Banging The Bottom

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Banging The Bottom
Aquatic Worms
Tie The Worm
Tying Thread
Ultra Chenille

All pictures are Mouse-over.

Banging The Bottom, Fishing For Trout in Cold Rivers
This trout ate a stonefly nymph.

Water flows in most of the rivers east of the Cascades has remained stable and easily fishable much of this winter. Trout still feed when the water temperatures are cold. But don't worry when all of the snow that has been making our ski destinations jump and jive starts to melt, these same rivers will be running high and brown. In either situation, banging the bottom with eggs, nymphs and worms can be very productive.  Both high and cold water conditions tend to condense fish populations into slower flows.   Often the best water speeds occur right against the shore line where the fish

are easiest to cast to. Survey the river and pick your spots.  During periods of high water there is a lot of bed-load-shift on the bottom and sides of the river channel.  Along with the movement of

gravels and soils many aquatic trout food organisms are washed down the river. This is called catastrophic drift. The superabundance of food can put trout on the bite. As a river rises the soft parts of the bottom shift first.  Weed beds and the soft silts that support them tear loose from the stream bed.  This is the prime habitat for leeches and aquatic worms.  As the water continues to rise and the velocity increases the smaller gravels start to move.  Some of these gravel can contain the eggs of salmon that spawned when the river was at its lowest.  These gravels also contain many

Often the best fishing is close to the bank.

aquatic invertebrates such as mayfly and stone fly nymphs, caddis and crane fly larvae.  Large stonefly nymphs are a good bite for even the largest river trout.  Try fishing a heavily weighted

A box full of bottom bangers...tastey...

stonefly nymph on a dropper with an egg fly.  This kind of rig is often referred to as "steak & eggs".  Or replace the egg with a worm...sounds pretty basic.  Who can deny that both worms and eggs catch trout in high water.  Now you can use your fly rod, avoiding the mess and turn you catch loose unharmed, if you wish. At left is a medium size, five-compartment stuffed with the kinds of flies that make trout bite during the winter months. In addition to the types of flies mentioned above, throw in a few large cased caddis larvae.

Aquatic Worms

Red Tan Pink How To Tie Your Own

Trout love worms...

Many fly fishers who started fishing as children, actually started fishing with live angle worms. That is because trout love to eat worms. Not all worms live in your lawn. Worms occur in dense populations in many silty stream and lake beds. Worms also occur in the bottoms of fast moving gravel bed rivers. During times of floods, catastrophic drift can expose many worms to waiting trout. During these high water periods a San Juan Worm drifted along the bottom can be deadly. On local rivers "the worm" is a very productive fly during winter months or any time

the river rises due to floods.  Aquatic worms come in a variety of colors ranging from tan to red.  Often a fake "worm fly" that is brighter colored than real ones will produce strikes, especially when the water is turbid.  Be sure to have several colors of worms in your fly box.

Here is some information on: Northwest Aquatic Worms

Red Worm San Juan Worm, Red
Some aquatic worms are reddish.  We have never seen any worms as bright as these flies, but don't let that fool you.  There have been lots of trout caught on this pattern.
Item Description Size Price To Top
12280-12 San Juan Worm, Red 12 3 for $2.95 SALE ENDED

Tan Worm San Juan Worm, Tan
Many Aquatic worms are tan in color.  This pattern seems to work best in streams and lake that have very clear water.
Item Description Size Price To Top
12290-12 San Juan Worm, Tan 12 3 for $2.95 SALE ENDED

Pink Worm Deschutes Worm, Pink
We spent a lot of time screening the Deschutes River, looking at the aquatic invertebrates that live there.  The majority of worm that live in the substrate are pinkish.  the first time we fished this pattern during spring run-off the trout gave it two thumbs up.  (Well they would have if they had thumbs.)
Item Description Size Price To Top
12291-12 Deschutes Worm, Pink 12 3 for $2.95 SALE ENDED

Tying The Worm
Ya, ya...I know, you're wondering why some guy would write a tutorial on how to tie a worm, the simplest of all flies. Well, remember when you began tying flies? It wasn't that easy then. There ain't nuthin' the matter with easy!  Tying a bushel of these flies is both practical and easy, a good combination. Tie them in several colors and tie them in volume so that you can fish them at risk around cover where the big ol' good 'uns live. Well we are talkin' worm fishing, ya' know.

Pattern: San Juan Worm

Tying Cement: Anglers Corner Water Base Head Cement
Thread: Uni 3/0 Waxed Thread, Pink
Body: Ultra Chenille, Fl. Pink
Head Cement: Anglers Corner Water Base Head Cement

As simple as the worm is to tie, there are several variations on it. The worm described here is very productive when it comes to catching fish.  The "prepared" Ultra Chenille is attached to the hook in only on small area. Be sure to finish off the fly with a good knot.

There are many hooks you can use for tying worm flies.  Tiemco 2457, #12 are 2X heavy, down eye, 2X wide, 2X short hook that have amazing strength. They are very sharp out of the package and are easy to sharpen if they make too much contact with the stream bed.

Ultra Chenille comes carded. The cards are just the right width for quick assembly of worms.  Cut the entire package of Ultra Chenille at one time by slipping one blade of your long scissors in along the edge of the card and slice all the layers at once.  Hang onto the entire unit, flip it over and cut the other side.  Your worm blanks are all the right length.

A regular candle is all you need for tapering the ends of your worms.  Pass each tip of each Ultra Chenille piece over or along side of the flame and the heat will taper them. Trial and error will teach you how much heat you need. Be conservative with heat starting out.

Be quick or the Ultra Chenille will catch fire. The picture is a dramatization. If the Ultra Chenille were actually being heated, the picture would be blurred.  It is easiest to taper all of the Ultra Chenille pieces at one sitting. This makes "the worm" one of the easiest flies to assembly-line.

Attach a short foundation of pink 3/0 Uni thread to the hook. It wouldn't hurt to add a small drop of head cement. When dry, it will stop any chance of the fly rotating or sliding on the hook.

Six to ten wraps of thread is all that it takes to attach the worm body to the hook.  We like to tie the worm so it trails on the look. This gives it a very life-like appearance. We allow the front 1/3 to 1/4 of the worm be forward of the hook eye.  Short strikes don't seem to be a problem.

Whip finish the thread to secure and trim of the tag end.  Coat the thread wraps with head cement and the worm is ready to fish.

Fly Tying Thread


Uni 3/0

Fly Master 6/0 Uni 6/0 Uni 8/0 GG 14/0 Flat Waxed


Our list of threads is far too long to include in a newsletter, so the links above will take you to our Thread Selection.
Thread is a key player in the march toward civilization. The arrow, the plow, and the anvil get more recognition, but thread was one of the primary components to being able to assemble things. Thread allowed men to withstand harsher elements by weary clothes, and to tie rocks onto sticks, and feathers onto bone. Hooks and thread are the two primary fly tying components. You can't tie a fly unless you have both items.
In the beginning, flies were probably tied on bone hooks with sinew thread or twisted fibers from plants. No doubt flies have been tied with both cotton and flax threads. When fly tying became a popular topic for English literature in the 1800's, silk threads were the best available. All of these early threads were made from organic materials which tend to deteriorate rather quickly with exposure to the elements, which is one of the reasons why few ancient flies have survived to modern times. Since the 1950's, both nylon and polyester threads have gained popularity with fly tiers all over the world and nearly all modern tying threads are made from synthetic fibers. Nylon and polyester threads are thinner and stronger than silk, giving the tier the option of building flies with less bulk. Threads made from synthetic fibers survive exposure to the elements much better that organic threads. Polyester has less stretch than nylon, which gives a tier more control over each wrap. Nylon threads are more translucent than polyester and are often less brightly colored. However, some nylon threads, such as Danville's 210 Denier Flat Waxed are exceptionally bright colored. The tying threads offered at The Fly Fishing Shop are a collection that we like to tie with. We tie a wide variety of flies from tiny trout flies to monster bluewater flies. So, you might expect that our selection of favorite threads is wide and varied. It is. But, our selection is also streamlined and manageable. Each thread in the collection serves a specific tying need, and has been proven to fit a specific role better than competing threads.

Ultra Chenille, Standard
This remarkably adaptable material looks much like regular chenille but is much denser and of a more uniform diameter. Regular chenille is made from fibers that are spun between two stout threads. It may be unraveled. Ultra chenille is made by raising the nap from a monofilament core.
It is all one piece of material and will not unravel. It tapers easily with an open flame. It is the ultimate material from which to construct size #12 and #14 extended body caddis and midge pupa such as Smith's Emergent/Diving Caddis and Palomino Midge Pupa. It also is the best material for tying San Juan Worms and is easily colored with felt markers.  3 yard card.

Item Description Color Price To Top
UCS11 Standard Ultra Chenille, Black   $1.30 SALE ENDED
UCS40 Standard Ultra Chenille, Brown   $1.30 SALE ENDED
UCS49 Standard Ultra Chenille, Caddis Green   $1.30 SALE ENDED
UCS95 Standard Ultra Chenille, Dark Olive   $1.30 SALE ENDED
UCS138 Standard Ultra Chenille, Dark Fl. Pink   $1.30 SALE ENDED
UCS139 Standard Ultra Chenille, Fl. Red   $1.30 SALE ENDED
UCS263 Standard Ultra Chenille, Olive   $1.30 SALE ENDED
UCS310 Standard Ultra Chenille, Red   $1.30 SALE ENDED
UCS369 Standard Ultra Chenille, Tan   $1.30 SALE ENDED

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Fish long & prosper,
Mark & Patty


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