Winter Fly Fishing

Piggly Wiggly Imitator – Fly Tying Video

Tungsten nymphs are superior in most fly fishing situations. The Piggly Wiggly Imitator is no exception. The pink anodized bead, and the pink rib work together to attract trout year round.

On a cold January afternoon Kohler and I were fishing the lower Provo and having a tough time sticking fish. We were filling through our boxes and trying fly after fly for a few hours without much success. Toward the end of our allotted time to fish Kohler pulled out a fly that neither of us had ever fished, an unnamed jig style nymph with an anodized pink tungsten bead. For the next 30 minutes the fly was rarely found outside a fishes mouth. As for the name of the fly, well for about a year it remained without a name, but eventually the name Piggly Wiggly stuck… not sure where it came from, but it stuck ;-)

Below is a quick film from that day on the Provo when the Piggly Wiggly came to be.

This is one of the quickest and easiest flies to tie. It also fishes well with a gold bead and a gold rib (essentially a gold ribbed hare’s ear). As jig hooks continue to gain popularity, especially amongst competition fly fishermen, it can be difficult to find quality jig hooks. This pattern is tied on a Fulling Mill Hook, but any jig hook in which you are confident will suffice. These hooks are tough and durable, and Kohler and I are very confident in their quality. Take just a few minutes, tie up a handful and give them a shot.

Piggly Wiggly Fly Pattern

Hook: Fulling Mill Jig Hook – Size 14-16
Thread: Uni 8/0 Camel
Bead: Slotted Tungsten – Anodized Pink
Tail: CDC Natural
Body: Natural Squirrel
Rib: Pink Sulky Ribbon (from your local craft store)

Black Jack Steel – Steelhead Nymph Pattern

Steelhead flies are a blast to tie. They are big, colorful, and look really fun in a fly box. Each spring I reserve a considerable amount of time at the vise for these colorful creations. Among my favorites is the Black Jack Steel. About five years ago I created a trout fly that I named the Black Jack. It is a Prince Nymph variant with a thread body that is coated with Sally Hansen’s Hard as Nails as the center piece of this pattern. It has found great success for trout throughout the Western United States. While dabbling at the vise with that fly in mind I came up with a steelhead variation that incorporates a hot pink (or chartreuse) bead, and a Semi-Seal dubbing collar. I have now fished this nymph for steelhead for the past four seasons, and done very well.

Steelhead Nymph - Black Jack Steel

The two colors I fish this fly in are pink as a first choice, and chartreuse coming in second. I’m not sure why, but it seems to me that steelhead are typically more willing to take nymphs with pink on them over other colors. I’m sure that is not the case everywhere, and it is probably just the rivers that I fish. Either way, I always have a multitude of colors in my steelhead boxes. I think it makes it more fun that way!

Black Jack Steel - Chartreuse

Black Jack Steel - Pink

There are multiple factors that make this a winning pattern including it’s ease of tying, durability, and it’s ability to catch steelhead. Give it a shot!

Idaho Steelhead

Recipe
Hook: Dai-Riki 135 (Sizes 8)
Bead: Hot Pink or Chartreuse Tungsten (Size 5/32)
Weight: Lead Wire
Thread: Black UTC 140 Denier
Tail: Black Goose Biot
Rib: Fl. Pink/Chartreuse (depending on variation) UTC 140 Denier
Glue for Body: Sally Hansen’s Hard as Nails
Collar: Black Semi-Seal (Pink) or Peacock Semi-Seal (Chartreuse)
Wings: White Goose Biot

Divide and Conquer

Just over a week ago, I had the chance to get out and fish on the middle provo river.  Lucky for me, this river is in my hometown(Heber City, Not Logan :) )and I have had the chance to fish it regularly this winter.  There is one stretch of river that I have fished a couple times this winter, without having as much success as I thought I should have been having.  If you are anything like me when it comes to fishing, it started to really tick me off!  So I decided to go hit the stretch of river that has been haunting me, and try to figure out what I was doing wrong.  My favorite technique to chase trout is euro nymphing, which is what method I was using.  I had even gone as far as reviewing George Daniels dynamic nymphing book to review some technique.

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Once I hit the water, I went to work.  I started out by paying attention to my surrounding.  I checked water temperatures and took a long look at the first little stretch of water that I was going to fish.  This is also a stretch of river that is easily accessible and highly pressured by anglers.  As I took things a little slower, focusing on my technique, I was able to start landing fish before I had even left the parking lot area, in a river that is highly pressured.  I was taking fish out of the river in areas that I had been walking right past it to get upstream.  I ended up having a stellar day which included a pretty good sized rainbow (I love the bows!) of which I don’t catch many of in the provo.  I learned on this particular outing that I need to slow it down and focus on what I’m doing, and focus of the river conditions.  It didn’t even matter what fly I was using, I focused on what I was trying to do, that is, catching fish.  I took a small section of a stream and dissected it, catching fish and then I moved onto the next small section of stream.  So the next time you are out, take your time and fish, without worrying about where the fish were the last time you were on the water, because chances are, they are not!  TIGHT LINES!

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