Leisenring’s Favorite Twelve Wets: Light Snipe and Yellow

Inspired by classic North Country flies, James Leisenring developed an arsenal of reliable patterns to match the hatches of his beloved local streams. You can clearly see the Snipe Bloa and Poult Bloa influence in the Light Snipe and Yellow. Farmington River trout love this fly, a lesson that is repeated on cool June nights when Light Cahills or Sulphurs are emerging and the water surface is boiling.

Light Snipe and Yellow

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Hook: Dry or wet fly, 14
Silk: Primrose yellow
Hackle: Snipe undercovert
Rib: Fine gold wire
Body: Primrose yellow buttonhole twist
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Tying Notes: Instead of working silk, Leisenring used buttonhole twist (the thread that’s used on the borders of buttonholes) for the body. You don’t need to do that — your favorite silk or thread will work. But if you’re shooting for authenticity and can’t find buttonhole twist, try DMC embroidery floss. It comes in a bazillion colors (this is #744). It’s multi stranded, so cut a length then separate a single strand for the body. No snipe? Try starling or woodcock undercovert. You can find a general North Country spider video tutorial here.

Best of North Country Spiders: Partridge and Orange

He probably had no idea, but the first angler who took a feather from the game he’d shot and attached it to a hook with some thread borrowed from his wife’s sewing kit was creating a classic. Today, there’s something poetic about catching a trout on a pattern that is hundreds of years old. From Olde England’s North Country to New England, nothing is lost in translation. I like the Partridge and Orange as a caddis imitation. It also makes a fine spinner.

Partridge and Orange

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Hook: Dry or wet fly, 12-16
Body: Orange silk
Hackle: Grey speckled partridge
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Tying Notes: If you’re new to soft hackles and North Country Spiders, this a great place to start. By varying the color of the thread and the size of the hook (and even the color of the partridge — the back is covered with brown speckled feathers) you can match just about any hatch. You can find a general North Country spider video tutorial here.

 

Best of North Country Spiders: Snipe and Purple

I will not go small wild trout stream fishing, big stream trout fishing, or steelhead fishing without the Snipe and Purple in my box. I particularly like this fly as a midge imitation, seductive hackles fluttering in the current. One day on the Salmon River in Pulaski, my only steelhead came on a Snipe and Purple as it rose off the bottom and swung toward the surface. Try it as a dropper off a bushy dry on a small stream.

Snipe and Purple North Country Spider

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Hook: Wet or dry fly 12-18
Body: Purple silk
Wings: Snipe wing over-covert
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Tying Notes: When I tie this fly for steelhead, I use a 2x strong 1x short size 12-14 hook. I’ll also add a gold rib. Like all North Country Spiders, you can add wiggly leg and wing mass by making more hackle wraps. If you can’t find snipe, try starling. Bonus! The video tutorial for the standard issue fly is right here.

Standing Room Only for “Wet Flies 101”

I want to give a big shout out to everyone who packed the room yesterday for my “Wet Flies 101” presentation at the CFFA Expo. How wonderful to see every seat filled, and SRO in the back. Excellent Q&A session afterwards, great job everyone! I saw plenty of old friends, and made some new ones. (Thanks to Henry, who’s all of 10 years old, for trading soft-hackles with me. Gonna get a big one on that fly.) I’m grateful to the CFFA for inviting me, and for that delicious lunch. If your fly fishing club is looking to book a speaker, my late winter thru spring is fairly open, as is the fall. You know where to find me.

A little break from Tyers’ Row. Gone wet fly fishin’ talkin’.

CFFA Sign

“Wet Flies 2.0” in the works

“Wet Flies 2.0” is the followup to the highly popular “Wet Flies 101” presentation. 2.0 will take a deeper dive into wet fly tactics and techniques — a more advanced course in how-to, where-to, when-to. I began working on it yesterday, and I’m at it again today. “Wet Flies 2.0” will make its debut at the 2019 Fly Fishing Show. I’m excited. I hope you are, too.

The Magic Fly, AKA Pale Watery Wingless wet variant. You betcha I’ll be talking about this one in Wet Flies 2.0.

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Thank you, LITU — and future currentseams content

What a great job last night by the Long Island chapter of TU. The presentation was “Wet Flies 101,” and the post-talk Q&A session was one of the best I’ve had in all the years I’ve been doing this. So nice to see some familiar faces, and to make new acquaintances.

I have been remiss in bringing you more meaningful content — hey, I have a life, too — but my hope is to get back to more reports, articles, videos, and useful information. Some of my diagrams need updating. Even if it seems like days, months, or years go by, I’m not ignoring your requests, and I appreciate it when you send me a note asking for a particular fly video or tactical explanation — or just to say hello.

As a burger and beer snob, I can give you my full endorsement for Black Label Burgers in Westbury, NY. Three words: Yum. Yum. Yum.

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Farmington River Report 6/26/18: Subsurface Success

Chris wanted to work on his subsurface game, so we spent the morning nymphing and swinging wets. Success! We fished three spots below the permanent TMA and found players in two of them.

We started off indicator nymphing (using my homebrew indicators) with a drop shot rig, and I continued my catching-a-fish-while-doing-a-demo streak. (If you want to look cool, pretend you meant to do it.) Chris took over and made a bunch of quality drifts with no love. All of a sudden, it happened. An unseen hatch was underway, the trout were feeding, and we hooked a bunch if fish in 15 minutes.

Wets were next. Run A was a blank, and Run B did not produce in the areas it usually does. No worries — Chris kept a positive attitude (confidence catches fish), and it rapid succession he stuck a bunch of trout tight to the bank. Great job, Chris! The trout should be worried.

We won the weather lottery: Bluebird skies, warm sun, cool air. Of course, a tight line makes any day sunnier.

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We spotted a distressed rainbow in the shallows. It had been hooked, lost, and had the terminal tackle and a short length of mono still attached. Unfortunately, we failed in out attempts to net it.

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Chris kept pounding the banks in a shade line, mended swing presentation, and was rewarded with several slashing strikes. This gorgeous wild brown took the top dropper on his team of three wets, a Squirrel and Ginger.

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After our session, I spent two very entertaining hours swinging wets. I fished a Squirrel & Ginger (caddis) on top, a Drowned Ant middle dropper, and a Light Cahill on point. I saw all three insects out and about, as well as tiny BWOs, midges, inch worms, and sedges. Among the players today were three wild brookies. Funny thing! They all took the Drowned Ant. I don’t think it was a coincidence. This stunner is clearly from the Farmington River hatchery.

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Another hat trick today, thankfully without a broken rod. This low-teens wild brown was feeding just along a shade line in about a foot of water. First cast, bang! Squirrel and Ginger. Catch-and-release works in the wild, too — note the long-ago healed bird wound just above the gill plate. I bounced around to three spots, found hungry fish in all of them, and lost track of both time and fish landed.

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