Join us October 3rd at Juniors (Radisson Hotel) in downtown River Falls (414 S. Main St.), as our speaker, Josh Boeser teaches us about spey casting and fishing.
Meeting will be live and via ZOOM (see link at bottom of email). Dinner menu will be available at 6 pm, with the program starting at 7 pm.
Josh Boeser was a professional snowboarder who fell in love with fly fishing when he moved to Colorado in 2009. He now is based out of Minneapolis, MN and guides for Root River Rod Co, Margo + Lola Fly Fishing school, and runs his own guide outfit called Larry the Lunker LLC. Josh’s favorite species to chase on the fly are steelhead and smallmouth bass. He loves all things fly fishing and is an avid spey caster and instructor. If you’re interested in learning more about the two handed fly fishing game, not only for steelhead and trout but other species in the Midwest like smallmouth bass you don’t want to miss Josh’s presentation!
Kiap TU Wish is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Spey Casting 101 Time: Oct 3, 2023 06:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
The upcoming chapter year will be another busy and fun one. We will kick off September with our open house/gear swap at Rush River Brewery starting at 6 pm on THURSDAY September 7th. Be sure to invite a friend!
Before I get to the flies, I wanted to talk about Ed Constantini and myself a little bit. Ed and I are fishing and tying buddies. We both learned to tie through classes we took in the mid-’80s at Bob Mitchell’s Fly shop. We weren’t in the same class but we had similar experiences. We both still have our copies of the fly pattern recipes that Bob handed out in class and we learned the same initial patterns from Bob and his friends. If there is such a thing as a tying or fishing style, I would say that Ed and I come from similar fishing roots, have similar and compatible styles, and we have lots of fun.
When I first met Ed I told him I had just started doing some work on this website and I remember him asking me what had happened to the collection of fly patterns that were on our website. The patterns Ed remembered were originally featured in our paper Rip Rap newsletters in the days when Scott Hanson was our editor. Back then Greg Meyer, the guy who originally built and managed this website, used to feature the patterns on a fly tyers corner website page. It turned out that with updates to the site design, the pattern collection went by the wayside. One day I was poking around and ran across a collection of images from the old fly pattern page. I gathered them up and emailed them to Ed so he could have them for his own reference. Of course, Ed took the time to put these images back together with their original fly recipes. I’m sure this was a considerable amount of work on his part going through the Rip-Rap files stored on our archive page. Ed’s PDF file of Secret Kiap Flies is now on the website here and if you’d like to see the original articles check out the Rip Rap archive and start looking at Scott’s March 2008 issue and work forward. It’s worth the time. This particular issue has a great article by Jonathan Jacobs covering several early season patterns In addition to Jonathan, subsequent tyers include Michael Alwin, Brian Smolinski, Scott Hanson, Greg Meyer, Ron Kuehn, Perry Palin, and Bob Torres.
Before I go I’d like to talk about volunteering. We are not a fishing club or entertainers. We are a volunteer organization. There are lots of ways to pitch in and help our chapter. Kiap is known for getting stuff done. Our brushing work days are always well attended and often draw people from outside the chapter. In fact, that’s how I became a member of Kiap. I was a TCTU member from St Paul and went to WI to work on the Willow and ended up switching my membership. I actually have a picture from my first workday.
Left to right: Gary Horvath, Chuck Goosen, Ken Hanson, and two other TCTU members.
Photo by: Jim Humphrey
There are lots of ways to volunteer and help Kiap. Behind the scenes, there are many people including our board members and other volunteers that make things happen and get things done. Some tie and donate flies and some write grants to help raise funds. Ed and I manage our chapter’s MailChimp email service and this website. Using these tools we put out timely updates and our regular electronic chapter newsletters. We also, with help from Matt Janquart, managed our past two online auctions via the fundraising application and are currently working on the 2023 auction that will begin on March 6th. Ed is 76 and I am 64. Not the typical age range to be doing this work. Our chapter is looking for help in the areas of communication and social media. If interested, please contact chapter president Greg Olson, someone from the board, Ed, or myself. Our contact info is on this site right here.
Years ago my cousin Jay (who, at the time, lived in Seattle and fished a lot for trout in lakes) gave me some tiny midge dry flies to try that he had tied up. He called them hackled Raccoons. I didn’t know much about the fly but they sure worked well for me during the winter fishing season in MN/WI. His flies had a Zelon shuck with segment marks he’d made with a fine black Sharpie.
Over time my small supply of hackled Raccoons ran low and I set out to tie up some replacements. I found some online articles that mentioned the Raccoon as a lake chironomid pattern created by Phil Rawly. I suppose the hackled part was a variation by Jay and his fishing friends.
While I continued my quest on the interwebs I came across another midge pattern, the Lady McConnell by Brian Chan, that looked a bit more like Jay’s hackled version but used a tiny grizzly hackle feather to imitate the segmentation of a trailing shuck. I thought the shuck and the fancy name were both pretty cool so that’s what I’m calling it now.
These flies get chewed up when the fish start feeding on them but it makes it all the more fun to fish with them. Just carry a few extra.
Hook: I use Daiichi 1110 (Orvis Big Eye 4641) ring eye hooks but use whatever you like. This one is an 18 so you can see it but tie them down to 22s.
Thread/Body: I like 70 denier thread but again use what you like. The thread will be the body color so pick a color (black, olive, tan, red, etc.) that might look like the midges you’re imitating. Red thread has me thinking about another old midge pattern, Herters Blood Midge, that would also be worth checking out.
Shuck Part 1: Super Secret Midge Flash from Lund’s. Length is the same as the hook gap.
Shuck Part 2: Tiny Grizzly hackle feather. Length is the same as the hook.
If you don’t have this stuff, use Zelon and a Sharpie.
Overbody: Deer hair. I clip the hair tips off and tie in tips first (starting at the hackle spot) so the overbody tapers from thin in the back to thicker in the front. I put a drop of Sally Hansen’s over this part for a little extra durability.
Collar: Grizzly hackle sized to 1.5 of the hook gap.
The Pass Lake is one of the old style patterns that is often overlooked today. It’s my favorite fly for brook trout. It seems to trigger their strike instinct more than other fly I’ve tried. It can be fished wet or dry. I prefer fishing it wet, just under the surface, with the hook being the only weight. Often the best fish in a pool will be the first to strike.
I learned to tie this fly (and many others) from Bob Mitchell several years ago and this is how he tied it.
Hook: #10 Mustad 9672 or equivalent
Tail: Golden Pheasant Tippet
Body: Black Chenille Medium
Wing: White Calf Tail
Beard: Brown Hen Hackle
My version in the above photo has a slight variation where I’ve used an orange dyed hen feather rather than the original brown. I don’t think the fish care but I like orange.
If you search around you’ll find there are other ways to tie the Pass Lake. There’s a great article about it’s history here:
Damian Wilmot has a nice video where he uses a #10 TMC 3671 hook, red thread and a polar bear for the wing. For me, I feel the calf tail is part of the Pass Lake’s success. I do think the red thread might make a cool variation though.
I hope you give this fly a try.
Oh, and if you have a fly you’d like to share with our readers, send an email to editor Ed or myself. We’re listed on the website but I’ll also put our contacts below.