Check out the summary of Norvise Ambassador Mike Corrigan's recent trip to western Manitoba to chase this great species, the Tiger Trout.
Where I live in the central part of Canada, we are blessed with a seemingly endless number of species that can be caught on a fly. Two years ago I landed 20 different freshwater species locally (to go with an additional 10 saltwater varieties).
Spring 2019 is late in Canada this year, most spawners are still "busy" as I write. The Pike are a few weeks late and the Smallies are still on their nests.
So, for an early season fix we headed off to the western part of Manitoba for one of my favorite species to target; the beautiful Tiger Trout. Tigers are a sterile hybrid, a cross between a Brook Trout and a Brown Trout. The province of Manitoba introduced Tigers to a lake 10-15 years ago and they have been a favorite for anglers from all over Canada and the USA. As seen in the pictures below. they have a vermiculited camo back and the white tipped fins of the Brookie. In the Fall they go through a mock spawn and get the orange bellies. Tigers grow quickly and reach an incredible 28"; my largest is 24". Tigers are incredible fighters and the best part......they take top water flies!
I fished with a relative newbie on this particular trip, who had never landed a Trout on a fly before. We also entered something called the Bug Chucker Cup; an annual 4 lake tournament based out of the town of Roblin, MB. Back in January 2019 we hatched a plan, during a -40C cold spell, in Winnipeg to enter the fun event. As I mentioned the season was late and we were hoping for the best.......
I still use my river boat for the lakes, powered by a 55 Minn Kota. The flat bottom and spacious interior make for a comfortable day.
We fished 4 different lakes on the trip, with the Tigers being our main focus. On day one my partner got into his first fish and literally had his new Orvis rod almost ripped from his hands. These are very strong and very aggressive fish. We both missed fish that day, and the Tigers won round #1.
We fished a lake nearby to our hotel the next morning before setting out to try round #2 with the Tigers. (Below are a few shots of the Rainbow and Brown Trout typical of the other lakes).
Arriving at the Tiger Trout launch at 6 pm we saw a still water fishing school just finishing up. After comparing notes, we targeted a portion of the lake the group had not tried. This time of year the sun is up until 10 or 11 pm, so we had lots of daylight ahead of us. Tigers, with their Brown trout genes, become less wary as the sun gets lower in the sky. They will hit most anything that is thrown within the ring of their rise; so that was to be the game. Find a rise, find a feeding fish! We both had my Foam Mouse on (Topo Gigio, for those old enough to remember the Ed Sullivan show). You can see the evidence in the corner of the Tigers mouth. We landed several fish to 19".
So, the day came for the tournament. Our first venue would be an afternoon session, on a Brown Trout lake which we had pre fished the day before and had caught 6 fish to 20". This day, however, we would be shut out! The second venue saw us back at the Tiger lake for the evening session, which was perfect. Without hesitation we tied on Topo Gigio! My partner landed an 18" Tiger and I a 22" beauty. After day #1 we were near, or at the top, of the leader board!
Day #2 was spent on two Rainbow/Brown Trout lakes and we ended up doing a lot of casting but no catching. The fish were deep because of the cooler waters. As a note, earlier in our pre fishing time period we woke up to ice in my boat, after an evening rain storm, to start one of the days.......ice in late May!
The post tournament banquet and social was first class. A total of 13 teams were entered in the tournament and we finished out of the top 3, but my partner did get his casting tuned up and he did land fish, so all in all a very successful outing. Thanks to Roger for his camera work!
So all in all we came, we saw, and we tamed the Tigers. Now we need some heat to get the Muskies to get their spawning done. It will be season opener in a week. On to the next species......
What a great story and even better pictures! Thank you Mike for sharing this with us. Till next time...
Tight Lines - Tim
This week I wanted to take a minute to introduce you to one of our Norvise ambassadors and all around great guy Jacob Nixon. Jacob is becoming a staple in the fly fishing community in and around the Richmond Virginia area. Aside from earning a PHD in Otology (the study of the anatomy and diseases of the ear) Jacob was instrumental in starting RVA Bugs and Brews, a monthly gathering of local fly tiers and gear heads at Legends Brewing Company located in down town Richmond. These gatherings are really starting to attract a crowd each month, I am hopeful to attend one of these meetings very soon. Another cool thing he has done is started the "Geek on the Water" You Tube Channel. I have spent some time here recently and the content he is putting up is fantastic. Many Fly Fishers, especially salt water fishers, will appreciate the $20.00 dollar stripping basket video. Below are 3 short videos (full length versions are available on the channel) of three things that very much interest me. Check em out.
I LOVE chasing wild Brook Trout on the fly. There is just something simple and elegant about a small stream set up, hip waders and a small box of dry flies. What wild Brookies lack in size (a typical fish is less than 7" long) they more than make up for in beauty. If you have never spent a day on a Brookie stream make sure you put it in your plans soon, you will be glad you did!
Shad on the Fly
As many of you already know chasing Shad on the fly is one of my favorite things to do. We are fortunate to receive 2 prolific Shad runs in my area of Northern Delaware each spring. You may have seen my presentation "Shad Fishing 101" at one of the local clubs or at the "Fly Fishing Show" in Lancaster or Somerset. You may have even purchased some of my Shad patterns at one of the fly shops in your area. As good as the Shad fishing in Delaware is the Richmond, VA area may be the Shad Capitol of the USA! Below is a short of fly fishing for Shad on the James River.
Snakehead on the fly
The Northern Snakehead is probably one of the most mis-understood fish on the planet in my opinion. Years ago you would hear horror stories of these fish decimating ponds and drainage areas and moving on to the next. "They are an invasive species kill everyone you catch" etc. etc. While I am no biologist and while there may be some truth to some of the statements of the past I do know a few things. 1) Largemouth Bass and Brown trout were once consider "invasive species". That seemed to work out pretty well...2) Snakeheads are one of the coolest looking fish that swim, and 3) any fish with teeth that will readily take a fly has my attention. While I have yet to catch one (Jacob, maybe you can help with this) I really want to! Check the video below to see one of the coolest fish you can chase on the fly!
As you can see Jacob is the real deal and we are proud to have him on our ambassador staff. Jacob has a goal to reach 1000 subscribers on his You Tube channel by the end of the year. Lets help him out and subscribe to his channel, the information is sound, the videos are great and you will definitely learn a thing or two. Check out Geek on the Water. Till next time...
Tight Lines - Tim
O'Neill' Bearded Dragon Fly
Here at Norvise we always get excited each year when all of the new tying materials come out. We always wonder what new products we can work into our existing patterns or, a totally new pattern may emerge. The Bearded Dragon is a great example of new materials and new techniques coming together to make a functional pattern. This fly is one of Tyler's creations and it fills just about all of the O'Neill criteria for a successful pattern. It can be tied in multiple sizes and colors, it can be tied rather quickly, it can be used on many different species and will work equally well in fresh and salt water.
We are full on into our Smallmouth Bass season and this little (or BIG) fly packs quite a punch, responsible for many landed Smallmouth, Largemouth and Striper so far this summer. Check out the O'Neill's Bearded Dragon and tie a few up. When you see them in the water you will be glad you did. Till next time...
Tight Lines - Tim
Hook: Ahrex TP610 2/0
Tail: Magnum's Mini Dragon tail
Rear Body: 3" RD Fly Fishing Polar fiber Brush, 3 wraps
Middle Body: Blane Chocklett's Filler Flash
Front Body: 3" RD Fly Fishing Polar fiber brush, 4 wraps
Collar: Senyo' Laser Dub
Head: Flymen Fish Mask (appropriate size for pattern)
Eyes: Flymen Living Eyes (Appropriate size for Mask)
After clamping the hook in the jaws and "spinning" on a thread base use some 20# mono to form a loop at the bend of the hook. This is to prevent the tail from fouling around the hook shank while casting. The loop should extend back past the entire bend of the hook. This one should be a bit longer. Also notice, beings this is a 2/0 hook Tyler is using his Norvise Large Inline Jaws for this tie.
Tie in the Dragon Tail. It may be a good idea to lay down a little Flex Cement on the hook shank / thread wraps prior to tying down the tail. Also, you may want to dab the tip of the tail with a little Flex as well to prevent it from fraying.
For the rear body, apply 3 wraps of RD Fly Fishing's 3"Polar fiber brush, stroking backward each wrap
For the mid body, wrap roughly 3/4" of the shank with Blane Chocklett's Filler Flash. Filer Flash is one of our favorite new products. It is a great way to build bulk under the body material and gives the fly just the right amount of flash showing through.
This is what the Body will look like after the Filler Flash is tied off.
For the front of the body, add 4 more wraps of the 3"polar fiber brush, stroking back each time. We are trying the get the Craft Fur Brush to "veil" over the Filler Flash. The flash will help support the Craft Fur giving the illusion of bulk without adding actual weight to the fly. This is a great technique to build "shoulders" into your pattern.
At this point, Sadie, the Norvise Chocolate Lab approves so we can continue.
Finish off the body with a Senyo's Laser Dub Collar. Use the hi tie technique for this. We will will typically do one clump on the top and one clump on the bottom of the hook. Here we have used all red, more often we will use 2 colors to give a little contrast to the pattern. Example; when we do a collar on all of our Bleeding Shad series of flies the top will be white or grey laser dub and the bottom will be red.
After applying the Flymen Fish mask and the Living eyes you are ready to fish!
They always say the "proof is in the pudding" well, first time out with the Bearded Dragon, third cast....
One of our Norvise ambassadors recently got some ink in a well publicized magazine. Read on to learn about what the author touts as the brightest young fly tier to hail from the "Old Dominion" state.
Many of you have heard us talk about Braden Miller. Braden is one of our Norvise ambassadors, a fantastic fly tier, great fly fisherman and all around just a quality human being. These things probably won't surprise you as anyone that has ascended to ambassador level of three major manufactures with in the industry (Braden is a TFO and Fair Flies ambassador as well) would naturally possess these talents. What you may find surprising is his age, Braden has accomplished this at the ripe old age of 13! That's correct, Braden just became a teenager less than a year ago. We here at Norvise are proud of Braden. Proud of what he has accomplished, proud to have him as an ambassador, and most importantly, proud to call he (and all of his family) friend. Check out the article and give him a follow on Instagram and Facebook. He is a great follow.
Click the link to read this fantastic article.
They didn't make it into the article, but below are the pictures of Braden's Musky taken by photographer extraordinaire Casey Miller. Now, here is where I must mention Braden's parents Casey and Will. Now, I personally don't know too many parents, especially mom's, that would sit on the back of a drift boat in December so their son could catch a Musky with his idol. That is exactly what Casey did. Whether they are driving (or flying him) a few hundred to a few thousand miles to do a show, or freezing in the back of a drift boat in December, Casey and Will are totally on board and supporting Braden every step of the way. You really have to admire strong willed, southern parents that have raised their kids (ALL 4 BOYS!) to be respectful young men and support the kids dreams. Casey and Will, your boys are lucky to have you!
Check out these pics!
Braden will be at many of the fly fishing and fly tying expo's this season. We will be posting up a schedule as soon as the dates are available. If you are at one of these shows stop out and meet Braden. Spend just a few minutes with this young man and you will quickly realize the authors comments are 100% accurate. The Fly Fishing and Fly Tying Future is in fact very bright in Virginia and Braden is carrying the torch at the head of the line! Till next time...
Tight lines - Tim
I had a great piece almost ready to share this week about tips to take better care of your gear. I was almost finished when I came across this. With Spring turning to Summer and many people out on the water, I thought this was a much better post for this week. Many of these things are common sense, but these are tips that bear repeating. I can not claim writing privileges for these tips, I wish I could. This came to me through my Facebook page. I would like to thank the original author for sharing his or her thoughts.
Please take a few minutes to read these tips and put as many of them to task while you are on the river this spring. Without the fish all of these things we know and love so much would cease to exist. My hope is that we all will benefit from reading this.
1. Use barbless hooks. Yes, barbless hooks do less damage to your fish’s face upon removal – but more importantly, barbless hooks make it much easier to release your fish quickly and with minimal handling.
2. Minimize ‘air time’. We all want hero shots – we get it. You’re not taking the fish home in your cooler and you want a way to preserve the memory. Keep the fish in the water until your photographer is ready. Once they have the camera ready and have taken the practice shot, lift the fish from the water, smile real pretty, get the pic, and get that fish back in the water. If you must do it again, do it again – but minimize the time that the fish is out of the water.
3. Fight him hard. Apply as much pressure as you can. Get the fish to hand as quickly as possible. Long battles mean exhausted fish, and exhausted fish die more. Fight hard and fast and get that fish back on its way.
4. Stay away from the rocks. Fish flopping around in the rocks can do serious damage to their own skulls – they’re just not built for that. Find a spot to land the fish with as few sharp, hard objects as possible. Sandy beaches are perfect! If you’re in a run that’s totally lined with rocky shorelines, keep the fish in deeper water and do not swim him up onto the rocky bank. You can land any fish that you need to land in a foot of water.
5. Keep your fingers out of the gills. In normal life, a fish’s gill plates protect its very delicate gills. Once he’s been tired out to the point that you can grab him, he’s very vulnerable. Please, please don’t reach up under his gill plates for the grip and grin – that’s a really nice handle but it’s also often a death sentence.
6. Use appropriate gear. “I landed a 25 pound king salmon on my 6 weight with 6 pound tippet! It took 45 minutes!” We’re not at all impressed by that. That fish was so exhausted that it probably couldn’t even hold itself in the current on release. Use the heaviest gear that’s practical so you can minimize fight times – see #3 above.
7. Watch for predators. This one is particularly relevant in saltwater. Any fish that’s been landed is stressed out and not at the top of its game. Make sure that you don’t release a fish right into the wheelhouse of a hungry shark or barracuda. Here’s a great tip courtesy of our friends at Bonefish and Tarpon Trust – if you’re near some flooded mangroves, release your fish there. That’s a great spot for him to find a place to hide while he rests up. In fresh water, just look for cover. Thanks again for being a responsible angler! Till next time...
Tight Lines - Tim
For this weeks post we have a real treat for you. Dave Allison is one of our ambassadors from Utah. Dave is a fantastic fly tyer and has shot an entire series of these videos for us. As I was watching this video (I have actually watched it several times) a few things jump out at me. The first thing you may notice is that the hook is stationary for much of the sequence. Typically with the Norvise you are accustomed to seeing the vise spinning and material flying onto the hook. While we can certainly do that, this video shows a great example of a fact that we sometimes forget. If you choose, the Norvise can be locked into position and tied on like a more "traditional" type of vise. Remember, you always have the option to go back to the full rotary tying techniques or as Dave shows here blend the two. Honestly, that is what is so great about the Norvise system. We can do everything any other vise out there can do, but when you add the "spin" function to the mix, the sky is the limit and we can do SOOOO much more! Second, this video does a great job at showing the original function of the Fine Point Conversion. The Fine Point or "midge jaw" as many refer to them was originally designed to open up the bend of the hook so you can tie tales and the like on and around the backside of the hook. This video shows a perfect example of that. The way Dave splits and posts the wings is pretty cool, as is the way he uses the tail fibers to fill in the gap left by the back of the Calf Tail wings...ingenious! Perhaps the coolest technique in the video, and one that can be easily missed, is how he preps the hackle feather by stripping one side of the stem to prevent the hackle from rolling until you get a wrap or 2 on the body. I will admit, I have never seen this technique before and will add this into my tying for sure.
Check out the Video Below
After watching this video and seeing the finished fly I have a lot of thoughts where this can fit into my personal fishing. A great searching pattern or attractor dry, a great imitation of some of the darker staged Mayflies in a size #12 or #14 we get later in the season or a point fly in a Dry and dropper set up this pattern has multiple uses. Gotta love flies that fill multiple voids on the water and with all that hackle it will float like a cork even in the most turbid water.
You can find Dave on Instagram @westtexasbugs He is a good follow and a great ambassador for Norvise. Thanks for sharing this video with us Dave. Till Next time...
Tight Lines - Tim
Over the Memorial day weekend myself and a few members of the Norvise crew headed west to chase what was to be a new species for me, The Northern Pike. You may know Norvise has a strong relationship with Steelhead Alley Outfitters, the premiere outfitter on the Alley. What you may not know or realize is Steelhead Alley is a geographical area, hence the name SAO outfitters. Anyone who has fished this area knows there is PLENTY more to catch in the Alley other than Steelhead. Intrigued???? Read on.
While Steelhead are in fact a large portion of SAO's guide service (Norvise runs a hosted trip out to the Alley once a year) the warm water program can be just as prolific. The 2 guides spearheading the cultivation of the Pike program are Dan Bennett and Josh Trammell. At 22 and 19 years old respectively, these young men are mature beyond their years. We at Norvise have been fortunate to fish with a lot of different people over the years, let me tell you, ether of these young men can guide me any time, they are that good!
Going into this trip we really didn't know what to expect, this is a new fishery and we were the very first clients that had been guided for Pike by Steelhead Alley Outfitters. Having fished with these guys before I knew they would work hard and do everything they could do to get us fish. I must admit, on the ride out I was having trouble shaking the thought "this is a new fishery for them and we are the first ever clients on it.' I figured this was going to be epic one way or the other. An epic weekend on the water or an epic failure. I was hoping for the former not the latter.
In prep for the trip we contacted our buddy and TFO vise president Nick Conklin and picked up a few new Axiom 2 nine weights, and a few BVK reels.
We talked to Norvise Ambassadors Nome Buckman-Stark owner of "Predators on the Fly" and Thomas Williams, owner of "Stoney's Custom" Flies and fortified our fly selection.
We were rigged up and ready to go with some new gear, new lines, fresh tied leaders and a selection of flies that would make Blane Chocklett smile, still I couldn't shake the feeling that I was not sure if we were "ready" yet.
While we were driving out on Friday, Tyler and I got into some deep conversation about the trip, our 2 businesses, our hopes and expectations for the coming year and about life in general. I do enjoy these times with my son as we talk and I can see him start to mature. Some times he will come up with these profound thoughts that make me step back and think to myself, "he is going to be alright in life" other times he says something and I look at him and think "who the hell are your parents" one thing for sure, it is never dull. He could see I was stressing a little about the trip (I tend to do that about a lot of things) and he says "lets just go and have fun, what do we have to loose"? At that point I said to myself if I boat 1 Pike during the trip I will be happy. Well, I accomplished that in the first 10 minutes.
We were throwing 8 and 9 weight rods. I had one rigged with an intermediate and one with a floater. Leaders were simple affairs with a butt section of 30 pound Maxima Chameleon and a section of 30# bite wire tippet For the sinkers, the floaters got an extra section of 25# between the butt and the bite wire. As mentioned we had a variety of big, nasty meat flies, all of which would be perfect for Northern's. Most of the trip we wound up fishing a fly Dan and Josh have been working on developing specifically for this fishery, a Frankenstein combination of a Deceiver, Hollow Fly, and a T Bone. A large profile for sure, but light and easy to cast. Did I mention the action, oh yeah the action, it is plain ole SICK!
Well, 10 minutes into the float I had a fish swipe at the fly and miss. Dan says, very emphatically, "get it back in there, now, now now"! So I cast back in where he swiped at it and sure enough a 25" green freight train absolutely crushed Thomas' Sucker Game Changer, I mean CRUSHED it!
Shortly after this Tyler came tight to his first fish. I am in the front of the boat and I feel him strip set. He says "that is a fish, that is a fish, THAT IS A BIG FISH"
We continued floating and casting, A lot of casting. The really cool thing is this fishery is so visual. You can see the fly, the take and the fight. it is something every fisherman or woman should experience at least once in a lifetime.
By the end of the second day we had moved 70+ fish and landed around 20 between the 2 boats. Sizes ranged between Hammer Handles to 2 fish in the 40" class, one was even landed on a on a popper! We also boated some really nice Smallmouth too.
I think you could say we had a pretty good trip! Northern Pike quickly ascended to the top of my "Most favorite fish to fish for" list. They are such a blast on fly gear! The picture below is my favorite picture from the trip. Dan was as excited as me when we landed this fish (pretty evident we were happy) This will eventually be framed and put on the wall in my tying studio as a reminder of a fantastic weekend.
Till next time
Norvise Team member Ethan Rakes was recently presented with the "Lefty Kreh award and Scolarship. This award, presented by the White Clay Fly Fishers is given to a youth who demonstrate interest in fly fishing and who are active in the White Clay Fly Fishers club. It is named in honor of Bernard V. "Lefty" Kreh, a man from nearby Maryland. Lefty was a noted author, teacher, speaker and ambassador for the sport of fly fishing. Lefty was particularly passionate about the introduction of young people to the sport.
Ethan is a fine young man, mature beyond his years, and passionate about Fly Fishing and tying. We are proud to have him on the Team Norvise Staff. Ethan will be tying in the Norvise booth at several of the Fly Fishing Shows this year. Please stop by and meet this extraordinary young man, you will be glad you did.
Congratulations Ethan, All of us here at Norvise are very proud of you!
Our buddy and Team Norvise member Braden Miller attended ICAST a few weeks ago in Orlando, Florida. We kept seeing posts on Facebook and the pictures He and his mom Casey were texting us. I asked him to write a Blog post for Norvise about his experience. He just sent it to me today, so here id "ICAST / IFTD through the eyse of a 12 year old" By Braden Miller.
Hi, my name is Braden Miller and I was lucky to attend my very first ICAST/IFTD in Orlando, Florida this July with Temple Fork Outfitters (TFO). In this post I want to talk about my three days at the show, my Facebook live interviews with TFO, what booths I visited and some of the famous fisherman and youtubers I meet.
My mom and I arrived in Orlando Tuesday, July 10th and we stayed at the Hilton Orlando with everyone from TFO. There were many people/companies that stayed here too. As soon we walked in the doors the first people we ran into in the lobby was Mr. Duke Davis and Mr. David Folkerts with Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (for those of you who are not familiar with PHWFF, they are a non-profit organization that has volunteers and partners that work with veterans to teach them classes in fly tying, rod building, casting and they have fishing trips/tournaments, with over 200 programs throughout the country). You can check out all the exciting things PHWFF has going on by visiting their site at http://projecthealingwaters.org/ Tuesday was a very relaxed day, we checked in, mom unpacked, while I tied a Blake Chocklett feather game changer with a spawn fly head, and then we spent the rest of the day at the pool.
So, there are certain patterns that are timeless, The Adams, The Elk Hair Caddis, The Clouser Minnow, the Deceiver Etc. Certain patterns or designs just always seem to catch fish. In today's world of new and improved this, or bigger and better that, it is nice to see the old classics getting some love. Why is it that so often the simplest patterns are so effective?
I was first introduced to this fly (or a version of this fly) while I was managing the fly shop a few years ago. We have a blue ribbon Smallmouth river 5 minutes from the shop and this pattern, through the summer was a go-to for big Smallies. I have used this for Smallmouth, Trout, Largemouth, Bluegill, Carp, the list goes on and on. Names and variations include the Girdle Bug, M's Rubber Legs, Turd Stone, and Legs for days. I saw this Step-By Step on Instagram posted by our friend Travis Toller @toller _208. Travis is affiliated with @jimmysflyshop as well as @clackacraftdriftboats. This is what I call an American Express pattern "Don't leave home without it" (if you are under 40 you won't understand that last reference). Great picture of a great pattern. Thanks Travis, appreciate allowing me to share.