The Squirrel and Ginger Caddis Emerger tying video

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.

Such is the case with the Squirrel and Ginger caddis emerger. 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 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.

Hook: TMC 2457 (2x strong, 2x wide, 2x short scud) size 12
Thread: Orange or hot orange
Body: Ginger Angora goat
Rib: Green Krystal flash
Hackle: Fox squirrel fur
~

The Squirrel and Ginger Rogues’ Gallery

7/8/13, Farmington River

Brown Buck 7:8:13

4/24/13, Farmington River

Bigbrown hen

7/31/13, wild brown, Farmington River

WIld Farmy Brown 7:13

4/29/15, 17″ holdover brown, Farmington River

Fat Farmy Hen 4:15

Farmington River Report 8/6/14: Follow the Heinie Trail

It seemed stupid to spend close to two hours driving to fish for only seventy-five minutes. But I did it anyway.

I turned my attentions to a snotty section of the lower river. At 510 cfs it was a challenging wade. I didn’t bring my thermometer, but it felt about 65 degrees at index finger depth. Not bad for early afternoon on a sunny day in August.

This year, the wet fly fishing has been slower than usual for me. I think some of it has to do with the elevated flows. I probably should be doing more nymphing. At least the trout are happy. I fished size 12 Squirrel and Ginger on top dropper, a sz 12 Drowned Ant in the middle, and a size 12 soft-hackleBHPT (tungsten bead) on point. I had several raps from those pesky JV salmon; I landed one of them. What a tub of fish flesh. Almost perch-shaped. I dropped a brown who was hiding behind a rock with a dopey reaction hook set. The one brown that came to hand was wild and in the foot-long class. He was quite exuberant in his reluctance to come to net.

That one fish was just enough to cover my lack of good judgement.

Classy litterers only leave premium cans behind. This says, “I’m not just a rude, ill-bred person; I’m a rude, ill-bred person with exceptional taste.” 

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Someone enjoying a snack in the cool shade of the tree-lined riverbank.

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2/4/14 Farmington River Report: Sunny with a chance of trout

Today was going to be the warmest day of the week. I had to go to UpCountry to pick up my new vise. Chance of a couple hours of fishing, 100%.

Of course, I wasn’t the only person who thought it would be a fine afternoon to fish the Upper TMA. Spots A and B were on lockdown, so I settled for C. And C it was on the old grade point scale, with the guy in spot A bailing trout, the guy in spot B catching a few less, and me coming in with a rock-solid average. Still, hard to complain about fishing on a weekday when the sun is out and there’s only a little ice in your guides. Especially after I lengthened my leader and added another BB shot to adjust for the depth of the water. I indicator nymphed with a size 18 (2x short) soft-hackle BHPT on point and a size 16 (2x short) BH Squirrel and Ginger as top dropper. They liked the S&G. Best fish of the day was a some-teen inch Survivor Strain brown with riveting black spots and fins the size of a barn door.

Didn’t see any bugs. Water temp was 35 degrees. Air temp just under freezing. Flows about 350-400.

A failed attempt at an art shot. But I like the effect of the water, the sunlight, and the spotting in the upper left. This was the Survivor Strain brown. I couldn’t distinguish an elastomer, but the adipose fin was clearly clipped.

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After getting locked out of my first two chosen spots, I headed to a third. Crapass. This guy was fishing right where I would have been swinging streamers. So I figured I might as well get a good photo out of it.

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7/31/13 Farmington River Report: “So a guy who can’t hear and a guy who can’t talk walk into a river…”

As Woody Allen said, sometimes 80% of success is just showing up. Pete had gone downstream, and I went to the head of the run. It was a-quarter-to-noon, but the bank was already in the shade. First cast, BANG! The wet flies had barely settled into the water. I saw the splashy rise and felt the weight of the fish. A bantamweight wild brown had delivered a roundhouse right to the top dropper, a Squirrel and Ginger.

A feisty pug of a wild Farmington brown. This fish had an almost perch-like shape, with a tubby midsection that tapered dramatically before the tail.

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I took two more wild browns on the way down to where Pete was fishing. He was also doing well with a combination of wet flies and nymphs. (I was dedicated to the wet fly cause all afternoon.)

What pair we made. I’m partially deaf in one ear. Pete had his vocal chords compromised by recent surgery and can only speak in a whisper.  After my tenth, “What?!?” we decided on a policy of sign language and close-quarters conversation.

After our fast start, though, things slowed. Dramatically. We walked well over a half mile of prime water in the upper TMA with only one dropped fish to show for it. “What?!?” indeed. Very little hatch activity, and the water was running clear and cold.

Pete left around 2:30, so I took a flyer on a spot I hadn’t fished since May. I started off in some snotty water above it and was rewarded with a nice little brown and a few juvenile salmon. Then, in the run proper, I took a beautiful holdover brown on a mended swing. The water was clear enough to see the whole transaction, from the flash of gold as the trout darted out from behind a rock, to its striper-like thrashing on the surface at hook set. Another (dis)satisfied customer on the Squirrel and Ginger (this fly has become an automatic as my top dropper). I took two more smaller fish, then called it a day. A damn fine day. Thanks, July. Ya done good.

This could be a wild fish, but whether it’s stream-born or not, it had large pectoral fins that it used to repeatedly glide into deeper parts of the run.

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The Squirrel and Ginger Caddis Emerger

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

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Hook: TMC 2457 (2x strong, 2x short scud) size 12
Thread: Orange or hot orange
Body: Ginger Angora goat
Rib: Green Krystal flash
Hackle: Fox squirrel fur
~

The Squirrel and Ginger Rogues’ Gallery

7/8/13, Farmington River

Brown Buck 7:8:13

4/24/13, Farmington River

Bigbrown hen

7/31/13, wild brown, Farmington River

WIld Farmy Brown 7:13

4/29/15, 17″ holdover brown, Farmington River

Fat Farmy Hen 4:15