J. Stockard Fly Fishing Blog

Welcome to the J. Stockard Fly Fishing Blog. We’re here to share advice, how-to’s, news and inspiration about fly tying and fly fishing.

Don’t Underestimate the Undercut

Exposed undercut along Yellowstone River

Exposed undercut along Yellowstone River

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, MT

One of the primary skills any angler acquires with experience is “reading water”. The ability to observe a piece of water, especially moving water, and determine the most likely places to encounter fish when a fly or lure is presented properly is an essential skill for the successful angler. Without exception, authors writing about general fishing skills always cover aspects of “reading water.” Some water is easy to read, some isn’t. The fish themselves complicate reading because they move around from place to place in most rivers as they feed and rest. You know where they should be, but they aren’t always there. Of course every river is different but the formula is pretty consistent—Fish = Dark and/or deep (protection from predators) + relief from current (resting) or a current seam (access to food). In Joseph Bates 1974 classic How to Find Fish and Make Them Strike, this formula is consistent throughout his descriptions of the best places to find trout in rivers. In my experience, one of the most favorable parts of a river to find trout is the Undercut Bank. more…

Flavor of the Day

larry #1aGuest Blogger: Larry, a loyal J. Stockard customer

Here’s a great buck tail streamer. It’s the Red and White. Silver tinsel body, wrapped with silver wire (sometimes I use red wire). The wing is a layer of white buck tail, then a layer of red buck tail, topped with peacock herl. I use Loon’s UV cement for the head, paint the eye, then put a little more UV cement over it. Sometimes I’ll go as small as a #12 hook, sometimes as large as a #6, for fishing the local streams and Lake Ontario tribs, here in Upstate New York. I found all the materials at J. Stockard’s.

Nature at Work – New Waters

East Gallatin Breach 2009

East Gallatin Breach 2009

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, MT

The very first time I fished the East Gallatin River (2005) during a trip to Bozeman, I broke a fly rod on a large rainbow at the mouth of a very large oxbow. Although at the time I didn’t realize exactly where I was on the river, it turns out the oxbow marked about the half-way point in a 7.5 mile section I would routinely float in later years. It became a convenient landmark to rendezvous with fellow floaters on the long float. Once I started floating the entire length of this section (completely surrounded by private land), I became intimately familiar with the river at water level but oblivious to the surrounding scrub and farmland which was obscured by high banks, grass and willows. There was a spot probably 5 miles into the float where the river took a sharp 90 degree turn and created a very productive pool. Somewhere in the turn there was always the sound of flowing water entering the river. Since the Gallatin Valley is just loaded with spring creeks, I always thought that’s what we were hearing, a small spring creek entering the river. Those thoughts proved wrong when I made my first float in 2009. The spot was actually a breach in a very narrow (2-4 feet) isthmus created as the river made almost a 360 degree circle over the course of a quarter mile. You could now barely float through the breach which revealed about a two foot differential in river height but there remained sufficient flow in the big circle section. more…