The Serendipity

I carry with me many emerger patterns. I think those flies look like sitting ducks to trout. They mimic vulnerable bugs that attempt to rise to the water’s surface. They’re high-percentage snacks.

Most of the takes I’ve had this summer have been on emergers: flies with shucks, materials suggesting air bubbles on their backs, and/or nascent wings. Fishing these flies with an induced take has been effective.

So, I’ve been thinking of some more emergers. It makes me think of the Serendipity fly. I have a long-time soft spot for the Serendipity. During an epic stay a few years ago on the Upper Madison, this fly accounted for more trout than any other. The fly also took a few trout on my recent outing at the Swift. So, I’ve tied up some more, in both black and red, in sizes 22 and 24.

For the smaller fly, the black one, I used white Z-lon for the wing and black thread for the body. It is slim and simple, a bit more New England, if you will. Black and white. I’m calling it “The Puritan.”The red fly is one of the classic Serendipities. I used elk hair, red thread, silver wire as ribbing, and crystal flash for legs. This one has bells and whistles, like a flashy sports car in Silicon Valley.

We’ll see which fly takes more fish.


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8 thoughts on “The Serendipity

  1. Great nymph, everyone should carry them. I just returned from a trip to the San Juan River in New Mexico and the red Serendipity (minus the legs) got me the biggest fish of the week. The dark version works too although I prefer the similar Zebra midge.

    1. Just following up on your comment about the SJR being on your bucket list. This was my first trip and I was amazed at how big (and strong) the average fish was. We had measure nets so I can vouch for the numbers and the average was 16" to 18" but we did get fish as large as 22". The Swift is good training, you do need small midges and dries but 22-26 is good enough. The fish are pressured, finicky on the dries and super subtle on the takes when nymphing. According to the guys I went with the fishing was poor this trip (low flows, fewer spots to fish, not enough dry fly action) so I can only imagine what it's like when it's good.

    2. Can't wait to get to the San Juan! Glad you had a great time. Did you nymph with a New Zealand strike indicator to pick up on the subtle takes–or, did you Euro-nymph?

    3. I used the Euro nymph rig sold by, with some success but also just an indicator, so no tight line or Czech nymphing. With 12,000 to 15,000 fish per mile you can miss a lot of takes and still get lots of fish. We were targeting dry fly fishing but conditions meant we needed to nymph a bunch.

  2. First off, just found your blog today while browsing the 'net. I have read now several of your past posts and really like what I see. I have taken the liberty of adding your blog to my BlogBuddies blogroll over on my blog. Hope to share some readers with you.

    Secondly, never been in your part of the country to fish. However, I have fished the Serendipity on the Madison a number of times over the years and can attest to the success of this great pattern out there. Live in Colorado now and don't travel much too fish anymore. With that said, thanks for the reminder of some past times on the Madison and fishing the Serendipity. I will have to put some in my fly box.

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