Do Tattered Flies Fish Better?

Chewed Up Mayday Mayfly
There is an age old adage amongst fly anglers that our hook up rate increases proportionate to our fly becoming more and more chewed up. I’m confident many of us have experienced this – as the day goes on, and if we are fortunate enough not to loose that single fly that’s been catching all the fish, our success rate increases. Instead of attributing this to an increase in insect activity, or the rust of our skills haven been shaken off early in the day, we give credit to our tattered fly pattern that continues to catch more and more fish as the day goes on. And once again last Saturday while Euro Nymphing a small stream, whether or not it truly was my fly, I had a magical day on the water catching more and more fish as my fly became more and more mangled.


Warrior Extreme - Brown

Here is what the Mayday Mayfly pattern looks like fresh off the vise.

Mayfly Fly Pattern

Early in the day this particular fly looks and fishes great. However… a few dozen fish later…

Tattered Fly Pattern

…a mangled Mayday Mayfly that can’t seem to keep the fish off. Once again the myth of the tattered fly has proven to be true!

Learn to tie the Mayday Mayfly

Montana Fly Fishing – Fly Fishing Video

Montana is not that far from me. To put it simply, it’s a six hour drive with only one state in between. Turns out the state between me and Montana holds some remarkable trout water, and thus I’ve spent most of my time exploring the waters of Idaho. I don’t regret my many Idaho adventures, and I still plan to spend most of my “out of state” days fishing there, but after a three day trip to Montana this Spring I’m wondering why it’s taken me so long to fish in the Big Sky Country.

Our trip (Kohler and I once again) evolved from an opportunity to do a Euro Nymphing presentation for a fantastic Pat Barnes Trout Unlimited group in Helena. My good friend Brad Hansen who has lived in that area now for a couple years set the whole thing up. He was also awesome enough to take time off from work to show us around his local fly fishing play ground, (which just happens to includes the Missouri and Madison Rivers, along with MANY other awesome stretches of water). His kind wife Janelle and their old pup Bruce were also willing to let us crowd their house for a few days. Truly the royal treatment, and we still owe them many thanks!
Maddison River Rainbow

Brad spoiled us and took us down the Missouri in his drift boat. We threw streamers most of our first day up there, and we lucked into some amazing fish. The next two days were spent Euro Nymhing. As it often does, Egan’s Tungsten Surveyor along with the Rowley Stone, caught a good majority of our fish on both the Missouri and the Madison. We caught some of the most beautiful Rainbow’s I’ve ever seen, and a handful of beefy browns. The surprise of the trip came the evening of the first day when Brad landed a beautiful thick cutthroat in the Missouri. That was his first Missouri River cutthroat and it looks to be a very rare catch (see video above for a quick clip of the fish).

Tungsten Surveyor

Rowley Stone - Wet

Part of the reason both Kohler and I fell in love with Montana was the quality of the fish. Pound for pound, even the smaller fish in the 15″ range fought as hard as any trout I’ve ever hooked, and the pigs we got into put a major bendo in the rod as well.
Missouri River Rainbow

On our last morning there Brad and his friend Will took us to a place where the “locals” fish. All I’m going to say is it didn’t disappoint 😉

Montana Fly Fishing - Rainbow Trout

I hope it’s not long until I can return to Montana for another three days of fly fishing. Only next time, I’ll have a better idea what to expect and three days will not be enough. I can see why Paul Maclean once said, “Oh, I’ll never leave Montana, brother.” (A River Runs Through It), and now I partially understand why.

Foam Body Caddis – Dry Fly Tying Video

Mother’s day is just around the corner, and sure enough the rivers here in Utah are swarming with caddis. One great thing about caddis is their awesome abundance from now until late fall. Over the course of a year they make up a large portion of a trout’s diet. Caddis are very active bugs that can be identified by the splashy aggressive rise of a trout. A caddis hatch is one of my favorite times to throw a dry fly because of the aggressive nature exhibited by trout at this time. These little critters are not easy meals for trout, and after a few escape early on in the hatch it seems that the trout turn up their energy level and really get going after them. Not many casual sips during a caddis hatch!

Foam Body Caddis Dry Fly - Provo River Brown Trout

The tan foam and ginger hackle combination is my go to color variation. It has fished very well for me to both match the hatch, and as a searching pattern in the summer months.Foam Body Caddis Fly Pattern

The chartreuse foam body caddis is a great attractor or “searching pattern”. The profile of this fly with a little added color can also fish well during a hatch if the fish are not too highly pressured.

Foam Body Caddis Dry Fly

One great thing about caddis is their awesome abundance from now (late spring) until late fall. The foam body caddis is hands down my favorite caddis dry fly, followed closely by the classic Elk Hair Caddis. Give this pattern a shot in a variety of colors, and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.


Tan Foam Body Caddis
Hook: Any dry fly hook size 14-18
Thread: Uni 8/0 Camel
Underbody: Tan Antron Dubbing
Foam: Tan 1mm X 1mm
Wing: Elk Hair
Legs: Ginger/Brown Hackle

Chartreuse Foam Body Caddis
Hook: Any dry fly hook size 14-18
Thread: Uni 8/0 Olive
Underbody: Dark Olive Antron Dubbing
Foam: Chartreuse 1mm X 1mm
Wing: Elk Hair
Legs: Black/Dark Grizzly


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