Category Archives: Trout patterns

Guest Speaker: Karl Humphries 11th October 2018

Following on from Karl’s last demonstration (2ndNovember 2017) he was asked about the current situation with game fishing in Wales. We were told that the National Resources Wales (NRW) were finalising new regulations which would probably be ratified by the Welsh Assembly in 2019.  (The following link gives the current proposals: NRW proposed fishing controls 16/3/2018).  In the North West the Border Esk and tributaries (Liddel and Eden), were made catch and release for all salmon earlier this year.  Karl thinks that the decisions being made are based on statistical analysis of poor quality data and consequently the current estimates of migratory fish numbers are probably inaccurate.  He was concerned that the Environmental Agency (EA) and NRW were not interested in and do not understand the needs of fishermen and were not the best groups to manage river fisheries.  Karl was also concerned that the proposed changes would be impossible to implement.  He felt that the salmon and sea trout license was becoming redundant (hence losing the EA revenue), as unless an angler was specifically targeting these species, any accidental catch would be released! Although Karl felt that changes were impacting negatively on game fishing, he was still enjoying and actively participating in the hobby, as evinced by his enthusiasm during the evening.

Karl then went on to demonstrate six flies that he personally found to be productive in rivers.

The Orange Spider

Hook: Size 10 or 12
Thread: Orange Glo-brite No. 5 floss tied to produce a carrot shaped body tied off and finished with 3 coats of varnish (as for a buzzer pattern). Smokey grey 14/0 thread was used for the thorax and head.
Hackle: Two to three turns of a grouse neck feather tied in by the distal end of the rachis.
Dubbing: Dun ice dub tied sparingly at the thorax to flare the spider hackle.
Head: varnished thread


A variant was also demonstrated with an orange tag and watery olive body. The fly contains no added weight; the heavily varnished body ensuring the fly sinks.  Karl recommended a technique of turning the fly through 90 °to whip finish the head as this reduced the risk of the thread unravelling over the eye of the hook. Karl generally fishes this as a team of 3 with a fly such as a ‘Greenwell’s’ as top dropper.

The Avon Bomb

Hook: Size 10 or 12 Jig Hook
Thread: Gordon Griffiths Sheer 14/0 – Burgundy
Rib: Fine Silver Wire
Hackle: Two to three turns of a grouse neck feather tied in by the distal end of the rachis.
Body: Three strands of bronze peacock herl
Wing: Short length of pink Antron mused with 6 to 8 strands of Krystal flash
Hackle: 3 to 4 turns of a ginger cock hackle
Head: 3.5mm Facetted Silver bead

A layer of tying thread, with touching turns, to the half-way down the shank.  The thread was returned with layers of thread built up to secure the bead. The thread was then taken to a point on the hook opposite the barb with the rib and peacock herl tied in and returned to the hook eye.  The herl was wound up to the thorax (leaving room for wing and hackle), secured with thread and then ribbed (opposite direction to the herl).  The wing and hackle were tied in with the thread and the wing cut to 2 to 3 mm.  The thread was varnished at the bead after whip finishing.

Hairy Green Butt Prince Nymph

Hook: Size 10 long shank, weighted with lead if desired
Thread: Veevus B17 14/0 Yellow/Chartreuse for butt, Charcoal grey 14/0 for body and head
Tail: Two brown goose biots, trimmed to 2/3rds length of shank and flared over the butt.
Rib: Medium Gold Oval Tinsel
Dubbing: Fox squirrel mixture of fur plucked from pelt.
Wing: Two white goose biots, trimmed to length of shank.
Hackle: Mid-section of a brown furnace feather, upper surface forward, tied in at distal end of rachis.
Head: Varnished head.

Dry F-Fly

Hook: #16 Medium or fine wire
Thread: 14/0 in charcoal
Body: Very sparsely dubbed fox squirrel fur
Wing: Three overlaying natural coloured CDC feathers tied in on top of head
Head: Varnished head.

The body used he residual dubbing from the Green Butt Prince Nymph. A nice way of conserving materials. Use a little CDC oil when fishing for extra buoyancy. 

Haslam Varient (Salmon / Sea Trout Fly)

Hook: #8 low water double
Thread: Gordon Griffiths Sheer 14/0 Burgandy
Tag: Glo-Brite No2 Fluoro Pink Floss
Rib: Small Oval Tinsel
Tail: Golden Pheasant crest feather
Body: Glo-brite fluorescent tinsel (or pearl mylar).
Throat Hackle: Dyed blue guinea fowl.
Wing: Natural hen pheasant tail feather.
Antenna: Two blue/gold macaw barbules from centre tail.
Eyes: Jungle cock (placed both sides).
Head: Varnished head.

Karl’s tips employed in tying this fly included:

Flattening the base of the golden pheasant crest feather to ensure that the barbules did not splay and they stayed on top of the hook.

Throat hackles and hen pheasant wings were easier to tie in using a vee-shaped section of a feather prepared by cutting the rachis above and below the number of barbules required.  The barbules from the left and right side of the ‘vee’ could then be folded together and tied in long with 2 thread wraps and pulled to the required length before securing with tight thread wraps.

Split jungle cock eyes could be repaired by the dipping in a light varnish then using finger and thumb to encourage the split eye to mend.

Guest Speaker: Karl Humphries – November 2017

Karl started fly fishing in the late 1960’s on the Isle of Man, fishing the small but productive River Sulby. From these beginnings, he has worked to become a Master Instructor and assessor in both single handed and double handed rods as well as fly dressing. He
has demonstrated casting techniques all over the globe, even demonstrating to The Queen and Prince Philip. As a qualified instructor, he is able to help clients in any aspect of game
angling and fly fishing, be it on the river, still water or saltwater.
Based at Newcastle under Lyme, Staffordshire, he has clients thought the country.

He also runs the website called The Adipose Fin and serves on the committees of The Prince Albert Angling Society and the Grayling Society.

The evening started with an informal dialogue about the planned new controls to salmon and sea trout fishing in Wales. Karl felt that the method restrictions (Bait, barbless and treble hooks) and
compulsory catch and release for salmon would probably discourage many game anglers from fishing in Wales and may consequentially have a deleterious effect on Welsh tourism. Before tying
his first fly and during the evening Karl mentioned the techniques of free line nymphing (e.g. French, Polish or Czech styles) and conventional fly fishing with weighted fly lines. Karl’s preference was for conventional fly fishing with light (3 wt) tackle because this gave greater flexibility allowing more water to be covered: unlike free line nymphing approaches which restricted the distance an angler could cast. He also suggested that that with practice, experienced conventional fly fishermen could minimise water disturbance and so mitigate the perceived advantage of free line nymphing.

Karl demonstrated fly tying five of his most productive river nymph patterns and also included a two novel takes on conventional flies, a buzzer pattern using Veniards ‘edge bright’ for wing buds and a
mayfly parachute pattern using a Japanese ‘umbrella hook’. The nymph patterns that Karl demonstrated could be used either for nymphing or conventional fly fishing.

The Free Swimming Caddis (Hydropscyche)

Hook: Size 10 Fulling Mill Magic Circle.
Thread: Dark brown UTC 70.
Shellback: ‘Thin skin’ marbled and green 4 mm wide strip cut
with a ‘chiselled’ end to aid tying in.
Rib: 7lb (0.25mm) monofilament.
Dubbing: gradated colours; cream, olive and golden olive (fine
SLF), followed by muskrat, dark brown – from bend to the eye (ca
2mm of each)
Head: varnished thread

The fly contained no added weight as Karl generally used it as a dropper above a weighted nymph. The bed of thread was tied as far around the hook bend as possible. The thread bed was coated with varnish after the rib and shell back were tied in to anchor them. Dubbing was sparingly applied and the shell back drawn over ensuring that it was evenly distributed on both sides of the hook and ended approx. 2mm from eye to leave room for the head. The shell back was trimmed with a fine
pair of scissors by a ‘nibbling’ action to avoid leaving protruding material at the head. The varnish was applied to the head and shell back material.

Bobesh nymph

Hook: Size 10 Hends BL599 barbless weighted with 4-5 mm of fine round lead.
Thread: Black UTC 70.
Shellback: ‘Grating foil olive’ 5 mm wide strip cut with a ‘chiselled’ end to aid tying in.
Rib: fine gold wire.
Dubbing fine SLF: gradated; peach, off orange, olive green and heavy pink with UV flash – from bend to eye (ca 2mm of each)
Head: varnished thread.

As for the previous fly.  The thread bed was laid over the lead wire to even out irregularities and then continued to the bend of the hook.  The shell back was cut slightly wider than the previous fly as it was thicker due to the lead.  Dubbing was picked out to give the appearance of legs and the head and shell back material varnished to finish.

Hi-vis Shrimp (Grabber)

Hook: Size 10 Hends BL599 barbless weighted with 4-5 mm of fine round lead.
Thread: Hot orange UTC 70.
Shellback: Orange ‘Edge Bright’ (Veniards) 5 mm wide strip cut with a ‘chiselled’ end to aid tying in.
Dubbing: UV-ice hot orange.
Rib: 7lb (0.25mm) monofilament.
Head: 2-3 turns of fine holographic silver tinsel as a collar to varnished thread head.

As for previous flies.  Additionally, a length of fine holographic tinsel was tied in and 2-3 turns used to create a collar to the head.

Midge pupa (reverse presentation fly)

Hook: Size 14 nymph hook.
Thread: Brown UTC 70.
Head (at the hook bend): UV-ice black dubbing.
Thorax cover: Natural cock pheasant fibres tied in at bend and folded back to the middle of the hook, overdubbing and trimmed.
Target point: Orange thread turns between thorax and body.
Breathers: Rolled teal flank feather fibres tied at the eye.
Body: Stripped peacock quill.
Finish: varnish to quill body.

Fished with gink applied to the dubbing at the head to encourage fly to stay in the surface film.

Hairy green butt prince nymph

Hook: Size 8 long shank hook weighted fine round lead
Thread: Whisper burgundy tied over the lead as before.
Tag: Fine green chartreuse tied down 2 mm from a bed of thread (end of tag thread tied into the body over the tag to secure tag).
Rib: Medium gold tinsel
Tail: Brown goose biots tied over a thread ball to splay.
Body: Dubbed red fox squirrel fur with the guard hairs to give a ragged appearance, ribbed with 5 turns of tinsel.
Hackle:  Ginger game hen hackle.
Wings: white goose biots 2/3 length of body tied in at the head.
Head: Varnished thread.

Edge Bright Buzzer

Hook: Size 10 Karmasan B725 black nickel Carp hook.
Thread: Black UTC 70.
Rib: Fine silver wire.
Body: Thread.
Thorax: Black UV-ice dubbing.
Thorax cover: Medium orange holographic tinsel.
Wing buds:  2 slivers of Veniards fluorescent orange edge bright.
Head: Varnished thread.

Umbrella Hook May Fly

Hook: Large umbrella hook.
Thread: Olive UTC 70.
Detached body: Olive ‘realistic may fly tube body’ (Hemingway’s).
Parapost:  Antron wool.
Parachute hackle: Dyed olive grizzle.

Guest Speaker: Roger Smith – October 2017

Roger is a secretary of the Grayling Society, a life member of Wild Trout Trust, an active member of the Worcester Branch of the Fly Dressers’ Guild and author of ‘Flyfishing the Welsh Borderlands’ (Coch-Y-Bonddu Books, 2011).

Roger gave a 40-minute presentation followed by a fly tying demonstration of five dry flies suitable
for Welsh Borderland rivers and their tributaries.

Trout and Grayling fishing on the Rivers and Streams of the Welsh Borderlands through the Seasons

Roger introduced the presentation by describing which rivers and streams he fished in the Welsh borderland. These comprised; the Dee, Severn, Wye and Usk, and he made specific reference to the
Lugg and Arrow tributaries of the Wye. He recommended the use of the environment agency flood information service to monitor the levels of these and other rivers to prepare for fishing expeditions
so that they could be timed to coincide with stable or falling river levels. Describing the entomology of the rivers, Roger initially discussed the use of marker insects to monitor river health – Caddis,
Gammarus shrimp, Stonefly nymphs, Mayfly nymphs (including Baetis and heptagenid), and then the seasonal variability of these and other insects.
Then Roger turned to a discussion of fishing tactics including use of; upstream nymphing, Czech nymphing, dry fly and trotting. He described the use of a team of flies (up to 4) and ‘duo’ teams – dry
fly dropper with a weighted nymph or vice-versa (washing-line presentation), and stressed the importance of the ‘induced take’ to capitalise on the, sometimes, impetuous feeding habit of game
fish in fast flowing water. To help identify takes he advocated the use of indicators and specifically recommended the use of a sliding ‘sight’ made from coloured strands of Aero Dry Wing tied to the line
with a short length of fluorocarbon using a half blood-knot tied back on itself.

The final section of the presentation brought together the tactics and fly selection approaches that Roger had found most successful in the different seasons on these waters. Of particular note, he described the use of March brown, Gold Ribbed Hares Ear, Dark Olive nymph and Orange Tagged Hares Ear for early season nymphing and Hawthorne and Grannom as early season dries. The recommended summer patterns were the Black Gnat and May Fly. Autumn patterns comprised; Crane fly, Red Tag, Treacle Parkin and Coch-Y-Bonddu and in winter he advocated Czech nymphing with Pink Shrimp and Cased Caddis patterns. Roger found by experience that reverse hackled flies (See reverse hackled Barrett’s Bain fly below) improved the presentation when fishing a downriver wind. Finally, Roger referred to use of Trotting and Tankara as additional approaches that he had found to be successful in Welsh Borderland rivers and streams.

The DogsBody

Hook: size 12 medium wire
Thread: Dark brown
Tail: 10 -12 natural pheasant tail fibres
Body: yellow Labrador fur
Rib: fine gold wire
Hackles: grizzle and red game cock feathers (5 – 6 turns each)

Orange Otter

Hook: size 14 Fulling Mill all-purpose light wire
Thread: Dark brown
Tail: bunch red game feather fibres
Body and thorax/head: Orange baby seals fur dubbing
Central hackle: Red game (approx. 10 turns)

Baby Sun Fly

Hook: size 14 Fulling Mill all-purpose light wire
Thread: Dark brown
Tail: Black cock hackle fibres
Body: grey rabbit underfur dubbing
Hackle: Coch-Y-Bonddu feather (3-4 turns)

Barrett’s Bain (Reverse Hackle)

Hook: size 14 up-eye dry fly
Thread: Dark brown
Body: 4-5 natural pheasant tail fibres
Hackle: Blue dun cock feather (5 – 6 turns)

Baby Sun Fly (Jig Hook Variant)

Hook: size 16 Jig-eye
Thread: Dark brown
Wing: Aero Dry wing (Pink or suitable colour for visibility)
Body: grey rabbit underfur dubbing
Hackle: Coch-Y-Bonddu feather (4 -5 turns)

Guest Speaker: Karl Humphries – Spiders for trout, sea-trout and grayling

8th January, 2015 – Karl Humphries

Karl visited Congleton Fly tying Club on January 8th, 2015 where he tied a variety of spider patterns and described how he fishes them.

Karl Humphries (600 x 400)

Karl described how the basic spider pattern forms the basis for a number of variants that are distinctive from the classical North Country spider. In particular, it is a versatile pattern that anyone can tie and it is very effective, so much so that Karl has fished variants of this pattern exclusively on the Welsh Dee for the last 2 years. Karl fishes a team of three spiders with a bright coloured spider as an attracter pattern on the point and a more drab coloured spider on the top dropper. Spacing is generally 4’, 4’ 5’ for the leader using 11lb bs fluorocarbon or copolymer. Gink can also be applied to fish the fly higher. Karl favours reds for grayling and blues for sea trout. These are also great daytime spiders for sea trout which have been fished successfully on the Welsh Dee. The soft hackle is from a variety of game birds (woodcock, plover, partridge, grouse, moorhen, coot and woodpigeon) which give greater movement than spikier cock hackles.

Lagartun flatbraid (600 x 400)

One of the flashier spider patterns tied by Karl uses purple Lagartun mini flat braid to form the body. This has probably been the most successful all round pattern that Karl has used, catching salmon, sea trout, brown trout as well as grayling. This fly is used as a ‘search’ pattern on the point.

More details of the patterns and how to tie them can be found here.

Karl is  an AAPGAI qualified fly fishing and fly casting instructor for both single and double handed rod as well as a AAPGAI master fly dresser.

Find more details about Karl here

Guest Speaker: Paul Procter – River Dry Flies

2nd October, 2014

Paul Procter – River Dry Flies

Best known for his prolific writing in the UK’s leading publications, Trout & Salmon and Trout Fisherman, Paul is a qualified AAPGAI instructor at Masters level and is regarded by many to be in the forefront of UK fly fishers.

Based in Cumbria, with some 30 years fly fishing experience, Paul provides first class guiding, fly casting & fly fishing tuition to all levels and abilities. Whilst offering a comprehensive knowledge of his home waters, he is equally experienced on rivers, stillwaters and saltwater throughout the UK and abroad.

Paul specialises in demonstrating tying river dry fly patterns

Read more about Paul here

Read more about the patterns tied by Paul when he visited CFTC here