Innovative Maine fly-tyers create new patterns every year that become go-to flies. Then they give the flies to friends and family.
Often, these creations are not widely shared, and are fished by only a chosen few. This is understandable, since if too many anglers cast the same pattern, the fish get wise to it.
But this intrepid columnist sent out a request for anglers to send in their favorite creations, and with a little urging, a few agreed to share. And so, our Maine Sportsman readers benefit!
Of course, few patterns are uniquely new, but instead are based on, or inspired by, earlier efforts. They might be tied with new materials, since fly-tying material catalogs and websites seem to grow exponentially larger with each passing year.
Sometimes, simply adding a new wrinkle to an older pattern creates a gangbuster fly for certain waters or fish species.
So, here goes – four new patterns to try, listed in alphabetical order. The first one is for stripers; the second and fourth ones are primarily trout patterns; and the third one will catch many species.
The growing invasive (or alien) green-crab population in coastal Maine has been devastating for softshell clams in local flats, but the crabs have provided a new food source for striped bass. The tiers who ply the salt now tie green crab imitations, and they really work. Here is a good-looking one provided by Vic Trodella.
From my communications with Vic, I get the impression he is not a man who likes to sit idle. This past summer, he dug by hand his own 10,000-gallon pond, and moved 20 tons of stone in a wheelbarrow.
The Dream Fly
Vic also sent me his own zonker-like pattern for trout. He calls it The Dream Fly.
I haven’t tried it yet, but any fly with white fibers that wiggle freely in the water is going to work well for brook trout and salmon, and this fly looks like a killer.
Steve Hutnak fly-fishes throughout New England, including Casco Bay for stripers. I know his daughter, who creates beautiful fly rods as the senior rod maker for The Maine Fly Company, a rod maker in Yarmouth (www.MaineFly.com).
The Hutnak Special is essentially a Woolly Bugger with a twist. The Woolly Bugger may be the world’s most-fished pattern, for the simple reason it works for almost every species that swims. Steve’s pattern is a modified Bugger, with yellow dumbbell eyes. Eyes are a triggering feature for game fish, so putting eyes on a Woolly Bugger seems like a brilliant idea to me. In your hand, this fly just looks fishy.
Steve explained, “My friends named this fly because it was so effective. They used to just ask me for another Hutnak Special. I never bothered to give it a proper name.”
He added, “This fly doesn’t mimic anything exactly, but it’s similar to many things fish eat, including baitfish, dragonfly nymphs, large caddis, and stone-fly nymphs.”
Steve Wanzer tied this pattern for Baxter State Park ponds, and has had success with it for years. He ties it in sizes 10 to 14, and he believes the yellow body stands out in the tannin-stained water of Kidney Pond and other Park stillwaters.
His experience is that the more beat up it gets from getting slammed, the better it fishes. He told me that smelts live in Kidney Pond, so the brook trout are always on the lookout for a fishy meal.
The Kidney Stinger contains elements of other proven patterns, such as the Warden’s Worry, Black-nose Dace, Kennebago Smelt and Gray Ghost, but these elements are combined in a unique way. I can’t wait to try this pattern.
Author’s note: For detailed list of materials and tying instructions for the Alien Crab, Dream Fly, Hutnak Special and Kidney Stinger, click here.
If this column motivates you to share one of your fly patterns with our readers, please contact me at LouZambello@gmail.com, or my fellow “Fresh Water Fly Fishing” columnist, William Clunie, at WilliamClunie@gmail.com.