Flies of the year – Part 2.
A late autumn Saturday night – around two months after the end of the season, is a perfect night to write about the best salmon flies of this season. It is time for the second part of this traditional article on this season’s best flies.
It is a typical autumn evening with strong winds and mild temperatures outside now, the winter is keeping us waiting although we did have a few days with snow a week ago. This strong autumn presence is adding to strengthening the memories from the season as just now it seems so very long until the start of the next season.
However, this is all part of the package, as fly fishing is a total package experience with good memories creating experiences and a longing which increases creativity. As fly fishers we have good times at the fly tying vice when all these feelings flow through our veins; this is when we tie those flies which will once again intensify the hope, feelings and the excitement.
Thank you Rotenon for yet another fight.
Part two of the 2010 season’s best flies will actually once again look at the fantastic salmon fly named Rotenon, and once again I must celebrate Randulf Tverrfjell’s interpretation of this pattern. This season I also caught spring salmon on this pattern tied as a tube fly, this happened in the upper parts of the Gaula. The salmon was large, and gave me a real challenge in high water conditions in a small pool. I was fishing the Triple Density fly line named S2/S4/S6 and this line coupled with this tube fly ensured that the joy was magical as I could land the first large salmon of the season.
These days I have several variants of the Rotenon fly in my fly boxes, I have two tube fly versions with wing lengths of 8 and 4 cm. I have also tied it in traditional single hook versions and these are the real killers, I tie these in sizes 6 and 8. However, it works well to tie this pattern on small treble hooks as well, my son Steffen tied a few Rotenon’s on treble hooks size 10 and 12 a few years ago just before the start of the Haltdalen course. And these flies were responsible for the happiness of many of the course participants, including a few personal bests with this fly attached to the tippet.
This year’s development of the Rotenon fly was a spey version, and it was Ole Kristian Skaar who tied this for me. Ole Kristian is one of the absolute best fly tiers I know of today when it comes to tie spey style flies, he ties all my favourite Gaula flies as spey flies. Among others he has tied up the Granbokhorva and Red Butt patterns as spey style patterns, but also traditional patterns such as Teal and Silver, Grey and Green, Green Highlander, and Thunder and Lightning . His interpretation of these established flies are just amazing.
Ole Kristian runs a company called Flies of Norway where he ties flies for sale through his online shop. Do visit his webpage, so you can see his flies for yourself. In part three of the flies of the year article I will write a lot more about why I like to have my best patterns in different versions, then you can read about why I use (among others) the fly named Filmflua both as a tube fly, hook fly, nymph, and now also in a spey style version.
Fly tier; Ole Kristian Skaar.
The Rotenon fly is not difficult to tie, and what’s better than a fly that fishes well and is easy to tie? You can of course modernise it as much as you please by using different cone heads, and folding of arctic fox hair. Either way you should bear in mind that the fly fishes best when lightly dressed. A variant I have used is to use the Wing`n Flash material for the body instead of black floss silk, I like to use black synthetic dubbing in the bodies of my flies because this material does not retain water which otherwise may lead to some loss of colour when wet. This means that you will increase the contrast between the red butt and the black body, which is important for just this pattern as it becomes an effective attractor. If you use floss silk for both the body and the butt the fly will not be as “colour strong” when wet.
It is smart to remove the feather fibres on one side of the hackle, the hackle becomes nicer this way.
Red mini flat braid creates the correct glow for the butt of the fly.
Tag: Red fluorescent floss silk, or light red flat braid.
Tail: Gold pheasant topping (I do not use this for the tube flies).
Body: Black floss silk or black Wing ‘n Flash.
Ribbing: Oval silver tinsel.
Wing: Black fox hair, with Flashabou mirage pearl.
Front hackle: Light blue hen hackle (Silver Doctor blue), sparsely dressed.
This selection in the fly box makes for good times on the river!
Fly tier; Steffen Granbo.
Randulf told met his one great summer’s night while we were sitting by the fire at one of our favourite pools:
One evening when we were sitting by the fire I asked Randulf why he thought the fly was so effective. I often pondered why this simple fly with such a slim wing and hackle could be so effective. Randulf was not really sure himself, but suggested that the fluorescent red butt could provide an attractor function that triggered the salmon. The fly is also very sparsely dressed, thus it is a fly that fishes elegantly in low-water conditions, and these two aspects in combination with an active/focused fishing strategy are probably contributing to the effectiveness of this fly.
Randulf is using fluorescent floss silk for the red tag/butt, and he also use clear varnish on top of this, creating an even stronger red colour, and this could be one of the reasons as to why the salmon reacts so forcefully when the fly passes by at high speed.
A few seasons after this chat I feel that this seems to be correct, as I have tried to tie/research a bit using this theory. And this is why I have tied this butt in materials with an even stronger colour glow, in the same main colour as the original. And this is true, the fly actually becomes even more effective with a more fluorescent butt.
I also firmly believe that the colour combinations of the fly; fluorescent red butt, black body with silver tinsel and a black wing, and not to forget the light blue hackle, is contributing to make this fly a contrasting colour bomb of a salmon fly! What can I say, have you still not used this fly?!
The second spot of this 2010 season is the Rotenon fly, I have written a lot about this fly earlier as well, you can read more about my theories for this fly in these articles.
I would like to thank Ole Kristian Skaar for his good fly tying help for this article, with his beautiful spey variants of the Rotenon fly.