Flyfisher magazine Spring-Sumer 2010

Page 1

Spring - Summer 2010 • $3

Conserving, Restoring & Educating Through Fly Fishing







PARADISE in the wake of


DEPARTMENTS Meet the Board


21 24

Just Fishing Seeing a positive membership trend. By Phil Greenlee.


32 28


Letter I Am a Member Meet Walter McLendon.


Home Waters Fly fishing news and notes.

19 35

Book Reviews Biology on the Fly The expanding spruce budworm population. By Verne Lehmberg


The Katrina Effect


Imitations of the spruce moth. By Verne Lehmberg 37

The Most American of Rivers A look at the Potomac as the great fishery that it is. By Beau Beasley




38 40

41 42

Fishing the Western Spruce Moth Hatch


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 Copy Editor: Billie Jean Plaster Advertising Director: Clint Nicholson 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 © 2010 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.

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

Casting Tips for casting bamboo. By Tom Tripi

Fly Rod Corner Build a rod at the fair. By Dave Mosley


Fly Fishing Heritage An Ode to Bill. By Jon Lyman

FFF Headquarters & Fly Fishing Discovery Center

Office Assistant/Bookkeeper: Judy Snyder • Admin. Assist./Membership/ Casting Certification/ClubWire: Barbara Wuebber • Assist./Presidents Club/Donations: Angie Gill •

Fly Tips Panfish fly trick. By C. Boyd Pfeiffer

Five dry flies for smallmouth bass. By Terry and Roxanne Wilson

Federation of Fly Fishers 5237 U.S. Highway 89 South • P.O. Box 1688 Livingston, MT 59047 (406) 222-9369 • fax (406) 222-5823 Conclave Coordinator: Jessica Atherton Director of Development: Josset Gauley

Woman’s Outlook How to select a workshop for your personality. By Carol Oglesby

The Wilsons’ Favorites

Tips from a fanatic. By Bill Toone

At the Vise Spent Spruce Moth. By Walter J. Weise

Gunnison’s Whirling DiseaseResistant Rainbows FFF club helps them make a comeback. By Gale Doudy

Fly Box Featuring tiers from 2009 Conclave. By Verne Lehmberg

The devastating hurricane created flats that are a fly fishing paradise. By Tom Tripi 24

Focus on the Fly


2009 FFF Donor Report Thanks to all who supported the FFF!

Cover photo: Two anglers look on as a friend enjoys the Henry’s Fork. Come enjoy a similar scene at this year’s Fly Fishing Fair and Conclave in West Yellowstone, Montana. Check the registration guide following page 24. Photo by Val Atkinson, Feature photos, clockwise from top, left: A 5-pound bass taken by Pete Freeman in a hurricaneravaged area. Photo by Gerard Henry Dan Davala fishes the Potomac River just minutes from downtown Washington, D.C. Photo by Beau Beasley. Gunnison Gorge Anglers disperse rainbow trout fingerlings in the Gunnison River. Photo by Gale Doudy. A fallen spruce moth. Photo by Verne Lehmberg.

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- Summer F i s h i n g2010 Volume XLII, No. III ofr the Spring


Conserving, Restoring and Educating Through Fly Fishing

We hold the future ...

Meet the FFF’s 2010 Direc Council Presidents

and then let them go.

Eastern Rocky Mountain: John Marvin 520-803-6697 • 1242 East Yaqui Street, Sierra Vista, AZ 85650 Florida: Bill Gunn 321-773-5334 • 101 Marion Street, Indian Harbor Beach, FL 32937 Great Lakes: Jim Schramm 231-869-5487 • P.O. Box 828, Pentwater, MI 49449 No photo available

Great Rivers: Open Contact Chris Curran Gulf Coast: Kyle Moppert 225-342-7551 • 2170 Terrace Avenue, Baton Rouge, LA 70806

Here’s what Joan Wulff has to say about the Federation of Fly Fishers:

No photo available

North Eastern: Rodney Priddle 518-664-3509 • 1 Angle Lane, Mechanicville, NY 12118

“The FFF has been an important part of my life since 1967. I’m pleased to see its role become more

Mid-Atlantic: Jim Porter 410-992-7776 • 12465 Triadelphia Road, Ellicott City, MD 21042

No photo available

defined – that of educating men,

Northern California: Anne Marie Bakker 707-721-6184 • 1295 Calledel Arroyo, Sonoma, CA 95476 Ohio: Don VanBuren 440-635-1165 • 12037 Claridon Troy Road, Chardon, OH 44024

women and children to further both the enjoyment and conservation aspects of this wonderful sport.”

Oregon: Dwight Klemin 502-302-9484 • 1077 Nona Avenue NW, Salem, OR 97304

Make the FFF a part of your life, too. No photo available

South Eastern: Anthony Hipps 336-249-0338 • 815 Maple Tree Road, Lexington, NC 27292 Southern: Michael E. Ames 870-578-2557 • 411 Normal, Harrisburg, AR 72432



F LY F ISHERS P.O. Box 1688, Livingston, MT 59047



Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010

Southwest: Michael Schweit 818-601-9702 • 7933 Jellico Avenue, Northridge, CA 91325 Washington: Carl Johnson 360-863-9889 • P.O. Box 1206, Monroe, WA 98272 Western Rocky Mountain: Bud Frasca 208-762-2631 • 2699 E. Packsaddle Drive, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83815

Board of Directors & Executive Committee No photo available

Roger Miller: 559-226-4351 1107 E. Fedora, Fresno, CA 93704

Don Bishop: 406-388-1181 10370 Dry Creek Road, Belgrade, MT 59714 Richard Diamond: 508-879-1139 20 Vaillencourt Drive, Framingham, MA 01701

No photo available

Rick Pope: 214-821-8172 8115 Sovereign Row, Dallas, TX 75247

Council Presidents' Representative Tilda Runner-Evans: 970-683-8879 3602 “G” Road, Palisade, CO 81526

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

Bud Frasca: 208-762-2631 2699 E Packsaddle Drive, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83815

Exec. Comm • Legal Counsel Jim Schramm*: 231-869-5487 P.O. Box 828, Pentwater, MI 49449

Don Gimbel: 406-222-2932 16 Northview Road, Livingston, MT 59047

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

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

Greg Stumpf: 909-594-8847 1825 Pepperdale Drive, Rowland Heights, CA 91748

Keith Groty: 517-290-8284 3496 Josephine Lane, Mason, MI 48854

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

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

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

Exec. Comm • Membership Committee Chairman Michael Kyle: 417-207-2053 • 3278 S. Palisades Drive, Springfield, MO 65807

Exec. Comm • Treasurer Ron Winn: 321-723-3141 • 2103 South Grant Place, Melbourne, FL 32901

Bob Long: 208-357-5353 P.O. Box 462, Shelley, ID 83274

Don VanBuren: 440-635-1165 12037 Claridon Troy Road, Chardon, OH 44024

Roger Maler: 352-293-3322 3073 Gulf Winds Circle, Hernando Beach, FL 34607

Carl Zarelli: 253-460-7752 4630 Memory Lane West, University Place, WA 98466 * not a member of the BOD

C O N S E RV I N G , R E S TO R I N G A N D E D U C AT I N G T H R O U G H F LY F I S H I N G Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010


Conserving, Restoring and Educating Through Fly Fishing

tors and Officers

Conserving, Restoring and Educating Through Fly Fishing

Just Fishing SEEING A POSITIVE MEMBERSHIP TREND FOR THE NEW YEAR By Phil Greenlee, Chairman of the Board of Directors


he beginning of a new year prompts many of us to evaluate our progress, redefine our goals, or simply solidify the commitments we’ve already made. At the FFF, that process isn’t reserved for any specific date; rather, we renew our commitment to overall excellence each day. And there is no commitment we take more seriously than the one to our FFF members and what our organization stands for. The FFF was formed with the idea of advancing a fellowship of anglers and continues this tradition today, building and growing the fly fishing community by sharing knowledge and experience. Today, FFF members can connect with one another almost instantaneously. The national office offers a monthly electronic newsletter to all of its members, which includes hyperlinked articles of interest to everyone. It’s just another way of communicating with you and building the fly fishing community. To automatically receive the monthly e-newsletter, simply visit and click on the “FFF enewsletter” button in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. You do not have to be a member to sign up for the newsletter; if not, we do hope you will join us and help benefit fly fishing as a sport. The FFF board of directors is working together to maintain a balance between membership and still enforcing our commitment to fisheries. The process is not complicated, but to grow we must adjust to the world we live in today. One of the challenges we face is to explore new venues for the FFF. Because of the weakening economy, partnering with the fly fishing industry makes sense in that we can become their conservation partner and also develop educational programs to bring youth into the sport, which will benefit us all. Recently, I was contacted by the National Wild Turkey Federation – an organization with 300,000 members and 2,000 chapters – that has a national convention each year; Nashville, Tennessee, is the selected location this year. The purpose of their contact was to propose an affiliation in which the FFF would be part of their Youth Program that features fly casting and fly fishing. Our proposed role is to provide the casting instructors and flytiers for their event. This opportunity gives the FFF great exposure and helps us reach many young people, the future stewards of our fisheries. The FFF Casting Board of Governors (CBOG) will help manage the certified casters needed for each event. Currently we are working on a lesson plan that will cover the basics of fly fishing, casting and tying. Another FFF partner is Temple Fork Outfitters (TFO), which annually donates approximately 60,000 rods to help grow our sport. Thanks to Rick Pope, owner of TFO, they will include an application for FFF membership with every rod they donate. Also through TFO, we have a partnership

with the Sierra Club and their youth program. If the fly fishing industry is to survive and grow, we must expose our youth to the rewards of fly fishing. Let’s face it – today’s children are tomorrow’s fly fishers. Another FFF endeavor is expanding our international Casting Instructor Phil Greenlee, Chairman of the Certification program in Europe. To Board of Directors that end the CBOG provided seed money to help grow our casting operations in Europe. That effort is now starting to gain momentum with casting certifications scheduled in Spain, Italy, Germany, Great Britain, Japan and Australia. In another area outside the United States, the FFF is working with Norway and soon will be creating the first European FFF Council. Their reason for choosing to partner with the FFF over other organizations was our conservation policies that are focused on protecting our native fish. Apparently in their country, pen-raised Atlantic salmon are spreading disease to their native, wild brood stock; the impact on their fisheries has been devastating. Last but not least, I feel it is important to recognize the conservation efforts of our clubs and councils. Therefore I’m requesting that we highlight conservation projects at the club, council and national levels here in Flyfisher magazine. Those organizations should take credit (and be recognized) for their conservation efforts by providing their story for publication in the magazine through their council officers. My bottom line is that the national FFF office is here to support our four cornerstones – fly tying, fly casting, education and conservation. This year at the Fly Fishing Fair in West Yellowstone, we will offer an FFF leadership class for those who want to become involved in a leadership role with either a club or a council. This program includes everything from setting up a fly club to becoming the president of a council. It will cover items like filling out a tax return, setting up a list server for communications, preparing a budget and holding a board meeting. I hope to see you in West Yellowstone.

“The FFF was formed with the idea of advancing a fellowship of anglers and continues this tradition today.”


Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010


Photograph Correction In the last issue of the Flyfisher (Autumn 2009-Winter 2010), a photograph caption on page 3 used to direct the reader to the article “Fly Fishing for Steelhead” incorrectly identified the angler and the photographer. The caption should have read: “Jim Harris admires a 37-inch steelhead. Photo by Pam Harris.” The last name “Morris” was incorrectly used in place of “Harris.” –Dave Clark, via e-mail

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Memorable fishing experience

Residence Lufkin, Texas FFF Council Gulf Coast Member since 1993 Homewaters East Texas lakes, the

I was invited by a Texas Forest Service employee to fish some private lakes. From my canoe, I caught more than 40 2to 4-pound largemouth bass until I got tired, then we moved to a smaller lake to see who could catch 50 bluegills first from the shoreline.

Texas Coast, rivers in Oklahoma and Arkansas

Favorite fish Bluegill Reason for being a member To support our sport of fly fishing.


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Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010

Courtesy photo

Conserving, Restoring and Educating Through Fly Fishing

I Am a Member

Walter McLendon helps his granddaughter Corinne tie a fly.

What others say Bill Heugel of Piney Woods Fly Fishers said: “Walter has been an outstanding contributor to fly fishing and the Federation. He works with the Boy Scouts, teaching the fly fishing badge. He is a major player in the Texas Parks and Wildlife Angler Education program and is instrumental in putting on the one-day Fly Fish Texas event at the Texas fisheries center in Athens, which is designed to introduce new people to fly fishing. Walter has been the membership chairman for the Southern Council and is presently the president

of the Piney Woods Fly Fishers. He is an involved guy whose contribution is undeniable.” 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.

Home Waters To su conserv pport any FFF a educati tion, restoratio on prog n make a ram, ple or ta a x se d e du bution to : The Fe ctible contrideratio Fishers, n of F P Livingsto .O Box 1688, ly n, MT 5 9047.

CONSERVATION NEWS with Leah C. Elwell Roadless means more fish

Why roadless areas?

Index of Articles Roadless Means More Fish . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 FFF Five Rivers Sweepstakes Winners Announced . . . . . . . . . .10 Helping a Family in Need . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Antilon Lake Project . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 Federator Honored . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 Meet the FFF Chairman of the Board . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 FFF Councils Map . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13

FFF Events and Casting Certification Calendars . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Fly Tying Group Barbecue at Fair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Arizona Fly Casters Host Youth Fish Camp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 FFF Members Inducted Into Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame . .14 Fly Fishing Show in Germany a Success . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Dave Whitlock Inducted Into National Trout Hall of Fame . . . .15 Washington Club Helps Veterans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Hallowed Waters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Obituaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17

Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010


Photo by Joel Webste


s you hit the trail, the quiet envelops you. Peering into the first big pool you come across, you can see a small fish dart for cover. Getting outside and away from it all is a good thing. The footpath winds through open grasslands and then next to a quiet creek bed with trees looming overhead, as the reasons become clear why fish, particularly trout, and other wildlife thrive with little disturbance and room to roam. Roadless areas on our public lands are a critical part of keeping habitats healthy and buffering the impacts of climate change. Of course we travel on roads through our public lands to harvest timber, tap into mining or energy resources, and to hunt and fish. In fact, there are already more than 375,000 miles of inventoried roads on our National Forest lands. But building roads into backcountry areas has its consequences with erosion and increased silt into streams, removal of riparian vegetation which thus increase stream temperature, and the introduction of unwanted weeds. Vehicle use in roadless areas can increase sediment loads in streams, impactThe practice of roadless area conservation became ing spawning habitat and aquatic insects. To learn more about roadless areas a national management tool on January 12, 2001, and how to participate in this issue, visit our partner The Theodore Roosevelt when the U.S. Forest Service adopted the Roadless Conservation Partnership at Area Conservation Rule to conserve 58.5 million acres (237,000 km²) of National Forests and Grasslands. Roadless Clean drinking water. Intact roadless areas in the areas are technically called “inventoried roadless areas” and mountains provide millions of people with a clean, reliable encompass 38 states and Puerto Rico, and range from source of drinking water. Major cities often receive all of Alaska to Maine. A majority of the inventoried roadless their municipal drinking water from streams that originate areas are found in Western states. For example, Oregon has and are safeguarded in roadless areas. This kind of quality 1.9 million roadless acres while Tennessee has just 85,000 water is a pure, irreplaceable commodity. acres. These roadless areas are managed by the United Prime fish and wildlife habitat. In wild, remote streams States Forest Service.


Despite challenges to roadless area conservation, only seven miles of new road have been built in roadless areas since 2001. The value of ensuring that we have land without roads is critical. We know that our fish and wildlife benefit from remote lands, and so do downstream users. And for many it is a comfort knowing that we have places on this earth where there are few signs of humans. Roadless areas will prove to be a key conservation tool for a future with healthy fisheries. To learn more about roadless areas, visit our partner The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership at Leah C. Elwell is the former conservation coordinator for the Federation of Fly Fishers. She currently works for the Center for Aquatic Nusiance Species and lives in Livingston, Montana.

A FAMILY IN NEED WINNERS ANNOUNCED HELPING Arkansas Fly Fishing Community Bands Together FFF Five Rivers Sweepstakes The FFF wants to thank everyone who participated in the Five Rivers Sweepstakes. This fun, fund-raising effort raised money for FFF programs and expanded awareness of its programs among the general public. For a few lucky folks, their donation to the FFF earned them a fly fishing adventure of a lifetime. Glenn Short, from the Southwest Council, won the Grand Prize – a trip to Cinco Rios Lodge in Chile! The rest won a four-day, five-night trip to Five Rivers Lodge in Dillon, Montana. The lucky winners and their respective councils are: Ed Kehoe, Eastern Rocky Mountain J. Markey, Florida Leon Cuccia, Gulf Coast Don Sawyer, Great Lakes Fred Schmitz, Great Rivers James Greene, MidAtlantic Patricia Holtan, Northern California Mike Sebetich, Northeast

Patrick Duffy, Ohio Bobby White, Oregon Michael Burns, Southeast Tim Johnson, Southern Bill Papesh, Washington Western Rocky Mountain Council Walter Wilhelm, Second Chance Mary Ann von Roth, Second Chance

Congratulations to our winners, and many thanks to Five Rivers Lodge for its generous support of the FFF!


Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010

Once again the fly fishing community closed ranks to take care of one of its own. The wife of fly fishing guide Chad Johnson, of Mountain River Fly Shop in Cotter, Arkansas, Tiffany Johnson was diagnosed with invasive meningioma tumors. Just months ago, Tiffany was a bubbly, feisty, funny, incredibly active, outdoors-oriented woman. Today, Tiffany, 30, is a woman with a fight against multiple brain tumors. One of the tumors is on her spinal cord, and several are on her brain. She underwent surgery to remove the tumor from her spinal cord right before Christmas. Tiffany spent almost nine hours on the operating table to remove a 6inch tumor from her spine. Her surgery was so rare that we were told less than 100 have been performed worldwide. Tiffany will face eight months of painful physical therapy in order to regain the ability to walk (with the aid of a walker), and another 12

months of therapy before she can walk unassisted. She also has to endure further surgery to remove the brain tumors. Luckily, all tumors are benign. Tiffany will require home care for some time, and Chad has recently moved to a new home that is wheelchair-accessible to prepare for Tiffany’s return from the hospital. The family is encountering a mountain of medical bills and has no health insurance. In order to help these folks, Mountain River Fly Shop and the Swallow’s Nest Fly Tyers, a local fly tying group, banded together to put on a fund-raiser to benefit Tiffany and Chad. On January 23, 2010, they hosted a Tye-A-Thon, with all proceeds going to the Tiffany Johnson Benefit Fund. The local fly fishing community turned out to help and more than $3,500 was raised. More information is available at Our thanks to Pat Smith from Mountain Home, Arkansas, for editing this information.

United States Forest Service map

of roadless areas, our threatened and endangered species such as the bull trout and salmon find protection. Untouched forested streams are a place for coldwater fish to seek refuge. In the near future, these regions may provide essential buffers from the impacts of a warming climate. Backcountry and downstream recreation opportunities. Escape to a place away from it all. Roadless areas are a recreational bliss where you can fish, observe wildlife, hike, and enjoy solitude and scenic landscape. Roadless lands also provide You can help conserve, cold, clean water to some of the restore and protect our nation’s best main stem river fishprecious fisheries. Read the eries like the Missouri in Montana red patch at the top of page and the Gunnison in Colorado. 9 to find out how. Downstream boaters and fly fishers benefit from the cold water and quality spawning habitat sourced from nearby mountain streams. Despite the fact that roadless areas are supported and appreciated by more than 90 percent of Americans and the majority of sportsmen, the conservation of roadless lands does not come without controversy. The 2001 Federal Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which restricts activities that will alter and fragment remote undeveloped landscapes, has been subject to many legal challenges over the past decade. Some states, including Colorado and Idaho, have sought to develop state-specific management rules, and these have also been controversial.

Brown indicates “inventoried roadless areas.” A majority of the inventoried roadless areas are found in Western states. To see a detailed map download from

ANTILON LAKE PROJECT Persistence Will Eventually Pay Off By Gilbert Biles


igh up in the hills, near Wenatchee, Washington, sit two small alpine lakes known as Antilon Lakes. These lakes provide great fishing for brown trout, crappie and bluegill. The lower lake with its rough boat launch for access was the one fished most often. The upper lake, which was ringed with 20 feet of cattails and brush, was impossible to reach. Each time I went to the Antilon Lakes, fish were feeding in the upper lake and I would wonder how I could get to it to try my luck. One day I stopped at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) office and talked to Art Veolia, fish biologist, and Bob Steel, director of the WDFW, about getting access to the upper lake. Although they were for the idea, the project was not in their budget. I volunteered to tackle the project since I really wanted to fish that lake. In the spring of 2007 I approached our local fly fishing clubs, the Wenatchee Valley Fly Fishers (WVFF) and the Methow Valley Fly Fishers (MVFF) for help funding the project. Both organizations agreed to help. My first task was to identify the owner of the land so we could obtain the permits and raise the funds. After a lot of help from Kem Carr (Lake Chelan Reclamation District) and Steel, the permits were issued in September 2008; it had taken the better part of 15 months. Soon after, I met with the excavator at the lower lake to do an hour or two job on the lower launch. Well, just about the time the operator finished with the work on the lower lake, the bank gave away and the excavator went into the water. That ended the work for 2008. More money was needed and there was no access to the upper lake – and now none to the lower lake. The problem: Where to get the money? I applied to the Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account (ALEA) Volunteer Cooperative Grant Program, funded through the WDFW, for a grant; they were willing to help. In the fall of 2008, while we waited for the grant money, three of us from the WVFF, Gary Bates, Steve Olsen and I, donned our waders and hand-cut a small path to the upper lake. After many hours, we had a path to the upper lake so we could carry our float tubes to sample the fishing. We fished for about an hour and got some brown trout that were in good shape. Things were looking up – we could

hardly wait for spring. In June 2009, I got the word that we would receive the grant but had to wait until July 1, 2009, to begin the project. Finally on July 30, 2009, Don Bolsted, another WVFF member, and I met the excavator at the site. Our plan was to start on the upper lake first, just in case there was a problem. Things went well this time and by the end of August we were about done. The only item remaining was for Steel to inspect the job and write his report to ALEA. After Steel looked at the job, he suggested that because the parking and turn-around area were a little tight we should circle the road around back to meet the incoming road. The additional work would require more money. We had a five-year permit from the WDFW so we had plenty of time. The Upper Columbia Regional Fisheries Enhancement Group (UCRFEG) granted $2,000. In November, we did additional work and made the upper launch wider and completed the lower launch as well. Now it was time to try the fishing. I never thought that it would be as good as it is. This lake had not been fished for many years, so these fish had time to grow to a good size. The crappie were as big as any that I have caught in the state of Washington, and the trout were large and wellfed; all were hot after a fly. Was taking on a project like this worth it? You bet it was, and a fun project as well. The next thing will have to be a club outing. I would like to thank all who helped to make it possible: the Wenatchee Valley Fly Fishers; the Methow Valley Fishers; Bob Steel, director of the WDFW; Art Veolia, WDFW fish biologist; ALEA Grant Program; UCRFEG Grant Program; Don Bolsted; Gary Bates; Steve Olsen; Shawn Sandersen; and Richard Boxleithner. The author and project manager Gilbert Biles is a proud member of the Wenatchee Valley Fly Fishers in Wenatchee, Washington.

FEDERATOR HONORED Williams Receives Top Scout Award By Leah Elwell This winter, Rick Williams of Eagle, Idaho, was honored with the Hornaday Gold Badge, a conservation award from the Boy Scouts of America Ore-Ida Council. The award recognizes adult Scouts for significant conservation efforts in their region and as an adult Scout, Williams provides leadership to youth programs within his Scout council. The Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF) provided the Hornaday nomination to recognize Williams for his outstanding contributions to salmon and trout conservation efforts in the Columbia River Basin. He was also honored with the FFF Leopold Award in 2008 and is a highly active member of the FFF, currently serving on the national board of directors, the conservation committee and casting board of governors. Williams is also a master casting instructor and two-handed casting instructor certified.

Photo courtesy of Rick Williams

Photo courtesy of Gilbert Biles

Gilbert Biles shows a brown trout he caught after gaining access to Antilon Lakes.

The FFF thanks Rick Williams for his contributions and outstanding commitment to fisheries conservation.

Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010


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Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010

streams, lakes and rivers

Favorite fish Atlantic salmon Reason for being a member I caught my first fish on a fly when I was 8 years old using a metal telescoping fly rod with a level fly line. I was fishing with my dad on a lake, and he tied on a fly with white wings, black body and a red tail. Sitting there in a boat I put the fly in the water, which sank after a few minutes, but wham! I caught a crappie. I was hooked. In my early years, I got my own subscription to Field & Stream magazine which had articles about Ted Williams fly fishing for Atlantic salmon. Even then writers talked about conservation. Later, while in high school, I would ride my bike up to Pasadena and browse around Russ Peak’s fly shop. At the Rose Bowl casting pond, I also watched Russ give a fly casting demonstration. In 1967 a friend joined the FFF and loaned me his Flyfisher magazine. There was an article written by Steve Raymond of the Washington Fly Fishing Club about a project they had with the Washington State Department of Fish & Game (WSDFG) on sea run cutthroat. This was for me, so I joined in 1968. Five years later I moved to Seattle and joined the Washington Fly Fishing Club. Back then it was protocol to wear a coat and tie to the meet-

Terry and Roxanne Wilson Authors, speakers available for club events and shows. Slide shows, seminars, and tying demonstrations. Warmwater fly fishing. (largemouth and smallmouth bass, bluegill, and other species) • 417-777-2467

ings. They had their own chef and guest speakers attending like Roderick Haig-Brown, Ernie Schweibert and members of the WSDFG. Even the Seattle Post-Intellingencer newspaper was represented by club member Al Pratt, who was the cartoonist for the paper. Al would make a caricature on his easel of anyone who received an award and present it to them when they left the stage. The Federation has served me well over the years. Whatever happened to me, I always had my friends from the Federation. If you ever get the Federation in your blood, it will be for life.

Memorable fishing experience I met my friend Richard in Cape Cod to fish for stripers, false albacore and bluefish off Monomoy Island. The first day I caught fish, but he did not. The second day I caught more fish, but he still did not. Richard had never fished the salt chuck with wind and a rolling boat before and needed a casting lesson. With the wind in mind we worked on the Belgium cast. Part of his problem was he needed a longer cast. Finally on the last day he hooked his first fish but grabbed the line and the fish broke off. He hooked another fish but it also broke off. So I said to him, “Just let the fish hook itself or I’m going to throw you overboard.” Ten minutes later, he landed his first fish and four thereafter. To this day, we always laugh about our trip to Monomoy Island.

What others say Roger Miller, past president of the Northern California Council, says: “Phil is a certified casting instructor, past president of two FFF clubs, past president of the Northern California Council, winner of the Federation’s Ambassador Award, founder of the Festival of Fly Fishing, and now chairman/president of the Federation. Obviously, Phil has dedicated himself to the betterment of our sport. He gives an inordinate amount of his this time and energy to the Federation, spending at least one week a month at the Federation office in Livingston – no mean trick since he is from California. It’s people like Phil that keep the Federation ticking.”

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

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


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April 2010 FFF Washington State Council 30-1 Fly Fishing Fair Ellensburg, Washington, www.washington

June 2010 FFF Southeastern Council Fly Fishing Show & Conclave Helen, Georgia, Great Lakes Council Fly Fishing School Roscommon, Michigan,

4-5 18-20

August 2010 FFF International Fly Fishing 24-28 Show & Conclave West Yellowstone, Montana,

September 2010 Wild Trout X 28-30 West Yellowstone, Montana FFF Southern Council Conclave 30-2 Mountain Home, Arkansas

October 2010 FFF Great Lakes Council 22-24 Fall Steelhead Outing Wellston, Michigan,

2010 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 $50 fee for Certified Instructor (CI) Testing and $100 fee for Master Instructor (MA) Testing plus a $50 fee if you pass; for Two-Handed Casting Instructor (THCI) there is a $100 test fee plus $50 pass fee. You must also be a current FFF member.

May 7-9 – CI, MA, THCI, Test #1016 Aberdeen, Scotland May 14-16 – CI, MA, THCI, Test #1014 Gyekenyes, Hungary

May 28-30 – CI, MA, THCI, Test #1015 Älvkarleby Fiskecamp, Sweden August 25-26 – CI, MA, THCI, Test #1018 West Yellowstone, Montana



he Fly Tying Group (FlyTying will have its annual barbecue from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday, August 25, in West Yellowstone as part of the Fly Fishing Fair and Conclave. All members of the Fly Tying Group are invited, as well as all demonstration flytiers and spouses. Join the fun, meet your fellow tiers and make a lifelong friend. The event features great food and drink, as well as some outrageous camaraderie and comedy as you see the FFF’s renowned tiers try to tie a fly blindfolded – or the even funnier Team Tying where one tier is the right hand and the other person is the left. Dropped bobbins are nothing compared to hair wings getting out of control! And God save the team member who forgets to save the right amount of head space. The cost for the event is $20 and includes food and 25 bucket raffle tick-


custom flies

ets; there will be a cash bar. While the raffle items are still coming in, we already have several framed plates of Buszek Award winners, gift certificates and lots more. In addition, each tier who brings in a boxed dozen of their own flies will get to choose a box of another tier’s flies, with the order of selection to be decided by a second raffle. Everyone who brings a box of flies wins a box, so be sure to tie up a dozen of your best and you may walk home with a box of Buszek flies or other treasured ties. Information is available online at Remember, this event is open only to demonstration tiers and Fly Tying Group members (memberships are only $20 with the forms at The barbecue is being organized by David Nelson, and Steve Jensen is working on the raffle donations.

Quality flies since 1991

Specializing in Southern Appalachian Stream & Tailrace Patterns At Caylor Custom Flies our goal has always been to tie and sell the highest quality flies possible. This requires using the best quality materials the market has to offer. We process most of our own fly-tying materials to

ensure consistent colors and to reduce expenses. We promise that you can’t purchase a more skillfully crafted fly at any price. Check our website for details and our online store. 828-297-2881 Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010




Photos courtesy of the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame

rizona Fly Casters Club (AFC) in Phoenix, Arizona, sponsored its first Youth Fish Camp Saturday, October 24, 2009. The camp was held at Steele Indian School Park. The Youth Fish Camp dream became reality by utilizing funds from the Steve Lockett Memorial Fund, which was established by AFC. Lockett was the son of longtime member and past president of the AFC, Dennis Lockett. The fund was established with the purpose of developing fly fishing activities for youth. In addition to purchasing supplies, door prizes and treating all participants to lunch, the Memorial Fund provided funds to purchase a special stocking of additional fish to help the kids be successful in catching. Cosponsors of the camp included Arizona Game and Fish Department and Cabela’s. The camp was split into two age groups: ages 8 to 12, and ages 13 to 17. The younger group met in the morning and received instruction on the following topics: fishing safety, “catch and release” philosophy, fishing with a spinning rod, using a bubble and fly, roll casting, and fishing with a fly rod. After all participants were treated to lunch, the older group met and received instruction on the following topics:

safety, “catch and release” philosophy, fly fishing equipment, fly tying, casting instruction, and fishing the flies they tied. Youth were paired with volunteers from AFC and the local chapter of Trout Unlimited. While the kids were at the pond fishing, parents were invited to try casting a fly rod with one of our FFF certified casting instructors. One group member from Arizona Fly Casters members Dennis each age group won a four-piece graphite fly rod Lockett, right, and Jim Rondoni present a donated fly rod to youth camp starter kit as a door prize, participant Mia Boyer. and Cabela’s donated hats for each participant. They also donated 25 spinning rods to AFC which were used with the younger group. This event was highly successful, and it is sure to become a favorite club event!

FFF Members Inducted Into Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame Two FFF members were recently inducted into the Fresh Water Fishing Dick Hart Hall of Fame located in Hayward, Wisconsin. Our two hardworking FFF members are Richard Hart from Dallas, Texas, Frank Moore and Frank Moore from Idleyld Park, Oregon. The Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the education and conservation of freshwater sport fishing throughout the world. Its purpose is to collect, display and maintain the artifacts, heritage and history of freshwater sport fishing in their museum complex for public viewing. Additionally, it recognizes those men and women who have made significant and lasting contributions to freshwater sport fishing through its Hall of Fame program. Hart has served as a volunteer for more than 50 years, rallying conservation efforts to achieve great success in aquatic education, development of youth stewardship, and the promotion of sport fishing in America. Hart sets an example for others to follow and called upon his corporate colleagues and friends to financially support fishing and conservation in his home state of Texas, as well as throughout the nation. Moore has always been a dedicated freshwater fly fisherman of high ethical standards and has been a leader in maintaining the North Umpqua River as a pristine fly fisherman’s dream. It is often stated that you are known by your friends. This statement is self-evident as Moore has always been surrounded by many famous fishermen and women who are proud to call him a friend. For information about the Fresh Water Hall of Fame, visit their website at


Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010



n Germany, this is the fifth year for Experience the World of Flyfishing (EWF), a show that is totally fly fishing. The event took place near Munich on April 17-18, 2010. The show was well-attended with about 3,000 people enjoying the festivities. About 90 well-known exhibitors representing more than 130 high-quality brands were on-site, as well as international personalities, authors, publishers, artists, travel companies and fly fishing schools. In addition, internationally known casting instructors (both single- and doublehanded) and flytiers demonstrated their skills throughout the event. Programs included events for women, beginners and kids, including casting, fly tying, travel and fly fishing. The 3rd Open German Fly Tying Championship was held as part of the show, and winners will be announced when they are determined. The FFF Casting Instructor Certification Program returned to participate in an international certification event called Germany 2010. We all enjoyed the show and certification event! For details about the 2010 EWF as well as an overview of the 2006 to 2009 EWF exhibitions, please visit:

Photo by Ron Robinson

By Doug Benford



ormer Mountain Home, Arkansas, resident, fly fisher and artist Dave Whitlock was honored on April 10, 2010, as the first inductee of the National Trout Hall of Fame located on the campus of Arkansas State University. The first banquet served as a fund-raiser for the Trout Nature Center and included a silent and live auction featuring a “Day with Dave” fly fishing experience in Oklahoma. Whitlock’s art and writing appear regularly in many fly fishing and sport publications such as Fly Fisherman Magazine, Fly Fishing and Tying Journal, Trout Magazine, InFisherman and Field & Stream. He has written four books: “Dave Whitlock’s Guide to Aquatic Trout Foods,” “L.L. Bean Fly Fishing Handbook,” “L.L. Bean Bass Fly Fishing Handbook,” and “Imitating and Fishing Natural Fish Foods” for Lefty’s Little Library. He has also coauthored or contributed to many other books, including “The Flytyer’s Almanac,” “Second Flytyer’s Almanac,” Art Flick’s “Master Fly Tying Guide,” McClane’s “Fishing Encyclopedia,” Migel’s “Stream Conservation Book,” “Masters on the Nymph” and others. Whitlock has illustrated more than 20 books including “Year of the Angler” and “Year of the Trout” plus President Carter’s “Outdoor Journal.” He also demonstrates his fly fishing and teaching skills in eight videos and through guest appearances on televised fly fishing programs. His experience and creative outlook on the whole spectrum of fly fishing have earned him the reputation of being one of the top professional fly fishers in the sport. He has been the recipient of many awards for his fly fishing and fly tying contributions, including the Federation of Fly Fishers’

Conservation Man of the Year Award and the Buz Buszek Memorial Award. In addition, he was given the FFF James E. Henshall Award for his work in warmwater fishing and conservation, and the FFF’s Dave Whitlock is the first inductee of the Ambassador National Trout Hall of Fame. Award for national and international promotion of fly fishing and conservation. One of Whitlock’s most notable contributions to wild trout management and preservation is the Whitlock-Vibert Box System – a unique and efficient in-stream salmonoid egg incubator and nursery device. He spent seven years researching and developing this system, and wrote and illustrated an instructional text, the “FFF Whitlock-Vibert Box Handbook.” Today, under the sponsorship of the Federation of Fly Fishers, this Whitlock-Vibert Box program is used throughout the world for introduction or enhancement of wild trout, char and salmon stocks. Author Christy Case Keirn is the director of marketing and public relations at Arkansas State University, Mountain Home.


tarting in 2008, the Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishers in Port Angeles, Washington, and the Grey Wolf Fly Fishing Club in Gardiner, Washington, have completed several projects to help wounded veterans as part of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) programs. The energy in these clubs will be evident by the volume of projects this group has taken on and completed. Those projects include, but are not limited to, building 250 customhandled, fly tying tool kits (retail value of $115 each) with the help of Wasatch Angling Products. They tied and mounted the flies for a one-of-a-kind fly plate with 16 patterns – each representing a military campaign. After they found out how rewarding it can be to help those veterans

who serve our country, they decided to take them fishing. In the process, they also decided they needed a boat for the veterans to more easily enjoy the experience. If you have not guessed it by now, the next project was to build a 15-foot Rangeley-style boat for the PHWFF groups to use when needed. You might think that would be enough, but they also collected more than 1,000 fly fishing magazines and gave them to the Veterans Hospital at Fort Lewis so that visiting solders have “good” reading material to enjoy while waiting for their appointment. Isn’t it amazing what a dedicated bunch of fly fishers can accomplish when they put their minds together to complete a project? For more information, please visit the Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishers’ Web site,

Photo courtesy of Dean Childs


Photo by Emily Whitlock

By Christy Case Keirn

When completed this spring, the 15-foot Rangeley-style boat built by two Washington clubs will look like this.

Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010


Time to Make Steelhead Rivers a Priority By Will Atlas


hese are hallowed waters – rivers carved by the relentless power of glaciers, born of the rawness of continental uplift, earthquakes, volcanoes and the force of water, gravity and erosion. The mountains tower like Greek titans guarding the rivers that serve as the connection to the vast productivity of the North Pacific feeding grounds. Over the last 10,000 years, as glaciers receded, valleys were formed and rivers became stable in their sinuous channels. Salmon and other species colonized, adapted and filled every niche of these watersheds. The deepbodied, prehistoric-looking summer chinooks; abundant pinks, lacustrine and riverine sockeye; hook-nosed coho, and ferocious, striped chum salmon all call these hallowed waters home. They return annually or in some cases biannually to seed the next generation in the waters of their forebearers and to deposit their offspring and their body nourishment back into

the lifeblood of the river. Steelhead, Pictured is a fine specimen from an unsurpassed race of fish. however, is the greater Puget Sound area have fallen species that draws the most committed on hard times. Urbanization, developfollowing of fly anglers to the banks of ment, forestry, agriculture, hatcheries these mighty rivers. From the bright, and harvest have all withered the once cheerful steelhead who call the canyon mighty runs of steelhead to only a few waters home, to the deep, silvery fish thousand per year. As recently as the of February and March, steelhead 1950s, up to 30,000 wild winter steelhave defined the tradition for anadrohead returned annually to the Skagit mous fish in these waters for more system. Last year there were only 2,500. than 80 years. This is a special race of This year the Skagit closed February 16 steelhead. Large, bright and aggresto protect our few remaining wild fish. sive, the steelhead of the large rivers The other rivers of the Puget Sound of Puget Sound are unsurpassed area closed a couple days later. among the many races of winter steelThese rivers with their magnifihead. On these hallowed waters, piocent wild steelhead, unsurpassed neering anglers have in many ways beauty and raw, hydrologic might have defined steelhead fishing in our state. come to a crossroads: As anglers who The likes of Ralph Wahl, Roderick devote our lives to understanding and Haig-Brown, Wes Drain, Enos Bradner enjoying these systems, we must stand and many more were some of the first up for our beloved wild steelhead. The to fly fish for steelhead on these legstatus quo has and will continue to fail endary streams. in the Puget Sound, and swift action is Today, however, the rivers of the needed to restore the once mighty steelhead to their proper place. It is time to prioritize that which has nourished our sporting traditions and our 60+ Fish Species of the Columbia Basin souls as anglers: wild steelhead, wild country, home waters and wild fish. If yyou’re If ou o u on a quest for fish and the These are hallowed grounds. places p pl lac aces ces they live, Fishes of the Columbia

Identify and Learn How to Catch Basin Basi Ba asi sin n is an indispensable guide.

“Dennis “De Den Den De Dauble has created a guidebook not ott only o o for anglers but for anyone who wants wan wa a to peer into the liquid soul of the Interior.” tthe Ä?VX` C^hWZi! Vji]dg d[

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Will Atlas is cochair of the FFF Steelhead Committee. He holds a Bachelor of Science in aquatic and fisheries science from the University of Washington and is working toward a Master of Science in biology from Simon Fraser University. He is passionate about wild salmon and steelhead, conservation, and angling. Atlas also blogs for the Osprey at

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“I wish this book had been in my tackle box when I moved to the Northwest 30 years ago.” ÄG^X` AVghdc! BVcV\^c\ :Y^idg! Ig^"8^in =ZgVaY Ordering Info - Price: $16.50 plus shipping - Online at - By phone with Visa or MasterCard (or prepay with check)

AVAILABLE FOR SHOWS & CLUB EVENTS Slide shows Seminars Workshops Banquets 800-880-3573


Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010

For information: 410-527-0717 •

Photo by Schuyler Dunphy


Carolyn Dunn



Jack Gartside


ongtime Federator Jack Gartside (1942–2009) passed away peacefully December 5, 2009, in the Bear Hill Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Stoneham, Massachusetts. He had been fighting lung cancer since being diagnosed in October 2008. The initial treatment had been positive, and Jack was able to enjoy several fishing trips in the local area and to Florida during his last summer. Early in the fall, though, it became apparent that the cancer had spread and he was admitted to the hospital. Jack’s skills were legendary for the many FFF members who observed one of his fly tying demonstrations, and his impressionistic patterns fooled fish of all species. The Gurgler, Soft Hackle Streamer, BMG, Gartside

Hopper, Firefly and Sparrow are but a few of the many unique patterns he developed over the years – often with materials discarded or overlooked by others. Anyone lucky enough to have fished with Jack will remember his stealthy, heron-like approach, his efficient casting style, and a repertoire of retrieves that breathed life into his patterns. Even on the slowest of days when you couldn’t “buy a take,” he would keep your spirits up with his enthusiastic chant of “Any minute now, any minute now … ” As many of you know, Jack was truly one of those rare and special people who lived life to the fullest and who captivated so many of us with his infectious charm, enthusiasm, and some truly terrible jokes and pranks. Jack will be hugely missed. For more details, visit his website at or the Federation of Fly Fishers website at Information provided by Iain Sorrell, the Boston Globe and Gartside’s Web site. Please go to for more information.

Allen (Al) Crise


llen Crise from Glen Rose, Texas, passed away February 17, 2010, after a difficult battle with cancer. The Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF) and the fly fishing community lost one of the country’s great fly casting instructors. Al was one of only a few certified master casting instructors in the state of Texas and by far the most active teacher of them all. In his role as vice president of education for the Southern Council of the FFF, he was tireless and heroic in his volunteer work, teaching people of all ages across Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Texas how to fly fish, or how to fly fish better. He had no greater passion than for youth programs, and poured his soul into teaching children to fly fish. Al was also a leading force in the emerging field of therapeutic and adaptive fly casting instruction. He played a very formative and motivational role in Casting for Recovery, Healing Waters

and Reel Recovery programs. His contributions to the use of fly fishing in medicine, psychology, social work and adapted physical education will be felt for many years to come. A gentle and humble man who was always more interested in talking about you than about himself, Al was always eager to listen. He is survived by his wife Nola of 37 years, three daughters, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. This information and photo were provided courtesy of Ken Morrow (kenmorrow.blogspot. com/2010/02/in-memorium-allen-crise.html), Jim Bass and Larry Murphy, vice president of communication of the Southern Council. Please visit for more information.

arolyn Dunn passed away at her home in Lafayette, Louisiana, Sunday, December 20, 2009, with husband Rusty at her side. She was born in 1943 in Yukon, Oklahoma and graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in occupational therapy. Her valued Christian standards were rooted in her early childhood. She lived out her biblical beliefs, volunteering in many areas of her community by helping others less fortunate, through her prayers and her handiwork. Carolyn’s fly fishing interests covered all aspects of the sport. She and Rusty enjoyed fishing for all species in all waters, warm, salt and cold. Her favorite was wild trout. You may have first met Carolyn at one of the FFF conclaves in Livingston, Mountain Home, Lake Charles, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, West Yellowstone or up at one of the Toledo Bend Rendezvous. She was always there studying, learning, teaching fly tying and teaching casting. She was an attractive lady, with a black ponytail and dark rimmed glasses. She was very intense, leaning over her vise while explaining, teaching or willing you to learn how to tie your flies as perfectly as possible. Her own ties were exquisite! As the first FFF female certified casting instructor in Louisiana, Carolyn could often be seen on the casting lawn – teaching, sharing or showing you how to cast perfect loops. She was a serious trout fisher, carefully placing her fly in the best position. Her intense concentration when drifting her fly through a good seam tricked many a trout. Her passion for fly fishing took her and Rusty to many places nationally and internationally, seeking out new fly fishing adventures. Their years living in Alaska, raising their two sons, with a remote primitive cabin for weekend trips was an experience that shaped their interest in fly fishing.

This information was provided by Robert Tabbott from Lafayette, Louisiana.

Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010


OBITUARIES Calvin (Rusty) Gates

John Colburn


ur friend John Colburn, born February 22, 1929, passed away February 26, 2010, in the hospital in Springfield, Illinois. He had had a recent bypass operation and seemed to be feeling much better. His daughter Mona transported him to the emergency room after suffering breathing problems; he seemed to fall asleep and passed soon after. Colburn was a retired U.S. Army Warrant Officer 4 with 20 years active service during which he was an anti-aircraft artillery gunnery instructor. After his military service he attended the University of Texas at El Paso, graduating in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree in education with certification in English and history. He then taught English and reading improvement in the Ysleta Independent School District in El Paso until 1982. He was a director in the Federation of Fly Fishers, as well as council director for three councils – the Western Rocky Mountian, Oregon and MidAtlantic. He wrote articles and edited local and regional newsletters for these same organizations. When Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) was organized, Colburn volunteered to teach fly tying

as a therapy class to injured veterans to help them regain motor skills. Colburn’s work with the FFF and the PHWFF has been recognized with numerous awards. They include the Oregon Council Award of Excellence, Council Federator of the Year, the MidAtlantic Council Award of Excellence, the Lew Jewett Memorial Life Award, and the FFF President’s Pin for his work with PHWFF. The people who knew him from PHWFF loved him. He was preceded in death by a brother, Kenneth Colburn; and is survived by his sisters Marian Smith, Norma Jean Johnson, and children Mona Colburn, Louise Hale, Michael Colburn, Winfield Colburn and nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Burial is at Arlington National Cemetery. Colburn was one of those special people who came into a person’s life and was just always there to help whenever needed. We and all his friends in the FFF will miss him very much. By Gretchen and Al Beatty, with information provided by Ed Nicholson and David Folkerts from PHWFF.

W.R. (Bill) Wright


he Mid-South Fly Fishers (MSFF) lost a friend and treasured board member with the passing of Bill Wright (1949-2010) on Saturday, March 6, 2010. A member of MSFF since 1996, Bill’s contributions to the world of fly fishing are numerous. His artistic touch is present in the past two editions of the “Home Waters” book, on the club Web site, and in the Tight Lines and Tall Tales newsletter that he edited for several years. Bill’s designs were used for the MSFF Home Waters Expo programs, posters and booth layouts. He designed the logos for the Reel Divas and the Knotheads flytiers. An outstanding flytier and photographer, Bill donated much of his artwork to groups for fund-raisers. And


Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010

yes, it was Bill who popped and passed out popcorn at the MSFF booth during conclave! Words cannot express the extent of our loss. We were advised by our founders to look for our lost friends and family in the ripples of the water – no doubt many of us will see Bill when the wake curls just like his fabulous handlebar moustache. Bill requested that any memorial donations go to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund at This information was provided by Kathy Gulley from the Mid-South Fly Fishers Web site.


alvin “Rusty” Gates Jr. passed away December 19, 2009, after a battle with lung cancer. Rusty (“Da Gator”) was a friend to us all, whether or not we knew him personally. Once in a lifetime there is someone who touches your life in so many ways. Rusty Gates was one of those people. His spirit and tenacity had an effect on everyone involved in environmental causes, from hikers to hunters to the many of us who came to northern Michigan to cast a fly. He was a fighter and it was the good fight that Da Gator chose to engage; catch and release on the Holy Waters (Au Sable River), National Guard noise pollution on the North Branch, oil wells on the South Branch, and toxic chemicals on the Big Water. A tap on the shoulder, a glance from those blue/gray eyes, a short conversation; that was usually all it took. We set to our tasks with much vigor, partly from the cause, partly not to let him down. He had all the connections and could accomplish more in a phone call than anyone else could do in six months of work. Where would we be without him these last 20-plus years? A man of character and courage, he brought both – as well as his wry sense of humor – to his final battle with cancer. In the end, only his body gave out; Rusty’s spirit remained indomitable. Rusty has left us as a leader but also left a legacy as big as the river. The vigilance for the environment that he began will go on! He served as president of the Anglers of the Au Sable from its inception in 1987 until 2009. Rusty is survived by his wife, Julie, their children, and a large extended family.

Information from the Anglers of the Au Sable ( and the Gates Lodge ( Web sites. Please go to for more information.

Book Reviews Breakthrough Flies

The Fly-Fishing Predator

The Whale

By Tom Berry, Fishing Fanatic Flies

By Raymond Shewnack

By Philip Hoare

Illustrations by Jerome Hebert Self Published, 2007 8.5" x 11", 103 pages, $40

University of New Mexico Press, 2009 7.0" x 10.0", 86 pages, $24.95 ISBN 978-0-8263-4626-1

The author tells us that his book contains all the flies needed to catch saltwater game fish and more. It gives stepby-step illustrations or photographs that are easy to follow and understand. These flies within these pages are not only beautiful, but they catch fish after fish and are resistant to predator destruction. The materials used in their construction are easy to find in any local store (often in your own kitchen) and are relatively inexpensive. We especially appreciated the page of patterns Berry supplied at the back of the book so we could easily trace and use them as the spoon or other body part on the featured flies. It is available from Tom Berry at Fishing Fanatic Flies, P.O. Box 1157, Fairfield Bay, Arkansas, 72088.

This book offer advice on improving one’s fly fishing experience, no matter how a person measures success. Shewnack begins by examining the tools of the trade, identifying what rods, reels, lines and flies will make angling easier and more efficient. He then addresses skills such as casting, reading the water, choosing a fly, and hooking and landing the fish. Aimed at experienced and novice anglers alike, this illustrated how-to guide invites the fly fisher to hone their hunting skills, sharpen their senses, and shift their perspective from that of an angler to that of a fly-fishing predator. The book is available at

Ecco Books, 2010 5.5" x 8.75", 453 pages, $27.99 ISBN 9780061976216

Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing

Tomorrow’s Fly Fishers

Fishes of the Columbia Basin

By Terry and Roxanne Wilson

Krieger Enterprises, 2009 43 minutes, $29.95

By Dennis D. Dauble Keokee Books, 2009 6.0" x 9.0", 210 pages, $16.50 ISBN 978-1-879628-34-2

The Great Columbia River Plain is a place unlike any other in the United States, with its steep river valleys, broad floodplains, rolling grassland and barren, rocky slopes known as scabland. Within this region are the streams, rivers and lakes that make up most of the interior Columbia Basin. These waterways support diverse fish populations. In “Fishes of the Columbia Basin,” fisheries biologist Dennis Dauble draws on more than three decades of professional experience and a lifetime as a fisherman to cover more than 60 fish species found in the region. Although this is not a fly fishing-targeted publication, it is an incredible guidebook of value to every fly fisher who offers a fly to those creatures that swim within the Columbia Basin waters.

Illustrated by Lefty Wilson Leathers Publishing, 2007 6.0" x 9.0", 191 pages, $19.95 ISBN 978-1-58597-431-3

The native smallmouth bass is thought by many to be freshwater’s hardest fighting, most exciting game fish. This book guides the angler to greater fly fishing enjoyment and success with this tailwalking fighter through an understanding of shallow, mid-depth and deep water tactics. Within the nine chapters are specialized presentations, flies from the nation’s most creative flytiers and smallmouth experts, with information on the effects of weather changes, water clarity, and the habits of still or moving water fish. The authors present an interesting and organized writing style based on nearly a century of combined fly fishing experiences. This is a must-have book for the fly fisher who wants to expand their smallmouth horizons.

“The Whale: In Search of the Giants of the Sea” is Philip Hoare’s investigation of animals we know little about. The author takes the reader deep into the world of this fascinating creature by journeying through human and natural history and taking us deep into the domain of this the large, incredible animal. “The Whale” is an unforgettable and often moving attempt to explain why these strange and beautiful creatures exert such a powerful hold on our imagination. This book is not about fly fishing, but it is an excellent read for those looking to better understand some of the important aspects this creature brings to our environment.

By Fanny Krieger and Friends

“Tomorrow’s Fly Fishers” is an easy-to-follow, instructional DVD adventure that a person can share again and again with children of all ages. Within the 43-minute DVD that includes bonus chapters on advanced fly fishing, Fanny Krieger introduces the sport of fly fishing to her four grandchildren with the help of three friends. Together the four unravel the mystery of fly fishing in a simple, easy-tounderstand and fun adventure. Krieger shares the fly-fishing adventure; Rachel Andras introduces the world of bugs and flies; Tim Rajeff demonstrates the fine art of fly casting; and Lori-Ann Murphy takes them fishing. This is a must-have DVD to help introduce children to the wonders of fly fishing and the great outdoors. Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010



Leave a

Legacy Feel good today about the gift you leave tomorrow. By making a deferred gift to the FFF Foundation, you will help to ensure the sport you love is fostered and kept thriving with our future generations. The principal of your gift will remain in the Foundation to fund youth education, conservation and scholarship support. In addition, there are attractive income and/or estate tax benefits. The FFF Foundation was established in 1995 as a 501(c)(3) public charitable foundation and is managed by an independent board of trustees.

For further information contact Josset Gauley at FFF headquarters in Livingston, Montana, telephone (406) 222-9369.










The Federation of Fly Fishers Foundation, Inc. Post Office Box 1688 Livingston, MT 59047





Katrina Effect

Hurricane-created flats turned what was a disaster into a fly fishing paradise. Story and photos by Tom Tripi



he name Katrina invokes many thoughts and memoto the “old-timers,” lifelong shrimpers and fishermen of the ries. And they are relived on almost every drive area who wouldn’t think about leaving their home for a hurthrough New Orleans, whether to work or on the ricane – and never did. They were never seen again. way to a favorite fly fishing haunt, Bayou Loutre in St. We finally load up a 24-foot bay boat for a 30-minute Bernard Parish. ride into the marsh. On the way, our guide twists and turns My commute includes a ride through areas containing around underwater obstructions including boats, remnants of many vacant “skeletons” of houses that once were homes. camps, etc. – all ruins of the hurricane. We arrive with a few They stand completely gutted and useless. And when I say tinges of a red sunrise still in the sky and enter a former “many,” I mean entire city blocks upon city blocks of dead-end canal that now opens into a gorgeous flats area. houses. Then you arrive in St. Bernard, Katrina’s bull’s-eye; Where we’re anchored, there’s just enough light to see the entire neighborhoods remain vacant and only concrete slabs bottom. I note the subtle waving of underwater grass and all remain. I pass by an FFF Life Member and close friend’s of the brown roots. We had come out on a high tide that former residence. He lost three houses and his business in was now falling. Fishing should be great. 12 feet of floodwater and now lives in Baton Rouge, along I asked the guide about the brown roots. “Oh, they with 20,000 or so used to be on dry other former area ground, just like the “A few years ago this entire area (a few hundred yards in each residents. bank over there,” he Finally, I’m out direction) was dry land and marsh grass,” he said. “Now it’s in said. “Katrina just of residential areas washed it away.” and into scenic Then he two feet of water and it’s teeming with bull reds and specks.” bayou vistas. The stunned me. “In highway winds along fact, a few years ago miles of narrow, unnamed bayous and ditches – all of which this entire area (a few hundred yards in each direction) was can contain redfish, specks and bass. However, as dawn dry land and marsh grass,” he said. “Now it’s in two feet of sheds enough light, more skeletons become visible. Shrimp water and it’s teeming with bull reds and specks.” And boats with only their masts sticking out of the water, teeming, it was. I could see three separate schools of reds stripped docks, and dead, twisted, live oaks dot the side of tailing along the shoreline for snails and small crabs and the road. And groups of 6-foot-high pilings mark the locaspecks after shrimp near the surface. This had become a fly tions of former weekend fishing camps. I guess that’s what fishing paradise! 100 mph winds and saltwater intrusion can do. I carried four 9-foot rods that day, two 6-weights with 6I finally get to the fishing village of Hopedale and pull and 7-weight lines, an 8-weight and a 10-weight (for a few into Bayou Charters. I see the telephone poles where Capt. eagerly anticipated bull reds). The leaders were designed Charlie Thomason had shown me the 25-foot storm surge and hand tied for today and the heavier flies we planned to mark (that’s 25 feet above the road!). Nearby is a memorial use. The leaders were 10-footers with 2-foot tippets; the light-

Sunrise on the marsh – what a way to start a morning of fly fishing! It’s hard to believe this entire bay averages 4 to 6 feet in depth.

est were 0X’s, and the heavier ones were tapered to 0.017 or so. We were fishing in fairly clean water, so seaweed and algae was not a problem on the knotted leaders. Our flies were a mixed bag. Jimmy Newton, my fishing partner, favored flashy spoons. I liked my minnow imitations, but my favorite is a realistic brackish water shrimp. It was quickly proven that color was not a problem this morning. Newton was using a gold spoon with a chartreuse tail, while I used a silver spoon with a pink marabou tail. We both had hits immediately! The reds were still hugging the shoreline in less than a foot of water. Casting our 1/0 spoons almost onto the bank was the key. There was just enough commotion while dragging the spoon back into the water to get a red’s attention. These fish were keepers, just over 20 inches, but they weren’t the fish we were looking for. While Newton worked the reds, I tried my hand on a few specks. Most of the local school appeared to be 2pounders. This was a perfect situation for a light 6-weight rod and a small, size 2 shrimp (a slimmer version of Cheryl’s Brackish Water Shrimp – see FFF’s “Fly Pattern Encyclopedia,” page 204). This pattern is fished as an in-thefilm fly. It floats just under the surface, is easier to see and follow during short retrieves, and there is a better chance of a hookup after a trout’s lightning-fast strike. I lightly dropped the shrimp about 2 feet in front of a moving school, allowed it to sink an inch or so, then began to strip-in with very short (1 inch or so) twitches. The idea is to create just enough fly motion to make the fuzzy marabou come to life. Trout usually can’t resist this fly as it resembles a resting shrimp, an easy mouthful of protein for any hungry trout. Although the reds and specks were cooperating, we still had visions of bull reds dancing in our heads. So off to the “deep” water we went. During the short ride, we saw school upon school of shrimp snapping the surface, followed by hordes of smaller, speckled “school trout.” The number of fish in this area was amazing. In the distance, we saw the school trout scatter, a sure sign of a giant black drum or jack crevalle. We were A “full dress” 5/0 Brackish Water Shrimp is a very popular mouthful (8 inches long) with local trout. (See tying instructions in FFF’s “Fly Pattern Encyclopedia”) And the Mohawk Spoon is one of the author’s most effective flies for redfish and bass. (See tying instructions in FFF’s “Patterns of the Masters,” Vol. 6)

now in deeper water, 4 to 5 feet, and from its taste, it was slightly saltier. I say deeper, as this area was formerly a shallow flats a few years back. Katrina also affected the depth of water in the area, as well. I then realized that we were anchored in an area of about a half-square mile. To our left was, thanks to Katrina, a protected shallow marsh for fish, both game and prey, to spawn. Adjacent was a flats that had sparkling clear water, was no more than a foot deep, and had a scattering of grass here and there. And we were sitting in the deeper water where the big boys cavorted. There was even a pair of porpoises in the distance. One could fish this area every day


Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010

and never want for more! It was getting near midday. We had one last chance for a few bull reds. I started casting a really large 3/0 shrimp pattern, and Newton fished his gold spoon. We had hits immediately, but no real takes. Newton’s next cast resulted in a boil just behind his fly. A big fish was on. The guide theorized it was a large, black drum. He had worked these waters the day before and his charter took several over 25 pounds. Newton was using my 9-foot 10-weight. The fish was sawing back and forth, staying on the bottom. The rod was basically bent 90 degrees during the 15-minute fight. The fish then doubled back under the boat, with the rod scraping the entire edge of the hull. Our guide was waiting with his huge landing net already part of the way in the water. Newton was beginning to wear out. I began to wonder, Did I ever send in the warranty card on that rod? The fish finally started to fatigue and surfaced! It was a huge bull red – at least a 25-pound fish. Its next pass near the boat was his last, and he was in the net. Newton’s arm hung limp. It was our last and best fish of the day. There have always been unimaginable numbers of excellent game fish in the marshes of southeast Louisiana. The devastation of Katrina just gave them more quality areas to move around. For a few years after the storm, I cruised around looking for new hot spots because many of my old ones had disappeared! Areas of particular interest to me are along the major lakes that have both cypress and marshy shorelines, in particular Lake Maurepas, located just west of Lake Pontchartrain. Lake Maurepas only experienced a 5foot storm surge but suffered through the 90-mph winds of Katrina. Its shoreline is now littered with the remains of tall cypress trees, many snapped in two or uprooted. The brackish water marsh along its shoreline suffered as well. Saltwater intrusion affected most of its vegetation but not to the extent evident in the marsh south of New Orleans. A definite benefit is that Lake Maurepas seems to have been discovered by many fish as an excellent spawning area. I’ve never seen the numbers of immature speckled trout, bass and jacks as I’ve seen there since the storm. And the myriad of 10- to 12-inch jacks is amazing. Last summer while fishing the shoreline of a hurricanewidened bay, the surface suddenly exploded with hundreds of “porpoising” jacks, some almost jumping into the skiff. Epilogue: Prior to this particular trip last summer, I had been researching the “Katrina Effect” in many of the shallow estuaries of the Mississippi River Delta. My duck hunting friends who still lease large tracts of land a few miles from Hopedale, as well as in southwest Louisiana, tell me that since the storm they had lost 50 percent of their marsh grass and land area, and some of their boats, boat sheds and camps as well. The ducks have returned, but the hunters received one unexpected bonus: Their brackish water ponds are now populated with transplanted 4- to 5-pound largemouths! They now shoot in the early morning and fish in the late morning. I’m told the bass take anything gold – either on fly or spin tackle. And they have to fight off reds in order to catch bass!


Another “Katrina Effect” is that the bottoms of existing ponds and lakes in the marsh were carved out, creating deeper holes and channels – great for cold-weather holdover fish. Deep underwater trenches were formed by the fast-moving storm surge that scoured the water bottoms. The end result in these areas is very noticeable, especially when using the new (and free) online aerial photography programs available after Katrina. However, not all of that soil, shell and oyster reefs, and grassy beds were lost. Some material was transplanted to nearby areas, creating new aquatic environments. The remaining bed lies lost in the Gulf. Based on various sources Katrina removed approxi-

A private Southwest Louisiana lease area ravaged by Hurricane Rita produced this typical 5-pound bass taken by Pete Freeman (above left). The area’s outlet to the Gulf was severed by the storm producing ponds that now contain both reds and bass in mildly brackish water. Above is Jimmy Newton with his 25-pound redfish, caught on a gold spoon fly. Another large bay where all marsh lands have finally subsided create a substantial shallow water estuary just off Lake Borgne (left). It’s a great fishery for everything from reds and specs to tarpon. Note the pilings in the foreground, the remnants of a former fishing camp. Below is a typical grassy marsh, most of which will probably subside in a year or so. Pocket water in the foreground was filled with tailing reds and shrimp.

mately 80 square miles of Louisiana marsh. That is four times the average loss in the entire state within a year. The overall storm effect for the short term from a marine/aquatic life standpoint has been good. However, whether by natural or manmade causes, we are losing our wetlands. And although a great fishing environment may have been created, we are left very vulnerable to the next Katrina-like storm. 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. Not only is Tom an interesting and talented person, but editors appreciate the fact he always comes through when asked to work on a project.

Flyfisher Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010


The Most Amer


After nurturing the

growth of a country for more than two centuries, the

Potomac is still a

great bass, stripers and shad fishery.

Story and photos by Beau Beasley

he Potomac River has been called America’s River – and with good reason.

The nation was birthed on its banks, and its waters remain the lifeblood of the nation’s capital to this day. Named after the Indians who lived on its banks, the Potomac River flows through Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, and has been a source of food and entertainment for over 200 years. The Potomac River supplies 486 million gallons of drinking water per day to the residents of Washington’s metropolitan area and stretches nearly 400 miles before it reaches its final destination of Chesapeake Bay. In 1608, Capt. John Smith sailed up what we now know as the Potomac River. What he recorded about his adventures laid the groundwork for pilgrims and other settlers who would travel from Europe to see the New World. Among the many entries that Captain Smith made in his log, none more colorfully describes the Potomac River basin fishery than his observation that the fish were “lying so thick with their heads above water, (that) for want of nets we attempted to catch them with a frying pan.” Almost every American schoolchild knows the story of young George Washington chopping down a cherry tree. But maybe what he was really after was a good, solid fly rod.

ican of Rivers In the late 1700s, Washington could see the tremendous shad migration in the Potomac from his riverside home at Mount Vernon, Virginia. He had seen similar migrations of shad and stripers on the banks of the Rappahannock where he grew up on his family farm. Each year, shad leave the Chesapeake Bay and migrate up the Potomac in search of their native spawning grounds. The most famous of our founding fathers, George Washington was also the first commercial fishing operator on the Potomac. Historical records indicate that he made a great deal of money selling pickled Potomac River shad by the barrel, with more of it going to Great Britain, ironically, than to anyone else. On the heels of the shad come the stripers. Also known as rockfish or linesides, striped bass are the most famous fish of the Chesapeake Bay, and the Potomac is also a major spawning ground. Sought after for their delicate flesh, stripers weighing up to 60 pounds were not uncommon in colonial times. Anglers still pursue them today, but restrictions limit which fish they can keep. In effect, the Potomac belongs to Maryland, and the state does not look kindly on poaching. Check with local authorities about what is legal. Although Virginia and Maryland have reciprocal Potomac River fishing licenses, having a license from both

Below a host of boats near the historical Fletcher’s Boat House, Tidal Potomac Fly Rodders founder Dan Davala fishes the Potomac River from shore. Most people would never think this picture was taken just minutes from downtown Washington, D.C.

states prevents most misunderstandings. If you are fishing in the district, you will need a district fishing license, which runs about $10. The Potomac changes dramatically on its journey to the Chesapeake Bay. In fact, anglers might consider it two different rivers – the upper and lower Potomac, divided at Chain Bridge, a local thoroughfare that connects Virginia and the District of Columbia. The upper Potomac is easy to wade in several locations and is a hot spot for recreational tubers. Anglers on the upper Potomac catch smallmouth bass, red-eyed bass, bluegill, walleye and the occasional rainbow trout. Rapids and falls, including tourist-friendly Great Falls, mark this portion of the river. The lower Potomac, often referred to as the tidal Potomac, is a completely different ball game. The water slows here, exceeds 80 feet in depth in some places, and can be up to 10 miles wide. The river becomes brackish and inherits tidal floods because of its proximity to the Chesapeake Bay. Here is where you are most likely to catch stripers in the spring and fall. Not a striper fan? Then try your hand at the Potomac largemouth bass, which can easily exceed 8 pounds. I have also seen gar greater than 3 feet in length. And if you’re fishing slow and deep enough, your fly could be ambushed by a catfish. If the lower Potomac intrigues you, go it alone by renting a flat-bottomed boat or canoe from Fletcher’s Boat House, an established anglers’ hangout since the 1850s (

The last time I fished this section of the Potomac near Fletcher’s, I did so with Dan Davala, the fishing manager from the Orvis store in Arlington, Virginia, and founder of the Tidal Potomac Fly Rodders. This new FFF club is growing like mad and has a good presence at the Jim Range Congressional Casting Call, which occurs on the banks of the Potomac each spring. The Congressional Casting Call is a chance for those in the fly fishing industry to meet with political leaders and take them fishing; the thought behind this event is that lawmakers will consider the environment more important once they tag into a few healthy fish. Although I had fished the lower Potomac from a boat just a few weeks before, Davala and I decided to change our approach by simply walking upstream from Fletcher’s Boat House and stopping every time we felt like we had good access to fish. Davala was using a new Orvis Spey rod and was wearing out the local shad. Though I’d never done it before, I was convinced by Davala to give Spey casting a try, and I landed a few shad and one massive perch – it was nearly 3 inches long. It was a darn good thing I had a rod that topped 13 feet, since I needed all that leverage to land that perch. Davala and I had a good laugh; we released the fish, and then he shared with me what thousands of anglers in the metro area don’t know: “This is a great river, Beau. It’s just oddly overlooked by folks who drive right by it, maybe because they see it every day.

The crazy thing is I have guys in the store all the time who say they’re driving two or even three hours to go fishing. That’s just nuts. They can fish all they want right here and spend all that time fishing instead of driving.” Since the Tidal Potomac Fly Rodders are growing by leaps and bounds, it would appear Davala is doing a good job of spreading the word about the lower Potomac. Back on the river, when fishing for stripers and shad you need to be prepared for anything. The shad will often short-strike because their mouths can be too small to get around the gap of a larger hook. If you feel yourself getting strikes but not hooking up, drop down a hook size or two. If you still aren’t having much luck, be sure to look for moving water. This is almost always where you’ll locate the shad, and below them you’ll find the stripers. Trust me, when that striper hits, you won’t wonder if you had a strike, and you’ll be glad you brought a good reel. One more thing that anglers fishing the lower Potomac need to know: This is a deadly river, and you shouldn’t come here without proper shoes with good soles, and a proper flotation device. While Davala and I fished, the local District of Columbia Fire Department and U.S. Coast Guard were both patrolling the area looking for a person who was swept away by the river’s fierce current. Sadly, a few days later they found the missing person who had taken his final fishing trip. Potomac River gear is straightforward. A 9-foot 8-weight makes a good all-around rod; weight-forward, floating

Fletcher’s Boat House (above left) has drawn anglers since the 1850s. Of the many fish found in the Potomac, shad like this one (above right) are great fun on a fly rod and are only moments away from anglers near the nation’s capital. Some of the best flies the author has found productive (from top to bottom, and left to right in middle photo) are Dubiel’s Reducer, Walt’s White Popper, copper Krelex Fly, Tommy’s Torpedo, Clouser Minnow and Dover Peach.


Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010

fly lines are effective for surface flies; and you’ll need 200- to 300-grain sinking lines to get to shad and stripers. I like Airflo’s Depth Finder series of lines when I really want to get deep. These lines sink like crazy and come in a wide variety of sink rates. Not all of us are keen on getting into boats or a canoe, so for those who can find a good rock to cast from, you may want to try Airflo’s polyleaders, which can also quickly put you in the strike zone. These leaders come in a full range of sizes and lengths and allow anglers the option of adding a fast-sinking leader to the end of their floating line, thereby dodging the additional expense of a sinking line. While you won’t be dredging bottom by any means, you will be in a good position to locate fish. The flies you choose to fish on the Potomac depends on what species you’re targeting. For shad, I recommend Tommy’s Torpedo Fly tied by longtime angler Tom Mattioli (804-3142672). Relatively new to the market, this fly’s small body and bright gold tail are tremendously effective. For bass and other warmwater fish, try Clouser Minnows and Jay Sheppard’s Patuxent and Super Patuxent Special. Another good pattern is Dubiel’s Reducer, a pattern originally created for North Carolina redfish, but stripers seem to like it as well. Stripers often go for large poppers when they are surface feeding in the morning. Tossing poppers here and there when fish are breaking the surface is a great option. When they go deep, tempt them back into action by throwing Joe Bruce’s Bay Anchovy.

Anglers can fish the Potomac River from shore as Dan Davala did to catch this shad, but they must be cautious. The current is known to take lives, so proper gear is absolutely necessary.

The Bay Anchovy mimics the many baitfish on which stripers feed. To get the latest skinny on the river, there are several fly shops near the lower Potomac that can give you some insight. The closest by far is the Urban Angler in Arlington (800-8002018), followed by Orvis Arlington (703-465-0004), Orvis Tyson’s Corner (703-556-8634), and L.L. Bean, also at Tyson’s (703-288-4466). Staff at any of these shops will be glad to help you, and some may even provide a lead on guides, which is always a good investment on a new river. America’s River has a lot to offer today’s angler, from the deep tidal Potomac near Washington, to the area

around historic Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, where the Civil War gained great impetus. If bass, stripers and shad don’t excite you, head north to the great state of Maryland and tangle with a few, hard-fighting rainbows. While the river may not be what it was in Capt. John Smith’s day, the average angler will find it enjoyable. You owe it to yourself to grab a rod and see what you can discover for yourself. Beau Beasley ( is the author of “Fly Fishing Virginia: A No Nonsense Guide to Top Waters,” and director of the Virginia Fly Fishing Festival ( Word on the street is he’s signed on with his publisher to do a new book. We believe he may be doing “research” on the Potomac right now.

Gunnison’s Whirling Disease -Resistant Rainbows By Gale Doudy

After years of struggle, the Gunnison River rainbow trout are making a comeback, but not without a great deal of help.


fforts of the Gunnison Gorge Anglers and the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) are proving to help restore a fishery once destroyed by whirling disease. The end game of cooperation between club members and the DOW could very well be a strain of rainbow trout that reproduce naturally and are also resistant to the devastating disease. No matter what unfolds in coming years, the fishing is much improved on one section of the Gunnison River. Dan Kowalski, area aquatics biologist for the Colorado DOW, headed up the fifth annual Gunnison River fish stocking on October 18, 2007. Volunteers from Gunnison Gorge Anglers (GGA) FFF/TU club helped the DOW stock 66,000 Hofer/Gunnison River rainbow cross fingerlings along a four-mile stretch of the Gunnison River between the North and Smith forks of that river near Pleasure Park, Colorado. The German Hofer is a fast-growing, domesticated fish.


Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010

In the 1800s the Kamloops rainbow strain from the Columbia River system was transported to Germany, where it eventually evolved into the Hofer strain. Because whirling disease is rampant in Germany, these fish were reared in whirling disease positive waters and over time they eventually developed a resistance to the parasite. The DOW is hopeful that this cross between the Gunnison River and Hofer rainbow trout will develop a whirling disease-resistant strain of fish that survives and repopulates in the wild. They report on their Web site: Rainbow trout are not native to Colorado, and the Colorado River rainbow trout is a wild strain that is a result of federal, state and private stocking in the early 1900s in Colorado. This strain did very well in rivers in Colorado until the spread of whirling disease. The Colorado River rainbow trout strain is highly susceptible to the parasite. Our breeding program is designed to retain


the maximum wild genes possible in the any natural cover. Particular attention is new broodstock, while conferring resistance paid to avoiding prime brown trout to whirling disease to this strain. This will waters, such as weed beds and deep help maintain wild behavior in the fish runs. When they run out of fingerlings and result in more successful natural they pull over to the side of the river spawning and survival. and wait for a jet boat to replenish Every spring volunteers from GGA their supply. assist the DOW with milking Gunnison Experience has taught the The author loads fingerling trout in his raft River rainbows. The sperm and eggs club/DOW team members that two peoassisted by an employee of the Colorado are then transported to the Rifle, ple per raft is a minimum and three parDivision of Wildlife. Colorado, fish hatchery where they are ticipants is even better. Three people crossed with the Hofer rainbows. The plan is that eventually per raft allows for one to refresh the water in the tank, the female Hofer and the male Gunnison River rainbow another to plant fish and the third to row the raft. The club crosses will live to 3 years of age (sexual maturity for rainhas tested different methods of keeping oxygen in the water. bows) so they can reproduce a strain of trout resistant to They have found employing the process of continually movwhirling disease. In the past this disease has killed all of the ing new water in while the old water seeps out through the recruitment of young rainbows for the last 13 years in the holes in the tank to be the most effective, producing a much Gunnison Gorge. Every year there are good numbers of fry, higher survival rate in the young fish. but by the end of the summer they have all been killed by The DOW has selected this section of the Gunnison this devastating parasite; they never survive to the 4-inch Gorge as a test area. By using the club members to disperse length needed to solidify their cartilage into bone and conthe fish, they are experiencing a much higher survival rate tinue their lives. of the fingerlings than using other methods. The team has The fingerlings stocked by the GGA were all products accomplished a 50 percent-plus survival rate using the disof this cross. All of the planted fingerling crosses have had persal system, whereas dumping fish in one or two locations their adipose fin clipped off for easy identification; club from a truck produces an expected survival rate as low as 5 members assisted the DOW with the fin-clipping task the percent. Even worse, stocking them from a helicopter is week before the stocking project. much more expensive ($700 or more per hour) and is even The method of stocking used on the Gunnison River harder on the fish. In many instances the survival rate using was developed by the club and DOW team members in a helicopter is much less than 5 percent. 2002. They employ several rafts equipped with 70 gallon (100 All indications show this method of stocking is providgallon models don’t fit well in the rafts) Rubbermaid horse ing great results; subsequent years are showing signs of natutroughs. Self-bailing rafts are preferred as holes are drilled 6 ral reproduction. “Apparently some rainbow trout fry born

Stocking by helicopter (left) or truck substantially reduces the fingerling survival rate to less than 5 percent, versus about 50 percent using the Gunnison Gorge Anglers’ dispersal method. With the dispersal method, the jet boat first delivers the drift boats upriver in a no road section, then follows with loads of fish for the club members to disperse along the banks. The actual dispersing involves three people in the boat; one person to refresh the trough water, one to stock the fish and the last to run the boat. Gently placing fingerlings near cover greatly improves their survival rate.

inches from the top of the troughs to allow water to seep out and exit the boat through the floor. Before developing the drilled-trough, self-bailing raft concept, the oxygen-depleted water had to be continually dipped out of the trough and then refreshed with water from the river via 5-gallon buckets. It was a tough but important task. Kowalski instructs all stockers: “Keep the water fresh. If they (the fingerlings) start coming to the surface for air, get them planted fast.” The process is fairly simple but labor intensive. The rafts start their trip down the river with a load of several hundred fingerlings in the horse trough. As the rafts drift down the river, the club members plant four or five fingerlings every 10 to 15 feet, positioning them close to the bank and near

in 2006 have survived. It would be great news if testing confirms this,” said Kowalski. “The goal for this experiment is for the fish to grow to adults and reproduce themselves.” Several years have passed since the first days of this project, and the Gunnison Gorge Anglers and the Colorado DOW are now reaping the fruits of their labor. As a club member recently stated, “It sure feels good to have a large Gunnison River rainbow on the line again.” Gale Doudy from Austin, Colorado, is a longtime Federation supporter. At the time this project started, he was president of the Gunnison Gorge Anglers and a driving force. He is pleased to report catching many rainbows over 20 inches this year. For more information on the club, visit

Flyfisher Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010


The Wilsons’ Favorites Five Dry Flies for Smallmouth Bass

Story and photos by Terry and Roxanne Wilson


or those of us who love bronzebacks, catching them on the surface is the very essence of our sport. Poppers offer exciting action and floaters/divers account for memorable battles as well, but too often these artificials are ignored by the smallmouths even as visible signs of surface feeding persist. When a heavy insect hatch creates regular rises of feeding fish with noisy splashes or swirls on the water’s surface, it may signal that dry fly fishing is the order of the day. In the spring, caddisfly and mayfly hatches can be prolific across much of the smallmouth’s range, just when crayfish and minnows of edible size are less available. Matching the hatch can be very productive and can grant its own rewards, but smallmouths are generally much less demanding about specific replication than trout. That said, over the years we’ve been more successful with impressionistic patterns. Because smallies don’t always stay in feeding lanes and rise regularly as expected in classic dry-fly trout fishing, we often target the water downstream from the fastest flow. This slower water enables feeders to cruise the pool in an attempt to grab as many duns as possible. If the bass’s movements are visible, it’s possible to anticipate its speed and direction so a fly can be dropped in its path. If the feeders are unseen, however, casting blindly often works. Try to get the best dead drift possible, but intermit-


Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010

tently impart a quivering action by gently shaking the rod tip. Toward the end of the drift accentuate this technique by lifting the rod tip and skittering the fly across the surface. This imitates the movements of naturals as they struggle to escape their nymphal shucks, oviposit their eggs on the surface or engage in mating flights. To achieve the desired quivering and skittering action we like very high-riding patterns that we double dress with floatant, then blow dry to maintain good floatability. We’ve narrowed our dry fly selections for smallmouth bass to five basic patterns: Improved Sofa Pillow, Grasshopper, Elk Hair Caddis, Irresistible and Humpy. When caddisflies are hatching in abundance, try tying on an Elk Hair Caddis in a color to match the naturals and, unless the bass are being picky as to size, try to get by with a fly that’s larger than those coming off the water. It will attract more attention and facilitate the quivering and skittering technique, but always be open to dropping down in size if hookups aren’t forthcoming. Sizes 8 through 12 dominate our selections as naturals smaller than 12s are usually targeted only by smaller bass unless the hatch is prolific. If the water’s flow is slow enough to allow adequate line control, caddises can be fished upstream and the angler can still manipulate the fly to achieve a quivering action. Skittering, on the other hand, can most efficiently be accom-

The five basic dry flies we always carry with us to the stream are Improved Sofa Pillow, Grasshopper (pictured on top, left to right), Elk Hair Caddis, Irresistible and Humpy.

plished on a down-and-across presentation because lifting the rod tip and sweeping it to one side is easiest at the end of the drift. In that position, slack line is not created by the fly’s drift. Mayflies are numerous during the warm months and any of their imitations are likely to fool smallmouths that are cruising pools to gobble up as many as possible. The pattern Irresistible, however, does the best job of maintaining its floatability throughout the action imparted by the angler, cast after cast. The clipped and shaped deer hair body with fully dressed hackle provides a durable and high-floating mayfly imitation that has proven its value with surface feeding smallmouths. Colors of the Irresistible should match the naturals, but one of our favorites is the white fly hatch, which occurs on our waters throughout September. Larger sizes are preferable, as is the case with caddisfly patterns. Size 8 is a good first choice, but it’s also wise to carry smaller sizes if the bass don’t respond. From late spring throughout the summer and well into autumn, sun-loving damselflies are constantly in motion near emergent vegetation and bankside brush. Damselflies feed heavily on other insects, but are inferior fliers as compared to the larger dragonflies that occupy much of the same territory. Since they capture them more easily, the smallies feed ravenously on these delicate-looking insects. We match the adult damselflies with our own version of the Sofa Pillow, originally tied to match the large stonefly hatches on Western trout streams. The elongated body of this pattern lends itself to the quivering and skittering tactics we employ. Our Improved Sofa Pillows are usually tied with a blue, green or burnt orange body on TMC 5262 hooks in sizes 4 through 8. To fish them, we like to wade downstream alongside a weedbed and make short casts down and across at about a 30-degree angle. Allow the fly to dead-drift a few feet before skating it across the surface with a series of erratic twitches. The movement of the fly often triggers a strike, but watching smallies chase the fly across the surface is its own reward. Late summer through autumn is “hopper time.” Many species of grasshoppers can fly. Some even migrate, but all are vulnerable to being blown onto the water on a windy day or simply making fatal jumps, and they offer enough bulk to trigger a feeding binge by some real heavyweight bronzebacks. There are many hopper patterns available, and so long as the one you choose floats reliably and resembles the naturals, they will entice some exuberant strikes. We prefer a foam-bodied, bullethead pattern that utilizes knotted pheasant tail feather fibers as legs tied on a TMC 200R hook in sizes 6 through 10. For best results, fish hopper patterns near the banks that grow tall grasses (as opposed to trees) and retrieve the fly erratically in short strips to replicate the struggles of the naturals. Arkansas guide and renowned angling artist Duane Hada once advised us, “Don’t fool smallmouths, just feed them.” Excellent advice – and the four impressionistic patterns previously discussed are designed to do exactly that. But how many times have you approached your favorite waters and stood on the bank to assess the day’s circum-

stances only to discover that there’s no hatch coming off, no damselflies, no hoppers, and no discernable surface movement of feeding fish? Your choices are but two: 1. Select a subsurface pattern or 2. Tie on an attractor pattern in an attempt to draw smallmouths to the surface. Before giving up on that surface action that so satisfies your dry-fly soul, we would recommend trying an attractor pattern first. The attractor pattern

that has most often enticed surface feeders for us when none were previously visible is the Humpy. We prefer size 8 Arkansas guide and fly angling artist Duane Hada with a body color of advises, “Don’t fool either yellow or red. Try smallmouths, just feed casting to the inside edge of a back them.” Excellent advice. eddy and let the Humpy ride the slowing current. Just as with all the other patterns, we fish them on the dead drift and impart quivering and skittering action intermittently. These five patterns have been consistent smallmouth catchers for us for many years. If they don’t work, it’s time to get down into the water column with a wet fly to probe the bronzebacks’ hideouts. That can be fun as well, but a topic for another discussion. Terry and Roxanne Wilson of Bolivar, Missouri, are longtime Flyfisher contributors focusing on warmwater fly fishing. For more articles, tips or to schedule them to speak at your club, visit their website at or e-mail them at

Flyfisher Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010


Fishing Spruce Moth the Western

By Bill Toone


For most fly fishers, the Mother’s Day caddisfly hatch or the salmonfly hatch are the mustfish events of the year. While these can be highly productive hatches, for me the must-fish event of the year is the spruce moth hatch. In fact, if I could choose only one hatch to fish each year, spruce moths would be it. While spruce moths, also known as western spruce budworms, may be the scourge of the conifer forests, to the fly fisher they can bring an angling experience of epic proportions.


Life Cycle and Range The spruce moth is not an aquatic insect. In fact, outside of its inexplicable fatal attraction to water as an adult, the insects have no life cycle involving rivers, streams or lakes. Its whole life cycle evolves around Rocky Mountain and Pacific Northwest conifer forests. Douglas fir, western larch, blue spruce and white spruce are among its favorite host trees, but they are not limited to just these. The moths range from the southern Rocky Mountains in Arizona and New Mexico, north through Idaho and Montana, and up to British Columbia and Alberta, Canada. They also extend westward into Oregon and Washington. Spruce moths have a 12-month eggto-adult life cycle, beginning and ending in late July through early September. Eggs are laid onto the underside of the conifer needles, where they hatch in approximately 10 days. Then as larvae, they migrate to the bark area of the tree to spend the winter. The following May-June timeframe finds them moving to the ends of the host tree’s branches where the larvae build silk-like, woven nests. Here they live, grow and eat until they pupate. The pupation stage lasts about 10

Spruce moth larvae feed on the tips of spruce tree branches as it develops through its various instars. A single spruce moth larva can cause a lot of damage. A spruce moth pupal shuck along with the remains of its nest often are an indicator of more damage closer to the tip of the branch as seen in the top and bottom-right images. At top is a face-to-face comparison of a spruce moth with an imitation.

days, after which they emerge as adults. The adult emergence begins near the end of July but can be delayed by cool weather, extending it into early September. As adults, the insects quickly mate; several days later the females lay their eggs and die, thus starting the 12-month cycle over again. The adult stage is the only one of interest to a fly fisher.

Fishing the Spruce Moth Hatch Usually starting in late July, the adults begin the emergence from their pupae shells. Literally hundreds upon hundreds of moths can be seen in their courtship flight among the trees, usually in the morning and evening hours. Fly fishers should focus their attention on the conifer tree-lined rivers, streams

Flyfisher Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010


and lakes during this period. Droves of adult moths can be seen crashing into the water as if they were suffering from a death wish. There in the surface film they struggle unsuccessfully to fly once again. That water landing and resulting unsuccessful struggle to fly can bring almost every fish in the area to the surface to feed. I have witnessed dozens of fish feeding on the fluttering insects in stretches of water where you would normally expect to find a couple of fish. Even the wary, larger fish join in on this feeding bonanza and can be caught on the surface. I have taken many a good fish off the surface during this period, including a 22-inch monster brown trout from the Gallatin River in southwestern Montana. Anyone familiar with this river and its water conditions knows this is a huge fish for its environment. A number of specific spruce moth patterns appropriate to imitate the adult insect are tied either in the spent or foldedwing style. The natural insect is usually a size 12 to 16, and ranges from creamy buff to an orange brown in color. When there are large numbers of moths on the water, the fish can become picky, so it is best to have a range of sizes and colors in your fly box to easily match the natural insect on any given body of water. A tan Elk Hair Caddis in the proper size, with its belly hackle trimmed flat so it rides low on the Above, various spruce moth patterns: water, will work in a pinch. Blue Ribbon Flies Spent Spruce Moth, A Pearl Trude is also effec- Generic Pattern Spruce Moth, Blue tive if there is no other fly Ribbon Flies Spruce Moth, LaFontaine pattern available. Most fly Private Label Spruce Moth, Pearl shops in spruce moth terri- Trude and Adams Trude. Right, adult tory will carry some varia- spruce moths living near this typical, conifer-lined stream section and the tion of a spruce moth pat- surrounding area will often flutter to tern in their inventory. the water where fish await them. The During the morning angler can expect to find fish lined up along the bank all through this area. and evening hours, the moths are the most active and, therefore, available as food for the fish. However, I have found the morning hours before 11:30 a.m. to be more productive. Fish will congregate in the usual feeding lanes in moving water or cruise the shoreline of lakes and ponds, readily taking the spruce moths from the surface. When fishing rivers and streams, look for the fish to be in the slower parts of riffles, runs, pools, tailouts and back eddies. The bubble line is always a good place to make your first presentation. Feeding fish will rise for hours, gorging themselves on the struggling or drowned moths. A simple dead drift is usually my first approach, and it normally will suffice when targeting a specific fish or when using a general searching presentation. Regardless of how aggressive the fish are feeding, you still must pay attention to your drift, making sure there is no surface drag and the offering is drifting at natural current speed. Presentation, however, does not need to be delicate, as the moths themselves are not subtle when they hit the water.


Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010

In the slower water of pools and back eddies, when not casting to a specific fish, the “plop” of the fly can be used along with a subtle twitch before allowing the fly to dead-drift. This effectively imitates a moth that has just smacked into the water and is struggling or lying in the surface film. On still water such as lakes and ponds, the fish will cruise close to shoreline looking for moths unfortunate enough to end up in the water. A soft, splat-type presentation works best here, along with a light twitch or two before allowing the fly to remain stationary for a few moments before starting the twitch/pause process all over again. Don’t overdo the twitching motion of your pattern, as lake and pond fish have plenty of time to carefully study your fly, looking for anything that seems out of place. It is really important to pay particular attention to tippet size to avoid spooking a leader-shy fish. I find a 5X tippet usually a good compromise, but, of course, it is situational, dependent on water clarity and the amount of angling pressure on any given body of water. As a landowner I have seen the destruction of conifer trees that large concentrations of spruce moths can cause. However, as a fly fisher, I can think of no better time to be on the water than during a heavy spruce moth hatch. As someone who fishes about 60 days a year, I have many wonderful fishing memories. Some of my best are the result of fishing the spruce moth hatch, not just because of the incredible dry fly fishing but the visual effect as well. When the moths are in the air, you can watch an individual insect crash into the water, and then follow it on its journey to becoming fish food. When the conditions are right, the angling is on a grand scale with bugs and fish going crazy in every direction. Times like these have the potential to burn vivid memories of great trout fishing into your mind to be replayed over and over again, especially when you are at some other, less-desirable place like work or suffering from cabin fever. Maybe your next big fishing adventure should be to the conifer-lined rivers, streams and lakes of the West during late July or early August. If Mother Nature smiles and your timing is right, you will not be disappointed! Bill Toone is this publication’s editor-in-chief and lives in Bozeman, Montana, with his wife, Arletta, 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.

SPRUCE BUDWORM POPULATION EXPANDING Story and photos by Verne Lehmberg


bout a dozen species of spruce budworm, genus Choristoneura, live in North America. The western spruce budworm is the most active coniferous tree defoliator. True fir trees are the most susceptible to infestations, followed by Douglas fir and spruce. Spruce budworm outbreak density and persistence are both difficult to predict, with infestations waxing and waning over 7- to 30-year cycles, the cycles influenced by weather. Forest stands most susceptible are old dense fir forests that experience warm, dry weather. Cold is the enemy of both pine bark beetles and the western spruce budworm. Alaskan foresters report that two successive cold winters will effectively control both pests. The recent warming trend seems to have removed that temperature control, since the budworm is now even distributed north of the Alaska Range. Fire suppression and drought in recent years both have expanded the opportunity for budworm infestations. Global temperature changes and the resultant warmer winters are predicted to expand the budworm populations over the next century. Outbreaks cannot easily be controlled with pesticides. Pesticides are expensive and also kill the birds, spiders and parasitoid wasps that keep the budworm population in check to a more or lesser degree.

Spiders take many adult budworm moths, wasps parasitize the larvae, and the birds take both the larvae and adult of the species. In midsummer, the spruce budworm moth female lays eggs on the underside of needles and then dies. Ten days later the eggs hatch, then the larvae molt but don’t feed. They build silk tent hibernacula in which they spend the winter, emerging in May to late June. They then burrow into needles and buds, spin new webs, and harvest the new foliage as it grows. Later in the summer the foliage tips turn reddish brown. The western spruce budworm, Choristoneura fumiferana, gets its name from the tree’s scorched appearance. Feeding, growing and molting through six instar stages, the larvae then pupate about 30 to 40 days after emerging from their hibernacula. The life stage of most interest to the fly fisher is when the adult emerges from the pupal case. The adult spruce moth then travels up to 50 miles seeking a mate. Mating occurs in August followed by egg laying. During this active stage they may

fall into the water, an event anticipated by both trout and trout fishers. The struggling moth telegraphs its inability to escape the surface tension, drawing the predatory trout to the surface and the predatory fly fishers to the trout. With warmer winters allowing the bark beetles and spruce budworm larvae to survive in greater numbers, northern conifer forests may change significantly over the next century. The somewhat tarnished silver lining to this global warming cloud is that more big moths on the water mean more opportunities to match them with imitations. Fish and fishers will adapt to these changes, as long as the water does not get too hot for the fish. Fly Box Editor Verne Lehmberg is from Dayton, Texas, where he has recently joined the ranks of the newly retired. We welcome him to his new career as an outdoor writer/photographer.

Without cold winters to kill the spruce moth, the forests would be devastated by the insects if the predators didn’t step up to their dinner plates, so to speak. This mother robin is helping to control the environment by feeding a tree-damaging spruce moth to her chick. Predation by wasps and spiders also helps keep the destructive spruce moth populations in check.

Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010


Conserving, Restoring and Educating Through Fly Fishing

Biology on the Fly

Stories and photos by Verne Lehmberg



n recent years, the western spruce budworm population has decimated fir and spruce trees from northern New Mexico through Colorado and northwestern Wyoming up into Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. The larvae pupate in a silken web, and the moth emerges in late July and early August. Those that fall into lakes and streams create an eagerly awaited opportunity for fish and fishers. The Fly Fishing Fair and Conclave in West Yellowstone this summer (August 26-28) may coincide with spruce budworm moth population peaks, so be prepared.

Photo by Bill Toone

The spruce budworm feeds on new spruce and fir needles until it spins a cocoon in July.

Spruce Fly East Slope Outdoors Big Sky, Montana

Moth color variations range from golden tan to mottled brown. Blue Ribbon’s Spent Spruce West Yellowstone, Montana

Pearl Trude

Walter Weise’s Spent Spruce Fly Parks’ Fly Shop Gardiner, Montana

The budworm moth emerges from the pupal case in late July and early August. Walter Weiss’ spent wing moth is a great imitation.

LaFontaine Spruce Fly

Spruce Fly Blue Ribbon Flies West Yellowstone, Montana


Photo by Bill Toone

Conserving, Restoring and Educating Through Fly Fishing

Focus on the Fly

Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010

Moths that fall into the water flutter and attract trout that often select them over normal aquatic insects. The ripples telegraph the moth’s helplessness. Since it cannot escape the water, the trout are assured of an easy insect meal.

CELEBRATING FLYTIERS FROM LOVELAND CONCLAVE Tellico Nymph Mike Stewart North Granby, Connecticut


Deer Hair Klinkh책mer Ton Plijnaar, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada

t the Federation of Fly Fishers annual Fly Fishing Fair and Conclave, flytiers from all over the world demonstrate their skills. These flies were tied primarily by members willing to donate their time at the 2009 Loveland Conclave to teach visitors their techniques. The flies range from trout parachutes to streamers, foam bugs to nymphs. Upcoming issues will feature regional conclave tiers, plus a page of special flies. If you have a good damsel pattern favored by trout and bass, or a saltwater polychaete worm that Florida tarpon love, send it to Verne Lehmberg, 122 C.R. 4503, Dayton, Texas 77535, and I will photograph and return it. Verne Lehmberg from Dayton, Texas, is a longtime Federation member and an excellent photographer. His contribution to Flyfisher is always appreciated.

Leach Hunger Jr. Terry Gibson Fort Collins, Colorado Upright Stone Dr. David Nelson Greenbrae, California

Peacock Spider Spey Jim Ferguson Salem, Oregon

Rainlander Henry Hoffman Warrenton, Oregon

Red King Dr. G.S. Scoville Jr. Nashville, Tennessee

Reverse-tied Streamer Richard Twarog Salem, Oregon

Pumpkin Seed Mark Romero Lakeview, Arkansas

Tyvek Stone John Oppenlander Longmont, Colorado

Monster Beetle Rusty Deen Lafayette, Louisiana

Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010


Conserving, Restoring and Educating Through Fly Fishing

Fly Box

SPENT SPRUCE MOTH By Walter J. Weise ost spruce moth patterns are high-floating, caddis-style dry flies. Like the high-floating caddis they resemble, these patterns usually work quite well. On the other hand, falls of spruce moths can be heavy enough and last for a long enough period – over a month at times – that the trout become educated and quite suspicious of high-floating patterns. This suspicion is justified as the real moths are terrestrial insects and also do not float well. These factors combine to mean that at times a lowfloating, low-profile artificial spruce moth is more effective than more traditional patterns. The Spent Spruce Moth is my fly of choice for these situations. Its Antron body and synthetic underwing scatter light and create the illusion of sunlight shining through the natural insect’s wings, an illusion heightened by the ginger hackle fiber overwing that matches the color of the natural insect. While the fly’s general outline is identical to that of most other spruce moth imitations, the clipped body hackle and the lack of high-buoyancy materials in the wing cause it to float much lower in the surface film or even to sink an inch or two. The Spent Spruce Moth is an excellent choice when fishing riffles or other slightly broken water – areas where natural spruce moths tend to get swamped but not sink too deeply. In the Yellowstone area, portions of Soda Butte Creek, the Yellowstone River where evergreens come close to the banks, and the upper Gallatin River are excellent examples. It is not as good a choice in heavy pocket water, where it is difficult to see and tends to sink too deeply to be considered a dry fly (although the fish certainly still take it, perhaps as a caddis emerger). In almost all situations the fly should be fished as a dropper behind a high-floating dry. A Coachman Trude is generally my go-to fly, but various caddis, hoppers and even high-floating spruce moths can also work well. The version of this fly I personally use utilizes two materials that can be quite difficult to find: barred light ginger hackle and Widow’s Web. Ginger or even grizzly dry fly hackle will work if you can’t find speckled light ginger. Widow’s Web can be replaced by any similar crinkly, sparkly, hydrophobic synthetic yarn. Zelon or Puglisi fibers would work fine. Antron is not hydrophobic and therefore would not work.


Photo by Verne Lehmberg

Conserving, Restoring and Educating Through Fly Fishing

At the Vise

Walter Wiese is head guide at Parks’ Fly Shop, in Gardiner, Montana, and is a contract fly designer for Montana Fly Company.


Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010

MATERIALS Hook: Short shank dry, No. 14 Thread: 8/0 light cahill Uni Hackle: Barred light ginger (or grizzly), palmered Body: Cahill cream Antron dubbing Underwing: Light tan Widow’s Web (or Zelon fibers), spent caddis style Overwing: Light ginger hen saddle hackle barbs Head: Cahill cream Antron dubbing

Photos by Walter J. Weise



Secure the thread and lay a thread base almost to the bend. Select a slightly oversized, barred light ginger neck or saddle hackle feather. Secure by its butt, concave side facing you.



Dub the thread with Antron dubbing. The resulting dubbing noodle should be slightly shaggy, as the subtle movement and sparkle of loose Antron fibers adds to the fly’s effectiveness. Dub a slightly tapered body threequarters of the way up the shank, beginning with a turn behind the hackle to stand it up.


Palmer the hackle forward in five to six turns and secure. Trim the hackle barbs flat against the body on both the top and the bottom of the hook shank. This creates a wide, flat profile that helps the fly ride upright and flat in the surface film.



Strip about a ½-inch section of feather barbs from a light ginger hen saddle feather or large neck feather. Try to keep the tips even. Place the hackle barbs atop the hook shank with the tips extending just past the end of the Widow’s Web. Secure with one loose wrap, and then carefully distribute the barbs over the top of the hook shank with the fingers of your left hand. Secure with tight wraps almost to the eye, and trim butts.



Clip a small bundle of Widow’s Web or Zelon fibers. Because you will be doubling the material back, this bundle should be quite thin. Secure the bundle with the short butt ends facing the rear of the fly, offset from the hook shank by 45 degrees away from you. Overwrap the bundle with several tight turns towards the eye. Now reverse the long end of the bundle so that it, too, faces towards the rear of the fly, offset from the hook shank by 45 degrees towards you. Overwrap back to the end of the body. This process produces a wing with a spent caddis profile that will not pull out. Pull both sides of the wing tight and parallel to the shank, and then trim just past the hook bend.


Trout & Salmon Incubation Simple, Efficient, Tested Reliable Used Successfully Nationwide in “Trout in the Classroom” Programs For price and details contact: Glacier Corporation 1021 Fuller Street • Santa Anna, CA 92701 714-557-2826 • Discounts given to Schools, FFF & TU Chapters

Create a smooth thread base from the eye to the wing, if required. End with the thread at the eye. Thinly dub the thread with more Antron dubbing, and create a head by dubbing back to the base of the wing and forward again to the eye. Whip finish, clip thread and cement.

BT’S ROTARY TYING STATION The Station includes the vise, pedestal/tool base, and seven brass tools.

BT’s Fly Fishing Products 11965 W. Reutzel Dr. • Boise, ID 83709-4414


(toll free phone & fax) Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010


Conserving, Restoring and Educating Through Fly Fishing




Conserving, Restoring and Educating Through Fly Fishing



o you know someone who has been saying they want to take up fly fishing? Invite them to the Fly Fishing Fair and Conclave! If you’re reading this, you’re already an angler to some degree, perhaps a beginner, or maybe you are a master casting instructor. But what about your partner, a good friend, a grandchild or the kid living down the street – someone who has never experienced the camaraderie, education and fun during the world’s best weeklong fly fishing adventure on the planet? Some excuses for not taking up fly fishing are that it’s too complicated, it’s too expensive, there’s no one to go with, there are no women involved, youngsters are too occupied with the electronics world to get outdoors. For one, fly fishing does not have to be expensive. Just grab whatever gear and clothes you own and go have fun! Most people needn’t venture far from their backyards to find some sort of fishing experience. Even a pond on the golf course can excite a carp fisherman! Rural ponds usually have panfish, bluegills, bass and other warmwater species. The other excuses are true if you know no differently. We all need some diversion that gets us out of the back-eddy doldrums of a boring routine, or the stressful pace of life. Fly fishing affords the perfect respite! As an enticement to have you check out the workshops and various activities in the Fly Fishing Fair and Conclave schedule listed in this magazine, let’s just have some fun imagining whose personality fits with some of the classes offered this year. Pretend that life is like the various water columns we fish. We all have different modes of survival, just like the moving transitions of a river change from whitewater to plunge pools, to riffles, to pocket water and back eddies. Take a moment to imagine yourself in West Yellowstone … If we could choose our experiences, I’m one who would take the mellow lull of the water’s edge, ease through life, and gently dance in the glow of sunset, where an occasional


Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010

blast of brilliant gold light exacts an astonished gasp! Why can’t all of life be like twilight? There is a Zen quality in the evening’s persimmon glow on the water, where the surface is softly bumped from below by the head of a trout gently tasting the evening hatch, where an occasional splashy rise emanates and resounds in a hearty tail splash of expanding and fading rings.

gal. My type of class is one where there is teamwork, jovial fun, supportive instruction and opportunity for photographs, stories, laughter, happy memories and lots of emotional oomph! I would probably choose a specialty class like “Fly Swatters and Beethoven.” “Irish Patterns with a Twist” sounds interesting and unusual, or I would like the “Getting in the

Women’s Fly Fishing Workshop attendees and instructors gather for a group photo on the bank of the Yellowstone River.

This piscatorial custom niggles at the edge of my comprehension, filling me with wonder and imagination. It’s a perfectly natural transition, no terror, rage, disorder nor chaos – just perfect peace and calm. This feast follows an afternoon period of nothingness – waiting for something … anything to happen and then … there’s a dimple and another, then another, until the late, lazy afternoon suddenly transitions into a concert of bobbing noses. What precision and timing, a glorious symphony of sight and sound! In the world of personality tests, I’m the compliant, introverted one (the smaller percent of the population, thankfully!), the get-along-with-everybody, avoid conflict, steadfast, give-mea-reason-for-change, detailed and critical, yet optimistic and sometimes playful, don’t-back-me-in-a-corner sort of

Zone” self-hypnosis class. For the ladies who want to meet other women interested in fly fishing, or those who want to improve their skills, most definitely sign up for the women-only fly fishing workshop “Getting Started – Getting Better.” I’ll be helping out with this class. Will I see you there? I hope so! Oh, I admire you whitewater types, jumping into the roaring chute of the unknown, plunging into deep pools, arms over your head, surfacing in scrapes, scratches and laughter! I’ll be at the takeout with my camera cheering for you, laughing and gasping at your stories. I’ll bandage your wounds as you limp – bruised and bleeding – to hop in your next awaiting drift boat, ready to carry you off to another class-three rapid! Bon voyage! Catch ya down river – oh, hey –

FLY TIPS: Panfish Fly Trick Sunfish are great summertime query for fly rodders. They are fun, travel in schools where lots of catches are possible, and take simple flies or bugs on light tackle. For these reasons, they are also great for introducing youngsters to fly fishing. One problem with sunfish – particularly bluegills – is that they have such small mouths that a tiny popper or even a small wet fly or nymph can fill up their mouths. That makes it difficult to unhook them without injuring them, since it is often impossible to get even a hemostat into their mouths to grab the hook for removal with the body of the fly or bug

Tip and photo by C. Boyd Pfeiffer

blocking the entrance. One simple solution to this, for those tying their own sunfish flies, is to tie them on lang shank hooks, in sizes 8 through 12, tying the fly or positioning the bug body on the rear of the hook shank. Best hooks are those 8X to 10X in length. By tying this way, you leave a bare hook shank exposed to grab with fingers or hemostat to gently twist, back up and remove the hook without injuring the fish for catch-and-release purposes.

C. Boyd Pfeiffer is an internationally known sportsman and award-winning photojournalist on fishing, hunting and the outdoors. His 27 books include many on fly fishing and fly tying.

Photos by Pat Oglesby

Conserving, Restoring and Educating Through Fly Fishing

Those are just a sampling of you forgot your life vest! Whew, the classes available and not makes me tired! meant to stereotype people! Are you one of those domiPlease do check out everything nant types, a trendsetter, group that’s going on and enjoy all the leader, gotta-know-where-you’reopportunities available at Fly headed, goal-setting Type-A perFishing Fair and Conclave. sonality? Check out “Casting in There are free programs, a speWindy Conditions,” “Instruction cial youth fly fishing camp, castfor Instructors,” or “For the ing demonstrations, vendor Record: Rigging and Submitting booths, fly tying demonstrations, for IGFA World Records.” I’ll Newlyweds Lew and Tilda Evans share a moment during the as well as events for non-anglers. see you at dinner later – unless auction at Conclave 2009 in Loveland, Colorado. If you have not been to the fair you’re out all night fishing for for a while, please come to West neous, hard-to-pin-down, organizedthe big one! Yellowstone – we miss seeing you. If cause-they-have-to-be, and don’t-haveYou might be one of the backit’s your first time, we welcome you time-to-chat people. They get a lot of eddy types, kind of going ’round and into the fishing family. If you want to things done, don’t procrastinate, they’re ’round, checking things out – “schoolhelp, there is always a need for volunfast movers who ask for forgiveness ing” with other folks, nibbling on interteers and the opportunity to meet later, play hard, and work hard. Wish I esting things that go by, a people-pergreat people! had that energy! Quick suggestions for son, comparing notes, solving probWhat’s better than “going home” you folks: “LOOPS 101,” “CCI Get lems, getting into outlines, bullets, what to West Yellowstone at the close of Ready” and “Flypacking.” Catch you works/what doesn’t work, did we dissummer and during the height of on the fly (oops, sorry, that was a cuss it enough, let’s form a committee. fishing season? I really hope to see goodbye, not a class)! “Hey, there’s a scum line, let’s check it you there! Maybe you are a deep thinker, livout, find out what’s caught in it, maybe P.S. Are you unattached? You ing on the bend of a big river, hiding grab it, maybe not, oops, waited too might find romance in West under the bank, sort of a big-brownlate, it’s gone.” For you who love peoYellowstone! Tilda Runner (from trout type of person. You would be ple and must know the ins and outs of Oregon) and Lew Evans (from intellectual, enjoy rich food, deep colthings, check out “Fly Casting From A Colorado) met while volunteering at ors, maybe go to the opera, like stimuto Z,” “Improve Double Haul by Feel,” Conclave 2008 in Whitefish, Montana, lating conversation, drive a big car, or maybe “Parachutes, Parachutes, and were married in 2009 just before have a wine cellar, basset-hound-atParachutes” and definitely “Casting Conclave at Loveland, Colorado. your-feet, pipe-smoking kind of angler, Rendezvous.” I’d love to talk to you Anything is possible! who only fishes with a cane rod. For after class to see how your day went – you, we have just the ticket: “The see you at the barbecue! Carol Oglesby of Grand Junction, Colorado, is a Antique Angler,” “Aquatic I admire the riffley types, kind of regular contributor to Flyfisher on topics of interest to female fly fishers. She may be Entomology,” “Stoneflies” or, you too in-the-know, opportunists, no-nonsense, contacted at might enjoy “Casting Rendezvous.” ready-for-action, on-the-go, sponta-



cast my first fly with a “bamboo” quick flick of the wrist only (that was a year, mostly commission work for rod. That was in the early 1960s and the start of my obsession of using little collectors. And by the way, that it was the only “rod” I could afford or no wasted body movement when Leonard was swapped in midstream – I even grew it myself! The crude flies casting). An advantage of using bamon the Battenkill for a 6½-foot Orvis I used were tied with yard hackle boo in my “formative” years was I Rocky Mountain with Hardy reel. dropped from the hundreds of chickens didn’t have to think about the slower That trade was for my first “fairy and ducks we raised. Flies were action of bamboo rods or their heavier wand!” Although it was on the heavy attached to about 15 feet of Dacron tied weight. You see, my casting arm wasn’t side (a 6-weight), it opened my eyes to to the end of that “bamboo rod.” It was used to the modern, ultralight, ultrafast the idea of fishing shorter bamboo quite the outfit, but it caught lots of bass graphite rods in use today. Many of rods for the gorgeous little brookies I and “white perch” along the banks of my students who try my bamboo rods chased in local streams. the Mississippi River. are amazed at how much more they Most of my bamboo rod collecEarly on, I fished with various weigh and how “slow” or relaxed their tion then consisted of 6- and 7-footers. department store fly rods until I could action is in comparison to their fast Some were shortened and reworked afford a pair of Orvis Fulflex glass kit new graphite rods. from longer rods (using the tip and rods, 7- and 8-footers. I lived about a Almost all of my casting on small mid-sections); all were ideal for small half-hour from Manchester, Vermont, streams was side-armed, right- and leftstream fly fishing. Their soft, forgiving at that time and visited the Orvis shop handed. Side-arm casts were almost a actions were perfect for the short, con(and the American Museum of Fly necessity due to overhanging branches trolled loops required to navigate narFishing) quite often. The reason for or low cover. Learning to cast rightrow feeding lanes and canopied cover. visiting both was to study their bamand left-handed solved many problems I always tend to over-line my rods, boo rods and the stunning bamboo of trying to cast into tight quarters on hoping to tweak out more action. Of collection in the museum. I loved each side of the bank, but it took them all, even the mass-produced practice. I found it impractical to Montagues. I wanted one! complete various casting techHowever, I remember saying to niques for small stream fishing myself: “So many fly rods but so while on a practice pond or lawn. little money.” The backcast was not hindered Then, one day, I was visiting by obstructions. If you don’t have a dusty old hardware store in a small stream on which to pracupstate New York and came tice or the time to travel in order across an umbrella stand tucked to both practice and fish, the peraway in a corner containing three fect environment for you to prac$20 South Bend and Granger tice short, controlled casting techbamboo rods. They were mine in niques is while taking a walk in a heartbeat! That purchase started an open wooded area. a bamboo-collecting passion that Use a short rod with an old at one time totaled more than 60 fly line and lay down casts rods, not to mention the hundred between trees (while trying not to or so I traded or sold. tangle the backcast). Yes, you defiNo, I couldn’t afford to purnitely have to become a line This light 3-weight rod has a slender cork grip and forgiving action; it's a rod you can cast all day while recalling the noschase 60 bamboo rods. You see, I watcher. And it does work. You talgia of the earlier years of fly fishing. restored two of those first rods, quickly learn how to narrow and sold them for triple my cost and point loops on the backcast while purchased six more “junkers” to learning the timing required to extend course, when dealing with a 20-foot restore. I usually kept one or two from the line back far enough to load the cast and 3-weight lines, there was little each purchase until the day I swapped rod. And that line-watching exercise chance of injuring the rods, especially four rods, including an 1890 vintage prepares you for the timing necessary when half of that line length was the Orvis and a Cross – Wes Jordan to cast the other end of the bamboo lightweight leader and tippet. Double-Built. I was swapping with spectrum, those evil, 9-foot, 6-weight All fly lines I used were double Gloria Jordan, Wes’ wife, who sold heavyweights! tapers. My leaders were hand tied, usuLeonard rods in Manchester at the Many of the earlier bamboo fly ally 10 to 11 feet long with extra long time. I received a new 8-foot Duracane rods were mass produced by the tens tippets. When learning to cast short in trade – butternut reel seat and all! of thousands. Some only cost a few bamboo rods, I slowed my casting What a deal! dollars new back then, and most were stroke and arm movement – in some I was then restoring 25 to 30 rods 9-foot, three-piece rods using HDH, cases barely moving my arm, using a Photo by Cheryl Dunworth

Conserving, Restoring and Educating Through Fly Fishing



Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010

Photo by Tom Tripi

Photo by Cheryl Dunworth

HCH or GBG lines (6-, 7- or 8-weight double-tapers are today’s equivalent). The rods were very heavy when compared to the scanty weight of today’s graphite creations. One of my early rod swaps involved three H&I and Montague rods. All were 9-footers for 8-weight lines. They probably weighed seven or more ounces and were quite stout. I restored and kept the Montague. It flexed in a relaxed manner into the cork and when it “uncoiled” after the backcast, the line just sailed away. It made me a distance caster overnight. I began to love distance casting! So I made an effort to purchase (or trade for) a few quality heavyweight bamboo rods. My earliest prizes were an Orvis “99” and a “Shooting Star.” They are amazing casting machines, easily capable of handling today’s modern lines, especially weight-forward lines with longer forward tapers. If there is a difficulty casting a heavier bamboo rod, it would be that you almost have to be a weightlifter in order to use one during a full day of fly fishing. I’m not a weightlifter, but I do cut and hand-split three full cords of firewood each year (we heat our house with a woodstove). So I’ve developed a fairly strong arm. However, you have to remember, although heavy, these big rods are not

ones that you have to overpower in order to cast. The better ones almost cast “by themselves”; you just load the rod during the backcast, hold on and enjoy the thrill. The best way to learn to control the action of a heavy bamboo rod (or any bamboo rod, for that matter) is by simply practicing the false cast. Pick out a favorite bamboo rod, attach a reel with enough weight to balance the weight of the rod so that it and reel are creating a sense of balance in your hand, and you’re ready to go. Strip out about 30 feet of line and begin false casting about half of the line. Note that the rod flexes almost to the cork and it reacts slower than a graphite rod. Extend the fly line out to 40 feet by using a slow, relaxed, false cast motion. The object here is to load the rod on every false cast. Establish a rhythm while using more or less power to the forward cast until you’re comfortable. When you’ve figured out a tempo that feels good, begin to extend the line a few feet on each false cast. As the line extends, you’ll notice the rod really starts to flex “down to the cork.” Start laying down a few casts on the grass or water by allowing your forward cast to sail out using the rod’s power only (no hauling is required). Just control the line, and let it shoot through the guides.

Distance is no problem. A welldesigned 7-weight bamboo rod is quite capable of a 100-foot or more cast. And remember, you’re probably casting a dry line with a yarn fly on grass. Think about the added weight of water on 50 feet of thick fly line, not to mention the weight of a big saltwater fly. That’s when the rod really loads up! I’ve pursued just about any fish (or reptile) that swims in my area with a bamboo rod. Although alligators are fun with heavier bamboo rods, my favorite species right now would be spotted gar. A few acquaintances I encountered in Florida say they love using bamboo for tarpon, bonefish and snook. I reserve my big bamboo rods for large redfish and specks and do a number of casting demonstrations with them, as students seem to be able to easily observe the process through their slower casting stroke. Because of their relaxed action, they also are particularly good for demonstrating the individual parts of a roll cast. And students also enjoy seeing and using some of the rods that were mainstays in the “Golden (and formative) Years of Fly Fishing!” 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.

Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010


Conserving, Restoring and Educating Through Fly Fishing

This heavy line-weight rod fully flexes all the way into the cork during the forward cast. Above, these rods were the big rocket launchers for the deadly little missiles used in the ’50s and ’60s for saltwater pursuits; they were the mainstays of the Joe Brooks, Ray Bergmans, and Lee Wulffs of the era.

Conserving, Restoring and Educating Through Fly Fishing

The Fly Rod Corner ATTEND BAMBOO ROD-BUILDING CLASS AT 2010 CONCLAVE Story and photos by Dave Mosley


s a result of knee surgery and a shoulder injury, I have spent a considerable amount of time in my local hospital’s rehabilitation clinic. In April, the clinic sponsored a three-day event put on by the Fly Casting Institute. The cost for the event was $995. Now I don’t mean to disparage the event, but I think that an interested party could get better instruction at the 2010 Fly Fishing Fair and Conclave in West Yellowstone, Montana, for somewhat less cost and also have the additional benefit of enjoying programs and other classes. For roughly the same price, you can build a bamboo rod and still visit conclave. West Yellowstone High School has generously agreed to allow the Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF) to use the high school shop for a bamboo rod-building class just prior to conclave. The tentative dates for this class are August 19-23. The price of the class is $900 with a $300 deposit

ing and teaching bamboo rod building. The class is a fund-raiser and all proceeds – except the cost of materials and lunches – will go to the FFF. The class will instruct students in the various ways to split bamboo, to straighten and press nodes, and to plane tapered strips for the butt and the tip sections. Gluing and straightening of blanks will then take place, followed by installation of the handle. Finishing and wrapping the rod will be discussed and demonstrated; however, the student is expected to finish the rod at home using thread colors of their choice to wrap the guides. All materials for building the rod will be supplied except for the wrapping thread. The only required tool to be brought to the class is a block plane, but do not purchase one without discussing it with an instructor; it’s very important to get the right tool. The benefit of building one’s own rod is obvious, as one develops pride of

If you can tie a fly, you can build a bamboo rod.

sary equipment and instruction, whether or not you have woodworking skills. However, let me warn you, rod building can get in your blood and get expensive when acquiring new equipment. The only equipment necessary to build a bamboo rod is a plane and a planing form, as the rest of the tools can be made or a substitution can be arranged. I suggest you check out various rod building Web sites because many of them are donors to our class. We use Bellinger planing forms and reel seats ( Cork grips have been supplied by Golden Witch ( and/or Anglers Workshop (www. Ferrules are from Classic Sporting Enterprises, and guides and tip tops come from all of the above. These manufacturers and vendors donate or sell at a greatly reduced price to the FFF for this class, and they are respected providers of equipment and products for bamboo rod builders as well as others in fly fishing. If you have ever considered building bamboo rods, now is your opportunity. Of course, we hope you will

From left to right: Bamboo culm split and node dams removed. Split strips ready for planing and heating. Setting a planing form. Planing the strips. Materials for building a rod along with reading material.


Photo courtesy of Dave Mosley

due May 15; the remainder of the balance is due August 1. In order for the class to be held, there must be a minimum of eight students and no more 10. The ratio of students to instructors is 2 to 1. Since the instructors have to bring equipment and materials some distance, it is necessary to have registration and payment as early as possible. These instructors are unpaid volunteers who have considerable experience in build-

Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010

craftsmanship in a new dimension of fly fishing and the pleasure of fishing a rod that you have built. Also, the class affords the opportunity of developing new friendships in fly fishing and the FFF. I have developed friendships over the years with former students and instructors from these classes. Generally speaking, the classes have been fun socially as well as rewarding in skills learned. If you can tie a fly, you can build a bamboo rod given the neces-

stay in West Yellowstone after the class and enjoy all the conclave has to offer. If you are interested in taking this class or attending conclave, please contact Jessica Atherton, Fly Fishing Fair and Conclave coordinator, 406-222-9369, ext. 107, at the FFF office. Dave Mosley is retired from teaching and has been active in the FFF since the early 1980s. He has held various FFF offices, organizes bamboo rod activities, and resides in Hamilton, Montana.



ill was a hermit who lived in an unheated cabin in Gustavus and fly fished for food. We fished together and exchanged books after he inherited his family home above Auk Bay in Juneau. He rode a rusted English bicycle year-round and constantly babbled. He kept the house lights dim and painted his walls dark brown to quiet his nerves. Bill had been broken long ago and retreated to the wilderness. He set boundaries on his activities. We could only fish together on Saturdays. Bill owned several quality bamboo fly rods from an earlier era. He had broken the tips in uncontrolled excitement while fighting good fish. The fractured rods stood in the corner of a closet with his small library of fly fishing classics. Bill’s tackle and books were from the late 1940s, after World War II when America rediscovered fly fishing but before the invention of fiberglass rods. He had been a student in New York, traveling to the Catskills to fish. We shared a love for old troutfishing books. Bill had a few first editions; most memorable to me were John Waller Hills’ “A Summer on the Test” and “A History of Fly Fishing for Trout.” I had not thought of fishing England’s hallowed waters before reading “A Summer on the Test.” Although Hills wrote despairingly of the “English climate, which no one really likes who knows any other,” his images of long glides, idyllic afternoons and trout languidly rising to dry flies dulled our Alaska reality of torrential rain and heavily weighted egg patterns lobbed at overeager fish. No need to match the hatch in Alaska: use big, bright, purple, pink and silver flies or salmon egg-beads pegged above the hook. As for the use of strike indicators, Bill said, “Bobbers!” He used a tone that was close to swearing. Bill liked to fish for Dolly Varden. He wore thick canvas waders with several shades of patches covering cracked rubber knees. He fished a junk four-piece fiberglass rod, the guides and the handle-less reel taped

on. Bill retrieved his nylon line by pressing his thumb into the spool ports and spinning it. He fished flies of his own design and ate fish he caught. We disagreed on the questionable ethic of keeping or releasing trout. I kill fish for food, but trout are revered in my psyche. I let trout go. Bill made no distinction for trout. He learned to fly fish before the “Fishing for Fun” movement of the 1950s, before Lee Wulff’s dictum to let fish go took hold. Bill was in the mold of John Waller Hills’ “I like to kill things for sport – what’s wrong with that?” Hills wrote of fly fishing as a wholly English tradition. He barely mentioned references to fly fishing prior to Dame Juliana’s “Treatise of Fishing with an Angle,” dismissing earlier writings as “interesting rather than important.” From him and others, I believed the hallowed traditions of our sport were firmly rooted in the chalk streams of England. And from his reading, Bill thought his English mentors rarely released fish. Both of us were wrong. I learned to fly fish in the 1960s, with an emphasis on conservation and catch and release. The greatest ethic was to let my catch go. Later I learned respect for fish as food. Bill and I never resolved this seemingly simple difference in trout philosophy. Our solution was hardly ethical. Bill sometimes asked me to fish a run first. I would cast and explore the snags and windfalls for hiding fish, occasionally hooking up and sometimes losing my fly on snags. Landed trout were quickly unhooked, revived and let swim from my hands. Bill would fish behind me, avoid the snags where I lost flies, catch fish I had just released, bonk them with a rock and slide them into his canvas creel. One Saturday, Bill joined me for a hike to Windfall Lake. I portaged a canoe and Bill carried his tackle. Carrying the canoe stern down, I could fairly well shut out his babbling. It took two hours to hike to the campsite. Bill cast from the shallows at the end of the lake and would not accompany me across the water to the outlet

where dark circles spread from cutthroat trout gulping caddisflies. Bill was not tempted by the big, splashy rises. He was a wade fisherman who feared water. I was relieved he did not want to come with me, not because of his constant talking but rather because I did not want him to kill the trout. Coastal cutthroat are easy to catch. Living at the edge of their range, with crimson sides and bright orange slashes under their jaws, they are becoming scarce. Harvest and habitat destruction threaten their survival. Even so, when they are chasing caddisflies across the surface, tearing a sheath of water along their backs or leaping to crash on insects, it is hard to stop fishing. I would have fished too long if I was alone. After an hour I paddled back. We packed our gear, secured the canoe for other campers and hiked out. I should have taken Bill a fish. He was hit by a car while riding his bicycle, just before Christmas. He died at home after letting himself out of the hospital (too soon, doctors insisted). Bill said he could not afford the hospital bed and went home on the bus. When I think of him now, he is standing in Montana Creek with one Dolly already in his bag, that yellow pack rod striped with plastic tape bent hard against a good fish, the anticipation of his catch beaming across his face, and his babbling finally stilled. Jon Lyman from Juneau, Alaska, describes himself as just a trout bum on the lam in ski country with a writing habit.

Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010


Conserving, Restoring and Educating Through Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing Heritage

FFF ANNUAL DONOR REPORT Each year the Federation of Fly Fisher’s general revenues depend on the generous support of individuals and organizations to sustain our programs. The board of directors would like to express their sincere appreciation to the contributors noted below who provided that support in 2009. Special Recognition $5,000+ Moseley, Paul Employee Matching Gifts Programs Thomson Reuters Standard Insurance Company Merrill Lynch & Co. Foundation John Hancock President’s Club Pledges of $5,000+ Platinum Moseley, Paul Gold Long, Bob Schramm, Dorothy and Jim Silver Bishop, Don Breslin, John Brown, Richard and Mary Cordes, Ron Diamond, Richard Great Lakes Council FFF Grant, Gary Jindra, Tom and Debra Shirley, Robert Stroh, Bill Trishman, Fred Van Gytenbeek, Van Bronze Gibbs, Larry Greenlee, Philip Groty, Keith James, David Johnson, Carl Kettler, Herb Knight, Ron and Sheryl Kyle, Michael Lewis, Dean Lovell, Doug Maler, Roger Miller, Roger and Sandra Northern California Council Southern California Council Sadler, Tom Schmitz, Fred Scientific Anglers, Dell Kauss Stewart, Michael Winn, Ron Patron $1,001 - $4,999 Bania, Joseph Breslin, John Chouinard, Yvon Diamond, Richard Grant, Gary JAX Mercantile Jindra, Tom and Debra Missouri River Flyfishers Schramm, Dorothy and Jim Winn, Ron Zarelli, Carl Benefactor $501 - $1,000 Elkhorn Fly Rod & Reel, LLC., Brian Chavet Flygirls of Michigan Gibbs, Larry Gimbel, Donald Great Lakes Council FFF


Groty, Keith Heide, Ralph Herritt, John Hoffman, Henry Jensen, Steve Koster, Bonnie Maler, Roger Miller, Roger and Sandra Sadler, Tom Shirley, Robert Stewart, Michael Tritsch, Robert Advocate $251 - $500 Arvanites, Dokson Bolling, Timothy Brown, Richard and Mary Budliger, Kurt Cargill, A.S. Derby City Fly Fishers Fly Fisherman for Conservation, Inc. Ford, Robert Great Lakes Council FFF Hubbard, James Johnson, Carl Knight, Ron and Sheryl Kyle, Michael Lewis, Dean Magic City Fly Fishers North Eastern Council FFF Oregon Council FFF Radtke, Philip and Lori Reed, Keith Sales, Robert Schmitz, Fred Southwest Council FFF Steamboaters Tabbert, Robert Wallers, Peter Washington State Council FFF Supporter $101 - $250 Almanas, Robert Ballweber, James and Denise Bargsten, Dale Beatty, Danny Beckstead, Jay Black, Angus and Jean Broomhall, Peter Calleton, Richard Canfield, Alan Cederwall, Mark Cordes, Herman Danile, Marc Duffield, Curtis Dunn, Bill Emrick, Bill Fullerton, Clement Grabski, Daniel Greb, Scott Guggenheim, Daniel Hamill, Kennedy Harpole, Jim Head, Tom Hill, Gordon Holland, Kenneth Holloway, Maurice Horner Family Foundation, Dr. and Mrs. Ira Hanan Jenkins, Felton Johnson, David Kulis, Leroy Lafley, James Malencik, Dean Marshall, John McCullough, John Montag, Jeff Myers, Jerry

Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010

Ozog, Mark Pike, Gale Reap, James Reed, Nathaniel Rettig, Earl Rose, John Rosenberg, John Semenik, Molly Sherick, Flynn Souser, Craig Southern Oregon Fly Fishers Splinter, Donald Spottke, Albert Stromsness, Chris Thompson, Sam Tronquet, Pete Vaughan, Terry Weitz, Paul Wells, Warren Williams, Bruce Williams, Richard Yepko, H.J. Zahn, Michael Contributor Up to $100 Ackerman, James Acorn, Charles Adams, Cliff Adams, James Adams, Lynn Albertson, Peter Alsobrook, Lawrence Amendt, Alan Ancho, Candice Anderson, Nicholas Andrew, Josh Anthony, Jeff Appel, John Archer, Jon Armour, V.K. Armstrong, James Arnold, Rowland Arrowhead Fly Fishers Asahina, Stuart Asher, Stephen Bachman, Ken Bacon, James Bailey, Robert Baker, Bruce Ballard, Locke Barbaris, Ernest Bard, Gary Barnhart, James Barnhart, Teddy Baron, Richard Barthe, P. James Bates, Bob Bates, David Bauman, John Bay, Kenneth Beardsley, Fred Beauchamp, Joseph Beeby, Eric Behnke, Robert Bell, John Bell, Lewis Bennett, Linda Benson, Gary Berg, Edward and Cliffe Berge, Kent Bergen, Chandler Berkowitz, Harry Berman, Jeff Berryman, Jack Bettzig, Robert Bichara, Noble Billings, William Bird, Eric Bishop, Don Bleakley, Mark Blenker, Lynn

Blobner, William Bodkin, Maria Bolstad, Donald Booth, Richard Boswell, Harold Bourgeois, Jim Boyce, John Bozman, J.R. Brady, Thomas Brainard, Brad Braud, Ronald Brenner, Peggy Brich, James Bright, Jeffery Brodberg, Robert Brown, Barbara Brown, Dale Brown, James Brown, Jason Brown, Robin Brubakken, Tim Brumitt, Clint Brunvand, Jan Bucaria, Charles Bullington, John Bundy, John Bunke, Jay Burchette, James Burge, Richard and Mary Burnside, Daniel Burton, Herb Busby, Dan Bush, Burton Byrd, John Byrnes, Gerry Cain, Jim Calitri, Robin Callaway, Kenneth Carlson, Art Carlson, Warren Carpenter, Dave Carter, Fred Cartwright, Bill Caruso, Paul Casalone, Richard Cates, M.L. Cattell, Albert Chambers, Pat and Kathy Champion, Richard and Shannon Chang, Gerrick Chenoweth, John Chervenak, Louis Chmielowiec, Jack Christensen, Robert Christian, David Circle Valley Anglers Clark, Hugh Clark, Robert Claudepierre, Dale Clay, Phillip Cleaves, David Cleckley, William Clements, Donald Cochrane, John Cole, Eric Collins, David Colwell, Chuck Coman, Curt Combs, Don Conner, Irwin Connolly, Greg Conrad, Roy Contini, Nick Cornelisen, Robert Costner, Robert Cracraft, Mike Crisera, Richard Crissey, Michael Croft, Steve Cummings, Terrence Cunningham, Joseph

Curran, Christopher Curtas, Joseph Cyphers, James Dasher, Sam Davidson, Gene Davis, John Davis, Michael Dean, Jeffrey DeJong, Charlie DeJong, John Demeo, Joseph Deming, Richard Denny, J.C. Depoe, Kenneth Derksen, Dirk and Margaret Dierks, Clark Dippert, Paul Dobb, Peggy Domoto, Paul Donaldson, Broderick Dow, Ken Doyle, James Drab, Joe Duback, Gary Dunham, Patrick Eadie, Francis Edmonds, Richard Edsall, Thomas Ehren, Grant Elam, Robert Ellis, Chris Elwell, Russell Enslen, Douglas Erickson, Richard Esparza, Vincente Ester, Leslie Evans, Tom Evenson, William Everest, Clark Fearn, Brian Fechner, Roger Fein, Dr. Felsens, Oscar Felter, Toni Ferguson, Joseph and Ann Ferreira, Rachel Ferroggiaro, Rob Fey, Jeff Figley, Jay Fitzpatrick, Jim Flad, Deborah Fletcher, Shane Foote, Daniel Ford, James Fore, Neil Forgey, T.C. Forrest, Jay Fox, Robert Fox, William Frady, Keith Frasca, Bud Fraunfelder, Judy and Bob Frencer, Dick Frost, Jeremy Frost, John Fryer, Lloyd Funnell, Ronald Furimsky, Chuck Gadacz, Thomas Gamage, Robert Gambitsky, Peter Garratt, Frank Gaunt, Sandra Gay, John Gerace, Joseph Gerlach, Richard Gibbs, Stephen Giuliano, Michael Glemba, Roman Glenn, Terri Gobris, Reynold Godfrey, Kenneth

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Johnson, Richard Johnson, Warren Johnston, J.C Johnstone, Donald Jones, Dundee Jones, Jay Jones, John Jones, Richard Joseph, Michael Karpovich, Serge Katz, Carole Keck, Stuart Keddie, William Keller, Robert Keller, Walter Kellison, Robert Kelly, Jim Kendrick Jr., Saxton Kennon, Richard Kensinger, Robert Kikumoto, Edward Kimsey, Joseph Kindelan, Juan Kinsel, Clayton Kirby, Mark Kirk, Laurie Kitchens, William Klemin, Dwight Kluge, Jean and Arnold Knackendoffel, R.A. Kobin, Walter Koester, Allen Kohn, Donald Kolesar, Stephen Korbay, Steve Kosmicki, Nick Kossow, Michael Kozuki, Mits Krebs, Cloyd Kubersky, Andrew Kustich, Richard Kustin, George LaBranche, Leo Lacy, Craig Laing, Michael Lambert, David Landblom, Jack Lange, John Lawson, Tim Leasure, Robert Lee, James Lee, Jim Lembke, Michael Lenheim, William Leverick, Richard Levinthal, Dick Levit, Peter Lewis, George Lewis, Herb Lewis, Joe Lewis, Michael Lewis, Paul Lewis, Stephen Lewis and Clark College Leydecker, Byron Ligon, Ronald Lingren, Art Linsenman, Bob Lintz, Don Lipscomb, David Lipuma, Joseph Lombard, William Loos, Paul Lovell, Bill Lovell, Eunice Lovin, Keith Lower Umpqua FlyCasters Loyd, C.W. Lubbers, Norbert Lucas, Kenneth Luetje, Robert Lum, William Lund, Jon Lupatkin, William Maas, Ryan Macdiarmid, John Mace, Richard Mack, Martin

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Thank You! Flyfisher Spring - Summer 2010


FEDERATION OF FLY FISHERS P.O. Box 1688 Livingston, MT 59047

Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage

PAID Post Falls, ID Permit No. 32