Category Archives: Fly Fishing Life

BEAR-LY Aware

Guest Blogger: Jim Murphy, Neenah WI, long-time J Stockard customer and avid fly tyer

I believe it was in the spring of 1965 and one of my first attempts at fly fishing (kinda). It occurred on a small tributary of the famous Boise Brule River in northwestern Wisconsin. I say kinda because I was fishing a handcrafted Ed Norton fly rod (borrowed of course) and a Pirelli automatic reel that was spooled with 10 pound + Stren mono also borrowed. And, I was snaking a beat up Pass Lake wet fly under overhanging alders which thrusted their tangled branches toward mid-stream. As I look back I could have fished this same water with a cane pole (not to be confused with a split bamboo rod). But, I was using a fly rod, a fly reel and a fly so in my mind I was fly fishing. And, with 2 Brook trout on the stringer I was convinced I was a full-fledged fly fisher.

But I have regressed because the real story would unfold as I continued to fish.  Somewhere between the 3rd and 5th fish, I became aware of the crunching of brush as someone was working their way toward me. The occasional blue word was a dead give away that his adventure was more than a bit challenging. more…

Stoneflies with Color

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

Pteronarcy californica stonefly

In the Western waters when the Pteronarcy californica stonefly hatches, the fish abandon any elusiveness they may have possessed. Known as the Salmon Fly, it is one of the largest of the stoneflies. During the hatch if you didn’t see one land on you, you might think it was a bird. In the Yellowstone drainages the hatch can begin from the end of May to early June. This varies throughout the park depending on the water temperature at different elevations of the park. At higher elevations, a close relative of the californica species, the princeps species will hatch later than the californica.

The Salmon fly Pteronarcy californica spend up to three years as a nymph before emerging. During the months prior to the hatch in any one year there are three sizes of nymphs under the water in various stages of development. The nymphs are often the most numerous species in Western rivers and streams. It is wise to have some imitation of these prolific nymphs. After the hatch, there are two sizes that remain until their complete development. Just prior to a hatch, the generation that is about to hatch migrate from their rocky hiding places to shallow water where they eventually crawl out of the water and attach to nearby rocks or vegetation. That is where their husks split open and the wings emerge. It is the clumsy flying egg laying females that fly low over the water or settle on the water and deposit their egg’s while the fish are voraciously feeding. more…

I Am Not Addicted To Fly Fishing (at least I am pretty sure)

Guest Blogger: Joe Dellaria, Woodbury MN

It’s a subtle undertone that is always there. Questions like, “You are going fishing, again?” The question would be ok, even with the “again” at the end of the question. It’s when you hear the question and the again is drawn out, like “agaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin?” with a touch of resignation at the end.

When friends ask how my weekend was and I say happily, “Great!”

They ask, “Oh, you went trout fishing agaiiiiiiin?” more…