Winter Fly Fishing

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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Prince Kohler Revival

I don’t mean to sound surprised, but this last year the Prince Kohler has flat out kicked butt. You might have the inclination to say, well yeah, it’s a knock off variation of a classic, why wouldn’t it produce fish? You’d be right by saying so, and certainly not disappointed by this particular variant. The flashy olive ice dub collar is probably the ticket most days, and I also love the silver rib and silver bead combination on this fly. I’ve found myself fishing this nymph more and more, especially when my other go-to patterns are not quite producing fish like I expect them too.

Prince Kohler- Prince Nymph Variation

Last Saturday I only had a couple hours to hit up one of my local rivers. Due to my time constraint I stuck in town and fished a stretch close to home. Every time I’ve fished this stretch of water I’ve found that Prince Nymphs, and Prince Nymph variations out fish most other patterns. Such was the case during my short trip to the river that day. With water temps in the upper thirty’s, and no other fishermen around I was able to surprise myself by the number of fish I was able to catch in such a short amount of time. Needless to say I owe a lot of my success to the Prince Kohler.

Prince Kohler-Utah Fly Fishing

Prince Kohler-Provo River

Derek and I often joke/debate as to which Prince Nymph variation is number one. I’m still holding strong to my Black Jack (as do most who have actually given it a shot, unlike Derek:-), but the Prince Kohler, much like its shinny tungsten bead has now taken the silver in this category, which truly is a compliment due to the vast variations which do exist. Of course that is only my opinion, but one fact is I wont be hitting the water anytime soon without at least a few Prince Kohler’s in my box. Good tying everyone, and tight lines!

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