Category Archives: Mike Cline, Bozeman MT

Featherheads

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, Montana

If you search on-line for “Featherhead” you are likely to get hits on many of the “hair extension” websites like finefeatherheads.com. Definitionally, Featherhead is often said to be: “A frivolous or feather-brained person.” For as many flies that I tie that never see the water, that definition might well apply to me. But it has another meaning more in tune with what we fly tiers are interested in. It’s a fly pattern (more like a style) name that has apparently been rather short-lived and remains a bit obscure these days. I have subscribed to Fly Tyer magazine for at least 20 years and still have most, if not all editions back into the 1990s. Occasionally, I’ll leave my fly tying desk, sit down near one of my bookshelves and begin pursing through old issues of Fly Tyer for inspiration. They are stacked in no particular order, so I just start at the top of the pile and look at the pictures to see if something strikes my fancy. Every once and a while I stumble on some tying technique that helps me improve my tying or directions around some common pattern that make for better flies. More importantly, I’ll see some new pattern or style that looks intriguing and decide to give it a go. Such was the case with “Featherheads”.

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Another Kind of Trout (Where to Find Them)

mct2ndaGuest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, Montana; You can find part one of this post @ Another Kind of Trout.

I’ll talk about how the traveling angler can go prospecting for spotted seatrout with just a little of forethought and preparation.Although I am confident that finding spotted seatrout will have subtle variances depending on where you fish, there is one commonality—they prefer shallow, grassy flats. And like all saltwater fish, especially predatory ones, tides play an important role in finding feeding fish. For the shore bound angler finding water that exposes a lot (acres and acres of 6 inches or less) of grassy flats at low tide is one of the first steps in finding good wading water. Once you locate areas that expose a lot of flats at low tide, you begin to look for areas with a lot of structure. On eel grass flats ,with which I have the most experience, that structure takes two forms—potholes and cuts. The pothole is a large area of sandy bottom surrounding by grass. On healthy eel grass flats, potholes can be from a few inches to several feet deeper than the tops of the grass. This depth differential creates a perfect ambush place for the predatory seatrout. The trout hold along the edges of the potholes to ambush baitfish and crustaceans that expose themselves and hide from their predators. The edges of pothole create eddys as the tide flows, just like obstructions in rivers. Those eddys, however subtle, trap baitfish and small crustaceans. Finding potholes that have irregular outlines produce a lot of eddys as the tide flows. Cuts on the other hand are places that will hold fish at low tide and give them quick access to the flats at the tide rises. A cut is essentially a tidal river that is the primary path the water takes as the tides flow in and out of the estuary. more…

Another Kind of Trout

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, Montana

For most fly anglers, trout fishing means waving the wand over lake or stream for one of the many species of salmonids we collectively call trout. And as we all know; wild trout fishing is a cold-water fishery. Except for isolated pockets of high-mountain trout in the southern Rocky Mountains or southern Appalachians wild trout can be found for the most part in suitable water in the northern half of the US into Canada and the Arctic. We tie all sorts of flies to entice trout–Diminutive flies to resemble aquatic insect larva, tiny winged editions to replicate tiny adult insects, baitfish patterns, terrestrial adults and on and on. We fish with what ranges from delicate cane and graphite rods in those diminutive weights like 2 and 3 to robust wands of the 6 and 8 weight variety. Fly fishing for wild trout has so many permutations that it makes opportunities to do something different almost unlimited. The dedicated trout angler has so many opportunities that they need never look beyond their favorite salmonid, unless they want to. more…