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Fly Recipes

My Fly Box

This Section will feature some personal favorites from my fly box, and the materials needed to tie them. It will also feature variations of many of my favorite patterns,  and the types of water/season/situations they work best for me. I am relatively new to tying flies, so my personal patterns are open to critique and constructive criticism. Lets hear the comments!

Fly Number 13: The Alexandra

– I first heard about this fly in the Autumn 2009 issue of Fly Tyer and was instantly drawn by it’s flashy mix of silver tinsel and peacock sword. Originally tied as a wet fly, I opted for a size 6 streamer hook instead so I could more effectively fish it for landlocked salmon in the Spring and Summer months. The first fly I tied (left in the picture) I used flat silver tinsel and then finished it with oval. The traditional pattern calls for a body of flat silver ribbed by the oval, but I thought I would be original. After looking at the finished product, I opted for a full body of silver oval tinsel and much prefer the results. This is just one of a few Ray Bergman patterns I plan  on tying this winter, so my box should be full of them just in time for the Spring ice out. I’ve contemplated also tying a much larger version on a long shank size 2 streamer hook, with a few additions to boot. I’ll be sure to post it when I finally get around to testing my ideas!

HOOK: Wet Fly/Streamer hook size 14-6

THREAD: Black 70 denier

TIP: Dark red floss

TAIL: Peacock Sword

BODY: Flat Silver Tinsel (Variation: Oval silver tinsel)

RIB: Oval Silver Tinsel (Variation: No rib w/oval body)

THROAT: Claret Hackle fibers

WING: Peacock Sword

**7 turn whip finish, 2 coats clear head cement, black lacquer.

Fly Number 12: The “OOPS” Ghost

OOPS Ghost

OOPS Ghost

This streamer pattern gets the laughable name “OOPS” Ghost because it was literally the product of a flubbed Gray Ghost attempt. The colors are wrong, elements are missing, and the head is far too large. BUT, while crying in my sleeve I began to realize that the finished product might actually catch fish on the Fish River during early Spring. Those pesky landlocks seem to love the white/orange combo. I guess time will tell!

HOOK: Size 2 8X streamer Hook

THREAD: Black Denier 140 thread

TAIL: Optional: Golden Pheasant Tippets

BODY: Burnt Orange Floss-Oval Mylar Tinsel

WING: 3 white hackle feathers

THROAT: Yellow deer hair (sparse)

CHEEK: Jungle Cock

**7 turn whip finish, 2 coats clear head cement, black lacquer.

Fly Number 11: The Dr. Burke

Dr. Burke

Dr. Burke

The Dr. Burke is a classic streamer pattern originally introduced to me by none other than Mr. Mike Martinek Jr. I was lucky enough to watch him tie it at the L.L.Bean Spring Fishing Expo, and even more lucky when he handed the finished product to me to keep as a souvenir. While that streamer has long since taken it’s rightful place in my display case, I have used it numerous times to tie replicas for fishing. According to Mr. Martinek, the Dr. Burke is a classic salmon and trout streamer that enjoyed a lengthy run in LLBean’s fly fishing catalog. I haven’t had the opportunity to fish this streamer in the Spring, but It remains at the top of my list for 2010 hopefuls!

HOOK: Size 6 Streamer Hook (classic tied on a size 2 8X streamer hook)

THREAD: Black Denier 140 thread

TAIL: Peacock Sword (8-12 stands)

BODY: Flat Silver Mylar Tinsel-Ribbed with Oval Silver Mylar.

WING: 3 black hackle feathers

Collar: Yellow hackle wrapped back

CHEEK: Jungle Cock

**7 turn whip finish, 2 coats clear head cement, black lacquer.

Fly Number 10: The Pripyat Smelt

The Pripyat Smelt

The Pripyat Smelt

The Pripyat Smelt is a streamer pattern that I created when I was feeling experimental at the vice. The name comes from the “lost in time” town of Pripyat,Ukraine. As some of you might know, Pripyat was home to the worlds worst nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. I named this streamer after Pripyat because of the green dubbing I used for the body that reminded me of the nuclear moss the grows on everything in the abandoned city. Hey, I’m a history major, I’m allowed to get historically creative! I’ve yet to fish it, but have high hopes in some local rivers particularly during the fall months.

HOOK: Size 6 Streamer Hook

THREAD: Black Denier 140 thread

TAIL: Golden Pheasant tippets

BODY: Custom mix of Olive and Moss colored dubbing

WING: 2 Black Hackle feathers on either side of a single Green Hackle feather

THROAT: Green hackle wrapped back, small black hackle wrapped closer to the head.

CHEEK: Optional: Golden pheasant tippets

**7 turn whip finish, 2 coats clear head cement, black lacquer.

Fly Number 9: The Marsh Minnow

The Marsh Minnow

The Marsh Minnow

The Marsh Minnow is a unique combination of a few favorable characteristics of streamers that have worked well for me in the past. I’ve had very limited time to test it, but have had some decent strikes although no takers (yet). The red body is what I believe makes it so affective in northern Maine Rivers, largely based on the prior successes I’ve had with other flies over the years. Variations include adding Jungle Cock Eyes as cheeks, and using red thread to create the head. Good luck, and I look forward to seeing any variations!

HOOK: Size 6 Streamer Hook

THREAD: Black Denier 140 thread

TAIL: Green dyed Squirrel tail approx 1 inch.

BODY: Red Denier 200 Floss

WING: 2 Black Hackle feathers of equal length.

THROAT: Green hackle

CHEEK: Silver Pheasant

**7 turn whip finish, 2 coats clear head cement, black lacquer.

Fly Number 8: The Black and Red

The Black and Red :Benjamin Rioux

The Black and Red :Benjamin Rioux

*The Black and Red is a simple wet fly pattern that took me not even five minutes to tie. It’s effectiveness is yet to be proven, but I’ll be sure to report it’s success (or failures). I used red steel wire as a rib to add weight. This fly will be fished primarily in smaller trout ponds and shallow streams.

HOOK: Size 12 Wet Fly

THREAD: Black Denier 70

BODY: Black floss

COLLAR: Black Hackle

RIB: Red Wire

**7 turn whip finish, 2 coats clear head cement, black lacquer.

Fly Number 7: The Peacock Wooly

Peacock Wooly Worm

Peacock Wooly Worm: Benjamin Rioux

* The Peacock Wooly is a personal variation of the classic Wooly Worm. I originally used white thread, but plan on using black in future versions to make them look more clean. This fly was tied on a size 8 streamer hook, although a larger version would be useful for larger rivers or even lakes. I chose the colors based on the colors of different flies that have worked well for me in the past. The Black and white combo for the body was taken from the original White Wulff pattern that has worked so well for me in years past. I’ve never had the chance to fish a streamer of that color combination below the surface so I tied one of my own. The bright blue in the tail was just a color that I found went well with the body, but provided a little extra variation to an otherwise plain fly. Plus, Bright tails always seem to work well on streamers in northern Maine rivers.

HOOK: Size 8 Streamer Hook

THREAD: White Denier 140 Ultra thread

TAIL: Peacock Tippets from Tail Feathers.

BODY: White Chenille (medium)

RIB: Small black hackle (Whiting 100’s packs)

**7 turn whip finish, 2 coats clear head cement

Fly Number 6: The Sure thing.

The Sure Thing-Tied by Benjamin Rioux

The Sure Thing-Tied by Benjamin Rioux

  • The sure thing gets it name for obvious reasons, it just plain works. Regardless of the weather, season, or body of water, this streamer has proven itself to me time and time again. While different variations can be tied, straying too far from the Original color scheme has produced mixed results. This streamer is most affective when tied on a size 6 hook. During the Spring it is most affectively fished trolling sink tip line, while during the Summer and Fall months it is fished very affectively using a long leader and floating line just below the surface. It sounds hoaxy, but it works, trust me. This fly was my secret for the 2008 season, and you won’t find this exact pattern at any fly shop. If you take the time to tie it, you WILL catch fish in northern Maine.

The original fly was given to me by my girlfriend’s grandfather, local fly fishing veteran Jim Bourgoin. While neither of us are sure who tied it, I had it duplicated by my fishing buddy Lucas Jarret late last season before the fish tore my original appart. Since starting tying myself, I have produced a handful more for future use. No further field testing is needed, but that won’t stop me from tying this streamer on my line 98% of the time when I first step out on the water this season. If your REALLY nice, shoot me an email and I’ll tie you one and make you a believer. Or if your feeling adventurous, tie one yourself!

HOOK: Size 6 Streamer Hook

THREAD: Red Denier 140 Ultra Thread

TAIL: Red bucktail approx 1 inch.

BODY: Medium silver tinsel over an even layer of red floss.

WING: 6 equal pieces of peacock hurl, 4 pieces of flash, even amounts of white and yellow bucktail.

THROAT: A small bunch of white bucktail

**7 turn whip finish, 2 coats clear head cement, 2 coats red lacquer. (eyes optional)

Fly Number 6: The Fire Breathing Dragon

The Fire Breathing Dragon-Tied by Benjamin Rioux

The Fire Breathing Dragon-Tied by Benjamin Rioux

  • The “Fire Breathing Dragon” is a streamer that I got inspiration for while searching the web. After extensive searching I am still unable to locate the fly fishing blog that gave me the idea for this fly. If anyone knows, please email me the link so I can give them credit!

Another relatively simple but cool looking fly to tie, the F.B.D is tied using a red and black color pattern with two folded pieces of peacock hurl as the wings. Red has always worked great for me as a spring streamer pattern, and I plan of fishing this fly on a few ponds and smaller rivers during the early part of the season. However, large winged streamers tend to work well in northern Maine straight through the summer, so I’m interested in what this little fly can do. While this version is small, I plan on tying a few larger versions to fish some of the large northern Maine Rivers. This fly is still awaiting field testing, so look for an update as the season progresses.

HOOK: Size 8 Streamer Hook (Larger Verisons: Size 6 and 4)

THREAD: White Denier 140 Ultra Thread

TAIL: Black squirrel tail w/dyed red tips

BODY: Medium red chenille

RIB: Silver flat tinsel

WING: Two equal length pieces of peacock hurl folded in half and tied on top in a “V” shape.

**7 turn whip finish, 2 coats clear head cement, 2 coats white lacquer. (eyes optional)

Fly Number 5: The Warrior

The Warrior-Tied by Benjamin Rioux

The Warrior-Tied by Benjamin Rioux

*The Warrior is a custom creation and my first streamer pattern attempted using techniques I learned from watching Mike Martinek tie. While relatively simply to assemble, putting together the wing and tying it in straight was a struggle. The colors get their inspiration from a few different sources. The white and green wing are inspired by my local High School’s athletic team colors. The fly also gets it’s name from this team, “The Warriors.” The tail and cheek material (golden pheasant tippets) I chose to match the orange body to give the fly a blaze orange affect that Maine Hunters are known so well for. It is important to note that when assembling the wing for this streamer and similar patterns, it is much easier to assumble the wing before tying it to the fly. A dab of clear nail polish placed between the fingers and run the length of the assembled wing help keep it together when attaching it to the hook.

I plan on fishing this fly for salmon and trout during the Spring and Fall months.  I have had great success with other orange flies such as the wood special, and fully expect this fly to work as well or better. I’ll report more after some field testing as the season progresses.

HOOK: Size 6 Streamer Hook

THREAD: Blaze Orange Denier 140 Ultra thread

TAIL: Golden Pheasant tippets

BODY: 4 Strand Blaze orange ultra thread, twisted.

RIB: (Optional-Silver or gold flat tinsel)

WING: Three identical length Saddle hackle feathers (One Green Sandwiched between two white) Notched on the bottom side as to allow it to lay flat against the hook.

**7 turn whip finish, 2 coats clear head cement, 2 coats black lacquer. (eyes optional) Clear Nail polish brushed along the body for durability and shine.

Fly Number 4: The Maine Missionary

Maine Missionary *This is my simple twist on the classic “Missionary” pattern. I have seen the missionary tied in a variety of colors and sizes, but decided it was time for my own variation. I chose two central colors in olive and gold to build this fly around because of past experiences where this color combination has worked. The result was a streamer that is ultimately simple to tie, and should prove affective in my early spring trips out to the river. I like the mallard flank feather because when tied flat it acts like a natural parachute that controls the descent of the fly.

Stay tuned for an update on it’s ultimate effectiveness in various conditions and seasons.

HOOK: Size 4-1o Streamer Hook (4 for large rivers and lakes, 10 for smaller ponds and streams)

THREAD: Olive or Brown denier 140

TAIL: Even Mix of White/Brown Buck Tail strands

BODY: Olive Chenille

RIB: Gold Tinsel in even wraps

WING: Yellow mallard flank feather tied flat, not bunched (See Pictures)

Beard Hackle: Soft partridge hackle (More or less dense for different look)

Fly Number 3: The Green Partridge Streamer

Green Partridge

*This fly is a custom creation by myself (though I would hardly call it inventive) using feathers from a partridge I shot this past fall. I really enjoy working with partridge because it’s simple to tie with and looks good.  I’ve had great luck with similar patterns in the past, but decided for this version I would keep it clean and simple. I have some high hopes for this streamer in the late spring and early fall. I plan on trolling this fly in a few local ponds and small lakes just below the surface, as well as some fast water currents and deeper channels in the local rivers. Whether or not it proves it’s effectiveness will be determined, so stay tuned.

HOOK: Size 4-1o Streamer Hook (4 for large rivers and lakes, 10 for smaller ponds and streams)

THREAD: Green Denier 140

TAIL: Maine Partridge tippet

BODY: Lime Green Chenille, Even wraps of French Tinsel (Gold)

Collar: Soft Partridge hackle

Create your own variation by substituting chenille colors, or tying in a flat wing similar to that of the WOOD SPECIAL.

Fly Number 2: The Royal Wulff

royalwulffThe Royal Wulff is another can’t miss fly if you find yourself casting in the rivers or ponds of northern Maine. While most of my luck with this fly has been with Salmon in the late Spring and early fall, placing it right in front of a hungry brookie almost always triggers a strike as well. I fish it dominantly in ponds with calm, shallow waters, but also in gentile rivers as well. Try placing yourself in a raised location (Like a low bridge or a bank) so sight fishing is more of a possibility. Don’t be too agressive and cast it dirrectly to where the fish are rising, but rather above the location. This will allow the current to pull the fly over the area where the fish are feeding, giving it a more natural presentation. If there is no current, lightly strip your line in short, slow intervals so it stays above the water.

In faster currents, try casting the fly at a 90 degree angle to the shore. In this case, I like to feed line after the cast for about another 10 feet. Once you have reached a desired region, hold your line to create tension. This will drag your fly in a “J” shape across the water and eventually straighten it out downstream from you. I find that salmon up here like to follow the fly, but often hook up until the line tension pulls the fly just below the surface. While this pattern is generally fished on a floating line, the wet version known as the Royal Coachman is better suited for sink tip line or long leaders and split shot.

Good Luck, and I hope you enjoy the Royal Wulff

Hook: Size 10 to 16 dry fly.

Thread: Black Denier 70                                              royal-wulff

Body: Middle Section-Red Floss/Front and Back-Peacock hurl

Tail: Brown Buck tail (Alternative: Partridge body feathers)

Wing: White Calf tail, Parted evenly and tied in upright.

Hackle: Brown or Grizzly hackle (For Grizzly Wulff)


Fly Number 1: The Wood Special

Wood Special

The wood special is a a streamer that every fly fisherman in northern Maine should have multiple variations of in his fly box. I’ve caught more salmon throughout the years on this fly than any other in my box. Best fished with a single split shot about half way up the leader, or a moderate sink tip line (depending on the conditions) the wood special is extremely affective. I have even had some luck trolling it close to shore along lakes, and on the surface during the summer months. You can tie them in various colors, although the most common (and productive) are standard orange and red patterns. This recipe is for the Orange version, simply substitute colors to achieve different results.

Happy tying!

HOOK: Size 4-1o Streamer Hook (4 for large rivers and lakes, 10 for smaller ponds and streams)

THREAD: Brown or Black denier 140

TAIL: Golden Pheasant Tippet

BODY: Fluorescent Orange Chenille  (Variation: Red Chenille, Flat Silver Tinsel Ribbing.)

WING: Wood Duck flank feather tied flat, not bunched (See Pictures)

Collar: Soft Grizzly hackle (brown hen or even partridge also works well)

Special Note: Some people prefer to fish the wood special on a floating line in calm river currents. If this is your intention, try tying some .020 or smaller lead wire into the body. 3-5 evenly spaced wraps should do the trick.

Wood SpecialWood Special w/Tinsel

20 Comments leave one →
  1. rwishart permalink
    March 11, 2009 1:02 pm

    The Green Partridge Streamer – Very interesting… can’t wait to see how it works out!


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