Anchor nymphs are tied with fast sinking tungsten beads to aid the angler in getting a fly deep and fast. Anchor flies are used in multi fly rigs to sink lighter patterns to various depths. One challenge in tactical nymphing is using the right weight of fly to match the water you are fishing. Too heavy a fly can be frustrating to manipulate without constant snagging and too light a fly may never get deep enough. I carry a wide array of sizes and weights of flies to make sure I can always present my nymphs in the feeding zone. Anglers should take advantage of the larger insects that are present and imitate them with a heavy anchor fly. Even if larger insects such as stoneflies, craneflies, hellgrammites or large caddis are not present in high numbers, an anchor fly will be far more effective than a wad of split shot tumbling along possibly turning off wary fish.
I make a trailer hitch option available on the following anchor flies to facilitate adding a dropper. The trailer hitch was developed to put a dropper in alignment of the hooks shank and prevent loss of fish due to a dropper rig sliding off a barbless hook during a fight. In the 12 years I started fishing hitched patterns, I have had zero failures with the hitch itself. Simply affix a length of 18" tippet material to the dropper with a good quality knot and add another fly.
One of the most universally popular anchor fly patterns in my box.
Choose a built in dropper loop AKA trailer hitch to allow another fly to be towed directly behind for a stowaway plunge into the abyss.
A great spring dredger or late summer fly for use when the September stone are anticipated. I frequently use this as an anchor fly to bring along other tasty morsels for a swim when I am working the deeper faster runs on big water. Smaller sizes are best on medium to smaller rivers. Don't be shy.
Get down fast into the feeding zone with these tungsten bead weighted nymphs - #6 weights 10 grains (2 BB split shot). A very popular fly in the early season when large Stonefly's and Green Drakes abound in the high water. Just enough flash and a bulky silhouette cry the sirens song. One of my top producing patterns of all time.
A color variation of the long popular in Oregon fly pattern, the Possie Bugger. I have found this color combination to be particularly effective at imitating several species of golden stone nymphs, especially the short wing stones of September.
The Lesser Salmonfly AKA Pteronarcella badia are often found in waters where its larger cousin the giant salmonfly are not as common. Though not as robust, these slender brown stoneflies provide ample food for hungry spring trout on the lookout for a protein punch.
Roaring Fork bound anglers should consider this fly important just after runoff tapers in July.
Tied heavy for a fast descent.
This fly offers about as many strike triggers for a trout as there are ingredients in a bowl of vegetable soup! Whats not to love about it? It's got wiggly legs, pulsating marabou and the killer Prince Nymph profile. This fly has been used to win the Oregon Two Fly Contest that takes place in Eugene/Springfield Oregon several years running.
As of March 2016, I have been catching numerous fish on this fly. So far it is in my top 5 best producing patterns. Recently I caught 30 trout before lunch when using this as my anchor fly and a black bead flashback Pheasant Tail nymph as my dropper. A springtime deadly 1, 2 punch!
Heavily weighted. #6 weighs 1 grain equivalent to 2 BB split shot for deep fast spring water conditions. A time when the big stonefly nymphs are most active on many western rivers.
A collection of traditional nymphs that can be fished solo or paired with an anchor pattern.
A killer little (size 14 2xl) woven stonefly that can be fished all season long all across the country. Weighted with a tungsten bead this pattern with just enough weight to get down amongst the cobble in smaller to mid sized streams where this fly will be most usefull.
A classic that catches fish! I made this color variation of John Barr's classic colorado nymph to cover the smaller stonefly nymphs I find everywhere I fish.
A re-tooled version of my favorite green drake nymph. I tested this design out during last seasons green drake hatch and caught some fish, took some notes, and made necessary adjustments.
As always, I like just a dash of flash in my deep nymph patterns. Not too much, just enough to get noticed.
This fly fishes best following a typical western summer monsoon or anytime the water is high or slightly off color. Of course, it still works in clear low flows but I found it is my ace in the hole when the water has been disturbed.
French style nymphs are all the rage and for good reason. This proven pattern gets deep and gets noticed.
The shape of this fly imitates the flat clinger family of nymphs very well. This color choice is an excellent Western March Brown imitation.
The wildly popular Perdigon nymph has taken the European fly fishing scene by storm. A small bullet style nymph that will penetrate those little slots where fish lurk in pocket water situations.
I had a truly great guiding season last summer and this fly is one that made all the difference in my arsenal. Yellow Sallies are active throughout most of the summer to warrant a full row of these in your Tacky box. This color combo also does a great job of imitating the melon color that the PMD's in Colorado exhibit. I will be adding this to my top ten summer patterns list in 2018.
I have some days where I work hard for the few fish I turn while fishing with the usual fly patterns. When I am having one of those days, I always give the White Wabbit or my Bank Maggot pattern a proper soaking as a follow-up. Many of those days are rescued with some decent fishing again after the switch.
You don't always need a weighted pattern. Fished solo or in tandem with an anchor fly, non-weighted nymphs increase versatility in your streamside game. My non-weighted nymphs are designed to imitate emerging insects, be it caddis or small stoneflies, that emerge mid-stream along with mayflies.
Sawyers Killer Bug, the deadliest fly known to mankind (according to the internet).
Lightly weighted and now tied on tactical barbless hooks. This pattern mimics many aquatic food forms from crane fly larva to wax worms.