When it comes to soft-hackles, feathers get all the juice. That’s perfectly understandable. But certain furs – like fox squirrel – make excellent hackling material. The results are often deliciously buggy.
This humble creation is something I made up a few summers ago. I took the Ginger Caddis Larva fuzzy nymph and swapped out the standard wet fly hook for a 2x short scud hook. Added a flashy rib. And replaced the rabbit fur thorax with a hackle of fox squirrel.
The first time I fished this fly was on a brilliant July day that was devoid of hatch activity or rising fish. The sun was high, the air was steamy, and felt a little foolish for making the drive to the Farmington. Until I started hooking fish after fish on this little caddis emerger. It was the middle fly in a team of three, and the trout stated in no uncertain terms that this was their favorite.
The Squirrel and Ginger is a fine introduction to fur-hackled flies. It is fairly easy to tie. Best of all, it’s a wet fly you can have confidence in.
The Squirrel and Ginger
The Squirrel and Ginger Rogues’ Gallery
7/8/13, Farmington River
4/24/13, Farmington River
7/31/13, wild brown, Farmington River
4/29/15, 17″ holdover brown, Farmington River
I don’t have any fox squirrel because they don’t exist in my part of the world. I do hunt eastern grey squirrel every fall and have one or two of those skins around. Also ground hog, as you know. I’ll try this pattern with those unless you have suggestions for substitution.
Looks like a very cool wet fly…
You’re good to go with your grey squirrel. I didn’t mention it in the recipe, but to clarify the fur comes from the body, not the tail.
I use woodchuck for hackling on larger steelhead flies, as well as squirrel tail (fox, grey, and black).
I figured it was body hair. Besides you were clear that this was a vital ingredient. You know, taken out of context, those sentences could be embarrassing…
Nice Steve. was out today on a catskill river, caddis were starting to appear. No rises yet. A few more weeks of warmer weather and they should be out in full force soon. One of my favorite hatches to fish and this fly looks like it will work nicely for it.
You betcha. And even when they’re not hatching. It’s one of those flies that just looks like something good to eat.
[…] in the past and it has been a home run. It’s from Steve Culton, a speaker and guide, (recipe here) and I modified it a bit for materials I do have on hand. On went the partridge soft hackle, gold […]