Monthly Archives: August 2016

To Restore or Not To Restore 

Guest Blogger: Phil Rispin, fly fisher, photographer & more, find Phil’s photography here

I was on Dutch Creek in southwest Alberta watching an Elk Hair Caddis float downstream hoping that a nice fat colorful Cutthroat Trout would be fooled and I wasn’t disappointed. From the depths of the hole came a flash and a splashy take on the surface and just like that I had one on the line. The trout gave me a good tug of war and after a minute or two allowed me to release it back into its watery world. This repeated itself over and over again during what was a very pleasant day’s fishing on the east slopes of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta.

Being on the stream and fishing Cutthroats made me wonder about the nature of these small jewels. Not so long ago we used to argue over the existence of Cutbows. Now, with the ability to map genetics in individual organisms, we know that a substantial percentage of the Cutthroat population in both the USA and Canada has MacLeod River Rainbow genes present in them. (Anders Halverson, “The Entirely Synthetic Fish”) Right into the 60’s and 70’s of the last century fish management involved stocking every body of water that was cold enough with Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout and Brook Trout. Fish were even dropped into high mountain lakes from the air establishing new populations of trout. In some cases, the indigenous populations of fish were killed off using Rotenone, a piscicide, and replaced by what was regarded at the time as more desirable sport fish.  I remember my Dad when unintentionally hooking a Bull trout, a native in the ranges we fished, throwing the hapless trout into the bush behind him claiming that they killed the Rainbows he preferred to catch which of course had been introduced. more…

Reverse Evolution of a Fly Tier

Guest Blogger: Clay Cunningham, Cody WY, Former National Park Superintendent

Vintage 1948 Dave Cook Fishing Hunting Sporting Goods Catalog published in 1948, the year the author started fly fishing

Vintage 1948 Dave Cook Fishing Hunting Sporting Goods Catalog published in 1948, the year the author started fly fishing

If you have been a reader of the Stockard blog you may have read some of my previous writing on fly fishing and know that I have been a fly tier since 1948. I have discussed or will write about how reading the water as well as casting and how line management increases your opportunity for catching more trout. There are two types of fly fishermen; those who pursue the sport in a scientific manner or others that cast whatever flies they have that look good to them. You may have read of my recommendations of flies for the minimum fly box, and my list of flies which flies have historically caught the most fish. Be aware that I am primarily a wet fly and a nymph fisherman. I do cast dry flies or search patterns when there is some surface feeding activity or there is no activity at all either above or below water. However, I use nymphs and other wet flies most often because ninety percent of a trout’s diet is under the water. more…

The Shrek Fly

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, MT

I am unaware of other trout flies named after animated movie characters (there’s probably a Mickey Mouse fly somewhere), but sometime in the last decade, Tasmanian angling writer and member of the Australian World Fly Fishing Team, Joe Riley, did just that. As I was researching fly patterns for our trip to Tasmania next year, the “Shrek” fly kept being mentioned over and over again. Once I found some good tying references for the fly, it was evident why Joe named the fly “Shrek”. It was typically big and green like the animated character in the Disney series. I am not sure when Joe Riley devised this fly, but it was clearly after the release of the movie (2001). Additionally, the name Shrek was loosely adapted from William Steig‘s 1990 fairy tale picture book Shrek! The name “Shrek” is derived from the Yiddish and German Schreck (Yiddish שרעק) meaning “fear” or “fright”. It is unknown whether Joe Riley originally intended the Shrek Fly to frighten the fish into taking the fly.

An Original Shrek

An Original Shrek

In reality, the Shrek is nothing more than a variation on traditional Woolly Buggers and is now being tied and fished in Tasmania in colors other than the original green. There are two distinguishing features of the original Shrek fly—a mylar body and a green hackle. However, many variations have emerged over the years to include using dyed green Badger hackle. The original also employed a bead head.

When I started tying some Shrek flies a few weeks ago, I had no idea how effective they might be. Designed for the Brown Trout in the rivers and lakes of Tasmania, I wondered whether or not the Shrek might be enticing to our Montana trout. more…