If you have heard me talk about smallmouth the past couple years you know all about the crabbing technique, well the annual spring minnow hatch (salmon fry) has started on the most of our western streams, steelhead and trout are taking notice. Using the same techniques that I use for smallmouth (chapter 3 of the DVD) , only instead of using a crayfish or hellgrammite pattern, but fishing with a 1-2″ minnow pattern and a float (bobber) can bring a couple extra fish a day. One of the perfect size steelhead jigs that I’ve found is made by Wapsi, I like them in 1/32 size 6 or 1/16 size 4. Here is a link to FishUSA. I powder paint mine to match the colors that I like, white, pink, light blue, and black. But fishing a small baitfish pattern near the bottom dead drift style in the spring is worth the little extra effort.
Found a new material from Spirit River at The Northern Angler in Traverse City to play with on these cold Northern MI days and nights. It’s called Swamp Rat Zonker strips(SRZ). This material comes in Natural, Hot Pink, King Fisher Blue, Orange and Purple. I have been experimenting with the blue and orange for steelhead tubes. There is a sexy translucency to the fur that makes it shimmer in and out of the water.
When the weather breaks I will put in some more on the water R&D, but I fished these flies on the Big River with Jon Ray and Erik Rambo back when the weather co-operated in January and had 2 grabs on the swing, so the fish seem to like them too!
These flies are kind of a hybrid of old school streamer and “scandi style” tubes with few little twists. The first twist is that the SRZ has a hole punched into it and then is slid onto the tube so that it stands up nicely against the hackles as opposed to being lashed down flat on the tube. The other technique is that the front collar(s) are the SRZ spun in a dubbing loop with the skin cut away. It is then picked out with a needle. Speaking of the skin, it’s very thin and holds very little water making these flies very easy to cast. The wing also undulates, shimmies and shakes very freely.
This material is perfect for substituting in any fly that uses rabbit strips- Zuddlers, strip leaches etc.
Happy to release the latest trailer from Snap T Pictures and Mangled Fly Media. Worked with Ed McCoy this past summer. First time running the night vision gear, finished full length video we are hoping this spring to release. Enjoy the trailer. Thank you again to Erik Rambo, Ed McCoy and Jon “Chewy” Stefanciw.
In the soon to be released video Ed McCoy breaks down one of his singnature fly patterns called the Midnight Creeper. The full lenght version of this video will share some of the sercerts of fishing after dark, along with a 25 minute step by step fly tying experience with Ed McCoy. Ed breaks down each step and how he balances materials in his night flies. Underwater shots and night vision cameras bring the auidience into Ed McCoy’s world. Full lenght video coming Spring 2014.
Music – Thriller Dark Island by The Sound Room (Audiosocket Track #66145)
Getting closer to releasing something new that Erik and I are really excited about. First trailer is coming in the next 10-14 days. Also have new logo for this series, just a quick teaser below. Getting hard to not share more details. But the last couple weeks editing, email with musicians and fancy logo designers has gotten to the boiling point and had to post something. Check back here shortly for the first trailer.
Ed McCoy and I (Jon Ray) will be tying some signature trout and steelhead patterns on Jan 28th at Schmohz Brewery , contact Brian at Nomad Anglers . To sign up for the seminar call the Grand Rapids location (616) 805-4393. This is a first come first serve and space is limited. Looking forward to the good night of tying and some new beer.
First let me thank Ed McCoy for his help! Ed and I needed to get together to shoot this little steelhead egg fly for the Hawkins Outfitters Newsletter. The Nuke egg has been around for a long, long, time. Ever since I’ve been steelhead fishing in the late 80’s back in High School. This great pattern is perfect for the winter conditions we are starting to face, as winter water clears and fish become picky. Check it out and hope it helps you tie this simple egg pattern better.
With everything about perfect right now to swing flies. Perfect river temperature, plenty of steelhead around, and the desire of anglers and guide. The fly tying bench has been getting some serious use the past couple days. Shot this photo with the use of a UV light to bright up the egg sucking head of this leech pattern. More photo’s of patterns and successful steelhead trips coming soon.