Monthly Archives: August 2016

Beautiful Flies vs. Ugly Flies

Hank of Hair Fly

Hank of Hair Fly

Guest Blogger: Clay Cunningham, Cody WY, former National Park Superintendent
Do you have to be able to tie flies that look like the perfect flies tied by professionals to catch fish? Absolutely not. One of the finest fly fishermen I know who fished the waters of the world from Scotland to the Rockies and Alaska is one of the worst fly tiers I have ever known. The flies that come off his fly tying vise look like one of your most productive flies that have been chewed on by dozens of trout. This expert fisherman catches fish regularly in spite of the fact his flies look like they had been chewed on for a week by a goat. He refers to those ugly tied flies as “hanks of hair.” What are his secrets? They are his combination of knowledge of where trout hang out, his ability to read the water, and his casting presentation and line management ability. He was a seasonal park ranger for more than twenty-five years. This college English professor produced a film on fly fishing for his PhD dissertation. He worked for me at the Madison Sub-district in Yellowstone National Park and later at Denali National Park. As a recently trained “Buck” ranger right out of the three month academy I was assigned to the Madison Sub-district of Yellowstone in the summer of 1968, because Jack Anderson, the park superintendent, discovered I was a fly tier. Jack was one of the legendary superintendents of the National Park Service. more…


Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, Montana

The Ubiquitous Ant

The Ubiquitous Ant

According to Wikipedia, there are an estimated 22,000 species in the family Formicidae, more commonly known as Ants. Only slightly more than half of those species have been formerly identified. Just about anywhere you go in the world, except near the poles and some isolated islands, some species of ants can be found. In the US, there are an estimated 600 plus species. Ants range in size from a minuscule .03 millimeters to a gigantic 2 inches. Because they exist just about everywhere, usually in large numbers, ants are an important terrestrial food source for fish, particularly trout. The word “ant” is derived from ante, emete of Middle English which are derived from ǣmette of Old English, and is related to the dialectal Dutch emt and the Old High German āmeiza, hence the modern German Ameise. All of these words come from West Germanic ēmaitijǭ, and the original meaning of the word was “the biter” (from Proto-Germanic ai-, “off, away” + mait- “cut”). We all know ants bite, and are lucky that fur, foam and feathers that imitate ants cause trout to bite. more…

The Fly That Had No Name

Guest ‘POET’: Michael Vorhis, author of ARCHANGEL suspense thriller, OPEN DISTANCE adventure thriller & more to come

The stream yielded nothing, four hours and half.
The sun and the wind now relentlessly high…
The classics, the Hare’s Ear, the Pheasant, the Wulff
Had all served up naught but a snag and a sigh.
Still I added more tippet, and opened to scrounge
In my fly box, some hero this river to tame…
And deep ‘tween a bugger and gnat, there I found
The old one–the fly that had never a name.

fly that had no name