Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Flies, That Simplicity Thing Again.

Simplicity and elegance can be one in the same when it comes to trout flies. If you open almost any fly tying book you'll see pages of Catskill dry flies. Most everyone of these patterns will show you just how elegant a fly can be. Most of the Catskill flies are tied very sparse, their bodies of hair are very thin and the wings so precise it's almost as if every fiber were counted by the tyer. Some of these flies have tails that are set in with two or three thin fibers with a barring to them that is precise. Yes these flies although beautiful will be tough enough to hook and hold many wise trout.

The flies I have tied in this post are not of the Catskill style. These are flies that take on a different style, a style more like "meat and potatoes" flies but they to have a certain elegance in there style and do they catch fish.


This is a variant of the "Partridge and Yellow soft hackle. In this fly I used somewhat longer mallard feathers in place of partridge. The longer feather gives a life to the fly that trout find hard not to eat. As it drifts it looks to be a struggling birth, a still-born, perhaps a dying spinner, or an insect that fell of a log.


The first two patterns in my hand are Hornberg dry flies. Simplicity to the max. Silver tinsel body, yellow hackle underwing, mallard overwing, and a few turns of grizzly hackle. This fly either fished dry or wet has been a good fish producer for me. You don't need a fly box full of fancy flies, flies from 10 to 28, to flies with that perfect shade of olive dubbing. Just give the trout what they like.....


A beautiful male wild brook trout, who could not resist a simple Hornberg.



26 comments:

  1. Great looking flies Alan. I really like the looks of those hornbergs, they would imitate a few of the mayflies I've seen on my own rivers quite nicely.

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    1. HighPlainsFlyFisher
      Thanks
      Jeff, they do a pretty good job of imitating the caddis also.

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  2. Replies
    1. Kevin Frank
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      Keven I appreciate that.

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  3. Nice tie on your version of the partridge and yellow.....simple, beautiful and effective....what more could one ask for?

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    1. Kiwi,
      Thanks
      Chris, it's amazing how those delicate feathers moving so naturally in the water can bring such a violent strike.

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  4. Very nice flies Alan! I need to tie a few small ones as I've been seeing a lot of small yellow quills in the evening and I think the trout are after the rising nymphs which would be a good situation to try a small soft hackle.

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    1. Mark
      Thanks
      Mark, the observations made by me showed they do have a preference for the emerger, which the soft hackle will replicate. I have to tie a few smaller sizes myself.

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  5. I appreciate your posts and pictures of flies you tie, Alan. I recently started tying again after many years off from it, and have to remember to not over do these soft hackles.

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    1. Parachute Adams
      Thanks
      Sam sparse and less. It's amazing how so little can do so much.
      Glad your back into tying.

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  6. Simply irresistible, even to the angler. Great looking flies!

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    1. Drew LooknFishy
      Thanks
      Drew most flies are by design to catch anglers. These do catch fish.

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  7. I've only fished a Hornberg once a long time ago in Wyoming. Maybe it's time to try it again.

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    1. Howard Levett
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      Howard if I were you I would not hesitate.

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  8. Great looking flies, Alan. The fish don't seem to mind them, either. I'm sure that would work in the Driftless area of Wisconsin or in my backyard for some bluegill and crappie.

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    1. Justin Carfagnini
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      Justin they would work well, both for trout in the Driftless area as well as the local pond.

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  9. Love the yellow berg, got my very first trout off of one and many more after. A great timeless fly.

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    1. Brad Hardy
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      Brad they are a staple in the fly boxes of New England, and there's a reason.

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  10. Alan, I love your message of simplicity here. It rings so true to me as I've discovered much of the same, although via a different path. I tend to use 2-3 patterns and they fill my simple small fly box. A few of your flies and some randoms I tied fill in the extra space.

    I love your Hornberg flies. Do you just lay some feather flat and tie it on behind the hackle to create that under-wing and over-wing?

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    1. Klags
      Thanks
      Adam I believe that a few good patterns in a few sizes are all that's needed. An exception would be these tailwaters with their numerous species of insects.

      Adam, a tinsel body, I use about 5 yellow hackle fibers, then a mallard feather in proportion to the yellow hackle. A few turns of grizzly hackle and that's it.

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  11. Alan
    I am so impressed with Hornberg pattern, have you tried this fly on the Farmington, and if not would you consider trying it on a tailrace? Thanks for sharing

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    1. Bill Trussell
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      Bill the brook trout in the photo was taken in the Farmington on a Hornberg.

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  12. Great fly the Honberg is that this pattern works well .. I commend you for the good taste to appreciate this kind of fishing. Also I saw his picture put on the website of "The streamer List" Cris del Plato and I had also sometimes participated of that.. greeting.

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    1. Armando Milosevic
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      Armando the Hornberg is one of those flies that have taken the test and passed. Yes The Streamer List is a good site, and I post there.

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  13. Great post! Those hornbergs really work well for a lot of folks. A true classic. MG

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    1. Matthew Grobert
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      Matt they do, I like them in the fall.

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