John P. Newbury

Roaring Fork Valley Colorado
Fisheries Scientist, Professional Fly Fishing Guide & Fly Tier.

Fulling Mill Fly Fishing Ambassador

Tibor Nimeth Photo

John Newbury began forging his career in fly tying and fishing at the age of 14 when he was hired to tie flies on a commercial basis for a small Colorado town sporting goods outfitter. That same summer, John started guiding wade trips along the small trout streams on the Front Range of the Rockies.

In his late teens, John left the trout world of Colorado for the rivers of the Pacific Northwest, most notably the Deschutes River where he focused on its prized steelhead and Native Redbands. The Deschutes River was home for many decades as John refined his tactical fly tying and nymphing skills. In the mid-1990’s, John shifted his focus to learning the European nymphing strategies popular at the time. 

Since relocating back to Colorado in 2014, John continues to modify his tactical nymphing approach and design of new fly patterns. Apart from making the endeavor of fly-fishing more enjoyable for his guests, John is currently completing his first fly tying book, drawing from his almost 40 years of experience in the field, uniquely combining his skills as a designer, photographer, scientist, and writer. 

Design philosophy.

I prefer my fly patterns to exhibit a uniform profile regardless of the hook orientation in the water. It was observed by the late Charles Brookes, originator of the Brookes Stone, that fish would refuse stoneflies in the drift that were in a belly up position. Most benthic macro invertebrates are counter shaded to help them blend in to their environment so a bright colored belly would be facing upwards and fish would subsequently avoid taking those specimens. Almost every modern commercial fly hook rides in a hook up orientation. Jigs hooks are designed to drift in that position. Yet, most modern flies, especially Spanish Perdigons, are tied with the wing case on the “top” of the hook, which inevitably inverts and presents the fly in an dorsal downward position. To ameliorate my pet peeve of the upside down fly, I have omitted most wing cases. Instead of a wing case, I tie a collar, which replaces a wing case but is seen in the round rather than in an inverted counter shaded fly.

 

Black and Tan Perdigone

This Black and Tan Perdigone is an example of the illusion of a wingcase without actually painting one on. Regardless of the fly orientation, the fish see the same thing.