surprisingly light and easy to cast, with a flexible body and pectoral fin wings that give it life in the water.

A Yellowstone cutthroat takes a stonefly

Upright Stone Dr. David Nelson Greenbrae, California


Sandy Mite Chuck Collins Pocatello, Idaho

Verne Lehmberg from Dayton, Texas, is a longtime Federation member and an excellent photographer. Also see his “Focus on the Fly” on page 35.

Mini-Max Ed Berg Parker, Colorado

T.O.Y.B.A.L. Dorothy Schramm Pentwater, Michigan (Design: Hans Weilenmann, Amstelveen, The Netherlands) George Grant woven fly Todd Collins Butte, Montana

Tiger Stonefly Dr. Harley W. Reno Rigby, Idaho

Lochsa Special Al Beatty Boise, Idaho

Green Hornet Don McFarland Boise, Idaho

Tarpon Fly Steve Jensen Springfield, Missouri BN Minnow John Johnson Midland, Michigan



Dave’s Stonefly Dave Roberts Eagle Point, Oregon

Vosmic’s Emerald Shiner George Vosmic Rivers, Ohio Autumn 2011 Rocky - Winter 2012

JP’s Flyer Jeff Pierce Scottsville, New York



am fortunate enough to have a grandson that loves to fly fish. When he was young, he would spend hours practicing his cast when most kids his age would tire of the effort and retreat to the joy of their television set. He caught fish, lots of fish, and when no fish were biting, he continued to cast his fly, thinking it was his fault that none were brought to hand. I also tie my own flies, and often my grandson would watch me for hours on end. Occasionally, I would tie a fly of my own creation. Indeed, I have boxes full of these originals that I thought would be real “killers”; unfortunately, most of the fish who have viewed them remain uncaught. Often when I fish them, I think I can hear laughter coming from under the water. Smallmouth can be cruel at times. I now understand why most standard fly patterns are successful, because they stand the test of time. My original patterns intrigued my grandson though. One day he said, “Grandpa, can I try tying a fly?” I was delighted and gave him a quick lesson to get him started. He tied for hours until I suggested we call it a day. He asked me if he could just tie one more fly and maybe “invent a fly like you do.” “Of course, you can,” I said. Then I asked him to clean up the trimmings he had dropped on the floor when he was through tying. Later that evening he opened a small box he had hidden in his pocket, took out the fly that he had invented, and shyly asked me what I thought of his creation. I was aghast. I had never seen anything like it. It broke every fly-tying rule and had no resemblance to anything I had ever seen in this world. To suppress a laugh, I asked him how he had made the choice of the materials he had used. He told me he used the trimmings he swept up from the floor. Seeing the look on my face, he said, “It’s not very good, is it?” Not wanting to dampen his spirits, I told him that it was not too bad for his first try and that his next try at creating a fly would probably be much better. I

then told him that he should get to bed, as tomorrow we had to arise early to greet the smallmouth bass. Before going to bed he asked, “Grandpa, what should we name my new fly?” I told him that many patterns were named for something they resembled. He said it looked like one of the bugs that smashed into our car windshield, so he would call it the Road Kill Special. I thought it was a good name and sent him off to bed. The next day, we motored slowly across the lake through the pre-dawn mist. It was a perfect June morning at the peak of smallmouth season, and we were going to fish one of the best lakes in Maine. All was well with the world. My grandson was grinning from ear to ear in anticipation of what promised to be a special day, and I had that inner bliss a grandfather has when he’s with his grandson. We cut the engine outside a cove that I always kept secret, paddled quietly toward the rock-strewn shore and began to cast to Brother Smallmouth. I had tied two of my best flies on our lines. We cast and cast and cast again. We went to several of my “no miss spots.” Nothing, not a rise. I changed flies several times. Nothing! My grandson said, “Grandpa, do you think I should try my Road Kill Special?” I had already put my rod away and thought, What the heck, why not let the kid have a little fun? He tied on his creation and then made his first cast. Wham! The water exploded. His rod bent into that beautiful arc that all fly fishers dream about. He played the fish with skill, giving and taking as it ran up and down the lake. Then his line went slack; the fish was gone! He was crestfallen but managed a wry smile and asked, “What did I do wrong, Grandpa?” “Nothing,” I said, “you played him perfectly.” I didn’t have the heart to tell him about the little curl on the end of his leader, a telltale sign of a poorly tied clinch knot. The good news, I announced, was that his fly might be an indicator the

Illustration by Harry Merritt

The lost recipe for the fly Road Kill Special looked something like this, but the author is not totally sure it’s not just a bad dream!

smallmouth had suddenly started to feed. I quickly reassembled my fly rod and tied new flies on for us. We began to cast with enthusiasm. Nothing, not a strike; we had been skunked. On our way back to camp my grandson said, with a twinkle in his eye, “See Grandpa, my fly wasn’t that bad after all, was it?” “No, son,” I said, “it wasn’t bad at all.” The fact the Road Kill Special had enticed that fish to strike was either dumb luck or a secret combination of materials that was the catnip of the smallmouth bass world. Swallowing my pride that evening, I asked my grandson if he could tie another Road Kill Special. “I’m not sure,” he said. “I don’t remember what I put in it.” I anxiously said, “Make me a list of what you swept up off the floor.” He didn’t remember. The recipe had disappeared, never to resurface. Maybe it’s a good thing he couldn’t remember the recipe. If he had recalled it, the smallmouth bass in Maine would have been fished to extinction by now. Harry Merritt is an architect and a professor emeritus of architecture at the University of Florida. He lives in Maine during the spring and summer months and fly fishes the salt along the southeast coast during the balance of the year. He is also an FFF certified casting instructor.

Flyfisher Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012


Conserving, Restoring and Educating Through Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing Heritage

Conserving, Restoring and Educating Through Fly Fishing

Casting KEEP IT SIMPLE Story and photos by Tom Tripi


et’s agree on one thing: One of the most important skills in fly fishing is the ability to cast effectively. Yes, you can tie absolutely gorgeous flies, but they’re not always necessary. I’ve caught reds, specks and even brown trout on just a bare gold hook. And, yes, you can design and tie complex leaders that will lay down tiny flies like the lightest feather; how-

had slack on the water before executing a pickup; yet, he still managed to skillfully turn over his line using either an overhead or side-armed cast. His simple one-hackle flies were small, usually a size 14, 16 or 18. I once told him that I lived near the deepwater lakes around Averill Park outside Albany and was learning to extend my casting distance in an

Casting students practice a relaxed, open 25-foot loop.

ever, you can’t use them if you can’t cast. Even a master rod craftsman capable of making those 3-ounce, bamboo fairy wands we all dream about may be handicapped unless he’s a capable caster. But there are those who disagree. For instance, back in the day while living in the Catskill region and still learning the basics of fly casting, I occasionally fished with one of the area’s curmudgeons. He was opinionated, in his 70s and an adequate fisherman on his “home waters,” a 20-footwide local creek. To him, fly fishing was working his old, 7 and a half foot Granger rod in a small stream trying to catch bright little brookies or perhaps a few “put and take browns.” He wasn’t interested in casting techniques or their refinements. His longest casts were no more than 20 feet, and half of that was a leader with its tippet. His “casts” were simply waves of the rod. He didn’t use a defined rod stop and


effort to catch their largemouth and “brownie” populations. For me at that time, “extending the cast” meant the ultimate goal of achieving a decent, 60foot cast. He insisted that fly fishing wasn’t made for that type of fishing. “They use corn for bait in those lakes, don’t they?” “Yes,” I replied, but that’s as far as I got. It wasn’t real fly fishing to him. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I was tying orange egg flies! So here we are: One side thinks that effective casting is the necessary function of fly fishing while another seems to be able to function without casting refinements. In reality, if you want to be an effective fly fisher, you should be an efficient fly caster. But was my crusty old friend right? Yes, to a degree he was, because his selftaught casting skills learned through trial and error worked quite well for his fishing situations. Over the years I’ve learned much more than the sim-

Flyfisher Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012

ple basics of fly casting; however, if I were to revisit that Catskill creek today, I would probably be casting just like my friend 40 years ago. Thinking back, he kept it simple by keeping his thumb on top of the cork, nestled in a shallow depression in the handle while making short, well-timed, open-looped casts. Keeping my friend’s casting simplicity in mind, let’s take a closer look at the detail hidden within the concept. “His thumb was on top of the cork.” Since those Catskill days, my casting has evolved somewhat differently than I imagined. I now enjoy distance casting for achieving longer casts, dropping a fly on the target and occasionally enjoy a bit of competition. I use two basic grips: thumb on the top of the cork handle (Wes Jordan style) and Mel Krieger’s key grip (see the illustration). Both grips maximize transfer of energy from my muscles to the fly rod. The Wes Jordan grip provides direct energy transfer through the thumb, and the key grip allows the transfer of energy from both the thumb and index finger into the rod. I use the key grip for really long casts, as it allows a little more latitude during the later portion of the backcast. When I use the thumb on top of the grip, I have difficulty keeping my hand and rod from rotating during an extended backcast. I was forced to resolve that rotating issue by using the key grip when I broke my “casting thumb” years ago. The depressions force my thumb to stay in place and provide an easy check to keep my hand from rotating, allowing a smooth transfer of energy from my arm into the rod. “He made short, well-timed strokes.” Remember: short casts, short strokes; long casts, longer strokes. For really long casts, I always extend my stroke to almost 180 degrees. My interpretation of short and longer strokes equates to an approximate travel distance of the rod tip of about 3 feet for short strokes and around 5 feet for longer strokes. A 25-foot cast only requires that the rod tip travel a short distance. I’ve watched casters on small streams using those exaggerated

Inset, you can almost see the power ready to be generated from my thumb into Wes Jordan’s thumb depression and then into the rod. In addition to the Wes Jordan thumb depression, the author also uses Mel Krieger’s key grip, seen at right, to help generate more line speed.

arm swings and body motions to lay down a short cast, but it’s not necessary and is a real waste of energy. “He made slow, deliberate, openlooped casts.” There are two sides to this issue. Personally, I enjoy the precision of making 25- to 30-foot casts with pinpoint accuracy. I use short rods and try to maintain a 12-inch loop. Is it necessary? The short answer: “No.” However, those narrow loops are deadly when trying to drill a cast under an overhang or into a canopied tunnel along a shoreline. In practicality, a controlled, lazy loop usually gets the job done well enough for most fishing situations and is something I teach my beginning students. Slow down and let the rod work for you, not vice versa. You’ll probably observe that most fly fishers in small streams cast just like my open-looped friend. My input to “keeping it simple” would be on the side of good timing. Don’t start the for-

Terry and Roxanne Wilson Authors, speakers available for club events and shows. Slide shows, seminars, and tying demonstrations.

ward cast until the back cast is almost fully extended. In other words, watch your line and take it easy; the loops will take care of themselves. “Loading the rod was not a thought to him.” My friend used one line, an ancient Cortland double taper that was more than capable of “loading” his Granger fly rod. However, he didn’t think of “loading” the rod in that sense but was merely matching the rod and its recommended line. Also his Granger was a slow-action rod, not one of today’s faster graphite rods. His slow rod loaded quickly enough with minimal effort on his part. Today, when using a faster-action rod, it’s important to load the rod correctly by matching the rod weight with the recommended line. That said, many fly fishers find it more comfortable using a line that is one weight heavier than that recommended by the manufacturer because it slows the


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(largemouth and smallmouth bass, bluegill, and other species)


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Warmwater fly fishing.


rod’s action somewhat. When selecting a fly line, it’s good to remember a wet line with a soaked fly is heavier than the dry line and yarn indicator you may have practiced with at the store! Keeping things simple may have different meanings for beginners as well as experienced fly fishers. We don’t have a cold-water fishery here in south Louisiana, and I miss that venue. When nostalgia sets in and my mind drifts back to those earlier, simpler days when I lived in upstate New York, I often pick up a wispy 7-foot cane rod and visit a local stream. No, there are no trout there, just small bass and a few sunfish. But honestly I’m not there for the strikes; I’m just reminiscing about times gone by. Master Casting Instructor Tom Tripi is from Folsom, Louisiana, where he uses a fly rod and canoe to pursue his favorite fish, teaches casting to students of all ages, and studies astronomy in his spare time.

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Flyfisher Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012


Conserving, Restoring and Educating Through Fly Fishing

Photo by Ken Schallenberg

Four examples of Wes Jordan’s thumb grip, above. Top/bottom are circa 1945 South Bend rods, while the center rods are contemporary 9-foot 8/9-weights with homemade thumb grips. Both grips are now great for distance casting.

Conserving, Restoring and Educating Through Fly Fishing

We hold the future ...

Fly Rod Corner

and then let them go.

A grooved form holds strips and guides cutting.


Here’s what Joan Wulff has to say about the Federation of Fly Fishers: “The FFF has been an important part of my life since 1967. I’m pleased to see its role become more defined – that of educating men, women and children to further both the enjoyment and conservation aspects of this wonderful sport.”

Make the FFF a part of your life, too.



F LY F ISHERS 5237 U.S. Highway 89 South, Ste. 11 Livingston, MT 59047-9176




r. George Parker Holden, in his classic book, “The Idyl of the Split Bamboo,” wrote, “Some kind of grooved form or mold is necessary for holding the strips securely and guiding the cutting exactly.” Split bamboo rod makers first read those words in 1920. Today, decades later, if you walk into a bamboo rod maker’s work area, two tools will be present: the block plane and a planing form. The block plane has remained pretty much the same over time, while its partner, the planing form, has undergone vast improvements. Originally constructed of closegrained hardwoods, planing forms over the years have also been made of brass, aluminum and steel. The first tapered forms were nonadjustable, so they were consistent in their taper, be it good or bad. On the other hand, the earliest adjustable forms were crude with accuracy doubtful at best. Fortunately for today’s craftsman this is no longer the case. Modern rod makers have available to them hardened steel forms that can be adjusted to amazing accuracy. The bamboo craft has come a long way since Dr. Holden’s day, and although the basic tools are still fairly few and simple, the planing form is one exception. The vast improvements in this tool have contributed to a resurgence of split bamboo rod making, both for the hobbyist and professional. In “Best of the Planing Form, Volume II,” Tom

Flyfisher Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012

Maxwell, of Thomas & Thomas fame, had this to say about the home rod builder: “I have seen more good rods by names largely unknown to me than ever in the so-called heydays of the bamboo renaissance: great craftsmanship, beautiful finish, and excellent choice of tapers.” Part of the reason for this kind of comment is due to the availability of well-made, affordable, bamboo rod making planing forms. Rod makers can be divided into two camps, hand planers and those that machine mill their cane strips. The hand planer, in most cases, is an amateur or home hobbyist, while rods made on ingeniously designed, power milling machines are found in professional and semi-professional shops. Most modern split bamboo rods are created by the hand-planing method, and the results rival professionally milled rods. In recent years as split cane rods lost center stage status with the introduction of fiberglass and graphite rods, power milling machine use also declined. Hand planing kept the craft alive. Now that a resurgence of interest in the bamboo fly rod is occurring, the renewed interest in milling machine technology is again taking place. As previously stated, early planing forms were made of wood and later brass, aluminum and both soft and hardened steel. During the last decade of the 20th century, because of the influence of master rod makers like Edwin Hartzell and George Barnes,

A block plane and metal planing form.

more and more rod makers became interested in the wooden form. Wellbuilt wooden forms are adjustable, accurate and affordable. They are a good way to get started in rod making. Detailed plans for making a set can be found in “Fly Rods Galore� written by George Barnes, available from Alder Creek Publishing. If one or two rods a year is your goal, and you are a competent woodworker, making a set of hardwood planing forms is also a good way to get started in split cane

Accuracy to within 0.001 inch is the ultimate goal.

rod making. As experience and skill improve, many rod makers acquire metal forms; prices range from $300 to $1,000 and are usually determined by the degree of finish, ease of adjustment and accuracy. A search of the Internet will provide numerous sources. If you are in the market for a set of planing forms, let me recommend J.D. Wagner, Bellinger, Bootstrap, Swearingen or L. Blauvelt for forms in a range of prices and features. Plans are also available

The resulting bamboo shape.

online or in numerous rod-making books should you elect to try building your own planing form. Whichever route you choose, rod making is an enjoyable, creative and sometimes exasperating way to cure cabin fever! Give it a try. Ron Barch, through his rod-making schools, has helped many anglers learn the art of rod making. He edits The Planing Form newsletter and lives in Hastings, Michigan. Learn more at or

Flyfisher Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012


Conserving, Restoring and Educating Through Fly Fishing

Photos by David VanBurgel and Kathy Scott

Photo by Pat Olgesby

Conserving, Restoring and Educating Through Fly Fishing

Woman’s Outlook

Carol Oglesby lands a beauty on Paradise Creek in the Colorado Rockies. Don’t look for the name on a map; it has been changed to protect the environment.

TRANSITIONS By Carol Oglesby


e retired – August 12, 2011, was our last commitment to the daily grind. My husband, Pat, pulled the plug one hour before I did. It was a bittersweet day after dedicating more than a half-century of combined time to our professions. We embraced the transition; there was no doubt how we would spend our “golden years” – more fishing, more traveling, more fishing, more time with friends, more fishing, more fly tying, more fishing, more cooking, more fishing, teaching more classes, more fishing, more volunteering, more fishing. You get the picture. We were, at last, through with wishing that … , settling for … and wanting more fishing. The first Monday we would have normally gone to work, we were up early and traveled to our secret “Paradise Creek” to stalk the wild trout we hoped were abundant in the small stream – though catching would be a bonus for the day. I love fly fish-


ing for the way it restores mind, body and spirit. Admittedly I get aggravated and a little hard to live with if I don’t get the skunk off, but at the end of the day when I reflect on the experience, it was always restful and regenerative. Fishing helps us to cope with the myriad transitions that confound, plague, excite or exhilarate us. There is nothing more renewing than fly fishing. Like an elusive dream, at the end of a great day on the water, most of us cannot recall where our mind traveled for several hours. These short vacations are imperative for stress relief from high-pressure jobs, personal or family strife, or relief from e(lectronic)-fatigue. On this special Monday, we were returning to a place that holds great meaning to both of us. The fishing trip provided a time to reflect on a number of memories and transitions from days past. Each of us was on a silent mission to celebrate and reminisce over the events from earlier days spent in the outdoors. Pat’s father, Edsel, ran cattle in the area decades earlier and built the corral where we park the truck.

Flyfisher Autumn 2011 - Winter 2012

The hand-hewn timbers are weathered and splintered and have no further need to restrain a cow. When I touch them, I feel Edsel’s gentle energy in the wood long since embossed with lichen and aged through decades of ice, snow and blistering sun. Sometimes when we drive into the area and someone else is parked in “our spot,” I want to tell them to move on – that they have no right to park there. I feel violated, even though the area is on public land. We were a bit surprised when we discovered the stream was rather low, given the high snowpack of last winter. We discussed how we “should’a fished here a month ago; oh well, guess we won’t have to say that again.” Fishing this day required stealth and patience. As I dressed to wet-wade in the clear, meandering stream, I thought about the many transitions that have taken place through the years. Pat and his dad would have fished with old cane rods, and later fiberglass poles likely purchased from “Monkey Ward’s.” I remember using a willow stick with

mature grasses bore out that truth. Pat chose a golden-orange stimulator and tied it on as I moved upstream to a series of likely slicks formed by protruding boulders. There were no rises and I cast a Royal Wulff, one of my go-to flies for small streams, searching for any “takers” along the banks and around the rocks. Nada. Maybe the weekend fishermen put a bait terror in these small trout. Pat leapfrogged above me and began fishing the stimmie with the same refusal. We continued moving upstream, occasionally crossing paths and comparing success. Pat had caught a couple of browns – score 2/0. I changed to a red humpy and hooked an aggressive wild rainbow, with pink sides and small black dots – a teenager, lurking on the wide bend of the stream, caught in a daring dart to gobble a skittering feathered fake. I was thankful for his comeuppance and to finally getting the skunk off. Minutes passed, then hours, before we reunited. Time was irrelevant since we no longer had to consider this as a “school night.” We had agreed, though, to quit fishing at 4 p.m. to leave ample time for the three-hour drive home and to still see critters on the road while we rambled through pine and aspen groves on the mountain pass. At 4:30 p.m., we reunited in a place we call Dad’s Hole. It’s the spot we scattered my father’s ashes several years ago. This spot used to be the lower end of a long, rolling riffle, a predominant feeding lane often lined with willing browns, brookies, rainbows and a rare cutthroat. This year squatters invaded the run – beaver had begun construction of a dam on

the bottom end of Dad’s Hole. I was stunned to see the transition. As a means to make a little extra money and to help ranchers and orchard owners, Dad had trapped beavers in his younger years. This scene was ironic – remembrance, revelation or revenge? Companions at last? Beavers move into areas abundant with willows and materials appropriate to construct dams. These beavers are most innovative, even using rocks to shore up their creations. High water comes and washes out the dams, depositing silt and fertile soil on the land and opening fresh channels of streambed. A natural reclamation occurs where willows eventually grow back and invite the return of beaver colonies. The life cycle flourishes and repeats, enriching the soil, cleansing the water, and creating abundant wildlife and riparian areas. I decided it was fitting that we scattered Dad’s ashes here where the life cycle continues and death confirms the existence of life. Pat tottered cautiously across the carefully placed rocks and willows to the far side of the new dam. He cast a size 18 Sprout’s midge in the shadow of the spruce trees and hooked a fat and feisty brown and quickly released it back home. The end of the day’s reward, maybe it was compliments of Dad. Change is good and satisfying. It’s a part of why we fly fish; we never stop remembering, learning and sharpening our skills. Adventure awaits – take a wade on the wild (trout) side. Carol Oglesby from Grand Junction, Colorado, is a regular contributor to Flyfisher on female fly fishers’ interests. She may be contacted at

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Conserving, Restoring and Educating Through Fly Fishing

mono tied to the end and a worm or hand-caught hopper dangling from a bait hook. As kids we wore old tennies or our dad’s second-best canvas hip waders with slick rubber soles. I donned three pairs of heavy woolen socks and still had room to spare in the sloppy, leaking boots – wading was clumsy and dangerous. Gear was simple – a handful of flies stabbed into an old Stetson hat, or a bait box threaded through a makeshift belt of prickly hemp rope, and a forked willow stick on which to thread the brookies that were kept for dinner. Dad fried them in bacon grease in an old cast-iron skillet over hot coals burned low from dry pine branches gathered by us kids earlier in the day. The grill was an oven rack borrowed from Mom’s stove and placed on bowling ball-sized granite rocks forming a circular fire pit. Over the decades we’ve fished Paradise Creek, we have seen the land transform, often teeming with beaver dams loaded with chunky wild trout that would eagerly take any fly cast on the pond, to a near-dry creek bottom ailing from years of drought. Yet still, the trout survive. As I strung my rod for the day’s fishing, it looked to me like this year’s turbulent spring runoff nearly obliterated any evidence of beaver activity. With the skinny conditions, pocket water and undercut banks would likely be the fishing fare of the day. We hiked downstream as far as we could until we encountered the barbed wire fence marking private property beyond our permission. A cool, wafting breeze hinted that autumn was edging into the Rocky Mountains, and the pungent aroma of

The FFF International Fly Fishing Fair

2011 Photo Contest Winners

FLY ANGLERS IN THEIR ELEMENT 1st: “Proper Handling of a Brook Trout” by Steve Hegstrom of Mission, Kansas. Location: Medicine Bow National Forest 2nd: “Another Day on the Yellowstone” by Christopher Daniel of West Yellowstone, Montana. Location: Yellowstone National Park

“Wild Steelhead Trout” by Bob and Sharyn Jacklin

“Green Drake Natural” by Christopher Daniel

“Another Day on the Yellowstone” by Christopher Daniel

“Trout Cuisine” by Steve Hegstrom

3rd: “Rain Forest Surprise” by Eric Strader of Emigrant, Montana. Location: Olympic Peninsula NATIVE FISH OF NORTH AMERICA 1st: “Wild Steelhead Trout” by Bob and Sharyn Jacklin of West Yellowstone, Montana. Location: Salmon River, Challis, Idaho

2nd: “Eye to Eye” by Eric Strader of Emigrant, Montana. Location: Riggins, Idaho 3rd: “Colorado Greenback” by Steve Webb of Wichita, Kansas. Location: Rocky Mountain National Park

NATURALS AND THEIR IMITATIONS 1st: “Green Drake Natural” by Christopher Daniel of West Yellowstone, Montana. Location: Henrys Fork River, Idaho

2nd: “Trout Cuisine” by Steve Hegstrom of Mission, Kansas. Location: Spring Creek, Rockbridge, Missouri 3rd: “Dragon Fly Standoff” by Steve Hegstrom of Mission, Kansas. Location: Spring Creek, Rockbridge, Missouri

“Proper Handling of a Brook Trout” by Steve Hegstrom

“Eye to Eye” by Eric Strader

Federation of Fly Fishers 5237 U.S. Highway 89 South, Ste. 11 Livingston, MT 59047-9176

Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage


Post Falls, ID Permit No. 32