Fly Tying

Learn about that latest new pattern or fly tying technique to help you become a better fly tyer and fool more fish.

Tying The Montana Mouthwash streamer

Pro-Staff guide, Travis Jones, is back at it again tying the Montana Mouthwash streamer designed by Kris Keller here.

This fly is one of my favorite streamer patterns and is extremely effective on spawning rainbows and big meat eating brown trout.


Material list:

  • Hook: moonlight 3xl #2 streamer
  • 10/0 Vevus black thread
  • .25 lead-free wire
  • Lead barbell eyes
  • Black maribou
  • Olive green maribou
  • Crystal flash
  • Olive Green shlapin
  • Black and Green cactus chenille
  • Olive green bunny brush by MFC
  • Barred rubber legs of your choice



  1. Start your thread about an eye length behind the eye of the hook.
  2. make a few threads wraps before clipping off the tag end.
  3. take the barbell eyes and tie them to the top of the hook using a crisscross or figure eight pattern.
  4. For a little extra weight, I apply a few wraps of .25 lead-free wire behind the eyes.
  5. Wrap over the wire with your thread a few times to lock it down and keep it from moving.
  6. Advance your thread rearward on the hook, until you’re just above the point of the hook.
  7. Grab one strand of your olive green maribou and measure out your tail. 1 hook shank in length.
  8. Transfer the measurement to your tie in point and secure with two or three tight thread wraps.
  9. Using one strand of pearl crystal flash, double it over and then tie in on the side facing you. Make sure to measure it so that it matches up with the length of your tail.
  10. Pull the other end of the crystal flash along the far side of the fly and tie it in moving the thread back toward the tail.
  11. Measure and tie in your black maribou so that it lays on top of the olive and is the same length of the tail.
  12. Prepare and tie in one olive Shlapin feather by the tip at the rear of the fly.
  13. Tie in the black and green cactus chenille at the rear of the fly.
  14. Advance your thread to just behind the eyes.
  15. Wrap the cactus chenille forward to behind the eyes, tie off with two tight wraps of thread and trim excess.
  16. Palmer the Shlapin feather forward over the chenille and tie off just behind the eyes. Trim out the extra.
  17. Take two barred rubber legs and tie them in right behind the eyes, using the same method as used to tie in the crystal flash.
  18. Tie in the Bunny Brush, make wrap behind the eyes, then figure eight brush forward around the eyes ending in front of the eyes.
  19. Make tight thread wraps to secure the bunny brush, trim out extra and then whip finish.
  20. Head cement your wraps, and comb the brush backward to expose the eyes.

Tying Jones’ Tube Midge

Travis Jones, senior guide with The Flyfisher Guide Service, is at it again with his version of the Tube Midge. Tying the Tube Midge is a relatively simple pattern to learn but it’s results on the river are second to none.

The Tube Midge can be fished as both a midge larva and an emerging midge pupa. It is particularly deadly on three sections of the South Platte river: the Dream Stream, Cheesman Canyon, and Deckers. And the great news is that this pattern is effective year-round as midges hatch all 12 months of the year here in Colorado.

The Tube Midge’s Recipe:

  • Hook: #135 Dairiki
  • Thread: 16/0 white vevus
  • Bead: Tyers bead midge black
  • Body: UTC clear vinyl midge rib
  • Ribbing: UTC ultra wire small red

Good luck out there and happy tying!

Tying the Chocolate Thunder Midge

The Chocolate Thunder Midge is one of the best midge patterns out there. It is simple to tie yet super effective at fooling even the most picky of trout. Travis Jones, veteran guide at The Flyfisher Guide Service, gives a quick tutorial at this year-round pattern.

Ingredient List:

  • Umqua U202 size 22
  • Vevus 16/0 chocolate brown thread
  • Midge size gold wire
  • Sheet of white craft foam

Quick Definitions:

Half Hitch – type of quick knot or cinch used to tie of the threat and keep it from slipping off the hook.
Helicopter The Wire – method used to break wire off clean vs. cutting with scissors or wire snips.

The Legendary RS2: A Proven Fly for tough Tail Water Trout

Are the late season tail water trout giving you the ole Tight Lip? If so, then it is time for plan B and to tie on a good old fashioned RS2!

RS@ Fly
The RS2 is an essential pattern for our Colorado tail waters.

The RS2 is an essential tail water fly pattern and a killer emerging insect pattern. The RS2 is a great bug to fool trout sipping on mayflies in the surface film. But, you don’t have to restrict your use of the RS2 to strictly emerging insect presentations; it fishes just as well when ties to a weighted indicator nymph rig. The RS2 is a must have in your fly box for fishing any technical tail water in the west.

RS2 Fly
Legendary Rim Chung, the infamous inventor of the RS2

RS2 Fly Tying Recipe:

The RS2

Hook: Straight-eye dry fly hook size 18-24

Thread: Olive or Gray, 6/0

Tails: Two white or dun Microfibbets         

Abdomen: Light olive Superfine Dubbing         

Wing: white CDC

Thorax: Light olive Superfine Dubbing

Tight Lines,

Colorado Fly Fishing Reports

The Colorado Cast & Blast!

Well fellow outdoorsman, tomorrow is September 1st and marks the opening of Colorado’s upland bird season! There is just something unexplainable about it, but fly-fishing and bird hunting just seem to go together. Maybe it is tying flies from a wild bird you harvested with your favorite bird dog? Or, maybe it is hiking into a backcountry area in search of Colorado blue grouse and high country brook trout? Whatever it is, if you like to fly fish, you probably enjoy bird hunting too! So as we sit on the eve of September 1st, we at Colorado Fly Fishing Reports thought we would compile a list of our Top 3, Colorado Cast & Blast Combinations:

Number One: Plan a trip out west, northwest, southwest, directly west, it really doesn’t matter as in Colorado blue grouse can virtually be found anywhere west of I-25. Areas like Gunnison, Steamboat and Durango all offer hunters ample national forest access for grouse hunting and camping. And when the hunting gets slow you can exchange your shotgun for a fly rod and hit the water during September and what many say is the best month of the year to fish Colorado! Just a little scouting and planning and you are well on your way to a successful blue grouse hunting and fly-fishing trip.

Colorado blue grouse hunting
Colorado Blue Grouse Hunting!

Number Two: For the hunter and fly-fisherman that also doesn’t mind a little adventure, hiking above 11,000 feet for White Tailed Ptarmigan might be just the ticket. These birds are unique and abundant in Colorado for the hunter willing to put in some scouting and a little legwork. Climb above 11,000 feet into the alpine tundra and you have a good chance at finding the smallest of the grouse species. But don’t leave your backpacking fly rod at home as during your travels you are sure to wander by high mountain streams filled with wild trout!

Colorado Ptarmigan Hunting
Nothing says your a Colorado outdoors person like bagging a limit of White Tailed Ptarmigan!

Number 3: There might be no better way to experience the west than taking a trip to Northwest Colorado or Wyoming to hunt Sage Grouse! In Colorado, your best bet is to head to the Kremmling or North Park area where you can pursue these elusive game birds as well as fish such famous streams as The Blue River & The North Platte!

Colorado Sage Grouse
Nothing can take you to the “West” like Colorado Sage Grouse Hunting!

You may have noticed that we didn’t give away any “secret spots” or drop any pins for your iPhone! One of the most beautiful things about Colorado is it’s ample public land! Do a little research, talk to your local game warden and start scouting out some spots, when it comes to blue grouse, ptarmigan and sage grouse in Colorado the options are endless for bagging these beautiful game birds and getting in a little fly rod time as well.

Colorado Brook Trout
Sometimes the rewards from a little scouting and legwork can be big!

Whatever you do, get outside this September and take some time to explore and respect this amazing & beautiful resource that we call Colorado!

Colorado Fly Fishing Reports

Our Top 3 Terrestrial Flies for August!

August in Colorado means lots of terrestrials on the water. You need to fill your fly box with hopper patterns to fool fish sipping on bugs falling from the grass into the stream. The “Colorado Blonde” is one of our “guide favorite” hopper patterns. It floats well due to being tied with buoyant elk hair and parachute style hackle. Our clients love the “Colorado Blonde” because it is very easy to see with its white “Hi Vis” parachute post. And with its lifelike grasshopper profile the “Colorado Blonde” fools wary trout all summer long.

grasshopper fly
The “Colorado Blonde” is one of our guide favorite grasshopper imitations.

In addition to hopper patterns, August is a hot month for fishing ant patterns. Have you ever seen that trout that just keeps sipping on bugs right off the bank? You cannot see any insects buzzing around and he still will not eat even your best presentations from attractors, mayflies or even a micro sized midge? Chances are that wily trout is feeding on ants as they drown in the surface film. Next time you run into such a wily fish try throwing an ant pattern at him and see what happens.

ant fly
The “Flying Ant” from super flies is a must have in your fly box for fooling finicky fish feeding on terrestrials.

When the fish aren’t falling for our “Colorado Blonde” try throwing our terrestrial grasshopper pattern at them. You will be hard pressed to find a more realistic hopper pattern on the market as the legs and profile on this pattern can be tough to distinguish from that of a real grasshopper.   This fly is very buoyant and will float all day even without dry fly shake or gel. Furthermore, it is very durable and will hold up fish after fish, cast after cast.

grasshopper fly
For the most realistic hopper imitation on the market, check out this hot fly!

For more Superflies, check out

Tight Lines,

Colorado Fly Fishing Reports




Tying the Clouser Minnow

At many of our fly tying classes, students are eager to learn how to tie “streamers” or “warm water” fly patterns. These “big bugs” are certainly fun to tie, but at first the task can be daunting due to bigger materials. However, don’t fret as tying “big bugs” really is fun and easy. To start off with, try learning the Clouser Minnow, as the “Clouser” will catch anything from trout to tarpon! The Clouser is without a doubt one of the best minnow imitations an angler can have in their arsenal and is durable and easy to tie:

“The Clouser Minnow”

Clouser Minnow
Rabbit Strip Clouser Minnow, a great Warm Water or Surf fly…

Hook: Any streamer hook will do, but we prefer a saltwater hook like a Tiemco 811S or Gamakatsu Bonefish. For starters try tying on hook sizes #2-#6.

Eyes: Dumbbell or Bead Chain eyes

Thread: Any color you desire in 6/0 Uni-Thread

Over-wing: white buck tail

Under-wing: chartreuse buck tail or desired color

Flash: 6 strands of Krystal Flash

Clouser Minnow
The Bead Chain Eye Clouser is perfect for soft presentations…

Tying Instructions:

Step 1: Insert hook into vise. For tying on the eyes use a strong thread such as Mono-Cord or White Gel Spun to keep the eyes from moving. To keep the thread base from moving, coat the hook shank with Hard As Hull head cement before wrapping your thread.

Step 2: In the middle of the hook shank tie on your eyes by figure eight wrapping them to the shank, then do a couple of wraps around the base of the eyes to secure them. Apply Hard As Hull head cement to the wraps to secure them.

Step 3: Grab a sparse clump of white buck tail and tie down the cut ends to behind the eye of the hook. Wrap your threads back to behind the eyes and secure the rest of the buck tail.

Step 4: Invert the hook in the vise. Advance your thread back to the nose of the fly. Fold 6 strands of Krystal Flash around your thread and tie them in. Spread the Krystal flash so it disperses evenly around the point of the hook. Cut the flash evenly so it extends just beyond the buck tail.

Step 5: Grab a slightly larger clump of buck tail of your desired color and tie the cut ends to the nose of the fly. Disperse the buck tail evenly around the point of the hook and tie down securely.

Step 6: Build a smooth thread head on the nose of the fly. Finish the fly by a whip finish and apply Hard As Hull head cement.

Now get out and catch some fish with your very own Clouser Minnows! There are many variations to the Clouser Minnow so feel free to experiment and tie your flies to match natural baits found in your fishery. For more information on fly tying classes and lessons, please visit:

Tight Lines,

Colorado Fly Fishing Reports


Colorado Fly Tying: Denver Carp Candy

Last week, we discussed fly-fishing for Carp along Downtown Denver’s Dirty South Platte. Hopefully, since then you have a had a chance to hit the river or local ponds in pursuit of the “Rocky Mountain Bonefish.” However, it doesn’t matter whether you are new to carp fishing or a seasoned veteran, we are sure that you will agree the common carp is no pushover! Simply put, there are very few fish that will test your patience and sanity like fly fishing for carp, they are picky eaters!

If the carp are giving you a tight lip then maybe it is time to hit the vise and get away from all the “book recommended” fly patterns like Prince Nymphs and Wooly Buggers. Many of the best carp flies are actually “Bonefish” style flats flies tied in more drab colors to imitate some of the common carp’s favorite foods like crayfish and leeches.

So this week we are pulling out one of our guide flies to share with you and we like to call it “Denver Carp Candy!”

Carp Fly
The “Denver Carp Candy” fools its fair share of “Rocky Mountain Bonefish”

The Denver Carp Candy is tied in a similar fashion to many popular Bonefish patterns like “Gotchas” & “Crazy Charlie’s”

The fly is tied with lead eyes and designed to invert in the water in order to keep your hook from snagging on the bottom. It is best fished on an extremely slow strip and with longer 9 foot plus leaders tapered to 2x-3x tippets.

The Denver Carp Candy is a great crayfish and leech imitation and has fooled its fair share of carp from the dirty South Platte. Our most popular color variation is orange, however in murky water we like to add a little chartreuse to the pattern.

“Denver Carp Candy”

Hook: Any “Bonefish style hook” will do in hook size 6

Eyes: Lead Eyes, gold or silver

Thread: 6/0 Uni-Thread

Body: Micro Tubing or any drab colored Bonefish braid

Tail: Chartreuse or Orange barred rabbit fur

Wing: Orange barred rabbit fur

Legs: Pink Crazy Legs

Micro legs: Barred “Tarantula” legs

Tight Lines,

Colorado Fly Fishing Reports


Get Down & Dirty for Summertime Carp!

Summer is in full swing in Denver, Colorado and turn up the AC because it is flipping hot outside! Chances are you are staring out your office window right now, daydreaming about heading to the mountains this weekend to fish your favorite trout stream. Or maybe you have truly entered Fantasy Island and are dreaming about wading barefoot along a sand flat of the Bahamas? Either way it is still the middle of the week and you need to do something now to get your fly-fishing fix!

Colorado Fly Fishing for Carp
Rocky Mountain Bonefish on the Fly!

Instead of living in outer space why not focus on fly-fishing close to home? With a little research and preparation you can be catching fish bigger than any Bonefish you might encounter in the Bahamas and probably not to far away from your office. Carp on the fly provide anglers with a great challenge and lots of easy access close to home. Carp fly-fishing is also great practice for your next salt water flats trip!

What do you need to get started?

  • A good 6 weight fly rod
  • Any reel with a decent drag system will work
  • Weight Forward Floating line matched to your rod
  • 9 foot leaders
  • 2x-4x Tippet, Mono should work but there is no harm in bringing along some Fluorocarbon
  • Most anglers use waders and wading boots when wade fishing the South Platte through Denver
  • Landing Net
  • Quality Polarized Sunglasses

Carp flies have really evolved over the years but the best patterns tend to be Bonefish style “Flats Flies” like Gotchas and Crazy Charlie’s tied in drab colors to imitate crayfish, leeches and other forage items. Fly Placement and casting is key! You want to cast your fly as close to feeding fish as possible without spooking or lining them. From here slow strips will allow the carp to “suck up” your fly! Identifying feeding fish is the key to success when carp fishing, cruising fish are less likely to show an interest in your fly. Instead look for “tailing” or “mudding” fish and place your fly accordingly.

Carp Fly
Flies like Jay Zimmerman’s “Backstabber” from Umpqua will catch Carp in all conditions…

Where to fish?

Carp can be found in many ponds, streams and reservoirs. If you live or work close to Downtown Denver, the “Dirty South Platte” is a great place to start, lots of fish and even better access:

Access Map to Some of Denver's Best Carp Spots
Access Map to Some of Denver’s Best Carp Spots

Chances are there is a great access spot along Denver’s South Platte near you. Get out and fish! Stay tuned next week for some of our favorite Colorado Fly Fishing Guide recommended Carp Flies and fly tying instructions.

Tight Lines,

Colorado Fly Fishing Reports

The Power of The Pheasant Tail

When I first embarked on the quest to becoming a skilled fly fisherman I was often baffled and confused about what fly to use and when?

However, that all changed one fateful day when I ran into a bargain sale of Pheasant Tail nymphs at the Orvis Englewood store…

Pheasant Tail fly
Few fly patterns are as trust worthy and reliable as the classic Bead Head Pheasant Tail…

Based on the store manager’s recommendation I purchased dozens of Pheasant Tail nymphs in hook sizes 18-24 and headed to Waterton Canyon for a bike ride into the waters of super small but super wild brown trout…

At this point, I still had yet to land a trout on my own and I was determined to do so. A blanket caddis hatch came off and to show my novice skills I decided that the best way to fool the rising trout was to stand above them and swing a tight line pheasant tail in front of their mouths…

Colorado Pheasant Hunting
Nothing is better than catching a fish on a fly that you have tied from a wild Colorado bird, shot over a point by your favorite bird dog!

Despite my inability to “match the hatch” my unorthodox tactics worked and I caught a bunch of nice fish that evening! Needless to say I was hooked on the pheasant tail, convinced it could catch any fish in the world!

Twenty years later my angling skills have improved but I am still supremely confident in the pheasant tail. The PT is truly a versatile nymph that best resembles a mayfly but it’s lifelike and bug like look and feel make it a proven fly pattern for catching multiple species of fish.

The best part about being a fly fisherman is there is always something new to learn or a skill to improve upon. So as we go through snowy and cold winter, now is a great time to learn more about fly tying or improve your skills. Lets face it; it’s a little cold to be out on the water right now! Why not spend this time wisely and stock your box with your own fly patterns?

For information on fly tying classes and other fun and informative angling education programs be sure to check out Angling University today:

Tight Lines,

Colorado Fly Fishing Reports