Please welcome one of fly fishing’s most exciting young personalities. Like me, he’s a Yuba River slave, and no one, I mean no one, knows that river, its insects, or its fish better than Idylwilde flytier and high school teacher and baseball coach Hogan Brown. To quote one of my favorite authors, “Where is Brown. There is Brown! Mr. Brown is out of town.” Thanks Hogan.
The owner and operator of this fine blog asked me to write a post and at first I was a little skeptical…what do I know about his home waters of New Mexico. I have only been to the O.G. Version of Mexico a few times and have lacked the motivation and money to travel out to see the one person I know who lives in the New Version of Mexico. That said from what I hear there is some decent trout fishing in the “New” Mexico and trout are pretty much the same, more or less, every where I have fished for them so here goes…
Being August here in Northern California we are in the middle of what we lovingly refer to as the summer doldrums or “waiting for fall” fishing. This usually entails some evening fishing for stripers, trout, or the few Chinook salmon that still enter our rivers. Most anglers I know though are banking their time waiting for prime fall fishing before using those ever precious fishing days their significant others allow them to take off. Being a fly fishing guide and having a significant other that was made very aware of “the program” before she signed on for this life journey I spend a lot of time on the water no matter what season it is. I also, as the seasons begin to change, spend a lot of time at the vise tying up flies for the coming season. That way I don’t have to crank out flies every night or every morning just to fill my coffers for the next day.
Lately I have been filling my small mayfly boxes for the coming fall and winter season with Military Mayflies, S&M’s, Red headed Step Child’s, Indigo Child’s, and some new mayfly patterns I am working on along with various experiments. I usually tie a few of what I need or a scripted pattern then I get bored and start experimenting. Right now though I am laying off the experimenting as I need to stack some warriors for the coming season or I am going to be spending way to many early mornings throwing flies together for the coming trip.
Our trout, and trout everywhere, eat A LOT of small mayfly nymphs…PMD’s, PED’s, Baetis, BWO’s…call them what ever you want, bottom line is they are a #16-20 and trim in shades from dark brown to light rust and black to light olive. One thing I have found over the years as I have tied flies, created flies, and looked at commercially tied flies is that many mayfly nymph patterns are not tied sparse enough. Most mayfly nymphs are no thicker than the shank of a straight shank nymph hook, especially, the swimming variety of nymphs like the PMD’s, PED’s, and Baetis. Now there are the clinger variety of bug like march browns and the various drakes, but these for the most part are spring bugs and are not on my radar for another 6 months.
One way I keep my mayfly nymphs trim is use thread for the abdomen of my along with a small or extra small wire rib. Just like a thread and wire midge. One thing that is important when doing this is make sure that the wire is tied into the side of the hook shank not on top of, or on the bottom. This makes the abdomen wider and gives it a more realistic silhouette. One other tip is to use dry fly dubbing, NOT nymph dubbing, for the thorax. Dry fly dubbing is usually some mix of antron and can be used very sparsely with no stiff fibers poking out. One thing when dubbing the thorax, as the saying goes, less is more. Minimize the amount of dubbing and layer wraps to achieve bulk not dubbing on the thread.
Keep these tips in mind as you tie up your fall and winter mayfly nymphs or just skip that whole headache and go buy a few of my nymphs at The Reel Life in Santa Fe. I assure you I took my own tips to heart.