Fuzzy Nymphs

They’re not quite wet flies. They’re certainly not Euro nymphs. What they are is magnificently buggy and ugly and horrible and they catch fish. This wee trove of beasties will be appearing in “Wet Flies 101.”

Horrible little monsters: bottom left, Fox Squirrel; bottom middle, Hare’s Ear; bottom right, Ginger Caddis Larva.  


Showtime on Tyers’ Row

The CFFA Expo just might be the best little fly fishing show going. This is the second consecutive year I attended as a tier. Fellow tier Tommy Baranowski remarked that the crowd seemed steadier and more substantial this year. I’d be inclined to agree.

So, what goes on at these events when you’re part of the show?

Not much tying. At least not for me. I think I tied eight wet flies and one streamer in six hours. I’m a slow tier, but that’s pushing ridiculous. What was left wanting in productivity was made up for in talking, though. Most of it about fishing and tying. So much that my throat is a little sore right now. But, I don’t mind. These shows are a tremendous way to connect with friends, followers, and fellow aficionados (including those of single malts and cigars). Thanks to everyone who stopped by to say hi, ask questions, our watch a demo. It was a labor of love for me.

Thanks also to the vendor (who shall remain anonymous so as to make his altruism shine even brighter) who only charged me $20 for $22 of stuff, then threw in a bunch more stuff for free. Endless tight lines to you, sir.

Thanks to the Baranowski boys for being such swell neighbors, and thanks for the fly, Matt.

Thanks to Capt. Ray for the archival flatwing article.

Thanks to Dr. Kuhrt for lending his photography skills.

And thanks to the CFFA for letting me be a part of it all. I’ll tell you, this is one job that does not suck.

“But, you’ve really got to watch out for this guy here.” I’m not sure what I was saying, but I think I must have made my point. And nothing says outdoors and fishing like that groovy Fantasy Suite disco light veil.

CFFA 2015

Appearances, classes, and demos for early 2015

I was hoping to do some of the big shows this year, but that didn’t quite work out. Still, I’ll be out and about plenty in the next few months:

Tying Class: Wet Flies and Fuzzy Nymphs for the Farmington River at UpCountry Sportfishing, Saturday, 1/24/15, 9am. There might still be an opening for this class. This class is sold out. Please contact the store to put your name on the wait list. 860-379-1952.

Tying Demo, CFFA Show, Saturday, 2/7/15, 9am-???, Maneeley’s, South Windsor, CT. I don’t know what I’ll be tying. Probably wet flies and fuzzy nymphs. Maybe some streamers. Any requests?

Tying Class: Wet Flies and Fuzzy Nymphs for the Farmington River at UpCountry Sportfishing, Sunday, 2/8/15, 9am. This class is sold out.

Tying Demo: Soft-Hackles and Nymphs for Steelhead at The Compleat Angler, Darien, CT, 2/28/15, 10am-2pm. This is a free tying demo. Come with questions and good will and I shall do likewise, hopefully with some answers into the bargain.

Presentation: Wet Flies 101 at FVTU in Unionville, CT, 3/4/15, 7pm. I’ve had a lot of interest in this presentation, so if you missed it, here’s your chance. Details/directions at fvtu.org.

I’m hoping to do a batch of videos this month, but the time-space continuum has been particularly cruel to my best intentions. Please send positive waves so that hopes and dreams may vanquish the limitations of the calendar! And be sure to get out and do some fishing. It’s cold, but the trout still have to eat.

Hey. I know that guy.


Fly Tying Class Sunday 2/8/15: Wet Flies and Fuzzy Nymphs for the Farmington River

This class will by led by yours truly at UpCountry Sportfishing in New Hartford, CT, Sunday, February 8. Here is the blurb from the UpCountry website:

“Join outdoor writer and Farmington River guide Steve Culton as we explore tying buggy, impressionistic wets and nymphs geared toward fishing the Farmington. The class will place an emphasis on using natural materials to create flies for specific hatches, as well as attractor patterns. From classic North-Country spiders to some of Steve’s own creations, you’ll learn to tie high-confidence patterns that have been battle-tested and proven on the Farmington. Steve will also discuss wet fly methods for each pattern. Participants will need a vise, thread and tools. All other materials will be provided, including a pattern recipe sheet. The class starts at 9am and will run between four and five hours. Space is limited to six people. Tuition is $75.”

Please do not contact me to register for this class. You must enroll by calling UpCountry at 860-379-1952. Hope to see some of you there.

North-Country spiders. You betcha we’ll be tying some.


What can you catch on wet flies? Trout like this. (Hackled March Brown, size 12)


Farmington River Mini Report 6/3/14: All for the lack of a hat

Fished the Farmington from 3pm to about 7:30pm. Today’s mission was to hit a bunch of spots I haven’t fished in a long time, swing some wets, anticipate a strong evening hatch, and hope the trout were looking up. Things started poorly when I forgot my fishing hat. I mean, I need my fishing hat. My head felt naked. Exposed. It just wasn’t right. Serves me right for wearing it to Sunday’s soccer games, then taking it into the house (the hat stays in the truck when not in use. Idiot.) Spot A was a run that dumps into a deep pool. Swarms of mating black caddis (size 16) everywhere. No hits. I was surprised. Moved down to a second run where I scored Rainbowzilla. He took a size 10 soft-hackled bead head Pheasant Tail on a dead drift. This guy went straight to the reel and peeled off twenty feet of line. Just as I was netting him, he popped off. My rig flew into a tree. Lost it trying to retrieve it. I blame the lack of a hat. Motored off to a tricky wade where I was sure I’d get into trout. Nope. Just juvenile salmon. Two of them. A hundred yards down, hard against a bank, is a deeper-than-you-think little run. Same drill: dead drift, second mend, and I’m on with Son of Rainbowzilla, another some-teen inch brute. Unlike the first rainbow, this one had been in the river for a year. Deep pink lateral band, fatter than Mama Cass, and flawless paddle fins. Netted him, then lost him when he leapt from the net as I readied the camera, snapping off the bottom two flies on my team of wets. This bad mojo is clearly what comes to those who are foolish enough to leave their hat at home. The next two runs involved a lot of walking for absolutely no catching (have I mentioned that I forgot my hat?). Ended up at a place where I was sure the late afternoon transition into evening would bring a substantial hatch of Light Cahills or Sulfurs. Instead, I got a picking-up-breeze and ominous clouds …but nonetheless, some trout willing to jump on. I took two more rainbows in a half hour. Then the heavens opened up. Just when I was saying, “OK, time to go” out loud, bam! A nice wild brown. All three fish again took the point fly, a simple bead head, plain rabbit fur fuzzy nymph — only every take was on the swing. I got totally soaked on the way back to the car.

I really wouldn’t have gotten so wet if I’d had my fishing hat on.

A bronze totem from the wild tribe. He’s the reason I took such a good soaking. Thanks, friend.



These simple white flowers are all over the river. They have dark and light blue cousins, too.



Thanks to everyone who attended my wet fly class at River & Riptide.

I love tying flies, but teaching others how to tie runs a close second. I am fortunate enough to be able to do it at a number of area fly shops. Today’s was at River & Riptide in Coventry, RI. Great group of guys, all eager students. It’s amazing watching the transformation that happens in someone’s tying in just a few hours. Our focus today was on wet flies. We covered basic soft-hackles, wingless wets, winged wets, and fuzzy nymphs. Thanks to R&R for letting me teach, and thanks to everyone who made the afternoon so enjoyable.

Drowned Ant Soft-Hackle


I’ll be doing the same class tomorrow at UpCountry Sportfishing in New Hartford, CT.