To help qualm those feelings that range between There are no bloody fish here to What the hell am I doing out here, today's fly-tying lesson revolves around a fly that can be used in multiple applications and is perfect for those mid-winter days on the Yakima and many other western trout rivers. Fly-tying victim #4, The Copper John.
Hook: Daichi 1550 #12-22
Thread: 6/0 Black Uni
Bead: Gold or Copper Cyclops, size to fit hook
Tail: Goose Biots, Black
Body: Ultra Wire, Brassie or Small, See colors below
Thorax: Peacock Herl
Wing: Pheasant Hackle
Shellback: Pearl Flashabou
Step 1: Slide bead on the hook. Wrap thread on hook, work evenly back to the bend. Take two goose biots, tips out the back of the fly, cross them over each other near where the bend in the shank begins, make one loose wrap of thread over the X'd portion, then two more wraps and pull tight. Clip the butts off the goose biots.
Step 2: Grab a piece of ultra wire, tie it in over the biots, wrap your thread forward, leaving some space behind the bead. Wrap the ultra wire forward tightly and tie it in, leaving space for the thorax, which should cover about a quarter of the hook's length.
Step 3: Tie in two pieces of flashabou. Leave them for now. Tie in 2-3 pieces of peacock herl, wrap thread all the way to bead. Form a herl rope. To do this, take the strands of herl, and twist them tightly, but not so tight as to where they will break. Once you have a rope, wrap forward to the bead and tie off. Clip excess.
Step 4: Tie in pheasant hackle fibers on each side of the thorax. Pull the Flashabou forward over the top of the thorax and tie down. Whip Finish. You can epoxy the flashabou shell back as well, either way will work.
Where it Fishes: Trout water of any type. The Yakima, Cedar, Snoqualmie Forks, Greenwater, Naches, etc. They work well in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Oregon, Montana, Idaho and New Mexico. Fish them under a Pat's Stone or San Juan worm in the winter for maximum effect. Use smaller sizes in low water or during midge/BWO hatches and the larger sizes in murky water and during caddis or the smaller summer stonefly activity.
Ultra Wire Colors: Copper, Red, Lime, Black, Blue, Purple, and Gold. Red, lime and copper seem to be the most effective here in our local waters, although I have caught a few fish on purple in the Yakima in early spring.
Feed Fish Flies, Not Toxins