Category Archives: Clay Cunningham, Cody, Wyoming


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

There is a fine article in the Spring issue, 2017, of Fly Tyer magazine by Ed Van Put, entitled The Legend of Dan Cahill. Dan Cahill, it is alleged in stories, created the Cahill fly. But, the author’s extensive research, and he did an admirable job of research, could not find any contribution or source that confirmed Dan Cahill was a real person, or that he originated the pattern for the Cahill fly at all. Nevertheless, someone created the famous Cahill fly, but it appears the originator is absent in written historical references other than stories which the author could not find written references for corroboration. Quite possibly it was one of the famous Catskill fly tiers who was experimenting with derivations of Theodore Gordon’s famous contribution, the Quill Gordon. I guess we will never know. I readily admit I tied a lot of light and dark Cahill flies as a young beginning fly tier in Pennsylvania from 1948 through the 1950s. All those flies were as described in an old pattern book which I passed on to another beginning fly tier in 1994 along with my Herter’s $3.95 fly tying vise that I had been using for the previous forty-six years and it was still entirely functional. more…

Fly Fishing – Under the Water

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

Why would anyone want to pursue trout with an underwater fly when you can’t see it and know when a fish might have it in his mouth? Because 90% of the trout’s feeding habits are under the water where they select insects off the stream bottom and hang around in opportunistic locations to pick off dislodged insects that lost their grip on the stream bottom. Trout also become very active when pursuing insects making their way to the surface to dry off their wings and begin the process of reproduction.

No question about it, fishing nymphs or wet flies under the water requires experience and a sixth sense to know when a fish has your fly in his mouth. I have watched trout create a vacuum to suck in nymphs then expelled them with force in a split second if it didn’t suit them. How does one know when a trout surreptitiously pulls in one of your underwater offerings? more…

Fly Fishing – What Works?

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

There are countless books published on fly fishing that cover every aspect of the sport. Many writers have produced books of instruction to show us how to cast, the knots to use, the flies that might work best, numerous books on how to tie flies, and how to play the fish once it is hooked. Every one of those books can contribute to your knowledge and make you a better fishermen or fly tier. Once you have read a couple dozen of those books and put into practice what you’ve learned for several years on your favorite trout waters or fly tying bench, you will be a better fly fisherman and, or fly tier. more…