The newest update to the fly tying database is the Madam X. Dreaming of warmer weather and long summer afternoons lead to this pattern update in the middle of February, plus it doesn’t hurt to have your boxes stocked up and ready to go. The Madam X is a pattern that doesn’t imitate a specific insect, instead it a general pattern that will work for adult stoneflies, hoppers, and attractor dries that work great for indicator flies in a dry dropper rig. The pattern was originally tied by Doug Swisher, and it was tied with only the deer hair and thread used to secure it (forming and X pattern down the body) for the body of the fly. There are many variations of this fly and arguably the most prevalent is the Madam X with a floss body which is featured in the step by step tutorial, but other materials such as dubbing and thread can be substituted. So while you’re sitting around waiting for the snow to melt get a few Madam X’s spun up, and be ready for long summer afternoons and sunburns.
The Squirmy Wormie is the newest pattern added to the tying database. This fly is a variant of a San Juan Worm which many people would say is not a fly in the traditional sense, but the fact remains that fish eat worms. Why not have another pattern in your arsenal that represents a food source found in waters year round that fish go nuts for at times? The Squirmy Wormie is tied using Spirit River’s Squirmy Wormies material, and makes the fly a very effective worm fly. The material is soft, flexible, has a ton of movement, and comes in many colors including a cool glow in the dark neon. The drawback to the material is that is not the most durable used in fly tying, but when tied with a copper the pattern will be tough and last fish after fish. Give the Squirmy Wormies a try and it might become your go to worm fly.
Yes there are a lot of cool fly tying materials in shops. Some are new and cutting edge that are supposed to be more effective than dynamite, and some are classics that have passed the test of time and countless fish. If you look around though you may be able to find some great materials that you will not find in any shop. Here are some examples… the Kaufmann Stonefly dubbing is Saint Bernard, the Gold Ribbed Hares Ear is Golden Retriever, and the soft hackle is Cockatiel. Don’t be afraid to branch away from the small plastic bags next time that you sit down at the vice.
The season is changing and more than likely you’ll be changing the flies that you are using. Here is a Small Brook Box that is loaded up with some great flies for winter trout fishing. Fall beatis, midges, and a few Copper Johns are the flies of choice here. Another great winter pattern, especially on tailwaters, is the Squirmy Wormy. This is a VERY effective San Juan Worm variant that uses Spirit River’s Squirmy Wormies material instead of chenille (https://www.spiritriver.com/materials/bodies-parts/squirmy-wormies%E2%84%A2). The material is soft, stretches and has an unbelievable life-like action in the water. It comes in many colors and a tying tutorial is soon to come.