Pike City 1

My good friend, Chuck Furimsky, is yanking pike out of Canadian waters with determination this week. He managed 90-100 in the first two days, with the 40-inch beauty below as the biggest. He didn’t tell me what he caught them on, but I know he was tying a series of big flies with twister tails cut from his Bug Skin leather. He’s off to bigger fish waters the next couple of days, and promised more reports. I will get info on the flies he used, and any stories he has about the trip.

Best so far–40 inches of northern.

Bug Skin Crab Fly

My good friend, Chuck Furimky, recently developed a new crab imitation using his justly famous material, Bug Skin. Out on a flounder fishing expedition with his fly rod, he took this beauty. When he opened the stomach, lo an behold, it was filled with crabs that imitated his imitation. I can just taste those filets!

Nice fly, Chuck! I’ll bet Permit would gobble this imitation, too!

That’s a big flounder, Chuck. What’d ya git ’em on?


Aha! Chuck’s Bug Skin Crab along with real ones from the flounder’s stomach. Tasty looking flies! The flounder thought so, too. 

Spectacular Gray Drakes

My friend, Jim Hagar, is a member of the Pere Marquette Rod and Gun Club and fishes its waters regularly. On May 19 he encountered the most spectacular Gray Drake spinner fall that he’s seen in 37 years of fishing the Pere Marquette. It must have been something because I’ve fished that spinner fall with Jim several times, and it was always fantastic. The spinners began dropping at 3:45 instead of close to dark, and continued until about 6. The fishing was stunning and Jim took full advantage of it. Below are a few photos of fish from the many that he caught. Let’s hope this is a harbinger of the Brown Drake and Hex hatches yet to come.

Blues are Nippin’

Spring has sprung in the NE and the blues are close in. Theo Bakelaar has been chasing them and found this beauty.

The Blues that make you smile!!

Lahontan Cuts

The Lahontan Cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki henshawi) is the stuff of legends. I well remember, as a kid in the early 1950s, reading stories of the monsters that came out of Pyramid Lake. And then in the lat 50s and through the 60s, the population crashed and the legends disappeared from the lake, completely. This was primarily attributable to dam and diversion structures, habitat fragmentation and degradation throughout the species range, in addition to the the introduction of non-native trout species.

The Lahontans are also found in a three lakes in Washington, Omak. Grimes, and Lenore. These fish get big, but not genetically matched to the legends of Pyramid. So, those interested in adding the species to a life list often headed north to the eastern side of Washington to fulfill their dream.

But then in 1970s, biologists found a few small cutthroat in a stream near Pilot Peak along the Utah border. They were a genetic match for the original monsters of Pyramid Lake. Four decades of work has the lake producing its legends again. At the Fly Fishing Shows this year, I talked to several guides, anglers, and outfitters that regularly fish the lake, and was told that the big boys are indeed back. Not yet the 41 pound monster that holds the world record, but certain those in the 20 pounds range—with every possibility that they will get even larger in years to come. Keep you eye on this one. This is one of several sites you can explore.

Bluesman Keith Scott with an very nice Lahontan Cut from Omak in Washington.

Spring Steelhead 2017

It’s that time again. Steelhead are starting to run in the rivers of the Lake States and in the Pacific Northwest. Waters are high in both areas due to unprecedented rains and snow melt, but high waters never stopped the fish—only the fishermen. Still, the fish are there, and if one knows the waters, one may well find them.

My friend, Keith Scott, wild blues guitar man, loves to fly fish, and gets some good chances as he tours the US with “ax” in hand. He confirmed the steelhead run the other day on Michigan’s Manistee River with guide Jon Lindy. At least he wasn’t singing the “Steelhead Blues.”

Get thee to the river, the steelhead are in.

Theo’s Huge Pike Fly

Theo Bakelaar sent along a great photo of the huge pike fly he uses so effectively in the rivers in Holland. While some may think it’s too big, the pike really don’t think so, proving the old adage, “Big fly, big fish.”

Now there’s a handful–or should I say a pike’s mouthful.

Spring has Sprung

Spring has sprung, the grass is rise, I wonders where the big pikes is? They’re in Theo’s hands! Our friend, Theo Bakelaar, has been out “prospecting” the big rivers in Holland with some really big flies and finding success with some really big pike.

It’s a big early here yet, in the Pacific Northwest, for bass and pike, but the steelhead are running and the spring Chinooks will be here soon. Let’s hope the weather modulates a bit so the rivers can drop back to more or less fishable conditions. We broken several records for rainfall here in the NW this winter, and the rainy season is not yet over.

Big fly, big pike. Look at the length of the fly hanging from the pike’s mouth.

Chuck Furimsky Fly Tyer

The Fly Fishing Shows, held across the nation, are the result of a fly tyer’s love of sharing information about feathers, fur, and steel. Chuck Furimsky started the Shows in 1989. This year, the Shows offered events in Denver CO, Marlboro MA, Somerset NJ, Atlanta GA, Lynwood WA, Pleasanton CA, and Lancaster PA. The Somerset Show is the largest fly fishing show in the world (see Shows). In 1989, Chuck also founded the International Fly Tying Symposium, held annually in Somerset, NJ the weekend before Thanksgiving (see Symposium).

All well and good, but Chuck is always so busy at the Shows and at the Tying Symposium that he never ties. A real pity, because he is an innovative tyer, especially when it comes to using his “Bugskin” material. Specially skived and treated New Zealand lambskin, Bugskin is tough and very soft. It makes great leeches, worms, and other flies that require a highly flexible tail or body. In addition, it makes a great material for the back on nymphs, crustaceans, and the like. (Go here, and then page down to find Bugskin)

This year it’s a different story. Chuck will be tying at the Midwest Fly Fishing Expo in Detroit, and demonstrating his Turbo Tail series. These flies use a twister tail cut from Bugskin, and I can tell you, they have action second to none. His smaller sizes reflect the notion of the Woolly Bugger, and he calls them his Turbo Tail Buggers. His larger sizes haven’t been named yet, but the medium sized ones are excellent for bass, big browns, smaller pike, and the like. The big ones are great for big pike, muskies, and salt water fish like blue fish and stripers. He also dresses some in slider configurations, like the Black Snake shown below. These really create top water commotion.

If you’re anywhere in the Detroit area, get to the Show and watch Chuck whip out some of these really active imitations, March 17 & 18, 2017. Check it out at Expo.

For those you in distant places go to Utube to see Chuck tie the flies.

Turbo tails (top) Large for pike, muskie, blues, stripers, etc., (middle) Medium for bass, big browns, salmon, redfish, etc., (bottom) Turbo Tail Bugger, great for trout, bass, bones, and so on.

The top water blacksnake is a real commotion creator.

Pleasanton Fly Fishing Show 2017

This weekend, February 24-26, 2017, was the Fly Fishing Show at Pleasanton, CA. Friday the hall was almost instantly filled with enthusiastic fly fishers, testing rods, attending programs and demonstrations, chatting with fly tyers, discussing travel opportunities and a huge variety of fly fishing products, and even sampling aged, flavored balsamic vinegars (I flipped out over the elderberry). Saturday was elbow to elbow in the aisles, and the vendors and other exhibitors were busy, busy, busy. Sunday was another great day at the show, with a crowd equal to that of Friday.

My friend, Dave Blackburn, played banjo over the lunch hour each day, and for an hour before the Friday night Fly Fishing Film Festival.

My casting demos were thickly attended, and everyone had a great time running though the pantomimes of casting. The fly tying demos were fun because the Show founder, Chuck Furimsky (who is a very fine fly tyer) came in and cut some twister tails from his BigSkin material, and I used them to tie TwisterTail Down and Dirty minnows and sculpins. And my Power Point Programs on Fishing the Big Fish Flies, Really Matching the Hatch, and Fishing the Film drew plenty of great comments. Thanks everyone.

The crowd each day filled the aisles. The roar of the crowd was nearly overwhelming.


Bruce Taylor’s beautifully carved and painted trout are always a hit at the Shows.


One of the “exercises” we do at the casting demos is looking at the angle that the “opposable digit,” (thumb) makes with the bones of the forearm and the angle that the pointer finger makes, as I discuss the Three Point Grip. So, these are the “Pleasanton Palm Readers.”


“Palmers” on the other side of the pond.