Baetis, Baetis Everywhere...and a Spot of Flash to Sink
There happened to be a baetis hatch. It happened to be as cold as certain portions of a brass monkey. Brisk as it was, those little blue-winged freaks just kept on popping out of the water like a Janet Jackson Super Bowl mishap. I so happened to stroll upon the river at just the right time, thus encountering what happened to be some pretty fun fishing.
I had taken my time that morning. I enjoyed a stellar ham, egg and cheese bagel with a side of boiling coffee and milled about the house contemplating the reasons behind fishing in the cold. The night previous had wracked the Twin Cities with rain and a temperature drop of a stout thirty degrees. I came to the conclusion that because I could fish, I ought to. Noon thirty...well...I supposed it was that time. The Jeep had been loaded up trout bum style for a month now. I had the whole setup complete with waders, rods, an over-geared vest, and used and abused leaders. A Fly Angler sticker adorned the hatch and the interior was beautifully decorated with McDonald's bags and gas station coffee lids. As my hour long drive started I envisioned the Rush River to be a chocolate colored rage-fest with heavy, golden beasts mashing unsuspecting bait fish near the banks. A.ka. streamer water! Alas, my dreams of fat brown grandeur were dashed. Upon first sight of the modest stream I was baffled when viewing the sheer perfection of it's flow and clarity. Where did all the rain go? None the less, a good problem to have when the baetis had been stirring in their shucks for a few weeks already.
Rewind a week.
I had admittedly been owned by a very similar scenario. Clear water and picky fish left me high and dry save for two small browns. I don't mind not catching fish, but when I can see what the fish are eating and still can't hoist a few it makes me head straight to the vise. One of the many joys of fly fishing is to think things through, solve problems, and then watch your solutions kick ass the next time around. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't.
Back to the future.
Frustrations and some amateur entomological surveying of rocks, floating bugs and a little thing called my brain had helped me to tie a couple of faux creatures that I thought would tease a few fish. Tease they did. It was one of those outings where three flies cut it all day. I still missed some nice fish, but caught droves of fat brookies and some browns on the swing, dead drifted in the film, and dry. I even accidentally lassoed a fish on a two fly rig. I literally pulled a brown to hand without a hook piercing any part of it. Odd, and perhaps a new X-games sport I'd like to call trout roping...Troping. Anyway, the day was so fun I was inspired to do a few small fly drawings, as well as include a tutorial for the emerger baetis that caught most of the fish. Get on that vise and cure what ails you. What is better than tying your own flies and watching a flame bellied brook dweller inhale it time and time again?
"Hen Hackle ComparaBaetis", 5"x7", spray paint & sharpie, on black mat board
Tying the Hen Hackle ComparaBaetis (pardon the picture quality...iphone :/)
Hook: Favorite nymph hook sizes 14-20
Thread: UTC Black 70
Tail: Brown hen hackle fibers or Grouse tail fibers(shown here)
Abdomen: Thread or black super fine dubbing
Rib: Pearl Krystal Flash
Thorax: Behind wing: gray dubbing, in front of wing: rust dubbing
Wing: Brown hen hackle, trimmed on bottom
step 1: hook in vise, start your thread wraps to the hook point. leave space near eye for wing.
step 2: tie in tails as far as the hook barb, wrapping up and down build up a body by folding excess feather back over the shank and secure with thread wraps. If using dubbing make a noodle and create a slim carrot shaped body getting fatter near the fore of the fly.
step 3: tie in your krystal flash to the rear and wrap your thread forward. create your rib by evenly spiraling the flash toward the eye. secure the flash with your thread and trim extra flash.
step 4: create a gray dubbing noodle and use about three wraps for a small thorax just in front of your rib still leaving space for the wing.
steps 5&6: tie in your hen hackle. wrap 3 to 5 turns depending on how fluffy you want the fly, secure with thread and trim excess hackle. create a rust colored dubbing noodle and complete the thorax with a few wraps.
step 7: whip finish to create a small black head. trim the bottom of the hackle completely leaving a comparadun style wing.
Bottom view -->
I fished this pattern wet on the swing, in the film with the wing tips greased, and pure dry. I caught fish in all three manners. Give it a whirl!
Here are the other two fly works I conjured up the same day. All three of the pieces started with a layered base of spray paint. I then created contour line drawings of the flies, meaning I didn't lift my sharpie for the duration of the drawing. I got a nice random effect from this technique that went nicely with the sporadic sprayed background. I then embellished them with color and darkened the lines to finish up. All are framed and for sale at $30 a pop, or $75 for all three. Please email me at email@example.com if you would like to inquire.