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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

My Fly Boxes - Box #4 -Eggs/ Larger Nymphs

This a continuation of "My Fly Boxes". This 4th box is another of my "Go To" boxes. It is usually sitting in the tray of my drift boat and handy at all times. It is a waterproof, C&F box, with compartments with individual opening lids on one side and a foam slotted patch on the other side. It is a full size box as is about 4 inches x 7 3/4" and 1 3/4" thick. It is stored in my "Fishpond Guide Pack" but I rarely pack it around when I'm wade fishing. It sees more use in the boat.

Why do I like the waterproof boxes? I learned this the hard way. I used to have 3 or 4 Scientific Anglers non-water proof boxes and had them their pretty well filled with flies. I was getting ready for a fishing trip to Montana one time and I took one of the boxes out to check it out. At least half of the flies had rusty hooks and were worthless. I had gotten the box wet when I was wet wading and forgot to open it up and dry out the box and the flies properly. Lesson learned. The waterproof boxes help this from happening. Now, I almost always open my boxes up after fishing to dry then out properly, even though they are waterproof.

Compartment Side
Let's take a look what I've got in my compartmented side

I use the compartmented side of this box for yarn eggs, San Juan Worms and similar types of files. There are 3 compartments that are empty and I know that it's because I've been fishing the egg bite on the Yuba. I just transferred a bunch of "Pettis Eggs" from this box to my smaller C&F Box #2. This is sort of how the eggs in this box go. It's somewhat of a re-supply box for the smaller box with eggs.

Eggs - A little story about eggs. I fished about 20 years ago with a guide on the Kenai River in Alaska. We were visiting Laura's sister, and I was able to squeeze in a half day float for rainbows and king salmon while we were visiting. The guide showed me his egg box. It was a big box probably 6" x 10" and all it had in it was yarns eggs, from opaque white all the way to dark red. It was like a painter's color wheel. The rainbows on the Kenai would lock into one specific color and you had to match it. This was before the "Troutbeads" became popular. He would use the eggs from it and then tie or I guess buy new ones to fill the holes back in. There were probably 75 different colors of eggs.

He also had his "secret" scent. He had a bottle of "juice" that he would put on the egg and it was sort of his secret recipe. He seemed pretty secretive about it. Did it make a difference? I know one thing. We caught some big rainbows an he sure thought it did!

Pettis Eggs - I've been sold on the "Pettis Eggs" for quite a while. I fish started using this pattern on the Klamath River below Iron Gate Dam. Since then it's the first egg pattern that I'll try. There's something about how the glass bead glows through the Egg Yarn. The photo on the right doesn't really do the pattern justice as you don't see the red/scarlet bead in the middle until you get it wet. I tie this more pattern more sparse, so the scarlet bead is more visible, sort of how you should tie a Lafontaine Sparkle Pupa.

I tie this pattern in about 4 colors using "Cascade" egg yarn. To tie this pattern correctly you need to get this yarn. So, I use 4 of the 10 compartments for "Pettis eggs."

Alevin Patterns - Once the egg bite is over the Alevin patterns come into play. I really like the pattern, "Fox's Fertilizer". I've had good luck with this pattern on December 1st when the river opens above the Parks Bar Bridge on the Yuba. I use 1 compartment for these.

Other Alevin Patterns - I have 1 compartment with various Alevin patterns. A couple of these, 3 of those, and so forth. These are flies that I have picked up at The Fly Shop in Redding when I have fished the Lower Sac. It seems though, that if I have any "Fox's Fertilizer's" in my box, that's what I'll "Go To."

Glo Bugs - I have a range of colors of yarn eggs collected mainly from "The Fly Shop" in Redding when the egg bite is on and we have been fishing the Lower Sacramento. I have recently started using more "Troutbeads" and have them in a different box. So, I'll probably eventually phase these yarn eggs out. I have 3 compartments with various yarn eggs in different colors.

The "Troutbeads" are the way to go until the next evolution of eggs comes around. I'll go into more detail about the beads when I get into my Bead Box #5.

Sucker Spawn - The sucker spawn is big on the Lower Sacramento River in the spring and early summer. I was told that the "Old Timers" around Redding say that when the cottonwood trees start blossoming and you get the white "cotton candy like" blooms blowing around, "Put on the Sucker Spawn." I carry two colors, One that is yellow and is called "Oregon Cheese" and a pink color that I'm not sure what the name of it is. I have 2 compartments filled with sucker spawn. I would be willing to bet that Sucker Spawn would work below the Parks Bar Bridge at the same time period.

San Juan Worms - I have 2 compartments filled with San Juan Worms. I have them sort of mixed up with different colors and sizes. The San Juan worm can be great on the Yuba after a spring, fall or winter rain storm. If you ever do stream sampling after a storm you will be surprised how many worms are floating down the river. Do a sampling and then match the color. I usually go for one that is darker. I also like a two tone worm.

That pretty much fills up the compartment side. I need to get set up and tie some more Pettis eggs to fill those 3 empty compartments. Like I've said before, this is what I like about keeping your boxes organized and know what's in them. When you find a big hole or empty compartment you know what you used or what was successful. This is better than sitting there staring at your fly box and muttering to yourself, "What the heck was in that spot?" I'm willing to bet you've been there. Right?

The Other Side "Slotted Foam Patch" - Larger Nymphs

The nymphs that I have stored on this leaf are larger nymphs, size 12 & 14 predominately with a few size 16's. These nymphs are more of the attractors or generic nymphs as opposed to imitative nymphs. My imitative nymphs are primarily in the Boxes 1 &2.

Copper Johns

I like Copper Johns. They just seem to work. I've got a row of Red Copper Johns in sizes from 16's and 14's. I've also got some Chartreuse ones. And there are also some bluish purple ones. I've probably got some other colors in a deep storage box too.

I've got a half dozen of the blue/purple copper johns that worked so well a couple of years ago for steelhead on the Trinity, size 14. This was "the fly" of that day.

Flashback Peasant Tails -

I've got a half dozen Flashback Pheasant tails size 14 that I tied with peacock used for the thorax. If in doubt put on a PT, they will get fish to bite almost anywhere.

Morrish's Dirty Bird-

This is another fly that I really like. There is something very fishy about this fly. It's like a "Bushy" birds nest.

The ones I have left in my box are tied with chocolate/brown dubbing. I've got a half dozen of these. The photo at the right is an olive color. I like this pattern using hares ear dubbing also. That's why I don't have any left in here.

Beadhead Hares's Ears

I've got half a dozen beadhead and non-beadhead hare's ear nymphs. Just a general proven searching pattern. I got on a hares ear kick by reading books written by Dave Hughes. I don't go to these as often these days but I always have some in my boxes.

Bird's Nest's

I have a whole row of bird's nests in size 14. I absolutely love this fly. This is a must have fly in everyone's fly box. Read Ralph Cutter's book "Fish Food" about this. This is another "Go To" fly for me. I've used this on the Lower Sac, Yuba, Montana and just about everywhere. The photo on the right is much "yellower' than the patterns that I've got.

Skip's Nymph

I have a dozen of these that I tied. This is another must have "Go To" nymph. It works for a PMD in the right size and is similar to the bird's nest as a general attractor nymph. I like how easy this pattern is to tie with not a lot of different materials. Try it. This is a great fly on the Lower Sacramento River when the PMD's are happening. I like this fly in a size 16 & 18 when the PMD's are happening on the Lower Yuba.

Lafontaine Twist Nymph - I've got a number of Lafontaine's twist nymphs which have a beadhead and tied from his book "Proven Patterns" I have used this fly, which is tied on a size 14 3x long hook, swinging at dusk in the eddy pools on the Yuba. Cast it into the current, let it swing into the eddy water and hold on!

Prince of Darkness

I've just added this fly to the box. It is a "Go To" fly of Ryan Miller who guides out of Nevada City on the Yuba. This is a good looking fly! I think it's a better Dark Lord. It has that tint of green which alwalys seems to do well on the Yuba.

That's the make up of Box #4 and is full of eggs, SJ worms and my "Go To" attractor nymphs.

You can check out this post and others at

Take some time to organize your fly boxes, it's worth the time spent.


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Have any Questions or Comments? Let me know, Clay.