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 custom and locally-produced flies. In fact, we tie and/or design about half of our entire fly stock, and have the second-highest percentage and overall number of local flies for the Yellowstone area out of all the dozens of fly shops in the region. 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. Nowadays, the majority of these flies are tied or designed by Walter Wiese

Click the panels below to check out many of our local and custom flies. Most of our true specialties are included, though our newest concoctions aren't. To learn about those, you'll need to book a guided trip, since we give our new flies a "trial by fire" before we ever sell them. In addition, you won't see common patterns like San Juan Worms that we just happen to tie in-house.

If you'd like to learn how to tie the flies below, keep an eye on our Youtube Channel and our Blog. Starting in winter 2019, we are going to be posting A LOT more how-to content, from fly tying videos to tying tips to fishing and rigging tips.

Note on Fly Names: If a fly has an individual's name attached to it (usually a last name), it is a custom design by that individual, i.e. Wiese's Clacka Caddis. If it simply has "PFS" attached, it's a standard or previously-existing pattern that we tie with tweaks of some kind: color, recipe, etc. that distinguish ours from those you can buy elsewhere. While we tie some standard patterns indistinguishable from those you can get elsewhere, we don't list them on this page.

Custom flies are priced at $2.75 apiece unless noted. 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

New Bob Hopper

Now that CATCH Fly Fishing has picked up many of our highest-volume colors of the Bob Hopper, the first time this pattern has ever been available wholesale, Walter has enough time to tie most of the colors of Bob Hoppers our guides have been requesting, in addition to the standbys. The new colors we'll have in the display for 2019 are: purple over pink, mustard, dark red, dark brown over pink, and cinnamon.

Big Bob Hopper, Wiese's

Big Bob Hopper

2018 saw our best fishing with larger hoppers since at least 2011, to the extent that the normal-size Bob Hoppers were sometimes less effective in late August and early September than larger flies. In addition, heavy pressure meant we had to go with beadhead nymph droppers on more of our Yellowstone River float trips than usual, and the standard #14 Bob Hopper can't float a brass-beaded nymph larger than a #16 or any tungsten-headed nymphs. It's just too small. After experimenting with this version of Walter's precursor to the Bob, the GFA, tied with a dubbed underbody and not being satisfied with the results, Walter ordered some upsized custom Bob Hopper cutters from River Road Creations and started tying a #12 version of the Bob, with a few other tweaks to make the pattern satisfactory in this larger size. Big fish CRUSHED this new version of the pattern, and it can float tunghead nymphs to #16 (see the Euroflash and Gussied Lightning Bug coming up) and brass beadheads to #14. Available in #12 peach, light pink, dark tan, dark brown over pink, purple over pink, and gold. We're going to be experimenting with this fly in #6 through #10 during the 2019 season, as well, so you might get to fish some new double-secret versions if you book a trip with us this season...

Euroflash, Wiese's

Euroflash Nymph

This pattern is Walter's take on the slender, fast-sinking, flashy Euro-nymph designs epitomized by the Perdigon. This pattern shocked us from August through November 2018 (yes, November even) by producing a lot of big trout, even on the Yellowstone where nymphs this size tend to produce an infinity of whitefish in late summer rather than trout. This is the "techier" flash nymph we're adding for 2019, with the other being the Gussied Lightning Bug. Try this one first on flat, clear water and for heavily-pressured fish, especially where they're shy of beadheads, since this one has its bead buried in the thread thorax and so somewhat hidden. Available in #18, in red (the best color last year), purple, orange (PMD), olive, and black color combinations. We will also tie #16s in the same colors, if there's time. $3.00 due to the spendy tungsten bead.

Foam White Miller, PFS

Foam White Miller Caddis

Firehole trout sometimes key on skating White Miller Caddis, rather than those on a drag-free drift. That's hard to imitate with a conventional fly. When the fish are ignoring your "correct" drift, opt for this skatable foam pattern and drag it, instead. Don't forget the soft hackle dropper! #14

Gussied Lightning Bug, Wiese's

Gussied Lightning Bug

After finding some success with the Euroflash noted above on the Yellowstone, Walter started trying to figure out a more-robust fly for fast, turbulent water where the trout often want more movement and more going on with the fly. By combining elements of Charlie Craven's Two Bit Hooker, the Lightning Bug, Hogan's "Child" series of nymphs, and some unusual materials, Walter developed this bug, which was our top-producing nymph on the Yellowstone and Gardner Rivers from early September through November. On the Yellowstone, it was murder on rainbows. On the Gardner, the resident trout of all species crushed it, but it also produced good numbers of fall browns, including the largest of the season, a surprise given its small size. We will definitely have this pattern available in the following abdomen/rib color combos: red/black (the best in 2018), purple/blue, and copper/brown, all with tungsten beads. If we have time to tie them, we'll also have them in gold/golden brown, pink/dark pink, orange/brown, cranberry/purple, brown/black, silver/gold, olive/brown, and holo black/black with tungsten beads. All of these will be in #16. If we have A LOT of time, we'll do them with brass beads and in more sizes, as well. Can you tell we're excited about these??? $3.00 due to the tungsten beads. Any brass versions will be $2.75.

Holo Spider, Wiese's

Black Holo Spider

This is a replacement pattern for the former "Stillwater Softy," which we'll be selling through and discontinuing during the 2019 season. This version worked just as well as this older pattern, is more durable, and is easier to tie. Win-win for everybody. While primarily designed to be fished as a dropper beneath a dry, stripped shallow, or twitched slowly under an indicator in shallow, weedy lakes, this is also a good changeup soft hackle pattern for swinging in rivers and streams. Available in #18 black to start the season, but more colors and sizes will crop up as we run through the old ones. $2.50

May-Midge, Wiese's

May Midge

It's a fact of life Yellowstone River (and Yellowstone-area) trout are getting more and more turned on by small bugs. This year, we had a lot more success than ever before on small yet high-floating attractor patterns which proably pulled double duty between various midges, small mayflies (including Tricos, not a bug we had previously needed to worry about on the Yellowstone), and even tiny ants and various other "detritus." This pattern is the result of experiments with various small bugs. Available in wine, gray, light olive, and black, all in #18. We may add red and cream by late summer, if we have time and the trout are as interested in small stuff next year as last. Try these from late summer all the way through the winter, or througout the season when the fish are rising on any technical water like the Paradise Valley spring creeks. $2.50

"Parachute" Midge Emerger, PFS

Parachute Midge Emerger

This pattern has been a favorite midge of ours since we saw it in Tying Flies with Jack Dennis and Friends back in the early 1990s. We've never seen it in a shop, but it works great both during the winter and in late summer and early fall in the Lamar Drainage. For what it's worth, this is our favorite dry when the trout are rising to winter midge hatches (January through early March) on the Yellowstone immediately below the mouth of the Gardner. #18 and $2.50.

Quill & CDC Midge, Wiese's

Quill & CDC Midge

This pattern replaces an earlier pattern that was more difficult to tie and less durable. This is the bug you want more than anything else if you see fish rising slowly and lazily in the tailouts in the Lamar Drainage first thing in the morning in late August and early September. It's also not a bad choice on the Yellowstone at the same time. Psst... the fish probably also eat it as a Trico. #18 and $2.50. Note that we hope to have some #20 cream versions available during the summer, as well, though that depends on how quickly we get everything else tied.

Traitor, Wiese's

Traitor Nymph

This nymph looks so tasty, but then it turns out to be a traitor to the trout. Okay that's corny. Anyway, this series of big, gnarly nymphs works great on the Yellowstone, Gardner, and other rough and tumble rivers with a lot of stoneflies. Think of them as combinations of the 20-Incher, the Bead, Hare, and Copper, and Girdle Bugs. We'll have them in two color combinations: tan abdomen and peacock thorax, and then with the colors reversed. We'll be stocking both colors in #10-12 "jiggy," tied Euro-style with tungsten beads on jig hooks, and in #14 standard, tied with a brass bead on a scud hook. Use the jig-style fly as the heavy bug in a double nymph rig and the standard one either as your dropper with a larger stonefly or hanging underneath a stonefly dry or hopper. Tungsten-bead versions (on jig hooks) are $3.00. Note that we'll be selling through an earlier series of flies called the Ice Bucket that filled the same niche before we put these in the bins. These are priced normally.

Triple Threat Worm, Wiese's

Triple Threat Worm

Walter has been fiddling with versions of this San Juan Worm variant since his cousin came up with something similar back in the fall of 1999, in the Ozarks. This is Walter's best fly on trips home to fish the White River System and Missouri spring creeks. Around here it's a special-purpose pattern. We'll be stocking it in #12 standard, #16 standard, and #16 "Floss Worm" versions, and in two colors, brown/black/red and red/brown/pink. Each size/version has its own role. Use the #12s on the Yellowstone in late winter and spring, particularly when there's a touch of sediment from early snowmelt in the river. In late summer and fall, use the #16 standard on the Gardner if it's a little dirty, especially as it's coming up. Use the #16 Floss Worm variation on the Paradise Valley Spring Creeks anytime from November through early May. This thing just crushed it for us on Depuy Spring Creek last April, and that's honestly the biggest reason we'll be carrying the pattern in the bins this year. Note that the standard versions of this pattern are available for wholesale purchase by your local shop from CATCH Fly Fishing. $2.50.

Bicolor Ant, PFS

PFS Bicolor Ant

There's nothing at all special about this fur-bodied ant pattern except one thing: it's color, which exactly matches the red and black two-toned ants common in our area and which no commercial patterns effectively imitate, in our opinion. We stock two versions of this ant in the bins, plus probably half a dozen others that we might have guided trip clients use. This version is the most basic, and the most effective on wary fish such as those in Slough Creek in August and September. Available in sizes 16 through 20. We go through about 200dz of these a season, which ought to tell you how well they work.

Slight tweaks to this pattern will go into place late in the 2019 season, namely a change in the hackle to make it even fishier. We've got to use up current stocks first, though...Priced at $2.50

Bob Hopper, Wiese's

Wiese's Bob Hopper

Walter developed this tiny (#14) hopper pattern in 2012 after noticing refusals to a former favorite, the slightly larger GFA. Since then, it has been far and away our best hopper pattern throughout the Yellowstone region, producing easily twice as many trout on guided trips as all other hopper patterns combined, and yes this includes "Chubbies." It doesn't matter which river. The trout adore this fly. The most popular color is pale pink, and we routinely sell upwards of a thousand in just this color each season. Walter ties so many that he has gotten custom foam cutters made just to make the process faster. We now stock these in the following FIFTEEN colors, of which those with an asterisk are new for 2019: white, light pink, dark pink, dark tan, gold, purple*, mustard*, marble pattern, wood grain, cinnamon*, dark brown*, black, peach, olive, and red*. Beyond that, our guides hoard a few dozen tied from harder-to-find colors of foam, as well. We almost guarantee you will use this pattern at least part of the day if you float the Yellowstone with us in August or early September. Several colors of this pattern are produced by CATCH Fly Fishing and available for wholesale purchase by your local shop. CATCH versions priced at $2.50. Those tied by Walter are $2.75.

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 $2.50. Those tied by Walter are $2.75.

EMT, Korn's

Korn's EMT

Doug's loopwing drake mayfly emergers are must-haves out in the Lamar drainage in the summer, particularly when the fish grow suspicious of higher-floating flies. Grease the hackle and foam, not the rest of the fly, so the the abdomen sinks. Available in #12 and #14, in green, brown, tan, and gray, to match all the assorted large mayflies in our area.

Flying Ant, PFS

Cinnamon Flying Ant

This is the other "core" custom ant pattern we stock. Its split synthetic wing and heavy hackle make this variant easily visible and higher-floating than any other we stock (including the custom guided trip-only versions). This makes it the best rough water variant of all our ant patterns. Since 2013, one color or another has been our best "numbers fly" on Yellowstone River float trips during the month of August. It's also a great choice on the Yellowstone in the Park, in the Lamar Drainage (except on flat sections Slough Creek), and anywhere you want to fish an ant pattern that'll stay afloat and that has attractor properties. Available in cinnamon and bicolor (red and black), both #16. Priced at $2.50

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 likely a few new colors in summer 2019. Copper and purple are produced by CATCH Fly Fishing and available for wholesale purchase by your local shop. CATCH versions priced at $2.50. Those tied by Walter are $2.75.

Holo Cripple, Wiese's

Wiese's Holo Cripple

This is the "techy" version of the Hazy Cripple, tied with a material that adds a subtle shimmer and on an emerger hook to float even lower. This one is best for spookier fish, in lower-light situations where the glimmer off the body is subtle. Available in #16 and #18, in purple and rust colors. This pattern is available from CATCH Fly Fishing and available for wholesale purchase by your local shop. Priced at $2.50.

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!

Purple Phaze Emerger, Wiese's

Wiese's Purple Phaze

Like Doug's EMT, this pattern is designed to float butt-down in the film. It's another special-purpose "Haze" variant, this one primarily intended for use in bad light or by those whose eyes aren't what they once were. To tell the truth, we use the other versions a lot more, but this one is wildly popular up on the Missouri River for some reason. #14 through #18. This pattern is available from CATCH Fly Fishing and available for wholesale purchase by your local shop. Priced at $2.50.

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...

Soda Fountain Spinner, PFS

Jewell's Slough Creek Spinner

Don't let the name fool you. Though tied spinner-style, in reality this pattern is a very technical drowned dun, imitating one of the all-important western green drakes that failed to achieve liftoff. It is a great choice for spooky flat water Lamar Drainage cutthroats. It should be fished flush in the film or even slightly underwater, typically behind a fly you can actually see. #12 and #14.

During the 2018 season we expect to still be selling through a previous version of this pattern that went under a different name. The new versions have a tweaked wing and different tails.

Spentwing, Korn's

Korn's Spentwing

Is it a dry or a wet? That's a tough call since this pattern can be fished either way and works either way. Dress it with a powder-type floatant and it's a flush-floating adult caddis. Leave it off and it's either an emerging caddis or a drowned egglayer, probably the latter to nine fish out of ten. Either way, it's a great choice as a dropper fly during the summer, especially when the sun is bright and the fish might not rise to a higher-floating caddis pattern. You should always fish this one behind a dry you can actually see, to serve as a strike indicator. Available in #14-16 tan, #16 peacock, #16 pearl, and #16 pink as caddisflies.

This pattern also makes a nifty drowned spruce moth. During years when these terrestrial insects hatch in abundance, the trout get suspicious towards the standard high-floating versions and want something floating low. In such situations, turn to a Spentwing Spruce Moth, available in #16.

Synth Double Wing, Wiese's

Synth Double Wing

This burly attractor dry can be just the ticket immediately after runoff when the trout have seen one too many Salmonflies. It's a takeoff on the little-remembered Gary Lafontaine pattern called the Double Wing, substituting synthetics for the original hair wings. Available in #6 this season (though it's a "small" #6), but we hope to have it in #8-12 soon.

Widow Moth, Wiese's

Wiese's Widow Moth

Walter developed this "medium-riding" spruce moth pattern to split the difference between the standard high-riding patterns we can get commercially and Doug's Spentwing. In fact, he uses the same custom dubbing blend Doug makes for his pattern for this fly. We primarily turn to this pattern in rough water situations when the trout might be looking for moths and might be looking for a stray caddis, such as in areas with sparse evergreen trees, where most guides don't think to use spruce moth patterns. Walter once had an epic day with clients floating right through the heart of Livingston using this pattern. It was a heavy spruce moth year, and the small numbers of ornamental evergreens in peoples' yards that had been infested with spruce moths were enough to get the fish looking for them.

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 $2.50

BLM, PFS

BLM Nymph

This pattern, originally developed in Colorado and popular in the Rockies for about fifteen minutes in the early 2000s, is one of the most effective patterns we've found for private lakes and shallow, weedy mountain lakes. It probably represents midge pupae on these waters. While available commercially in two or three colors, we tie it in color combinations we can't get from the big companies: a PMD blend (gold-copper-brown) and brown-olive. Both work great on the lakes, and they can work for spooky trout in clear water situations on rivers, too. #16-18 in both colors. Priced at $2.50

Disco Midge, ???

Disco Midge

A shop customer once left behind a half a dozen of this version of the popular Disco Midge, with the comment that they worked great in the region in late fall. We tried them on a late-season Yellowstone float when we expected a mix of BWO and midges to be hatching, and the customer was right: we got some great fish on the fly, including a 22-incher for Richard Parks. Since then this pattern has been one of our standby subbsurface midge patterns. #18. Thanks, random customer... Priced at $2.50

Four Feather, Wiese's

Wiese's Four Feather

This is the second pattern Walter developed after moving to Montana in 2001. It is tied from the feathers of four different birds, as the name suggests. It is a general-purpose attractor mayfly nymph most useful on larger and/or rougher waters, such as the Yellowstone and Gardner at the tail end of runoff. #12-16. Priced at $2.50

Gray Glass Caddis, Wiese's

Wiese's Gray Glass Caddis

Walter developed this pattern his second or third season in the Yellowstone area. This is not a general-purpose fly, and it's not durable. In fact one errant backcast that hits the rocks can be the end of it. That said, it's the sort of fly that can produce three or four good fish on a hot, bright afternoon on the Lamar when nothing else is working. If you're stumped about what to use, tie one of these with a small mayfly dropper, a couple of tin shot, and a strike indicator, and fish the deepest pools you can find. #14.

Holiday Stones, Korn's

Korn's Holiday Stone

Doug developed these stonefly nymphs as more-realistic complements to Matt Minch's stones, using Easter basket grass for the wing cases and shellbacks (hence the name). They tend to work better in clear, low water than Matt's stones. Available in #4-6 black and #10-12 gold.

Hula Princess, Wiese's

Wiese's Hula Princess

Walter developed this Serendipity-Prince-Czech Nymph combo in about 2011 to serve as a changeup nymph to the popular beadhead Prince. That's exactly how we use it, particularly on waters that see relatively heavy pressure like the Gibbon River Canyon or some roadside brook trout creeks, as well as the Yellowstone. Fish it either as a dropper under a dry or fished deep. #12-16. Priced at $2.50

Jumbo Chironomid, Wiese's

Wiese's Jumbo Chironomid

This large, unweighted chironomid pupa is an excellent choice on private lakes before early June, when the lakes are often stained and the fish are looking for a big mouthful. It also works well on Merrell Lake all season, due to the suspended algae common in this lake. Available in red, wine, and black, #10 or #12 depending on color. Priced at $2.50

Lucent Prince, Wiese's

Wiese's Lucent Prince

When Montana Fly Company brought out a line of fine, shimmering chenilles, Walter developed these technicolor versions of the classic beadhead Prince Nymph. They work great as dropper nymphs or fished deep on the Yellowstone. Available in amber, peacock-green, and black, #14-16.

New Nymph, Minch's

Minch's New Nymph

Matt developed this pattern in New Zealand after noticing the trout keying on cased caddis with neon-green heads peeking out of their casings. In our neck of the woods, it's an all-or-nothing fly. The fish either love it or ignore it, and this doesn't seem to have anything to do with whether there are caddis around. In fact, it is sometimes our top nymph in September, when few caddis are hatching. Fish it either deep or as a dropper under a dry, and don't hesitate to fish it on the swing (unusual for a brass beadhead nymph). #12-18.

SCHWARPF, Korn's

Korn's Schawarpf

Doug developed this caddis pupa based on the similar SCHWAPF. In years with heavy caddis hatches, it's a great bug on the Yellowstone in the summer, both fished as a dropper under a dry and deep. It also works as an attractor nymph on any rough stream. #14-16 tan, olive, and bright green "Green Lantern."

Shimmer Nymph, Wiese's

Wiese's Shimmer Nymph

Walter developed this series of slender, segmented, flashy nymphs to combine the segmentation of the Copper John, the flash of the Lightning Bug, and the overall profile of the Pheasant Tail. They have proven effective everywhere from the Paradise Valley spring creeks to Yellowstone Park waters to the Missouri. We carry them in #14-18 Rust (PMD), #16-18 Chocolate (BWO), and #16 Black.

Skinny Nymph, Wiese's

Wiese's Skinny Nymph

There's no doubt that slender, thread-bodied mayfly nymphs are hugely effective on heavily-pressured waters. These are Walter's. Available in brown, olive, and purple, all with tiny glass beads to add sparkle and just the slightest amount of weight. Try these on the spring creeks, the Missouri River, the Lower Madison, or late in the season in the Lamar Drainage (especially the purple one!). All #18. Priced at $2.50

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...

Y2K Egg, PFS

Y2K egg

This strange cone-shaped egg/attractor pattern is an Ozarks staple when tied in bicolor (such as yellow and orange) combinations and larger sizes, but we've found it's SUPER effective in small (#16) sizes and natural (pale pink and apricot orange) colors, both during the March-May spring rainbow run on the Yellowstone and Missouri and when the browns are running from September through November. It has worked wonders for us both on resident fish and runners, and we're sure it'll do the same for you. #16 apricot and pink. Priced at $2.50

Yellowstone Nymph, Garris'

Garris' Yellowstone Nymph

Josh Garris, of Curtis-Wright Outfitters in Asheville and Weaverville, N.C., brings a hosted group West to fish with us just about every year. This is the only nymph he typically fishes when he comes out. In addition to serving as a generic attractor and caddis pupa, it's also a dandy sowbug imitation up on the Missouri River. Yes, the thread hanging loose is intentional... #14.

Drowned Haze v. 2, Wiese's

Drowned Haze

Purple and dun soft hackles had been special-purpose dropper patterns for us on Yellowstone River float trips in the fall for the past several seasons, imitating drowned gray Baetis mayflies, but we were never really entirely happy with them. Last fall, Walter added sparse gray wings, tied spent, and that did the trick in early testing in late September and October 2017, particularly with novice clients who had trouble seeing the dries we typically use during BWO hatches. #16-18

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 $2.50

Kaufmann Chironomid, PFS

Kaufmann Chironomid

The original version of this pattern by the great Randall Kaufmann has largely fallen by the wayside. In fact, we've never seen it in another shop. We tie them big (#12-14) and with a few tweaks that make them hugely effective for private lake trout that are chasing big emerging midges. Strip these either just under the surface, if you're seeing a lot of fish cruising near the surface and rising aggressively, or a bit deeper behind a leech or streamer, if you're seeing only occasional rises. Use stout tippets! The fish hit these hard.

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.

Super Pupa, PFS

Super Pupa

Fly shop customers from Europe introduced us to this Woolly Worm-style pupa pattern, which they stated was a standby in Scandinavia for European grayling and which also worked great on Slough Creek. We experimented with the color they showed us and several others, and sure enough this fly was just "oddball" enough to work great. It's particularly effective when stripped just under the surface as a caddis emerger, much like the similar Crackleback. For that reason, we tie and fish it in cream to imitate the Firehole's White Miller caddis, tan to imitate the predominant Hydropsyche (tan) summer caddis, and yellow, to cover the same bases as the Crackleback. All #16. Priced at $2.50

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 $2.50

Woody, PFS

Woody

We can't remember where we learned about the original version of this simple yet flashy and impressionistic little lake wet fly, but we knew immediately it would work like gangbusters in private lakes. We were right. We mostly fish this one stripped, either in tandem with another small midge pupa just under the surface or deep, behind a leech. #16. Priced at $2.50

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.

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.

PFS Bugger

PFS Bugger

When is a Woolly Bugger not just a Woolly Bugger? When we tie the fly with an extra-fat tail to keep a heavier profile when retrieved. We've been tying Buggers like this since the early 1980s and they still work. Available in sizes ranging from #4 to #12 depending on the color, of which we tie seven. Some are beadheads, some are plain. Priced at $2.50

PT-Bugger, Wiese's

Wiese's PT Bugger

Walter developed the PT-Bugger (which stands for "Pheasant-Two" in this case, it's a long story) way back in 1999 for the White River in Missouri and Arkansas. It works great here two. Tied with heavy barbell eyes, heavy feather collars in addition to the normal body hackles, and colors suggestive of sculpins, this pattern is most effective when fished on a "drift and drag" technique under an indicator. If it dead-drifts, great. If it drags, great. Strip or jig or twitch it a time or two. It rides upside-down, so it hangs up a little less often. Available in #4-8, in tan/brown, olive, and black.

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.

Whitefish Kreelex, Wiese's

Wiese's Whitefish Kreelex

Chuck Kraft's Kreelex is unquestionably one of the most popular streamer patterns in the Rockies these days. It's available in myriad colors from Montana Fly Company. They don't tie it in this color, which is super-effective on aggressive fall browns, and super fun to fish since it's so visible. You'll see most of the eats. #4-6, and $3.00 apiece due to the expensive eyes and somewhat hard to acquire body materials, which are not those used on the standard Kreelex.


Parks' Fly Shop

PO Box 196 or 202 Second Street South

Gardiner, MT 59030

Phone: (406) 848-7314

Current Hours: 9AM-5PM Daily, 10AM-4PM Sundays, Occasional Closures

E-Mail the Shop (General Inquiries)

E-Mail Walter (Guided Trip Questions)

E-Mail Richard

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