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> > In the Willow Jungle

Report at a Glance

General RegionColorado
Time of Day11 to 3
Conditions & HatchesBrilliant sun both days.
56F midday water.

Details and Discussion

PaulRobertsAugust 29th, 2010, 10:13 am

Posts: 1776
August 25th and 26th, 2010

The stream I chose to peruse today tumbles out of the high country and crosses a lower gradient “alluvial plain” so-to-speak, where the stream course relaxes and fans out, before tightening up and tearing off downslope again. When poring over maps searching out mountain country trout, flat areas can be worth checking out. While the roaring cascade stretches above can be fun in their own right, the lower gradient stretches offer, besides the opportunity to hear yourself think, increased fertility from the buildup of organic material, and a relaxed meandering channel that usually offers larger and longer pools to ply. My planned beat meandered and braided through thickets of dense willow, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Also, since it's a relatively small area -maybe 25 acres- let's call it a "flat".

The stream is a bit larger than the others I’ve been fishing recently. But on my first chosen stretch, just below the flat, and running through a small barely occupied campground, I was disappointed to find only one or two 7” browns per spot. Being below the flat, this stretch is fairly steep and powerful, pouring strongly over diatom-slicked bowling balls. I was wading wet, sans felt, and had to fight and pirouette to stay upright between each likely cut and pocket. It was slow going, and could end up exhausting me. And every spot gained yielded only little trout. Doubts about this stream, or at least this stretch, began to creep in. I assumed low fertility due to the granite substrate was partially to blame, and did wonder how much angling mortality these trout suffer here.

But before I caved to my dire assumptions, I came to a good sized turbulent cut (there are no real pools in this high gradient pocket water), and had a good dark copper-backed fish rise to my fly, exposing ochre-yellow cheeks, but either miss or reject at the last second. Or, I just didn’t wait that extra moment for the fish to handle the fly. “Let ‘em eat it!” I admonished. It’s easy to strike too soon, when you’re excited to start the catching. I considered switching flies, but instead covered other seams and quiet areas within the cut, finding another 7incher, before trying again for that nice dark mahogany and ochre one. On the cast, I dropped my elbow emphatically to be sure to get an adequate amount of slack to my fly as it alighted on the turbulent nearside seam of the main tongue where the fish had been. The fly rode prettily, like a real mayfly dun, (but with the upright wing made from orange poly) bouncing along on top of the turbulence, then disappeared in a splashy rise that once again exposed mahogany and ochre. It turned out to be a 12 inch brown -and a beautiful fish too. It’s a wonder how well trout can match the palette of their surrounds, here the deep mahogany of the tannin tinged water and diatomaceous pastures coating the stream bottom. I did notice however, a subtle wavy edge to its dorsal, smacking of possible hatchery origin. Several more that day smacked of hatchery origins, most did not, and I suspect that this stretch, running through a campground, gets some supplemental stocking. If some are stockies, they are done so when they are small as the fish were quite beautiful with very slight fin warping and only a hint of that "stocky" pallor –the look of a fish that is still trying to find its place in the world.

This stream is fished, but most fly-fishers take the trailhead up, and you can go for miles, up to where trees can’t grow, into brookie and cutthroat water. If I had the time, I’d do the same, and have –it’s amazing up there. But, from the local evidence –a plastic bobber, a big gold hook, and some 12lb mono hung in a stream-side spruce –the anglers down here aren’t apt to be terribly dangerous. And as I rounded a bend I came upon a man and his wife sitting in lawn chairs over a small but nice cut, with a line in the water.
“Catch any?“ they asked.
“A few,” I replied. “You?”
“No. I’m stuck right there.” And he pointed into the water beyond a very taut line from a spin-cast rig propped up on the bank. I waded over, reached in past my elbow, and freed from a crevice a “bullhead rig” with a ½ oz bell sinker on it. He thanked me, and then asked for advice. I suggested he remove the weight. And, noting his perch directly over the cut, that he get sneaky with these trout. “They see you, they hear you, they’re gone!”, I suggested.
“Really??” they both said in great surprise. “Thank you.” I wished them luck and went on my way.

At one nice cut, I had stalked nearly to the tailout when I spotted a large dun perched on a cobble near the lip. It was obviously Drunella; it had to be coloradensis. Ignore it and fish? Or spook the pool? I spooked the pool and photo’d the dun –coloradensis. In fly-fishing, the bugs can be as important to understand as the trout and water. As the day wore on, and the following, I was to see plenty of coloradensis, which formed the basis for my fly choice. I turned some cobbles, finding (most abundant): D. coloradensis, an abundant and mature (#16) Cynigmula (possibly ramaleyi), a #14 Ameletus, and a #18 immature Cynigmula. I kept an eye out for emergences as I fished, seeing D coloradensis duns, a single Ameletus dun, and some small spinners (a Baetid, and a few probable Cynigmula) appeared about the time I had to leave. Little yellow stoneflies were abundant too. I fished #14 Drunella mimics most of the time (RF, and parachute), versions tied to be as maintenance free as possible. My back-up pattern, to be used if a specific fish or emergence warranted, was a red quill parachute with a fluorescent post wing.

I moved quickly through the shallower riffs that offered little in the way of in-stream shelter, (and taking several more small browns) until I reached the edge of the flat, the alluvial fan, where I was met by a formidably dense thicket of willows. I broke in, literally –winding down old rivulet channels, stumbling into knee deep potholes, and applying kung fu to dead willow branches blocking my path –a place only a trout lover, or moose, could appreciate. There were no bobbers or line festooning these willows.

The stream inside was wonderful, with deeper longer cuts due to the flatter grade, finer substrate, and solid willow and alder roots bulwarked against the flows. Both roots and deadfallen wood replaced boulders as the pool diggers. But the channel had braided owing to the finer substrate (which included rich dark soil) into, as far as I could ascertain, up to four channels. “Back to bow-n-arrow casting”, I muttered. “My specialty of late.” I realized I was developing some kind of comfort zone, or let’s say confidence, around it –casting a fly where you really aren’t “fly-casting”. I chose a tangled channel and got to work, finding plenty of dark little cuts to zing my fly into, catching more small browns, and realizing my time was almost spent. And I still had to kung fu my way back out.

Just as I was about to head back, I peered around a channel bend and spied a nice pool, with deeper bronze water, and a gravel bar to boot –even footing –ahh, the luxury. I crawled up, and bow-n-arrowed into the tailout, hooking and unceremoniously skipping a dancing little brown down and out, releasing it into the cut below. Now for the cast that matters. In fast mountain streams, and depending on insect activity and specific pool layout of course, tailouts more rarely hold fish than they do in slower more fertile streams. Here, fishing the tailout is more a matter of removing the 6 or 7 inch potential pool spookers that are kept off the better lies further up the pool by larger fish. The next cast went to the back end of the basin and was met with a smacking rise. I paused, lifted, and a nice brown responded with a remarkably high tailspring, then another, and another, spitting the dry fly. But, I had previously attached a dropper nymph to the dry’s hook bend and, as not uncommonly happens, the dropper line slipped through the clenched mouth of the escaping trout and re-hooked it on the nymph. Another tailspring –which took the fish out through the tailout and into a tangle of willow roots below. My line hung lifeless in the air. I snatched it and said, “Rats!”, and then, “Wow!”

Near the head of the pool I watched a nice 10” brookie zip out from shoreline willows to take the dropper nymph –a reasonable Cynigmula mimic, which turned out to be the most abundant mature nymphs beneath riffle cobbles in this stretch.

Late morning the following day I was back, wearing felt soles. This time I drove through the campground, past the flat willow jungle, and parked at the trailhead. Hike upstream into the pristine high country? Nope, back to the jungle, and I walked the trailhead access road in a downstream direction. Hiking downstream to begin your beat is a bit like hiking upstream in that all those trouty pools around each new bend beckon, inviting me to stay longer than I should. “Ooooh look at that one!” I’m apt to say out loud. Charlie Meck fished with me once, while he was writing one of his guides to unsung trout streams of the East, and I appreciated his exuberance, using nearly the exact same words: “Oooooooh! Look at that pool!” The same thing occurs as I go downstream however, when trying to decide where to slice out a comfortable beat, and I usually end up biting off more water than I can chew.

I eventually broke in, and got myself into an abandoned beaver pond –a hellish ‘scape of potholes, mud flats, and willow hummocks that collectively succeeded in spitting me back out onto the road again. I listened for the stream then broke back in, finally getting my first look at it, in unbraided form. It was beautiful, and large enough to promise more browns and brookies like I started to find yesterday. I peered downstream and spied a large log jam with a long pool stretched above it. “Oooooohh!” It took a while to get below it, re-find the stream as it had begun to braid at that point, and I followed little channels through willow thickets until I heard rushing water ahead. Some more kung fu and I found myself just below another smaller log jam, above which was a gem of a pool. The lip of its tailout was above my head so I climbed up to it from below, finding stable footholds and trying to be as stealthy as I could; I knew I was mere feet from a potential pool spooker.

As I neared the top I peered over, between willow leaves, the water was crystal clear, and I spied several good ones in the pool basin. Every twig, spruce cone, and cobble at pool bottom shone clearly through 3 feet of water. I wedged my feet into a stable platform of logs, and slowly moved the rod out in front of me, its tip just poking out over the jam. “Just another stick; Don’t mind me.” I chuckled. Apparently they didn’t. I plucked the fly from the keeper, pulled off an extra foot and a half of line from the reel, drew the rod taut, aimed, and shot the dry-n-dropper nymph out onto the current. The deeper trout ignored the flies overhead and a smaller one, holding unseen close to the jam, intercepted the nymph. The rod bent and the trout bolted straight into the woodwork. “Rats.” I muttered, took a deep breath, climbed along the jam wall on all fours, down onto the sand bar at pool-side, waded in and reached deep to free the dry fly, and found the dropper line was deeper still. I stripped off line, waded back out, and layed the rod onto the branches of a willow, removed my vest, and went back in to free my rig. Reaching down through the maze of branches I followed the dropper line down, tugged, and felt a tug back! The trout was still on –all 9 inches of it. I realized I would have been better off being more patient, throwing a longer line further toward the head of the pool for a better chance at a larger fish. Or, just watch for a while to see if I could spot a better one and then decide what to do. I released the trout, snipped off the fly, retrieved my leader, and re-tied. Such is jungle fishing.

The stream was simply beautiful though, and the channel was intact from there up, which opened up the canopy allowing some full blown aerial casting. Above the big log jam I took a nice 12+” Colorado River Cutthroat, and then a 10” brookie that held a lane over pale straw-colored sand, the fish being a very pale straw color too.

I found a few long pools I could actually stand straight up and stretch out 40 feet to tag risers, and either flirt with good trout stationed beneath encroaching willow branches or hang up in those branches. With a gentle touch, sometimes with a rod tip wiggle, the dry would usually tumble out. I had removed the dropper nymph for this reason.

At one point I peered around a bend to find a long run with adequate depth across its width, supporting several drift lanes, and several risers, nearly side by side. I was nicely screened by tall willows, and threw the RF Drunella Hi Vis taking two small ones, and then received a rejection from a larger one –micro-drag I believed. A short wait and the trout rose again, and then again, scarcely breaking the surface but spitting water in its exuberance. “Cynigmula emergers,” I muttered. A few more casts yielded nothing so I switched to the red quill parachute and found the fish on the second drift. I pumped its stomach expecting to document Cynigmula emergers, but instead came up with 2 Drunella (coloradensis) duns and 3 black ants. I think the current speed in the main tongue this better fish plied required that the fish react quickly to food items, rather than any behavior of the items themselves. I’ve seen this with spinner falls on small fast streams too –can’t see the spent mayflies lying prone in the surface film, but the trout are spitting water in their attempts to get them before they drift quickly by.

Eventually I left the open willow lined stretch behind and slipped into a forested stretch of towering spruce. Here I was met with pools, runs, and pockets lined with alder and overhung with spruce boughs. I side-armed where I could or, where I could not, I used low back casts, making sure they were fully extended behind me, and waiting for them to fall low to the water before popping low tight loops forward. Some nice browns were the rewards –and I only lost one fly, due to a brain fart. For some idiotic reason (rust is the best explanation) I executed a beautiful cast with just enough slack to ride out the turbulent seam long enough to hook a nice brown (who came unpinned after several zippy runs around the cut), only to backcast into the spruce in a rash attempt to dry the fly, and brush off my disappointment at losing a good one. “Ugh!” Snap! Then siddown and re-tie. “Damned tedious waste of precious time,” I muttered.

I spent some worthwhile time on small dark pockets along the forested bank, taking a couple small browns and another 10+” brookie. I love spots like these because they are discrete holds, the barest essentials present, and many if not most anglers bypass them. Those essentials are: adequate depth, the right current velocity, coupled with nearby instream shelter such as an undercut, boulder crevice, or deadfallen log. They are small so accuracy and immediate control are paramount. For me that means a close approach, proper leader, and if it’s really small –a bow-n-arrow cast. Turbulence and shade help in the approach.

I spent my last bit of allotted time at a frustrating spot that almost had me throw up my hands. At first I could not see an approach. It was another large log jam, creating a beautiful “dry fly glide” above it. From below, the jam towered above me, the plunge pool beneath too deep for me to access the jam to climb it. (I was in hip boots. If I were wading wet, I’d have likely swum to the jam). I surveyed my options: The right bank was out –too high, sun drenched, with little cover –a sand bar with grass. It would have to be the left bank, but that meant I would end up casting from pool-side nearly half way up. “Foolish,” I thought; but that’s what I had to work with. I ducked into the forest, circled around and approached the pool, only to find a large fallen spruce lying parallel with the pool. Large dead spruce, with branches arrayed like a giant porcupine, create a perfect fence. Without a saw, (I do carry nippers), I was forced to move further up the pool. “Impossible,” I exhaled, and started the final critical phase of that do or die approach, and I discovered several saving graces: background cover from the deadfallen spruce, the sparse leafed branches of a small standing alder, and deep shade. Encouraged, I slowly slipped up alongside the pool, setting each foot down slowly, and then watched. A rise! Then another –a good one! I was standing upright 15 feet from them, abreast of me. Keeping the rod tip low I slowly pulled line off the reel, keeping “hand flash” (darkcotton gloves are a good idea, but mine were not in my vest today), and tip-wiggled it out. Holding the fly in my fingers at the bend, I made a short hand roll out onto the pool, which turned out to be essentially laminar with a slight ripple –a “glide”. I could simply pitch the line onto it and the fly drifted perfectly –only one minor mend would be needed to cover the length of it. I caught four of the browns, and lost the good one, who came unpinned on a tailspring. “Oooooh!” I love witnessing those enough that it takes the bite out of losing a good one; A worthy exchange for another set of red spots and yellow flanks in hand.

Heading into the canyon that contains my target stream. Yee-hah!

The pocket water below the “alluvial fan”. Without felt (the first day) it was rough wading in between the trout holds.

Jungle Pool

Wood replaces boulders as the pool diggers.

Drunella coloradensis dun and nymph.

Cynigmula ready to pop (Neothremma and an Epeorus too)

Immature Cynigmula

Stomach pump results from an exuberantly rising brown.

Relatively maintenance free and visible Drunella patterns formed the basis of my fly choice:

My follow-up pattern, to be used if a specific fish or emergence warranted, was a red quill parachute with a fluorescent post wing.

The mahogany and ochre brown. First “good one” of the day.

The “sand brookie”.

The Colorado River cutthroat –native to the the western drainages of the Colorado divide. Along the front range (Eastern drainages) the native Greenbacks are now being restored in appropriate (upland) areas.

10” brookies

A "good one" that was tucked away under low spruce boughs.

MotroutAugust 29th, 2010, 12:02 pm
Posts: 319
Nice pics and report- Nothing like getting the chance to fish some big old dry flies on a pretty mountain stream.

You have to love the cutthroats.They've always been my favorite fish. They are so sleek, wild, and beautiful. They're really the symbol of the Rocky mountain west to me.
"I don't know what fly fishing teaches us, but I think it's something we need to know."-John Gierach
MartinlfAugust 30th, 2010, 9:01 am
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3233
Now that's a fishing report! Thanks for making my lunch break today in the office an escape into the wilderness. Interesting flies. By the way, what kind of floatant do you prefer?
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
OldredbarnAugust 30th, 2010, 10:16 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608

I loved his bug photos and especially the one with three ants to two mayflies...How's that for variety? Can you say opportunistic?! It's always a smart move to carry a few ants.

I also love the fact that Paul's posts are longer than mine :) so the heat is off me a bit here...The presures off, he, he. I think I'll have to give up my Tolstoy trophy that Gonzo gave me because there's a new gun in town...How's that for mucking up a metaphor? Lloyd the would be editor will be red pencilling me again

Floatant has always been a bit of a hassle...I have always used Gink probably out of habit, but I hate the oil stain on the river and have wondered like the rest of us what the trout thinks of it...I have been using it still before I fish the fly and have been touching it up after with Frog's Fanny or the "shake-and-bake" thing...Not really happy with any of them...I even have some Harrop stuff for CDC and still not happy.

Maybe this is a positive for that Gonzo guy and his synthetics...Some of them float...for awhile at least. :)

Lovely photos Paul! All kidding aside.

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
PaulRobertsAugust 30th, 2010, 10:20 am

Posts: 1776
Hi Louis (Fred),

Yeah, SO MUCH goes on during a day's fishing, that to capture it in writing could be a novella. I also love to write and get practice by writing up my fishing days. I've also kept a fishing journal for over 30 years (!). I find that our minds and the memories they contain are pure mush. I start re-writing history the moment I leave the stream. I try to get everything down as soon after the trip as possible. I also carry a little notebook for figures and a digital voice recorder for data and ideas. Overkill? The world is a complex place. I want to understand what little I can of it.

I design my own -always have. I was never afraid trout wouldn't eat my attempts at winding fur, feathers, or anything I can find that might have a purpose.

Floatant? I dunno. I'd have to check. I just get a bottle every now and then. Not particular. Then again, I'm not up on the latest. For my leader (it must float too) I am still using an old jar of silicone "vacuum grease" that was used to lubricate a medical pump while I worked at a research lab a while back.

For flies, I find that floatant only lasts so long, so I don't rely on it. Maybe you have some suggestions for me? I put it on when I first tie on the fly then just cast-dry or squeeze dry them after. Oh yeah, I blow on them a lot -I hook my lip a couple times a day -only fair I figure. My broken water patterns are tied with non-absorbing materials, and after each fish I vigorously rinse them, then "squeeze dry" em in a strip cotton wash cloth hung low inside my vest. A while back I tried drying powders and found it was just another thing to slow me down -I'm a Type A fisherman lol.

I did have a bottle of a miracle concoction a couple local guys in Ithaca NY made that melted away fish slime and displaced water. It also left a gasoline like slick on the water if a drop fell, so I stopped using it. I asked them about it and they said, "You probably shouldn't get any in the water." insert "horror" emoticon here.

Hey Spence,
Rib away. And I'll happily take the Tolstoy award off your hands. Not likely it'll get passed around much after lol.

Ants ARE great flies, if only bc they are obviously insecty looking. But they are hard to see, so I tend to use them on flat water, or with a difficult fish possibly. But I have a quite a line up ahead of them. I did take a very healthy 16" brown from Enfield Ck (Ithaca) on an ant one summer. That was an awesome bug-eater for that stream.
OldredbarnAugust 30th, 2010, 10:24 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608

Hi Fred,

Louis...You are going to have to get another quote for your tagline...I remember I made the same mistake when I was young...:)

Fred just has to go...

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
OldredbarnAugust 30th, 2010, 10:43 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608
I did have a bottle of a miracle concoction a couple local guys in Ithaca NY made that melted away fish slime and displaced water. It also left a gasoline like slick on the water if a drop fell, so I stopped using it. I asked them about it and they said, "You probably shouldn't get any in the water."

In Lovell's there use to be a small square out building along the road that was labelled "Bill's Flies" and was run by an old-fart named Bill Korneke...He was great...We could never quite identify the aromas lingering inside his shop, didn't want to know probably...

After he passed away in the 90's a guide friend of mine bought out his complete supply of "secret" floatant which we now suspect was one of the origins of the smell in there...Maybe even what ultimately killed Bill. It was a whitish liquid which we now think had some of that dry cleaning fluid in it that is probably more toxic than I want to know...Maybe the boys in Ithaca knew ole'Bill?

All I'll say is after a dousing your flies floated like a cork! When the so-called life time supply finally ran out we were back to square one...Oh...Have you ever seen a trout sneeze? I think I have a time or two right after applying some of Bill's secret sauce to one of my flies. :)


"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
PaulRobertsAugust 31st, 2010, 9:34 am

Posts: 1776
Didn't know Bill -I don't think so anyway. I must have met him. Didn't know of "Bill' Flies" either though. The stuff I tried was a clear solvent of some kind. I got the feeling those guys had confiscated some industrial solvent from their workplace. Scary.
OldredbarnAugust 31st, 2010, 1:21 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608
Didn't know Bill -I don't think so anyway. I must have met him. Didn't know of "Bill' Flies" either though.


Have you fished the Au Sable in Michigan? Lovell's is on the North Branch N/E a bit from Grayling? Lovell's has a fly-fishing history that would rival just about any place but it has been way over-looked. Old Bill was a character and after his death he was cremated and his ashes placed in Big Creek which runs parallel to the NB and eventually flows in to it. The young-man (young-man then that is) that told me the story was the son of a friend of Bill's and he placed the ashes in the river...He said to me that, "Spence...They just flopped out and a pile formed on the bottom of the river with tiny little left over bone in it...We didn't know what to do. Should we disperse them somehow or just let it be? We just let them be."

I know what you mean about having a hard time seeing the small stuff...I'm just glad that the fish can see better than I can! :)

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
PaulRobertsAugust 31st, 2010, 1:57 pm

Posts: 1776've never been to MI. I Googled Levells and found Grayling references. Thought you were talking about Ithaca.

I know what you mean about having a hard time seeing the small stuff...I'm just glad that the fish can see better than I can! :)

Are you referring to fluorescent wings and posts? My eyes aren't quite what they were I suppose. But it's mostly because of the turbulence, light and shadow, that make even big flies tough to track, or see subtle responses from fish.
EricdAugust 31st, 2010, 2:32 pm
Mpls, MN

Posts: 113
I was out with my first guided trip last week and the guide shared his opinions on floatant. He said that using the wet stuff, Gink is what I have on my vest and what he was referring to, adds twice the weight to flies. I didn't question him, but I thought later what does it matter if the flies float? He was using a white powder that he applied with a small brush and I thought it looked cool and fun to use. For no other reason than that, I want to buy some. The stream we fished had just recently recovered from a major flood, so there were no hatches to speak of (we nymphed all day) but we did see a few hoppers on our long walk to the stream, so that powdery floatant was only used on one hopper and only for about 12 casts. It was a foam hopper and the use of floatant hasn't always seemed necessary to me on those, so I can't attest to it's function. Does anyone care to share their opinion?

P.S. I did catch a lot of fish in a lot of places that I normally walk right by. Most of them were caught on the "swing." I'm talking smart because I now feel a bit smarter. I have another guided trip planned for another area next week during my second annual labor day week of camping and fishing all alone trip. I really really hope to have a tiger trout photo to share with ya'll. I'm just thinking aloud now.

LastchanceAugust 31st, 2010, 3:55 pm
Portage, PA

Posts: 437
Well, I think it's very subjective. Gink may weight the fly, but like you said, what's the difference if it floats. I agree. I know some people that use both and I never heard anyone complain about a fly sinking. Once in awhile I use Gink first and then go to the powder for the rest of the time I fish that particular fly. I'm not the greatest dry fly fisherman, I catch my share of fish, but all of the so-called experts around me have both in their vest.
OldredbarnAugust 31st, 2010, 8:37 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608
He was using a white powder that he applied with a small brush and I thought it looked cool and fun to use.


That's what I meant above and it't called "Frog Fanny"... The other stuff I was joking when I called it "Shake and Bake" it's actually "Shake and Float"...As I also hinted at above we dry fly guys have a love/hate relationship with floatants...None seem to be problem free.

Alternatives: Good dry fly dubbing i.e. Beaver, Muskrat...Good quality dry fly hackle and proper tailing...i.e. stiff fibers and enough to help with floating the fly and yet not over doing it...Split tails help as well. Other materials...hollow deer hair...Palmered hackle like on an Elk Hair Caddis...

Dry fly designs have been worked out and proportion is very important and sometimes we tyers forget the physics inorder to better imitate some bug...It's a form vs function thing...

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
EricdSeptember 1st, 2010, 4:05 pm
Mpls, MN

Posts: 113
Frog Fanny, yeah that's the stuff.
RleePSeptember 1st, 2010, 4:45 pm
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
If you like the way Frog Fanny works on your flies, but don't like the way the price of it works on your wallet nearly as much, you can go to any good archery shop and buy a bottle of arrow fletch drying powder and get about three times as much of essentially the same stuff for about a dollar more than the cost of a single bottle of Frog Fanny.

It isn't identical. The fletch dry powder is a little bit more coarse, but its more than close enough for gov't work. It works very well as is and works even a little bit better when mixed 50/50 with actual Frogs Fanny.

Just hold your breath when you're mixing it. They're both silica and can be nasty for your lungs if you breath too much of it in.

Brought to you by the Council For Low Cost Fly Fishing Innovation.

Watch this space for our next tip on how to make the knees on your waders last 5X longer by utilizing a portable plastic shrub to break up your silhouette while casting to spooky fish in clear water...
GutcutterSeptember 1st, 2010, 7:52 pm

Posts: 470
...and another tip from the C.F.LC.FF.I.
rain-x instead of watershed at your tying bench. it has to dry before use. about 4 times more for about 1/2 the price. and makes 'em float like a cork! also lets fish saliva come off with a quick rinse. dry the fly with a paper towel and you are back in business.
just don't use it with cdc
and wrestler's knee pads also extend the life of your waders if you like to sneak up on 'em without plastic shrubbery ;)
All men who fish may in turn be divided into two parts: those who fish for trout and those who don't. Trout fishermen are a race apart: they are a dedicated crew- indolent, improvident, and quietly mad.

-Robert Traver, Trout Madness
PaulRobertsSeptember 2nd, 2010, 7:09 pm

Posts: 1776
Some good ideas here. I've actually used Rain-x on arrow fletching. Curious how long it'll last on dries. Think I still have some. Thanks Gutcutter.

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