The sun was up as Rocky and I started out on our first fishing adventure together. As we paralleled the river I made mention that it appeared to be off color. Rocky’s responded “no that’s the color it is this time of year”. The river look green but not in a good way. My hope was it was just the gloom of a gray winters day casting its shadow on the waters surface. After a very long drive filled with superb steelhead conversation we made it to the spot we were going to fish. Standing next to the river it still look off color to me so I grabbed a few big rabbit flies to match the conditions. I decided to go big and lashed a bunny on my line and went to work. Fishing waist deep water I could just make out the tips of my wadding boots. I had no idea of what to expect, the river, the fish, and the time of year, were all new to me. Halfway through the first run I felt the line start to go tight. Big bug and a heavy sink tip my first thought was bottom. Then the unquestionable pull on the line, followed by a few head shakes. It took my brain a few seconds to comprehend I was hook to a steelhead. As fast as it all came together the fish was gone. First day on the river, first run, first hook up, to say I was a little jacked up would be an understatement. That first hook up gave me confidence in the fly and for good reason. The fly matched the condition perfectly and produced all but the last day (we only fished one run) of the trip. I like this style of fly because it rarely fouls. The copper tube sinks the fly but is still easy to cast. It may not be a pretty fly, but there are times when you need to get down and dirty. Have fun with this one and thanks for looking.
Hook: Copper tube
Tail: Rabbit strip
Body: Rabbit strip palmered
Ribbing: UV polar chenille
Collar: Arctic fox followed by schlappen
Start the tying thread at the end of the tube. Secure in a length of rabbit strip as a tail. A small section of plastic tubing is secured to the strip about ˝ inch from the end of the tail.
Next tie in a length of rabbit strip and a length of UV polar chenille. Palmer the rabbit forward and secure.
Bring the ribbing forward. Velcro the trapped hairs out as you go. Secure down the ribbing and work the body with Velcro.
Build a dubbing loop and load it with arctic fox. Give it a spin. A few swipes with Velcro will pull the trapped hairs back out. Take a few turns with the fox to create a collar.
Tie in a schlappen hackle and give it a few turns. Secure the stem and clip.
Give it a whip and a hit of head cement and hold on. I will get to fish the John Day on my return from the NW Fly Tying Expo and this fly will be the first attached. Good tying and better fishing.
Here is a green and black version, I also tie this fly in black and orange and black and blue.