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Classic Catskill Dry Flies

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I love fishing classic Catskill dry flies. Haven't perfected it yet, but I still try at every opportunity. Dave Brandt ties the most beautiful ones I've seen. Met him at an event at the Catskill museum, super nice guy, gave me some great advice too.

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Wonderful post & replies. I don't use them, and never have used dry flies of any type much since fishing for trout wasn't something I did a lot of anyway. I have tied them, hundreds of them, but only because I've tied commercially.  I rarely get asked now for dry flies, especially the Catskill style.

 

When I did chase trout and was fortunate enough to find a hatch, it was mostly Caddis and as such a Elk Hair or Deer Hair version was what I fished. 

 

Like many of you guys I was very interested in trout and Catskill style dry flies when I was young and first getting started with tying, but my fishing went in a different direction. 

 

I have a decent book collection, some older from the 70's or prior, and always loved the pattern descriptions. I very much enjoy learning some of the history of both flies and the sport. A lot of flies today have fancy names that have little to do with fishing and sometimes obscene names, which IMO is a disservice to the sport. 

 

Back when I was trapping, and was also a member of the MD Fly Anglers club, some of the old timers there were avid trout anglers, and had been friends with guys like Art Flick and they certainly fished dry flies. The club had a dinner and show event each year to raise money, ( The Gurney Godfrey Dinner & Show) and I sold flies and some tying materials.

 

I mention trapping because one of the hot items I had for sale was "urine-stained belly fur from a vixen Red Fox", which was a material that was specified for the pinkish coloration of the Hendrickson dry fly. 

Edited by Jim H

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Great thread.  I grew up fishing the Eastern Sierra in the 1970s.  The only dry flies available at the time were Catskill flies.  I don't think I even knew where the Catskills were, much less the lore behind the patterns, the men who developed them and the storied waters where dry fly fishing in North America was born.  Standard patterns for us were the Adams, Light Cahill, Royal Coachman, Quill Gordon and Black Gnat, then many variations as I learned to tie them myself (and usually not too well).  The Elk Hair Caddis and a local variation called the Kings River Caddis were revolutionary to us.  Not long afterwards, the "big bang" occurred, and fly fishing / tying literally exploded.  The parachutes, then a short lived fascination with what they called "Thorax Flies," then the CDC no hackles, then so many more.  I still have boxes of Catskill dries, but I live pretty far from any sweet water trout fishing and haven't used them in years.  We could have another fun walk down memory lane talking about the wet flies and streamers those old timers developed.  The Grey Ghost, the Spruce Fly, the Black Nosed Dace, and one of the prettiest flies that I never caught one damn fish on-- the Parmachene Belle 

Edited by bmac

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As some might have known Dennis @ Catskills Flies passed away last year , Joe Rist will now operate the shop under a new name Trout Town Flies has a new telephone number and will have a new website under construction  ,always had a great hands on selection for the what's needed for the fly guy . 

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On 1/2/2020 at 11:07 PM, Ted Pietz said:

The books may fall into the hands of kids if, when you are done with them, you donate them to a library. Just  a thought.

Or the Catskill fly fishing museum

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Ok, time to fess up.  I've been throwing flies at trout for close to 50 years now and can confidently say I've never caught a trout on a traditional "Catskill" dry fly, although I've tied them for years and carry a box full of them in my kit every time I'm on a stream.  I've caught plenty on terrestrials and caddis', but none on "dries".  My early learning was on the streams of south central PA, Falling Springs, Yellow Breeches and Letort and those are terrestrial rich streams, and we did what folks are now calling Euro nymphing (sans bobber, we just learned to watch the line)  so we never needed dries.  Now I'm into soft hackles about 90% of the time and a few little blue lines that are full of native brook trout (terrestrials again), but I may have to force myself to catch at least one on a dry before I'm done.

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I have a lot less time in on the Catskill creeks but I do get their often enough. I have to admit to "indicator" nymphing as a main focus, largely because I catch more fish and I find it closer to what I do with the rest of my time, ie, surfcasting. Top water is fun for sure but subsurface can be equally as challenging. That's where trout eat most often. Anyway...the flies above are beautiful and I love this thread. I do own a few "catskill" flies because I can't help but buy a few whenever I go up there. Indicator nymphing to me is a small foam gadget or an indicator line...is one more acceptable than the other ?

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Books of the Re Read = Matching The Hatch by Schwiebert 

I just can’t read those internet blogs . Been a few years but worth the opening again . 

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With April 1st  right around the corner most pre opening trout season group activities dinner celebrations, breakfast gatherings  have been cancelled or postponed  due to the coronavirus , I'm sure the Junction pool 1st cast should go off as planned but with everyone safely distanced apart...weather might not be fair for that day but that's fishing . 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

May not be a traditional but it will be used on the Catskills streams Sparkle Dun

#12  ,6/0 Deer hair dun Danville Olive thread , Delaware River ClubBE5F64F1-9000-4787-8EE3-44A6F3DC8618.jpeg.e522ac8d7754a17466ebaf90c1f679d6.jpeg Pale Olive dubbing .

Edited by Hook I

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On 2/8/2020 at 10:23 PM, Orca said:

Dave is a nice guy and knows his stuff.

 

On 2/8/2020 at 11:52 AM, Ggold said:

I love fishing classic Catskill dry flies. Haven't perfected it yet, but I still try at every opportunity. Dave Brandt ties the most beautiful ones I've seen. Met him at an event at the Catskill museum, super nice guy, gave me some great advice too.

Sad news Dave Brandt passed away this month after a long illness , I read this from another site 

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16 hours ago, Hook I said:

 

Sad news Dave Brandt passed away this month after a long illness , I read this from another site 

Yes, very sad. He actually wasn't sick for long, it all happened in a matter of 2 months. I didn't know Dave well but he was a friend and very good to me. Stuck up for me real good when one of the guys was all over me after having a few too many. True gentleman who can't be replaced. Will miss him.

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