Welcome to the new Angling Arts website.
If you are a returning guest, you will notice a new feature to the website called the "Bug Bar" which sorts fly patterns based on the type of nymph the fly best immitates. This relationship with the natural and your imitations should inspire you to turn over a few river stones and study what's crawling underneath. Afterall, The more you know about the insects you are imitating, the better you will tie and present your flies.
A helpful guide to select the best fly
All fly patterns listed sitewide can be sorted by the type of nymph that they best imitate.
What's attached to my tippet
The three flies I am currently fishing.
I spent the summer fishing a riffle below a dead horse that dropped maggots into the drift. When I found them in the gastric samples, I chose a white fly.
- Hook: Hanak 333Bl or fullingmill czech
- Bead: White round tungsten.
- Rib: Half round body glass light gray.
- Abdomen: Gray, natural, white snowshoe hare dubbing.
- Thorax: Hends spectra UV rainbow.
An original pattern that started a new way of thinking on how I designing tactical jigs for the American West.
- Hook: Hanak 450BL #10-16
- Bead: Nickle tungsten slotted
- Tail: Medium pardo CDL.
- Rib: Medium oval gold french tinsel.
- Abdomen: Dark hares mask fur
- Thorax: Dark spike blend.
- Collar: UV tracer squirrel dubbing - natural pine.
Knuckle Dragger - Golden Stone
My most productive anchor fly.
- Hook: Tactical Jig #6-14.
- Bead: Metallic brown (Hanak).
- Thread: 50D GSP White.
- Tail: Mottled rubber legs root beer - Hareline.
- Rib: Hends half round body glass amber.
- Abdomen: Natures Spirit golden stone snowshoe hare blend.
- Thorax: Rusty orange brahma hen in dubbing loop with natures Spirit UV tracer squirrel - golden stone.
- Collar: Natural red fox suirrel.
- Legs: Grizzly mottled rubber legs root beer - Hareline.
Entomology for the Fly Fisher
A food web exists beneath the rippled current of a trout stream far more diverse than anglers may realize. The functioning biological systems of a trout stream are often hidden from view unless we are willing to explore the wetted depths with a mask and snorkel or with kick seines.
Taxonomists have divided the known biological world up into eight categories from domain, kingdom, down to genus and species. For a fly angler wanting to know how to choose the right fly, it is essential to know at least the family orders of the three primary aquatic insects that make up the bulk of a trout's diet. Familiarity with these three insect families is a must when choosing the right fly.
Mayflies, Caddisflies and Stoneflies
The Mayflies - Ephemerellidae
As the name suggests, ephemerella, mayfly’s are short-lived often less than two days. However, it is only the winged adult phase that mayflies only live this brief time. Nymphs of mayflies can live up to a year or longer during the sub-adult larval phase AKA nymph.
Mayflies have an incomplete life cycle with only a larval and adult stage and lacking a pupal stage. However, mayflies undergo two further stages of reproductive maturity with the first adult phase called the sub-imago or dun, the winged but not yet sexually mature and the imago stage or spinner, the final reproductive stage in the insects' life cycle. As mayflies emerge from the water, they will gather in and around the riparian canopy to undergo one more molt to become imagos or commonly called spinners and mate. Essentially, the dun stage is only used to transport the nymph from the bottom of the stream to the tree canopy to mate.
Historically, fly fisherman favored fishing during a mayfly “hatch,” the transitory period between nymph and dun and imitate a dun (sub-imago) with a dry fly. When the nymphs transition into duns, a period of predatory vulnerability exists while the emerging insect floats on the water surface. Depending on environmental factors such as weather, water temps, cloud cover all play a role in how long insects may drift along before taking flight into the bankside foliage. These extended drifts make for rewarding dry fly fishing opportunities when you happen upon it.
Today’s anglers know that a dry fly hatch can be a short and unpredictable event with being at the right place and right time essential for dry fly fishing success. Fishing with nymphs offers anglers an unlimited opportunity to present a food item to a fish during the rest of the day. Famous rivers that were historically known for having regular daily hatches are seeing less reliable hatches and dry fly fishing taking a back seat to fishing nymphs or emergers. Many factors may be conspiring to the unreliability of daily hatches such as increasing angler hours/visits and climate change. Heavy angling pressure may be driving the fish from surface feeding and solely concentrating on nymphs and emerging duns sub-surface.
John Newbury began forging his career in fly tying and fishing at the age of 14 when he was hired to tie flies on a commercial basis for a small Colorado town sporting goods outfitter. That same summer, he started guiding wade trips along the small trout streams on the front range of the rockies. In his late teens, John left the trout world of Colorado for the rivers of the Pacific Northwest such as the Deschutes River where he focused on its prized steelhead and Native Redbands. The Deschutes River was home for many decades as John refined his tactical fly tying and nymphing skills. In the mid-1990s, he shifted his focus to learning the European nymphing strategies popular across the pond. Since relocating back to Colorado in 2014, he continues to modify his tactical nymphing approach and designing new fly patterns.
Apart from making the endeavor of fly-fishing more enjoyable for his guests, he is currently completing a fly tying book and this companion website, drawing from his more than 43 years of experience in the field, uniquely combining his skills as a designer, photographer, fisheries-scientist, and writer.