Parks' Fly Shop: Yellowstone flies, montana flies, local flies montana, custom flies, flies for yellowstone, flies for montana

Our Local and Custom Flies

Parks' Fly Shop began as Merton Parks' custom fly tying business in the late 1940s, so it's no surprise we stock a lot of locally-produced flies in addition to standards and standbys. Some of these flies are merely subtle variations on standard patterns, but many are local designs that are either available nowhere else or originated in the Yellowstone region specifically for the fish that swim a few steps or a few miles from our front door. Sometimes having one of these patterns makes all the difference between fooling a fish and having it refuse your fly, because trout in our region see a lot of fake bugs and they get suspicious of those they see the most, especially "standard" patterns that are tied the same for fish in Yellowstone or Ypsilanti.

The following photos are designed to give a sense of some of the local flies the shop stocks. It's hard to keep up with our latest creations, so only about a quarter of the local patterns we stock are pictured, and none of the "standard" patterns that we tweak a little. Give us a call to talk about current stock that might fit your needs.

If you'd like to learn how to tie the flies below, keep an eye on our Youtube Channel and our Blog.

We do not have an ecommerce store, but are happy to accept mail-orders via phone or e-mail (we will call to take your payment info via phone even if you initiate the order via e-mail). Free shipping on fly orders over $50.00!

Please Note: Not all flies will be available from early fall through May, as we often run out of continuing patterns in late summer and have to replace these and tie new patterns during the winter.

Bob Hopper, Wiese's

Wiese's Bob Hopper

The "Bob" is our best hopper pattern and has been since 2012. We stock it in approximately fifteen colors, with the precise number depending on which cool shades of foam we can find in a given year. We stock it in three sizes, #10 through #14. All colors are available in #14, while availability for the other sizes varies depending on the color. Some #14 versions have thread underbodies while some have fur underbodies. All larger versions include fur underbodies. Several colors of this pattern are produced by CATCH Fly Fishing and available for wholesale purchase by your local shop.

Colors we ALWAYS have at least in #14 (unless they're sold out) include the following, which are generally the best colors: pink, peach/flesh, dark yellow, dark tan, wood grain, marble pattern, purple, black, cream, and at least one shade of pale olive green.

New Colors for 2020 are: brick red, lavender, foto-foam tan, and foto-foam yellow. All were excellent for us during their on-water testing in 2019. 2020 clients also might get an early sneak peak at the new Mega Bob, which we think will be a "Chubby Killer..."

CATCH versions priced at $2.75. Those tied by Walter are $3.00.

Clacka Caddis, Wiese's

Wiese's Clacka Caddis

Walter combined elements from longtime favorite the classic Coachman Trude and Craig Mathews' Iris Caddis to develop this buoyant and highly-visible yet low-floating caddis/attractor pattern. It one color or another it has been our most effective and bestselling caddis pattern since 2009. It is particularly important on rough waters that see relatively heavy pressure, like the Yellowstone. We stock it in the following colors: Coachman (peacock), pink, gingersnap, tan, olive, black (Glossossoma), and chocolate, and in about that order of effectiveness. Most are available in #12-16, though some are available in a smaller range of sizes and as small as #20. Several colors of this pattern are produced by CATCH Fly Fishing and available for wholesale purchase by your local shop. CATCH versions priced at $2.75. Those tied by Walter are $3.00.

Hazy Cripple, Wiese's

Wiese's Hazy Cripple

The purple version of this low-floating yet buoyant and visible attractor mayfly cripple is the single most important dry fly in our arsenal. There is not a month on the calendar when we don't catch a fish on it, including December which otherwise is awfully grim. It's most important on our waters from late August through the middle of October, when it works better than "realistic" flies when the fall gray Baetis are hatching. Try this pattern in the right size, and we think it's pretty likely it will be just the ticket in your home waters, too. We've had anglers from all over the world rave about its effectiveness, and we've had guides come in and buy out our entire stock and then start telling people they invented it. No joke! The copper version is more special-purpose, but an excellent choice in the summer and on sunny September days. Available in #12 to #20 purple, #12 to #18 copper, and a couple experimental colors for summer 2020. Copper and purple are produced by CATCH Fly Fishing and available for wholesale purchase by your local shop. CATCH versions priced at $2.75. Those tied by Walter are $3.00.

Palmered CDC & Elk, Wiese's

Palmered CDC and Elk Caddis

Dutch tyer Hans Weilenmann developed the original CDC & Elk. Walter's adds a contrasting body under the CDC to add another color dimension and enable the use of lower-quality CDC. We stock the pattern in three colors, #14 blond, #16 pink, and #16 tan. The blond is by far the most important color and it's typically our best dry fly on the Firehole River, where it matches the predominant insect, the White Miller Caddis. Don't hesitate to skate these!

Salmonfly, Parks'

Parks' Salmonfly

Developed by Merton Parks in 1953 as the first of the many "Improved Sofa Pillows," this fly is still our best or second-best salmonfly dry, year-in and year-out. Its secret lies in its body materials: tangerine orange yarn which more-closely matches the dark orange shades of the naturals than most contemporary foam flies, dark brown bucktail or elk mane for wing and tail that likewise look closer to the real thing than the elk body hair or poly yarn now common on dry stoneflies, and a heavy-wire hook that pulls the fly into or just under the surface film where the real bugs get pulled when they fall into rough water. DO NOT hesitate to fish this fly ever so slightly underwater, something you can't do with a foam fly. The trout devour it drowned. #4 through #8.

Soda Fountain Parachute, Keltner's

Keltner's Soda Fountain

The majority of the mayflies in our region are a sort of vague gray-olive in color, with the exception of the summer pale morning duns. Rather than tie a whole gaggle of patterns to match each of these insects specifically, former Parks' Fly Shop guide and longtime Northeast District Ranger in Yellowstone Park Dave Keltner designed this biot-bodied parachute, which is an approximate match for all, though it is an ideal match for the July through September western and little green drakes. We stock this pattern in sizes from #10 all the way down to #20. The name "Soda Fountain" comes from the mostly extinct hot spring cone on Soda Butte Creek, which ought to tell you where we most often use the fly...

Bead, Hare & Copper, Minch's

Wiese's Bead, Hare, and Copper

This is not a Hare's Ear, and we get annoyed when people say it is. This is what we use instead of a Hare's Ear. The partridge tail and legs, prominent dark rib, and relatively fat and dark body make this attractor nymph Matt Minch developed while wintering in New Zealand a great imitation of many local insects, and just enough different from your standard Hare's Ear that fish that are sick of seeing that fly will eat this one. We have caught everything on this fly, including steelhead and carp. Key Fact About the "BHC:" This is usually our single most effective fly for fall-run brown trout. Really. It's much smaller than what most people use for these fish, but that means it's like a fly buzzing around the fish's head rather than a snarling dog getting in the fish's face. You don't think twice about swatting a fly, do you? #12-18. Priced at $2.75

Sparkle Stone, Minch's

Matt Minch Stone

Curious what the largest fish ever to come from the Gardner River ate? One of these. It was a 9.5lb fall-run brown Matt caught in October back in the 1990s. While Girdle Bugs have overtaken this series of nymphs in overall popularity with customers, Matt's flashy, impressionistic stoneflies are more effective in a general sense. This is particularly true early in the season, when the flashiness of the black "Brooks" version (#4-8) cuts through the high, dirty water common at the tail end of runoff and the impressionistic nature of the gold version (#8-12) which can imitate golden stoneflies, midnight stoneflies, large caddis, drowned grasshoppers and adult golden stones, and even sculpins, makes these our most important stonefly nymphs. Fish them in tandem early in the summer when the water is dark, use the gold version on a long dropper under a big dry in high summer or in a double nymph rig with a "BHC" (see above), or swap the standard Girdle Bug for a big black Sparkle Stone when you're chasing fall-run browns. You probably won't get a 9+ lb fish like Matt did, but you never know... $2.75

Glasshead Pheasant Tail, Wiese's

Wiese's Glasshead Pheasant Tail

This is the first fly Walter developed after moving to Montana, in early June 2001. It instantly became and remains our single most effective fly on the Firehole River, and works well elsewhere also. On the Firehole, either swing it in conjunction with another soft hackle or fish it beneath a caddis dry. You can even deep-nymph with it if nothing else is working. On most other waters, we fish the pattern on a dead drift. #14-16. Available for wholesale purchase by your local shop from CATCH Fly Fishing. Priced at $2.75

Mother's Day Pupa, Wiese's

Wiese's Mother's Day Pupa

It's too bad we don't have more clients in late April and early May. If we did, we'd use a lot more of this sparkly olive caddis pupa Walter developed based on similar flies that guide Don McCue fishes during the summer. This pattern is just murder when the trout are getting on the Mother's Day caddis, but not quite committing to the dries yet. You can strip it behind a streamer when there aren't any fish rising, or run it behind a Clacka Caddis or Coachman Trude when they are just starting to rise. #14-16.

White Miller Soft Hackle, Wiese's

Wiese's White Miller Soft Hackle

No commercially-available pattern matches any stage of the White Miller (Nectopsyche caddis, the predominant insect on the Firehole. We tie multiple adult and egglaying/cripple versions (including a couple not pictured on this page) and two pupae. The most important pupa is this one. Fish it either on the swing with another soft hackle (the Glasshead PT perhaps) or on the dropper underneath a White Miller dry when the hatch is extra-heavy. #14. Priced at $2.75

Bully Bugger, Minch's

Minch's Bully Bugger

Matt designed these small, mottled Woolly Bugger variants to imitate a New Zealand baitfish called a Bully. Here, they look like little sculpins or leeches, depending on the color. These are often our most productive streamers overall in terms of numbers of trout. We typically fish them as droppers, either behind a bigger Woolly Bugger in a dual-streamer rig or behind a huge hopper or stonefly. Seriously! Try it! Available in #10-12, in gold (sculpin), chocolate brown, and olive. $2.75

Joffe Jewel, Minch's

Minch's Joffe Jewel

Matt developed this tiny Eastern-style brook trout streamer with the colors of the classic Mickey Finn for area brook trout lakes. If it's a lake with brook trout, they'll eat this fly. The namesake lake holds few brook trout over 10 inches, but in the area lakes where they get bigger, public or private, this is also a top choice. Fish it slow. You can even let it drop on the bottom a while if you like. #10-12.

Scleech, Wiese's

Wiese's Scleech

We don't fish articulated streamers much, mostly because flies with double hooks aren't legal in Yellowstone Park. This fly is the main exception. It's Walter's primary "big fish" fly on the Yellowstone River. He ties it small enough that the medium-sized fish will eat it too, and with a stinger hook so that the annoying little tail-nippers will also get stuck. Now available for wholesale purchase by your local shop from CATCH Fly Fishing. Pro tip: these are also great smallmouth streamers. These are $5.00 apiece.


Parks' Fly Shop

PO Box 196 or 202 Second Street South

Gardiner, MT 59030

Phone: (406) 848-7314

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