August can be a difficult month for fishing. What better way to spend a sunny day than catching big sunnies on the fly?

Zach and I bushwhacked our way into a small lake in search of big sunfish. Video short to ensue…

Stone Fly Pattern


Recently I have been examining a couple of stone flies I have preserved in a little jar of alcohol that came out of the belly of a rainbow trout this past spring. I wanted to try to better mimic these flies and this is what I came up with so far. Rather than tying the biots in for legs and leaving them straight, angled toward the rear of the fly – I creased them forward to make them look like actual legs and what a difference this makes. Now it’s starting to look real.

  • hook: Tiemco size 6 #2312
  • tail: biots
  • body: stone fly dubbing ribbed with copper wire
  • legs: biots
  • casing: scud back
  • antennae: mallard flank fibers

The stone flies I have preserved have very light yellowish undersides – so I made a few with lighter colored dubbing, and then used a black or brown sharpie to color the scud back darker. This creates an even truer looking stone fly. Maybe to improve this fly I can add another hump of dubbing and scud back for the actual “head” of the stone fly. If you look at a real stone fly, they have 3 segments, and then their head, which is just as big if not larger than the 3 “wing-case” segments.

Longnose Gar on the Fly

A sprawling bed of arrowhead rises from a backwater on the far side of the river, and we decide to motor 50 yards across to anchor the boat in the slack water of an eddy within casting distance of our quarry.

On the way, a gar snatches a breath of air near the boat—providing my first glimpse of Lepisosteus osseus. Both of Minnesota’s gar species share this genus name, derived from two Greek terms: lepid, meaning scale, and osteon, meaning bone. Technically the gars’ diamond-shaped scales are comprised of an enamel-like organic protein called ganoin. Purportedly, this coat of bone-hard armor can flatten a bullet.

The longnose gar’s beak is more than twice as long as its head and just as impenetrable as its scales, so hooking one requires an understanding of what’s going on underwater. Gar ambush prey, such as minnows, gizzard shad, and carp, with a slash of their beak. Then they impale it with rows of sharp, slender teeth before clumsily manipulating the fish so it can be swallowed head first. The conventional fishing method calls for a bobber, sinker, small hook, minnow, and the patience to wait until the gar has swallowed the bait far enough to hook the soft skin at the back of its mouth.

But there is a more clever way to catch this fish. Compared with shortnose gar, the needlelike teeth of longnose gar are crowded along elongate mandibles like bristles on a fine-toothed comb. So instead of hooks, we’re using hookless flies made of fine strands of snarled nylon rope, which sticks like Velcro inside the prickly maw of a longnose. A heavy fly rod is well suited for delivering the 6-inch hanks of unraveled rope, which we’ve embellished with feathers and tinsel for fish-attracting flash.

Read more Via: Minnesota Conservation Volunteer