Small Emergers

One of the benefits of getting older is that you need less sleep. So, when I awoke at 3.30 am, I had my coffee and answered work emails. Then, I had some time to kill before the gym opened, and so, I tied flies.

It was time to work with some newly-arrived hooks: the Tiemco 2488 in sizes 18, 20 and 22. As you may recall, this is my favorite hook for small nymphs due to its 3x gape. And, as I keep writing, they just look plain sexy.

As I also have shared before, small emergers (and, soft hackles) are incredibly effective in the summer, particularly when you let them rise at the end of the drift. I use a variety of materials to create seductive movement, including small Hungarian Partridge feathers and CDC feathers and feather-puffs.

Today, I was re-loading on WD-40s and decided to use some of the downy fibers at the bottom of a Coq de Leon stem to make a new fly. I like to minimize waste.

Trying to use all parts of CDL stem. Size 18 emerger. #flytying #flyfishing #OCDflytying

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I couldn’t rotate the short fibers around the hook too much, but did use them to create a thorax and have a tuft of wings up top. I like the color contrast and the many wispy fibers that hopefully will be strike triggers.

I think this fly will work well in the surface film as a dry or attached as a dropper to a tightlining rig when BWOs and midges are around.

It’s a pretty easy tie:

  • Hook: Tiemco 2488, size 18, 20 or 22
  • Body: UTC 70, olive-brown
  • Ribbing: UTC wire, gold, extra-small
  • Thorax and wing: downy fibers from a CDL stem (moisten the fibers to make easier the wrapping around the hook)

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8 thoughts on “Small Emergers

    1. Good idea. Yes, that would definitely work. Waxing the split thread and using a dubbing clip really saves a lot of time, too.

  1. Love that fly. Those hooks are awesome though. I need to order some up. Not only is the gape good (looking at your pic) but the curve is not excessive. Glad you noted which Tiemco they were – I need to check em out.


    1. Thanks! A lot of trial and error to figure out a tiny hook that can consistently hold a fish, particularly if I’m fishing downstream. had the best deal on them, and, if you sign up for their online email list, they give an additional discount.

  2. Trying to get into tightline nymphing that I’ve been hearing so much about lately. I got some sighter material to make some slinky sighters. Do you tie loops on the ends of the sighter as to reuse and not cut into it?

    1. No, blood knots and a tippet ring (more details here).

      I don’t use the slinkies anymore, FWIW. Found they weren’t that useful and too specialized. They don’t work well on fast water. And, “floating the sighter” is a much better technique when fishing shallow and slow water, IMO. And, it lets me use one set-up all day on multiple types of water.

      Last, good luck with the technique. I found it unbeatable in terms of generating a high volume of fish and targeting the bigger ones. Best way to learn if you’re near the Farmington? Hire Zach St. Amand as a guide and/or swing by UpCountry and ask Torrey or Grady to set you up with a tightlining rig. If you love it, buy the specialty rod later. You can “get by” for now with a regular fly rod.

      1. Thanks for the advice!

        Considering going to the EB Thursday morning (2nd attempt). I went for the first time in December, didn’t see even a sign of a fish but it looks very promising! I read your post on breakdown of different spots. Gonna Thoughts or recommendations?

        1. I tend to fish it when it’s <300 cfs for the tightlining I do, which requires me to wade aggressively. I personally have not had much luck when the water there is high. The river’s flow will go up dramatically with this coming rainstorm. So, I’d keep an eye on the USGS gauge.

          I don’t know where you live, but from where I am, it’s equi-distant to the Westfield Gorge area and the Farmington. I’d pick the latter, in all honesty. The permanent TMA was stocked last week with ‘bows and yearling Survivor Strain browns (and two year-old browns, about 14″ to 18″, will be there Friday), and the rest of the river has been stocked a few times with both browns and ‘bows. Good reports of Hendricksons starting, too. The wild fish and holdovers should get more active, as a result.

          Water will be a bit high and off-color on Thursday, I predict. Use larger anchor flies and bright dropper flies if you tightline below the Still River. A tungsten Pat’s Legs or Squirmy is a good choice. For more details, hit up the UpCountry guys, per prior comment. They are really plugged in with what will work that day.

          The Farmington is a really special place. Stockies are fun, but if you can catch a big fish that is wild, that for me is even more satisfying.

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