Chain Pickerel Flies I Like The Most

pickerel on the flyChain pickerel are really fun to catch on the fly rod as they tend to go after pretty  much anything you toss at them.

However there are times the pickerel will go after one fly more than another so I like to have a variety of flies but my favourites are streamers and topwater flies.

The great thing about chain pickerel flies is that I don’t really tie specifically for chain pickerel. I use the same flies I’ve been tying for Atlantic salmon, for more than 30 years.

The list of flies these toothy critters will chase are endless so really it’s just a matter of choosing the flies you like tying the most and just tie a handful of each as they can tear them up pretty fast with those teeth.

When I lived in Ontario if was northern pike, here it’s chain pickerel and muskie that will pound your flies but I also enjoy using those same flies on trout, Atlantic salmon and smallmouth bass.

Early Season Pickerel And The Mickey Finn

I always carry a few Mickey Finn flies in the spring because the pickerel love chasing this fly and it’s so easy to tie them.

Plus the Mickey Finn attracts most of the other fish I go after. It so cool when you’re fishing chain pickerel and a big ole smallmouth bass smacks your bait.

When I tie Mickey Finn flies I usually tie them in a size 8 or a bit bigger.

I have never found a red or a yellow tailed deer here in New Brunswick so we have to have our whitetail deer tails dyed from brown and white to yellow and red. Every Christmas I snag a bit of tinsel off the tree for tying flies, but don’t tell Jenny.

It’s always nice to see someone tie a fly and then go out and use it to catch a chain pickerel and is exactly what Joe Cermele does in this fly tying video.

He is fishing this early spring and he is using a trailer hook. He also suggests tying in a weed guard if one is planning to use during the summer and I do most of my fishing during the summer and fall so I will definitely add weed guard. It’s a whole lot more fun to fish with the weed guard.

The Every So Humble Black or Brown Leech

woolly bugger flyAbout 30 years ago I tried black woolly bugger with a red butt. It easy to tie and only took a couple of minutes. I fish it with a leech in mind so I try to make it pulse through the water with short retrieves to bring the fly up in the water and then gently let it drop again.

It took me a few minutes to get the retrieve the way I wanted it and they started smacking it hard.

I tried to find the same fly on Youtube but couldn’t find the exact one as I was looking for a black or brown leech with a red butt. However I found lots of leeches with marabou tails. I haven’t tried fish one of those so I would just follow the plan but instead of a marabou tail I would replace it with red yarn as a butt section and not as a tail.

I may just tie a few woolly buggers with the marabou tail and see how they do for me.

Note: If you use wire to give some weight to your flies be sure to use lead free wire.

I think I might tie a few woolly buggers with red marabou feathers as a tail section and see if that’s more attracting to fish than just the red yard butt. Might take a little less action on the fly and catch more finicky fish.

Poppers Can Drive Fish Mad

I’ve never tied a popper myself but have used a few from others and I have just as much fun with a popper fly as I do with the varieties of poppers I use with my spinning gear. The key is to just be patient allowing the popper to sit until the ripples disappear before twitching or popping it again.

dry flyJust sitting back this morning enjoying the awesome sunrise here in Moncton. Took a few pictures and sat down here in my office to enjoy that first coffee of the day and watch a few fishing related videos or read an article.

The first thing I found was an article by Mark Freeman from the mailtribune.com website. It’s about seniors and fly tying which I found quite interesting, since I’ll be a senior shortly.

I like honest people so the following paragraph made me smile big.

"Everything I know about tying flies I’ve learned from these guys," says Corbridge, 62, a retired landscaper who splits fishing time between Oregon and Montana. "I’m happy they let me hang around. But they’re a pain to hang out with sometimes."

Reading this article made me feel like a youngster.

They are among the top teaching tyers in Southern Oregon, and none are under age 62. Bifocals and hearing aids are as common as the special handmade materials boxes and old vises they fasten to rows of folding tables stretched across the concrete floor.

Take a couple of minutes and read the entire article here: Flies That Bind by Mark Freeman

Tying Flies for Fly Fishing

fly fishing troutI never seem to get as much fly fishing in as I’d like these days so when I do I want flies I have confidence in and that means they are artificial flies I tie myself. 

As I sit in my home office and tie flies I have visions of using that fly to catch the biggest trout, salmon, bass or pickerel of my life. It tends to make fly tying an exciting hobby.

Don’t allow yourself to think fly tying is too difficult for you. Heck I was able to tie a simple fly in just a few minutes and soon after was catching trout with that exact fly. From there I moved on to more difficult flies, just one step at a time.

Where To Start Tying Flies

To begin with you will need a few basic fly tying tools. You can’t really tie flies without a fly tyers vice to hold the hook so you can tie the fly. Then you will need materials to use as the parts that make up the fly such as thread, a variety of feathers, hair and fur.

When I started tying flies I bought a couple of fly tying books to get me started. Then once Youtube was available to me I was able to watch videos of how others tie flies for their fishing adventures.

You can find supplies for tying in various places, maybe even locally.  I always keep my eyes on eBay to see what I can get on the cheap, not that I’m looking for cheap products, just cheaper prices.

Besides what I’ve already mention above you will want to have the following items as well:

  • Hooks of various shapes and sizes
  • Different colors and gauges of thread
  • Fur from animals such as mink or fox
  • Feathers from pheasants and peacocks
  • Craft cement

Precision is the key to accurate fly tying but not necessarily perfection, that can come later.  Start out with a picture of the fly you wish to replicate or even buy one for the 3D effect you won’t get in a picture.  You can find pictures of mayflies, caddis flies, nymphs, mosquitoes and other natural food sources in many places on the Internet.  Once you have a picture, just get materials that will mimic the look and try to duplicate it.

Start out by wrapping thread around your hook and then add fur and feathers as you go securely tying them to the hook.  As you go, you will continue to add materials until you achieve the look you are going for.  Of course, there’s a little more to it than that, but that is the general idea.

You can take classes on how to tie your own flies and you can even find instructional videos online.  When you start taking an interest in fly fishing, it’s best to stick with the pre-made flies, but as you gain more experience, you will want to start experimenting around with different lures to bring the fish to your line.

Tying your own artificial flies is a great way to get more and more into the fly fishing experience.  Of course it’s not for everyone as it can take some patience although I’m not the most patient guy but I find tying flies brings to a state of calmness I don’t get elsewhere.

fly fishing guideI love fishing and fished using a spinning rod for 30 years before I learned about fly fishing, but once I learned how to cast using a fly rod I was hooked, as they say.

It was about 10 or 15 minutes with my brother-in-law showing me how to cast using a fly rod. Next he took me Atlantic salmon fishing on Salmon river near St. Martins New Brunswick.

We were with a dozen other people fly fishing this spot and I was extremely nervous but not one person said anything negative and even tried to help me. I did get a lot teasing after a huge Atlantic salmon leaped from the water and just missed going down my wader. It went right between my legs.

So I know from personal experience that learning how to cast using a fly fishing rod and artificial fly can be taught in just a few minutes and you can be casting for fish.

I didn’t get a salmon that day, but then again no one did so I didn’t feel bad. Actually I felt terrific and went out immediately and purchased my first fly rod and reel. Then I went brook trout fishing on the fly and had a blast.

I would likely have bought my first fly rod and fly fishing reelseparately but money was a real issue at the time as I didn’t have a job yet, after just moving to New Brunswick. So instead I bought a fly rod and reel combo for less than $30.00 and still have that same setup today, about 30 years later.

I didn’t limit my fly fishing to Atlantic salmon and brook trout, not when there are smallmouth bass and chain pickerel that fight like champions.

Note: Most of my readers are American so my links usually are as well, but I am a proud Canadian so I have included links for us below:

Fly Fishing ReelsFly Fishing RodsFly Fishing Combos

My first chain pickerel fishing trip was to Penobsquis New Brunswick. There was a little lake or pond we passed on the way to a few places we fly fish for brookies and always wondered what was in it. A few times we stopped and watched to see if we would see any trout jumping.

One day the three of us, Roland, Paulie and myself, stopped and launched our float tubes and started fishing. Didn’t catch anything for an hour as we moved across the water to the furthest spot from where we launched. We figured there would have been less pressure there as it had no roads or paths we could see.

As soon as I got close the the weeds on the far side I make a cast with a little trout dry fly and it got smacked by a 15” chain pickerel. That was a huge surprise as we usually used a steel leader when fishing pickerel as their razor sharp teeth can but the line in an instant.

When I landed the pickerel the fly was right in the end of it’s mouth and the fly line was intact, so I cast it out again. We fished there for hours catching one after the other and never lost any to our line being cut by their teeth. It was a blast to say the least.

Fishing buddy Kerry and I have done a lot of fly fishing for smallmouth bass on places like Lake George and it’s so much fun, especially from the float tubes as they will pull you around in circles.

Learn How To Cast A Fly

If you haven’t tried your hand at fly fishing and you love fishing you don’t know what you’re missing so what are you waiting for? If it’s about the money don’t fret. You can buy an inexpensive fly rod and reel combination.

I don’t remember the exact price I paid for my fly rod and reel but it wasn’t any more than $30.00 and I still use it today more than 30 years later. And like I said above I have caught large numbers of fish over the years and have battled some big Atlantic salmon.

I learned to fly cast in just a few moments, enough that I was able to go out by myself and catch fish. Of course I have improved over the years and can cast further with more accuracy but my fishing started just minutes after I learned to fly cast.

Watch the video below to see how easy it can be and if you need more be sure to check out other videos on Youtube.

I didn’t have any flies when I first learned and borrowed a few from Joe but before long I was eager to try tying my own brook trout and Atlantic salmon flies.

The same as learning to fly cast on a NON windy day I learned to tie simple to tie artificial flies first and gradually moved into a few tougher to tie flies.

I started with trout flies and later found that I could catch all kinds of species with my trout flies. I love the top water action so I tend to tie flies that float on the surface. I even use trout flies to catch Atlantic salmon.

Not ready to tie yet well don’t let that stop you from learning to fly fish. I have friends that don’t tie their own and they like to see what kind of trout flies they can get on eBay.

jamie gets a bass on the flyI see that Jamie has a new post talking about his trip to the Cannan River New Brunswick for an evening of fly fishing top water for smallmouth bass.

I actually moved to New Brunswick for all the fly fishing opportunities available, after visiting and experiencing the joy of fly fishing here.

Jamie was with his friend Glenn and decided to go with the fly rods as the wind was very low which doesn’t happen all the much here. It’s my preferred method of fishing but I still do a lot of spinner fishing because I like the best of both worlds.

Top Water Bass Fishing on The Fly

bass top water popper

All bass, smallmouth as well as largemouth bass seem to love gulping down bass popper flies. I love fly fishing for bass and have a few poppers that do the trick.

The smaller bass popper flies tend to cast pretty easy but as I increase the size of the popper the hard time I have casting it.

That doesn’t mean it doesn’t cast well I’m more referring to my fly casting ability. When I’m using bass popper flies I have to pay attention to my cast or I tend to smack the back of my head. Part of the reason why I always wear a hat.

Give fly fishing for a bass a try if you haven’t already and come back to share your experience with us.

Brook Trout Fishing on the Fly

fly fishing guideI love getting out fly fishing for most species here in New Brunswick Canada but it all started with a beautiful brook trout. The brook trout is actually the first species I went after once I moved here. The friend that took me eventually became the guy I picked to be my best man, once I decided to settle down a bit.

At that time I had not been introduced to fly fishing so it was spinners, Mepps and worms. It was great fun and I loved keeping and cooking the smaller brookies while allowing the bigger trout to return to the water to grow more great brook trout.

I eventually learned about fly fishing, from my sister’s husband Joe. He took all of 10 minutes to teach me and I’ve been enjoying fly fishing every since. I think it’s been a little more than 30 years now and it never gets old.

I’ve fished a lot of water around the Moncton area, all the way to about Chipman or Coles Island area. There are so many little brooks for brook trout fishing, although a lot of them aren’t really good for the fly fisher as they are very over grown.

I like to match the hatch when fly fishing, as much as possible but I have a few flies that are confidence flies for me, like the mosquito or the woolly bugger. Those two flies have attracted more brookies than I can shake a fly rod at.

If you haven’t tried your hand at fly fishing what are you waiting for an inspiration or invitation.

You don’t need expensive equipment. Heck I am still using a fly rod I bought years ago for about $20.00 and it’s still catching fish of all sizes.

Here is a simple video that will show you what you need to know to take up fly fishing. I think it’s more about the mind. You look at fly fishing and think it’s to hard to manage when in reality it’s pretty easy.

I would suggest you learn to cast a fly on a day when there is no wind. You can learn to fly fish in the wind later, start with the simple stuff and get out there for a few brook trout.

I didn’t have any flies when I first learned and borrowed a few from Joe but before long I was eager to try tying my own brook trout and Atlantic salmon flies.

The same as learning to fly cast on a NON windy day I learned to tie simple to tie artificial flies first and gradually moved into a few tougher to tie flies.

I started with trout flies and later found that I could catch all kinds of species with my trout flies. I love the top water action so I tend to tie flies that float on the surface. I even use trout flies to catch Atlantic salmon.

Not ready to tie yet well don’t let that stop you from learning to fly fish. I have friends that don’t tie their own and they like to see what kind of trout flies they can get on eBay.

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Want To Try A New Bass Top Water Fly

black gurgler bass flyI was visiting a fly fishing blog this morning. I was looking for fly fishing blogs with a bit of smallmouth bass fishing using top water flies. In this video the fly fisher is using a Black Gurgler. Reminds me of the fly fishing I’ve done in the bass ponds I used to fish near Chipman New Brunswick.

I have never seen this fly before but loved the top water gurgling in the video. Here is the video of Rob enjoying some top water action.

Even though the video is rather short it got my attention so then I had to find a video that would show me how to tie the Black Gurgler so I can give it a try next time I’m out when Mother Nature cooperates for some quality top water action.

Fly Tying The Black Gurgler

What You’ll Need To Tie The Black Gurgler Fly

Hook:  Mustad 3366 size 2 or 4
Thread:  Black Flymaster Plus, UTC 140/210, Uni 3/0
Tail:  Black bucktail with a few strands of Krystal Flash, 1 1/2 – 2 times the shank length
Body:  Black ice chenille/Estaz
Topping:  Black foam, width equal to hook gap, folded over top

100_0092So glad my friend and fishing buddy Casey has an interest in learning fly fishing. We wanted to give it a try on Friday but the wind picked up to 30 km early in the morning and we really didn’t stand a chance.

I love all kinds of fishing but The Joy of Fly Fishing has a special place in my heart. I’ve said it before but it’s a big part of why I moved to New Brunswick from Ontario.

Up until Friday night Casey only had a few flies but while we were out fishing his lovely wife was at an auction in Hillsborough where she managed to buy a few dozen Atlantic salmon and trout flies for next to nothing.

Wait until I get him to use those flies to catch more than salmon and trout. Although I do love catching salmon and trout it’s pretty exciting when you hook into a fat ole bass or big chain pickerel. It’s usually one of those days you laugh all day long and for me anyways, I usually come home with a sore throat from hollering all day.

Back when I started fly fishing I was working for Sears. I had made a couple of friends in the sound department. Sadly one friend passed away suddenly. His wife new I loved fly fishing and practically gave me all his supplies and materials for tying flies.

Below is a Youtube video showing you the fly tying gear you’ll want to have for tying flies. I don’t have much on The Joy of Fly Tying Channel but it will grow over time.

Can’t wait until we get out on a calm day to get Casey started. If his reaction to fly fishing is anything like mine he’ll be hooked just as hard as I was.

Biot Body Rusty Spinner FlyI’ve done a lot of fly fishing for brook trout and Atlantic salmon but I also fly fishing for Chain pickerel and smallmouth bass. When I think about fly fishing for pickerel I always remember the day Roland, Paulie and I took our float tubes to a little spot between Moncton and Sussex to try a spot we thought was full of trout.

I’m not really sure where I got the idea there were trout in this spot but the first fish of the day was hooked and landed by ME and it wasn’t a trout. Actually it was a 17 inch chain pickerel and he/she put up a nice fight on my light-weight fly rod. I thought I had on a 3 pound trout.

The first chain pickerel I ever saw I caught when fly fishing for brook trout near Browns Flat New Brunswick. This little pickerel was about 9 inches long and actually flew out of the water and grabbed the fly as I was pulling it off the water. Pretty cool looking.

I couldn’t believe how aggressive this little guy was and came back the following week specifically to catch more and bigger pickerel. Pardon the pun but I was hooked immediately.

Chain Pickerel Fly Fishing Fun

Pair of Chain Pickerel: Gainer Springs, Econfi...
Pair of Chain Pickerel: Gainer Springs Econfina Creek Florida (Photo credit: PMC 1stPix)

The pickerel weren’t very big, running about 16 to 19 inch but let me tell you they made up for their lack of size by fighting as if they were much larger fishing. I was only using small sized top water trout flies. Love that top water fishing.

There was really no waiting for strikes although they seemed to be right in the back of this spot so we had to travel for about a half hour before we had any strikes which led us to wonder if there were any fish there at all. But once we reached the chain pickerel they were crazy leaping out of the water for anything we tossed at them.

The pickerel have very sharp teeth and made quick work of our tiny trout flies but they are so easy to tie and nothing fancy is needed, at all. Two minutes or less per fly works for me.

I don’t video myself tying flies as the video camera intimidates me and I just make lots of tying mistakes. I felt it would be better if I just showed you a few easy fly tying videos from Youtube, which is always the first place I look for helpful videos.


Biot Body Rusty Spinner Fly

Well that was a quick and easy fly to tie. And I tie a lot of these style flies because our Chain pickerel, just like the pike, has nasty teeth and destroy them pretty quickly but in such a fun way.

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fly fishing bass and pickerelIt’s been a few years since I did any fly fishing for anything other than salmon and trout. I used to fly fishing for Chain pickerel and Smallmouth bass, what a blast.

Now that Casey has a fly rod I’d like to get my fly rod out to take with us on our fishing trips and see what kind of fun we can have fly fishing for pickerel and bass.

I never had any artificial flies designed specifically for pickerel or bass but found they didn’t mind smacking my trout and Atlantic salmon flies. I can’t get any gardening done today so I am playing around on Youtube looking for flies to tie for some Smallie action.

Tying A Leech Pattern

Bass and Chain pickerel love eating leeches. Here in New Brunswick Canada I tend to tie leech patterns in browns and black. Every species I fish here likes them, a lot.

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