amflyfishing tidbits ... or whatever is on Andy's mind

Dealing with FFTD - Fly Fishing 'n Tying Disorder
FFTD is a disorder charaterized by the constand existence of fly fishing and tying activity.  Symptoms began in childhood and continue into adulthood.
  • Excessive amount of time spent fly fishing and tying.
  • Talking non-stop about fly fishing and tying.
  • Daydreams of hooking-up and landing trophy fish.
  • Quickly becomes bored with a task, unless performing a fly fishing or tying activity.
  • Dashes around in fly shops, touching or playing with anything in sight.
While experts don't know for sure what caused the FFTD, they believe genes played a major role in the development of the Fly Fishing 'n Tying Disorder.  FFTD management involves some combination of exposure to fiy fish creeks, rivers, ponds, lakes and at the desk tying flies.


Here's a hot tip ... "You can cast your fly further if you don't stand on your fly line".  I guarantee it.


Size 16 shown
Restless last night, couldn't fall asleep ... so, it was back on the vise.

Light Hendrickson Dry Fly

Hook - TMC 100 / Sizes - 12 to 18
Thread - Ginger
Tail - Light Ginger
Body - Light Fox Belly
Wing - Woodduck Mallard Flanks
Hackle - Light Ginger
Head - Tying Thread

The Light Hendrickson is a classic dry fly pattern imitating the Ephemerella Subvaria Mayfly, which one of our Midwest major hatches in the spring.  This pattern also works well during the Pale Morning Dun and Sulfur hatches that follows.  Another must have pattern for your trout fly box.


Pond Hopping for Bluegills

Early Spring / Pre-Spawn

Northwest Indiana Spring Gill
When the water temperature reaches the low 50's and continues to climb, the fly angler has an excellent opportunity to hook-up on bluegills.  They will start staging in shallow water to feed on insects, hatching fry and the eggs of other nesting fish.  Despite being active and in a positive feeding mood, they can be easily spooked ... a cautious approach and a good presentation is critical.

The larger gills will relate and position themselves close to structure (steep breakline, weedline, dead submerged timber) with access to deeper water ... even better yet, the structure is close proximity to a spawning flat.

My setup consists of a 2-weight fly rod (or a 3-weight, if the wind is uncooperative), matching weight forward line, and 4X leader with a 5X fluorcarbon tippet (9 to 10 feet overall length).  For fly selection, my perference is nymph patterns - Teeny Nymph (sizes 10 and 12), Hare's Ear Nymph (sizes 14 and 16), Pheasant Tail Nymph (sizes 14 and 16), and Zug Bug (sizes 12 and 14).  If I don't get a strike on the drop, I will incorporate a slow hand-twist retrieve to keep the fly at the targeted depth without allowing it to sink down to the bottom.


Fly Selection and Presentation ... with fly fishing, your target is "Match the Hatch".  But the critical key is a good presentation.  When there isn't a hatch to match, it becomes about triggers within the fly that you are presenting and the aspects of the fly that catches the fish's attention (size, profile, and color).


Oh well, there will be morning like this ...

This morning, I really wanted to get in some pond hopping with the 3-weight ... with southwest winds blowing at 20+ mph and the temperature at 29-degrees with a wind chill of 19-degrees, not the kind of conditions that I willing to deal with.  I decided to just chill-out at the vise, tying-up a few Clouser's Minnows in size 10 (a very productive pattern and size for targeting trout and panfish).

The key to this streamer pattern success is that the fly is always in motion.  Even when this fly is at rest, the bucktail and flash materials slithers suggestively.  The weighted dumbbell eyes on the hook imparts a dipping and darting motion ... along with a hook-up swimming configuration making this fly virtually snag-free.

Hook - Mustad 3366 / Size 10 shown
Thread - White
Eyes - Black Bead Chain
Belly - White Bucktail
Wing - Olive Bucktail over Copper Krystal Flash
Nose - Olive Thread


Hook - TMC 200R / Sizes - 6 to 12
Beadhead - Gold
Thread - Black
Weight - Lead-free Wire
Tail - Black Turkey Biots
Rib - Black V-Rib
Abdomen - Black Life Cycle Dubbing
Legs - Black Round Rubber
Wingcase - Turkey Tail (tied in 3
sections & treated with Fleximent)
Throax - Black Life Cycle Dubbing
Antennae - Black Turkey Biots
Collar - Black Life Cycle Dubbing

Stonefly Nymph and Steelhead

As the steelhead navigates their way up our Northwest Indiana's tributaries from Lake Michigan (spring, fall and winter runs), a proven technique for hooking-up is drifting a stonefly nymph along the seams / edges of soft water created by structure (such as a rock pile, submerged island, bottom depression, fallen timber) that provides relief from the current for these fish.  Five key components of nymphing to be successful are ...
  • Get your nymph down to the fish.  Every so often, your nymph should be bumping the bottom - the depth and current speed will dictate how high up on the leader to set the indicator and whether it necessary to add weight (split shot, putty).
  • A drag free drift is a must to trigger the strike.  Your nymph needs to appear drifting naturally and freely (moving as close as possible to that of the current speed) into the fish's line of sight and strike zone.
  • During the drift, keep slack line to a minimum.  Having some slack line is necessary, allowing the indicator to drift freely.
  • Watch your strike indicator throughout the drift.
  • Strike immediately if you see the indicator starts to dip, stop or change direction.  When striking immediately, do so lightly to avoid pulling the nymph out of the fish's mouth or snapping your tippet.


AJ ... On the Jig

Just keeping it Reel
Took advantage of the nice weather
to wet a line ... scoring crappies
and rainbows.

Andy ...On the Fly


Biting at the bit to get out with the 3-weight for some pond hopping ...
In your rush to get out and wet a line, don't forget the polarized sunglasses.  A good pair of sunglasses are an essential for an angler's eye protection from physical objects (i.e. the fly, another angler's rod tip) and the sun's ultra violet rays - polarized lens also reduces glare, thus increasing the angler ability to see underwater structures and spot fish.

Side note.  Understanding the role that refraction plays when spotting a fish is important.  The fish that you spot is closer and deeper than it appears, along with the fish looking larger than it actually is.


Your fly, leader and line is slapping the water or ground behind you ... this is usually caused by the angler allowing their wrist to break on the backcast.  There is a fine balance between the arm and wrist motion.  The arm provides the power (distance) and the wrist targets (guides) the cast.  If you allow the wrist to both power and target the cast - hope you enjoy untangling wind knots or removing the hook of the fly from the back of your shirt.  Also, it is key that you only attempt to cast as much line as you can control.

The fly line, leader and fly follows the rod tip - the rod tip follows the thumb.  Therefore, it is critical that the thumb is position on top of the grip.  Keeping the thumb pointed towards the intended target throughout your cast, this will ensure the cast is online.


Streamers and Bluegills ... the streamer is a representation of a small minnow or bait fish.  Since bluegills are cannibalistic, working a streamer is an excellent way to take advantage of their voracious attitude and hook-up on trophy gills (those 8+ inches in length here in Northwest Indiana).  Making your streamer mimic the motion (appearance) of alive or injured minnow is critical to trigger a strike, along with being able to deliver a long and accurate cast is a major plus.  Using a long fly (with weight-forward fly line) casts easier and farther than a short rod, and provides you additional leverage when you hooked-up with that trophy gill.  My streamer patterns of choice are the Frosty Minnow, Black Nose Dace, Blacktail Minnow and Beadhead Woolly Bugger - tied on sizes 10, 12 and 14 hooks.

Frost Minnow, tied Clouser style
Chartreuse /  White (size 10)

Beadhead Woolly Bugger
Black (size 10)
Click here to view addition streamer photos with recipe


I must admit, I enjoy fly fishing for bluegills ... because I like seeing my rod bend and feeling the tug.

If your fly doesn't land perfectly on target or makes a bit more disturbance than you would like on the water, continue to fish out your cast ... bluegills are curious creatures by nature and are usually drawn to a disturbance on the water.  It very likely to excite and draw them in on your offering.

Bluegills are not known to be picky eater ... they are extremely opportunistic feeders, striking whatever is near them that resembles food.  If you see a bluegill eye-balling your fly but it won't strike, give your fly a light twitch.  That slight movement will usually convince the fish that your fly is alive and trigger a strike.


Spring nymphing for bluegills ...

When the gills are lethargic or the water temperature has dropped (cold front), tie on a small nymph and get down to where the fish are.  The larval stage of an insect and a horizontal orientation of the fly being retrieved appears quite natural.  Bluegills have excellent vision and often prefer a horizontal orientation, making it nearly impossible for them to resist your offering.  Vary your stripping speed and pauses until you figured-out what will trigger the gills to strike.  Keep in mind with leaders and tippets, the larger the diameter - the slower the descent rate of your nymph.


Scum lines are over-looked by a lot of anglers fishing for largemouth bass.

Bass utilizing this cover are usually in a positive feeding mood, this provides them with an ambush point to attack prey.  Scum lines can extend out from the shoreline a couple feet to several yards.  The prime holding locations within the scum line will offer bass direct access to deeper water.  When fishing scum lines, you must alway be prepare for the strike ... strikes are quick and aggressive.  I like using bright color surface flies that creates commotion (a popping sound or wake) using a slow steady stripping retrieve, moving the fly only 4 to 6 inches on each strip.

Click here to view past amflyfishing tidbits



Just chilling out on the Vise ...

Effective flies, like effective lingerie should be slightly
transparent, minimalistic, pretty and discardable.

Teach a man to fly fish and tie ... and
he will play with his fly all day.

Click here to view more of Andy's ties (with recipes)

Purple Haze Variation (size 12 shown)

Last spring, this fly really worked its magic on the pre-spwan bluegills and redears using a slow hand-twist retrieve.  During those dog days of mid-summer, the gill bite was infrequented on a nymph pattern (and I knew they there),switching to the Purple Haze Variation got their attention and aggrestively striking.  A must have fly in your fly box for those bluegill anglers.

Hook - TMC 3761 / Sizes - 10 and 12
Thread - Black
Tail - Black Pheasant Tail
Abdomen - Black Wire
Thorax - Black Ice Dubbing
Hackle - Purple Hen
Wing - Peral Flashabou (2 or 3, same length as the hackle fibers)
Head - Tying Thread


Katie Bugger, Brown 'n Black (size 4 shown)

This Woolly Bugger Variation has been very productive for both coldwater and warmwater fish ... especially when faced with tough conditions.  Definitely, a must have fly in your fly box.

Hook - Mustad R74 / Sizes – 4 to 8
Beadhead - Gold
Weight - Lead Wire
Thread - Black
Tail - Black Marabou
Rib - Gold Wire (tied-in at the rear, wrapped forward to hold and protect the hackle)
Body - Brown Chenille
Body Hackle - Black Hen (barbs are 1 to 1-1/4 the length of the hook gap; tie-in behind the beadhead and palmered back)
Collar Hackle - Crawfish Orange India Hen Back (barbs are 2 to 2-1/4 the length of the hook gap)


Zebra Midge, Black (size 16 shown)

Here's a quick and easy tie.  This fly is tied and fished to imitate the midge pupae, a "must have" for targeting trout in tailwaters.  Also, the Zebra Midge is effective taking bluegills fished as a dropper in the cold water of early spring and during a cold front.

Hook - TMC 2487 / Sizes 14 to 20
Beadhead - Silver
Thread - Black
Rib - Silver Wire
Body - Tying Thread (coat with Sally Hansen's Hard as Nail for a gloss appearance)


Frosty Minnow, Dark Olive - tied Clouser Style
(size 10 shown)

Hook - Mustad 3366 / Sizes - 6 to 12
Thread - White
Eyes - Black Bead Chain
Bottom Wing - White Frosty Fish Fiber
Top Wing - Dark Olive Frosty Fish Fiber
Nose - Olive Tying Thread

The Frosty Fish Fiber is very easy to work with and has an incredible life like quality that effectively reflects the characteristic patina and tonal changes of baitfish.  Additional color combinations - Chartreuse / White, Gray / White (shad imitation).


Thread Midge Emerger, Black (size 14 shown)

Hook - TMC 2487 / Sizes - 14 to 18
Thread - Black
Rib - Silver Wire
Body - Tying Thread
Wing - White Fluoro Fibre
Head - Tying Thread

This pattern is usually tied with a white Z-Lon wing ... I like the look of the Fluoro Fibre (fluorescent microfibers) which lights-up in the water and grabs the fish's attention.  A very productive bluegill pattern from early spring and throughout the summer.  During the summer with low light conditions (sunrise, sunset, overcast sky), I will work this fly just below the surface film along the weed edges with a slow strip-'n-pause retrieve.  Additional body colors - Olive, Wine.


Thread Midge Emerger, Wine (size 14 shown)

Hook - TMC 2487 / Sizes - 14 to 18
Thread - Wine
Rib - Copper Wine
Body - Tying Thread
Wing - White Fluoro Fibre
Head - Tying Thread

Received several requests to see this fly tied in Wine.
Definitely, a "must have" in your fly box.


Pheasant Tail Nymph (size 12 shown)

Hook - TMC 3761 / Sizes - 10 to 18
Thread - Dark Brown
Tail - Pheasant Tail Fibers
Rib - Gold Wire (counter-wrapped, to hold and protect the abdomen's pheasant tail fibers)
Abdomen - Pheasant Tail Fibers
Wingcase - Pheasant Tail Fibers
Thorax - Peacock Herls
Legs - Pheasant Tail Fibers used to form the wingcase are pulled back and secured
Head - Tying Thread and Cemented


// Fly Fishing
// Northwest Indiana
Fishing Locations
// Indiana Fish
// Online Fishing
Licenses (USA)


Line & Lure conditioner is the reel deal ...
Since the spring of 2012, I have been using Line & Lure on my fly lines, leaders, tippets, dry flies, and bass bugs.  Its preformance has been "two thumbs-up".  Cleaning and coating my fly line with this conditioner reduces the line-to-guide friction, repels debris which increases line control (improved casting accuracy, line speed and distance), better line floatability (easier line mending and improved fly presentation).  On leaders and tippets, they float higher and cleaner.  Dressing dry flies and bass bugs with Line & Lure has proven to be a major plus - they ride higher and longer than other dressings that I have used in the past.  Therefore, I spend less time drying / re-dressing my fly and more time fishing.  Also, using Line & Lure on my sunglasses adds a scratch resistant and dust repelling coating - along with, reducing glare and miinimizes water spotting.

amflyfishing looks @ the lighter side of angling


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"lighter side of angling"

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