At the Bench: Soft Hackles, Streamers and Stoneflies

While at Tall Timber two years ago, I struck up a conversation with a kind and elderly fly fisherman. We would talk periodically at the lodge at the end of the day.

He is a cancer survivor and always has a tank of oxygen with him, due to emphysema. He was up to fish with his daughter to relive their family vacations from decades ago. As he is too weak wade, he and she troll for trout on Back Lake. They’re very nice folks.

Flash forward, and we still keep in touch. Last year, our Tall Timber pilgrimages didn’t coincide. So, I surprised him and his daughter by paying for one of their dinners at the lodge. He later surprised me with a gift when my daughter and I were at Tall Timber one week later.

He recently wrote to me, wondering about some of the flies I’ve been making. So, I’m making some soft hackles and a streamer for him. The top two: a soft-hackled Hare’s Ear with an orange tag and a marabou streamer with a peacock herl body (three strands roped with mono tippet to add durability). I almost never fish streamers, but this white streamer has done well for me. These flies, and others, are going in the mail to him.

The bottom ones are for me: Devin Olsen’s Biot-Backed Stone and a Pat’s Legs. The first major hatch around me, in February, are small stoneflies. They’re called snowflies, from the family Capniidae. So, I am stocking up.

There are many reasons why I fly fish. I thought it was just about learning to fish in a technical way. But, I’ve met so many great and sincere folks. That too has been real joy.

A Happy New Year to all….


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