The Value of Keeping a Journal

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

As a 12-year-old school boy trapper during the 1948 season a professional trapper was teaching me to trap furbearing animals. He also taught me to keep careful records of my observations, which sets were more productive than others and to maintain those notes forever. Over the years I collected numerous journals of my observations and success or failures on the trapline, hunting, the foods preferred by animals, fishing flies that appeared more productive than others and experiences of fishing in western and central Pennsylvania from 1948 to 1955, during three summers in the northern Adirondacks of my college years, during the years I fished in Yellowstone, the five years I fished the east side drainages of the North Cascades and almost nine years I was in central Alaska.

I had occasion to review those numerous journals of observations I wrote about during a recent research project that involved bison and wild horses. This is when I noticed my records indicated that there were some dry flies that were consistently productive in all the waters I fished from Pennsylvania, the Rocky Mountains, the North Cascades of Washington and Alaska.

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Fly of the Month – June 2017 – Indicator BWO

Fly Tyer: Tim Morales, J Stockard customer & avid fly tyer

The Indicator BWO is essentially a standard parachute dry fly. The important difference is that the post is fluorescent making it much easier to see. This fly can also be used as an indicator on a nymphing rig, giving the angler the ability to fish both the adult stage and ascending nymphal stage at the same time.

Hook:  Tiemco TMC101 #16
Tail:  Hackle Fibers (Dun)
Abdomen: Turkey Biot (BWO)
Thorax: Fly-Rite extra fine poly dubbing (BWO) or Wapsi Antron Dubbing (Light Olive)
Wing: Whiting Farms Dry Fly Hackle (Dun)
Post:  CCT body fur (Fluo Fire Orange) or McFlylon

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Prominent Wings and High Floating Dry Flies

Guest Blogger: Clay Cunningham, Cody, Wyoming, retired National Park Superintendent

In my opinion the most attractive dry flies to lure a trout to rise and strike has to resemble in color and size an insect the trout recognizes. But, if your fly is not a perfect match to a hatch in progress, or there is no hatch at all…if your fly has prominent, visible wings, if it sets on the water in an upright position, and is a high floater; the odds of having a trout rise to take that fly are improved. You can dramatically increase your chances of having a trout rise to your dry fly presentation if your dry flies have those three attributes of prominent divided wings, the fly lands upright and it floats high on the water.

Very few, if any, store bought commercially tied flies meet the criteria of prominent wings and dependable high floating. Most have well done divided wings, and some have quality stiff hackle barbs to maintain a good float….at least for the first few casts or until the immersion it gets with one fish being caught. Then they become water soaked and tend to sink. You could add silicone dry fly treatment substances to minimize the tendency for the fly to sink or perhaps float lower in the water. With consistent applications of “float chemicals” and false casting to dry the fly you will achieve some success.

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