Reader Favorites – Spring 2017

See what your fellow readers are tying.

These flies will catch fish! Our mailbag has been full of packages containing great flies. They arrive from across the United States, Canada, and beyond. And every box and envelope contains patterns that we know will catch fish—guaranteed! The letters accompanying the flies are delightful. One reader said that he has tied flies for more than 50 years, and another was written by a father who submitted a pattern—a Gray Ghost, no less—made by his eight-year-old son. Reading this correspondence, you get a sense of where they tie and how they fish. And every correspondent shares a common passion: to create flies that catch trout, bass, panfish, bonefish, and more!

Would you like to share your best patterns with your fellow Fly Tyer readers? It is simple. Send a sample of your fly, and include the complete pattern recipe and a brief description of how you tie or fish your fly to: Reader Favorites, Fly Tyer magazine, P.O. Box 8, Steuben, ME 04680. (We will publish as many flies as we can, and all materials become the property of this magazine.) And, whether or not your fly appears in this magazine, you will be entered in our contest to win a great prize! —David Klausmeyer

Win a Fishpond Delta Sling Pack!

Fishpond is a leader is designing and manufacturing innovative fly fishing accessories. The Delta Sling Pack is an example of its creativity. The Fishpond Delta Sling Pack features YKK Aquaguard water-resistant zippers, a structured back air mesh panel to help carry heavy loads and keep cool, and a strap that will fit over your left or right shoulder. The zippered main compartment will secure fly boxes, and there is an additional front zippered compartment for easy access. The Delta Sling Pack has even more great bells and whistles, but you get the point: it’s a terrific way to organize and carry your gear—fly boxes, spools of leader material, and more. And it can be yours! Submit a fly to Reader Favorites, and you will be entered into our contest to win a Fishpond Delta Sling Pack. So, good tying, good fishing, and good luck!

Here are just a few flies from the Spring 2017 feature:


Photography by Dave Klausmeyer

Span Flex Shrimp

Hook: Daiichi 2546, size 6.
Thread: Pink 6/0 (140 denier).
Weight: Medium bead chain.
Mouth: Tan marabou.
Eyes: Melted 30-pound-test monofilament.
Legs: Tan Span Flex.
Body: Tan rabbit dubbing.
Wing: Tan craft fur.
Weed guard: 30-pound-test monofilament.

Vary the size of the bead chain depending upon the depth of the water you will fish. Using short, smooth strips was effective when fishing for bonefish in Belize. Edward Janiga – Hawthorne, New Jersey

Jack’s Woven Nymph

Hook: Dai-Riki 280, size 12.
Thread: Light olive 8/0 (70 denier).
Tail: Turkey biots.
Abdomen: Amber and chartreuse V-Rib woven over opal Flashabou.
Thorax: Brown/orange Ice Dub.
Wing case: Flashabou over Swiss straw, coated with epoxy.
Legs: Hen back fibers.

I like fishing this pattern off the bottom by placing a piece of split shot 12 inches above the fly. Make the abdomen by wrapping Flashabou up the hook, and then weaving the V-Rib over the Flashabou. Jack Hingher – The Villages, Florida

Al’s Yellow Perch

Hook: 3X- to 6X-long streamer hook, sizes 6 to 1.
Thread: Black 3/0 (210 denier).
Body: Gold Mylar braid.
Underwing: Orange calftail or bucktail.
Wing: Pearl Flashabou, green calftail or bucktail, and black calftail.
Sides: Yellow grizzly hackle.

Yellow perch fingerlings are major forage for gamefish, and streamers account for more big fish than nymphs and dry flies do. Give this fly a lot of action in the water to make it look like a minnow in distress. Al Daher – Syracuse, New York

FOD (Fly of the Day)

Hook: 4X-long streamer hook, size 4.
Weight: Medium wire.
Thread: Light brown 3/0 (210 denier).
Tail: Red marabou and silver Flashabou.
Body: Light pink crosscut mink or rabbit strip.
Hackle: Ruffed grouse flank feather.

I have been tying this pattern for more than 20 years. It has been very effective for catching smallmouth bass here on the Mississippi River. It has also fooled a number of northern pike and walleyes, and even one muskie. David Kollmann – St. Cloud, Minnesota

The River Rat

Hook: 2X-long nymph hook, size 12.
Thread: Brown 8/0 (70 denier).
Tail: Pheasant marabou.
Butt: Caddis green Ice Dub.
Body: Black rabbit dubbing.
Hackle: Ring-necked pheasant church window body feather.

I have had good success fishing this fly like a streamer in streams and especially lakes. George Hartzer – Whitaker, Pennsylvania

The Synchronicity

Hook: Scud hook, size 10.
Thread: Black 6/0 (140 denier).
Eyes: Bead chain.
Body: Brown squirrel dubbing.
Legs: Sili Legs or rubber legs.

This pattern started out as a carp fly. It catches carp and just about everything else that I throw it at. I suspect the eyes and legs are the triggering features. Craig Crews – Omaha, Nebraska

White Ghost

Hook: 6X- or 8X-long streamer hook, sizes 6 to 2.
Thread: Black 6/0 (140 denier).
Body: Flat gold tinsel.
Rib: Gold round tinsel.
Wing: Peacock herl and white saddle hackle.
Shoulders: Silver pheasant.
Cheeks: Jungle cock.
Belly: White bucktail.

The enclosed submission is from my eight-year-old son, Lech Szambelak. Lech began tying flies when he was three years old. In the beginning, he sat on my lap and picked random colors of feathers and hairs to “stick on the hook.” The enclosed fly is his first attempt at the Gray Ghost. Walt Szambelak – Doylestown, Pennsylvania

Wonder Bug

Hook: 2X-long dry fly hook, sizes 16 to 6.
Thread: Purple 6/0 (140 denier).
Tail: Red polypropylene yarn and black foam.
Body: Purple heat-shrink tubing with tan foam on top.
Legs: Black-and-white rubber legs.
Antennae: Brown monofilament.
Post: White polypropylene yarn.
Wing: White polypropylene sheeting.
Hackle: White saddle hackle.

I call this pattern the Wonder Bug because when I tied it, I wondered if it would catch fish, and when it did, I wondered why it worked. This fly floats like a cork and it catches trout anywhere in moderate- to fast-moving water. David Cowardin – Dillon, Montana