Sunday, January 31, 2016

Jan. 30in30 Collage

Well, there they are....all 31 of the paintings of flies for the 30in30 Challenge.  The hardest part...was getting this crazy collage to save on my computer!   Eh...GADS!   Hope you are having an outstanding weekend!!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Fly 31 - Orange Nymph

Orange Nymph
5x7, soft pastel's one more since January has 31 days in it!  

The Orange Nymph is attributed to Joe Cornwall of the Fly Fish Ohio website.  I have to admit...I started with one design and ended up with I don't know if this one is extremely accurate...but he sure is colorful!  Apparently, blue gill are really attracted to the color orange.  While this nymph looks like it's a late stage nymph, I would imagine it's fairly attractive to a lot of other types of fish as well!   

Ok, now I should confess. I have developed an addiction to painting flies. I don't know what it is...probably because many are so colorful and there are literally thousands of fly patterns to chose from.  So, I plan on painting flies from time to time...just for something fun and relaxing to do.  Enjoy your day!!!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Fly 30 - The Lady Amherst

The Lady Amherst
5x7, soft pastel is officially the end of the 30in30 Challenge!!   I'm both relieved and a bit sad.  

There's always a lot of support (especially from family, friends and fellow artists) that really helps boost my confidence and willpower to make it to the end.  So, to anyone out there who may be reading this (I assume someone, somewhere does)...I say thank you for taking the journey with me.  I hope there was a painting or two that you enjoyed seeing during this past month.

Today's painting is the Lady Amherst (tied by Monte Smith) which is an early season Atlantic salmon fly, most commonly tied on large irons.  Even though this gorgeous fly is tied in the classic Ranger style, the Lady Amherst is not what purists consider a "true classic" salmon fly (having been invented  in post-Victorian era Canada in 1925 by George B. Bonbright).  However, invented that long ago, it's a classic in my book!

Like me, do you wonder how this fly got it's name? I was thinking it was named after English royalty.  But, I suspect it was because the main body feathers are from the Lady Amherst pheasant.   An absolutely beautiful bird!  

And, now you know...

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Fly 29 - Russian Intruder

Russian Intruder
5x7, soft pastel

Once again...I am drawn to blue, teal and green colors of a fly...this time the Russian Intruder.  This fly is a steelhead fly originated by the late Juri Shumakov.  He used a series of cones on plastic tube, tying fur and feathers in between each cone.  This style has long been proven to be successful for steelhead fishing.  

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Fly 28 - Double Bead Nymph

Double Bead Nymph
5x7, soft pastel

Did I mention earlier that the Copper John fly pattern is considered a wet fly as well as an attractor?  The weight of the nymph head allows this tiny fly to sink quickly to the bottom (especially with this double beaded version)...where the big fish lay waiting!

This particular nymph was tied by a friend, Clint Shiflet, and given to my husband to try out.  Apparently it's pretty effective...Vic may be tying a few more of these little guys. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Fly 27 - Copper John - Dive Bomber

Copper John - Dive Bomber
5x7, soft pastel

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the Copper John fly pattern was originally tied by John Barr and has become one of the most popular fly patterns of all time.  This little guy is a key fly to have in one's fly box (assuming you have a fly box).  

The Copper John mimics stoneflies, mayflies, and other sub-aquatic nymphs and can work in rivers and lakes across the world.  The Copper John fly pattern needs no introduction for most fishermen/women, but if you are new to fly fishing and especially new to fly tying, this is a great pattern to know how to tie.  The Copper John can be tied in almost any color or variation of colors and can be tied in hook sizes #8–24.  I call this one Dive Bomber because he looks like he's ready to dive below the surface.

While I am just an artist painting flies...I have to say, I'm really hooked on this one. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Fly 26 - Beadhead Wooly Bugger

Beadhead Wooly Bugger
5x7, soft pastel

Sometimes the name of a fly alone is reason enough for me to paint it.  This fly's name just makes me smile. A Wooly Bugger is another staple when fishing for trout.  When nothing else seems to work, a Wooly Bugger is a go-to fly especially for spring creek trout.

The addition of a bead head over the years helps the fly head sink lower than the tail portion. This fly mimics the crane fly which is prevalent in many spring creeks.  Fish this fly slowly along the bottom, with short jerks, then let it drift downward again in order to work the fish.  The best time of day for this fly is mid-day after the morning hatches have thinned. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Fly 25 - Muddler Minnow

Muddler Minnow
5x7, soft pastel

The Muddler Minnow...hmm, what to say about this guy.  Well, he's brown...a bit on the drab side...but a great streamer fly (fished wet) primarily used for trout.  This guy mimics a minnow and it is said that brown trout are especially vulnerable to this fly having been known to charge out of an undercut bank to hit the fly like a freight train.  

It's a good idea to use a floating line with the fly streaming three to four inches under the surface.  If you like to float down a river in a raft, this fly can't be beat!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Day 24 - Blue Charm Spey

Blue Charm Spey
5x7, soft pastel

There are many variations of this beautiful Atlantic Salmon Spey fly.  This one caught my eye because of the soft subtle nature of the grey feathers against the gorgeous blues and blue greens.  I just had to try this one out!  

Friday, January 22, 2016

Fly 23 - Pale Morning Dun Mayfly

Pale Morning Dun Mayfly
5x7, soft pastel

The Pale Morning Dun Mayfly is a commonly used fly during mid-summer months when mayflies are most vulnerable to trout.  The elk hair hackles enables the fly to maintain just the right amount of float allowing the fly to hang just below the surface of the water...which is where many trout take advantage of the short stage of a mayfly from emerger to adult.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Fly 22 - Rock Island Featherwing Streamer

Rock Island Featherwing Streamer
5x7, soft pastel

Monte Smith ( created this version of a featherwing streamer...the Rock Island.  These types of flies originated from the Rangeley Lakes region of Maine.  They are attributed to Carrie G. Stevens (c. 1920s) of Upper Dam, Maine, a self taught commercial fly tyer.  Carrie elevated the eastern streamer from a utilitarian tool to an art form as you can see.  To learn more about this and other types of flies check out Monte's website...he knows much more about flies in general than I'll ever know! 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Fly 21 - Orange Flamethrower

Orange Flamethrower
5x9, soft pastel

I've been painting all the flies in this series in a 5x7 format.  However, this Orange Flamethrower just demanded a longer size to accommodate its gorgeous tail.  

The Flamethrower is another tube style salmon fly, this time with a double hook.  I couldn't find my original source for this particular fly...but I know the guys at The Canadian Tube Fly Company could set you up with the supplies to tie this beauty! 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Fly 20 - Yellow Sally Stonefly

Yellow Sally Stonefly
5x7, soft pastel

The metamorphosis from egg to nymph to fly is fascinating.  As shown below (courtesy of Encyclopedia Brittanica).  While the nymph stage is quite long (12 months)...the change from late stage nymph to a fly taking flight is only 24 hours.  As the emerging fly's wings dry out on the surface of the water, they're pretty suseptable to being snatched up by a hungry fish.  Lucky are those who live long enough to take flight!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Fly 19 - Yellow Sally Stone Fly Nymph

Yellow Sally Stonefly Nymph
5x7, soft pastel

The Yellow Sally Stonefly nymph is a proven success at attracting trout in fast freestone rivers and streams across the U.S., or any other place where stoneflies are found.  This fly should be fished in riffles, pockets and pools.

The most fascinating fact about the stonefly nymph is their intolerance for polluted waters. An abundance of these little guys in a body of water (the actual nymph not the fishing fly) indicates good or excellent water quality.  Which is a good thing for us all!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Fly 18 - Western Green Drake

Western Green Drake
5x7, soft pastel

There are times, particularly on western rivers when the water is a bit more rough and tumble and a fisherman needs a more substantial fly to stay up on the surface. This big hair wing drake is just the ticket if the river is brawny and the trout are big. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Fly 17 - Western Green Drake Nymph

Green Drake Nymph
5x7, soft pastel

For the next few days I'm going to paint the nymph then adult version of two flies.  First the Western Green Drake fly (which is a Mayfly species) then the Yellow Sally Stonefly. 

Today's painting is the nymph version of the Western Green Drake fly.  I like this particular version of the Green Drake nymph because flashback material was incorporated into the design (which not only makes the fly more attractive to fish...but more beautiful to paint)! This fly can be fished with success pretty much anywhere and is a common fly used in the Pacific Northwest. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Fly 16 - Olive Elk Hair Caddis

Olive Elk Hair Caddis
5x7, soft pastel

Day 16 is the beginning of the second half of the month...and I spent a portion of the day reflecting on the first 15 days.  I really wanted to take another stab at the Elk Hair Caddis.  While the first one was accurate, it had a light background and from an artistic was bland.

I began with different paper which is new to me but a common pastel paper, Sennelier's Pastel Card in Charcoal.  This time, I left the background alone, chose an Olive Elk Hair Caddis and just focused on the fly.  I was quite happy with it until I showed my husband who had a puzzled look on his face since he'd never used a green Elk Hair Caddis...oh well...I know there are some out there somewhere! 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Fly 15 - Joe's Hopper

Joe's Hopper
5x7, soft pastel

Joe's Hopper is a terrestrial type dry fly. This particular fly can also be fished as a wet fly when it's weighted.  While it does look like something out of a bad sci-fi movie, it's supposed to represent a common grasshopper.

Terrestrial fishing flies are land-based creatures (think spiders, beetles, ants and crickets).  My husband even has a few mouse-like flies in his fly box...but I draw the line at painting a mouse fly.  It's bad enough I had a nightmare last night of being buried alive with stone fly nymphs crawling all over me!  

Developed by Art Winnie in the early 1940's. Joe's Hopper was known as the Michigan Hopper but evolved into the name of Joe's Hopper by the 1950's. Why Joe?  Because it was a popular pattern used by Joe Brooks (1901-1972).  Joe was often referred to the Father of Modern Fly Fishing and is actually in the IGFA Fishing Hall of, who knew there was a fishing Hall of Fame?   Not me but I suppose my dad would have known.

This fly is fished within riffles (rocky or shallow parts of a stream or river with rough water) or along banks and deep pools during the hottest part of the day.  Think of those hot summer days when the grasshoppers are out bugging the heck out of you.  That's when you use this little guy.

I should point out that during hatching, the Hopper doesn't work well (because there's plenty of good eats for the fish I presume) but when there's a shortage of nymphs...pull this guy out and give him a try!

OK...I know...I'm beginning to sound like a fly fisherman. Don't tell my husband or I'll be drafted soon to get out on the water with him!   I think I'm content to just paint these puppies in the comfort of my studio instead.

Hope you enjoy this one and only terrestrial!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Fly 14 - Red Special

Red Special
5x7, soft pastel

Red Special (Deschutes River Dee) was designed by Oregon fly fisherman and tyer Andrew Marshall. The married wings is an element more familiar in Classic Atlantic Salmon flies and adds a classic touch to these flies which look very effective. Monte Smith of Northwest Fly Tyer tied this particular "Red Special".

Dees can be confused with Speys as the look similar. Speys (see Fly #3) were introduced in the 1800's for fishing the River Spey In Scotland. The Dees were introduced on the River Dee in Scotland.

The one big difference between these two flies is the wing style. The Spey typically sports a bronze mallard feather wing that sits low along the hook shank while the Dee wing is split and somewhat drooping along the hook shank and, is generally made with turkey feather

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Fly 13 - Deep Dish Callibaetis

Deep Dish Callibaetis
5x7, soft pastel

A gorgeous fly created a few years ago by Curtis Fry ( is the Deep Dish Callibaetis which is a mayfly nymph.  This fly looks like it would be a very effective little fly.

Curtis says the idea behind this pattern was to make a somewhat realistic representation of the natural fly that could be tied in a variety of colors and sizes with a focus on the two-toned nature of callibaetis, the pronounced gills on the abdomen and the sparkley-ness of the emerging insects.  

Check out Curtis’s YouTube video where he demonstrates tying this fly.  He was much faster at tying it than I was at painting it!  

Monday, January 11, 2016

Fly 12 - Purple Pleasure

Purple Pleasure
5x7, soft pastel

Purple Pleasure is an example of a tube fly.  This version is made by The Canadian Tube Fly Company.  Tube flies are exactly what they sound like, they are tied onto a tube instead of a standard hook shank. Tubes are thicker than a conventional fly, according to The Canandian Tube Fly Company, an attribute many steelhead and salmon fishermen find desirable.  

Hook size and style can vary according to the situation (regulations permitting) as well as the tube materials (plastic and various types of metal) which allows for greater control over the weight of the fly.

Tube flies have been around for some time, particularly in Europe. It's only recently that they have been successfully fished on the west coast of Alaska, Washington, B.C., and Oregon.  While the Purple Pleasure hasn't yet been tested on steelhead, apparently its been very successful in attracting trout on darker days.

If you tie flies you might want to head on over to the company's website where they go into much greater detail on the benefits of trying out this relatively new and versatile type of fly.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Fly 11 - The Little Brown Trout

The Little Brown Trout
5x7, soft pastel

The Little Brown Trout fly was originated by Samuel R. Slaymaker II of Gap, Pennsylvania.  There are several trout flies attributed to Mr. Slaymaker in his streamer series.  All of these flies are effective flies while fishing for trout using a stripping action.  What is a stripping action you ask?   No, stripping isn’t disrobing and wearing your birthday suit while fishing…it’s the action of pulling the line in (after casting it out) in a quick methodical pace several inches at a time.   The resulting jerking action of the streamer fly really gets the trout's attention.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Fly 10 - Jungle Hornet

Jungle Hornet
5x7, soft pastel

The Jungle Hornet is a grub style fly.  Tied by Monte Smith, this little guy looks like a bug I hope to never encounter!   Grub style salmon files are among the earliest of the various types of flies used in the 19th century.  

And that’s all I know about that!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Fly 9 - Royal Wulff

Royal Wulff
5x7, soft pastel

Well, yesterday I had wished I painted the Elk Hair Caddis on today I played with a black background.   I don't know if I'll keep it up...but it does jump out at ya!

Mr. Lee Wulff revolutionized fly fishing and fly tying with his Wulff series.  These flies were one of the first ever invented using hair instead of natural feathers for wings and tails.

The Royal Wulff is a go-to trout fly in my neck of the woods.  In the Mountain West the Royal Wulff represents the flying red ant hatches that appear during the months of August and September. Although, when asked what they represented Mr. Wulff replied smiling: "...not any one natural insect but more like a dessert...something after the main course, like Strawberry shortcake...something great big and juicy floating down the river."

Darn, now I need a sweet treat!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Fly 8 - Elk Hair Caddis

Elk Hair Caddis
5x7, soft pastel

This elk hair caddis is a fly that is a really big winner when it comes to it's popularity with trout fishermen.  As my husband says, this tie is the simplest to tie, one of the most effective in creeks and rivers of the ugliest of ties.  Alas, some flies are just...sorta...ugly.

I had hoped for better painting results.  But alas, I don't think I did it justice.  I'm now wishing I had painted the background black or a dark brown.  Oh well....there's always tomorrow! 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Fly 7 - Red Copper John

Red Copper John
5x7, soft pastel

I couldn't resist painting a second Copper John...this one with red wire and a bit more wing detail.  Not only do I like this little nymph...but I love it's name.  Although, I have to admit I kept calling it a Copper Bob for the first day or two...that is until my husband corrected me (oh well). 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Fly 6 - Copper John

Copper John
5x7, soft pastel

Almost every day so far I've said "I think this is my favorite"...well, today was no exception.  This is indeed my favorite so far and it's mainly because of the reflective qualities of the copper and beads.

Created fairly recently by John Barr in 1993, the Copper John is an attractor nymph. This fly is extremely effective in nearly all trout waters and has become the go-to fly for trout fishermen and women everywhere. 

This little beauty has many variations when it comes to the colors a person can use both in the wire, beads and feathers.  The most amazing thing about this fly isn’t just the gorgeous colors of the beads and copper but the size!  Because they mimic actual newly hatched nymphs, they’ve got to be very tiny (somewhere in the 1/2 inch range).  If you’d like to see John tying this fly check out his article:

I now have a new appreciation for the usefulness of a vise for tying flies!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Fly 5 - Thunder and Lightening

Thunder and Lightening
5x7, soft pastel

I couldn’t find a lot of information on this particular Atlantic Salmon fly except to say there are several versions of flies called Thunder and Lightening. The Atlantic Salmon Thunder and Lightening was originated by James Wright around 1850 and can be tied as a featherwing or hairwing version (this one being a featherwing).  

Thank you Klaus Woggon for this beautiful example of a Thunder and Lightening Atlantic Salmon fly.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Fly 4 - Evening Breeze

Evening Breeze
5x7, soft pastel

Here in Idaho, we are experiencing a week of very cold weather.  So, the title of this next fly (a featherwing streamer) captured my imagination.  I’m looking forward to the cool summer evenings! 

Tying this fly consists of using copper wire, silver tinsel, pheasant and peacock feathers…oh yes, and a little white bucktail. I find it amazing the furs and feathers used it the construction of a fly.  

Below is an image of the anatomy of a salmon fly…for your enjoyment and my future reference.  While this is a salmon fly and not a featherwing streamer, you get the idea of what goes into the making of a fly.  The image is of a fly called a Silver Doctor tied by Jack Madden.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Fly 3 - Midnight Blue

Midnight Blue
5x7, soft pastel

This fly is called a spey. What is a ‘spey’ fly?  The term is used to describe a type of fly featuring long body hackles. According to Monte, the modern steelhead speys look quite different than the classic spey, but they do retain a certain similarity in style.  I'll have to research the classic spey to see the difference.

The origin and development of the spey fly is attributed to Scottish anglers who fished along the River Spey in Scotland during the early 1800s.  A gorgeous fly!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Fly 2 - Brown Sugar

The Brown Sugar 
5x7, soft pastel

Day 2 is an original fly by Monte Smith, Northwest Fly Tyer.  The Brown Sugar is a classic style hair wing with a silhouette found on many traditional steelhead flies.  The wing is actually made of raccoon fur.  While the Atlantic salmon flies are pretty vibrant and colorful (as you may have noticed in yesterday's post), the steelhead fish out West are attracted to more subdued colors (maybe our native bugs out West are a bit more drab).  In any event, I do love the touches of orange!