hunting

Lemon Wood Duck, and a Few Flies

Lemon wood duck feathers are one of the most revered natural materials among fly tiers. These lemon flank feathers have long been my absolute favorite natural material to tie with. My first exposure to duck flank came early in my fly tying career in a Fly Tyer magazine, and I was immediately intrigued by the almost surreal nature of the striking lemon color and vivid barrings. I’ve since run into them many times browsing through fly patterns online, most often beautifully tied salmon flies and Catskill dries, which only fueled my interest even more. They took on a prestigious ranking in my mind, and I longed to get my hands on a few, not to mention putting a drake woodie in the duck bag. When my 12 gauge Remington connected on a drake wood duck a few duck seasons ago, I was excited to say the least.lemon wood duck feather

The trout seem to find lemon flank feathers almost as attractive as fly tiers do. The dark barring gives it the appearance of the delicate mottling found on a natural insect, a characteristic that’s hard to replicate with synthetic materials, producing a beautiful and realistic fly. The striking lemon color, the vivid barrings, and beauty of the feather have captured my interest and sparked my fly-tying imagination. Not coincidentally, wood ducks are also my favorite bird to hunt, which may or may not be directly related with the prestige of the feathers on the fly tying bench :). Over the past few winters I’ve tried to add it to almost any pattern imaginable. Here are a few bugs I’ve tied with these awesome feathers…

Some lemon wood duck from a beautiful drake woody I harvested in MN's duck season.

lemon wood duck fly tying

A great drake wood duck, fully reflecting the glory of the Creator.

A great drake wood duck, fully reflecting the glory of the Creator.

Tellico Soft Hackle

Tellico Soft Hackle

A trip out to the Smokies inspired this little Tellico nymph variation. Yellow is huge on trout flies out there, so the lemon flank feathers fit nicely.

  • Hook: #14 wet
  • Thread: Black 8/0 UNI
  • Tail: Lemon wood duck flank
  • Body: Yellow GSP or floss
  • Rib: Copper wire
  • Shellback: Pheasant tail fibers, folded over body and rib
  • Thorax: Peacock herl
  • Hackle: Rust brown/white hen hackle
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Minnesota Soft Hackle

This bug is unique because the materials all originate in Minnesota. Besides the hook and thread, we harvested all the materials ourselves. A red squirrel that we bagged up north provided the dubbing, and we grabbed some hen hackle from the chicken coop out back for the soft hackle. Hopefully it will entice some Minnesota trout.

  • Hook: #14 wet
  • Thread: Black 8/0 UNI
  • Tail: Lemon wood duck flank
  • Body: Red squirrel dubbing
  • Rib: Brown 210 denier Ultra Thread
  • Wing: Lemon wood duck flank, rolled
  • Hackle: Brown hen
CDC Wood Duck Emerger

CDC Wood Duck Emerger

Here’s another fly that has great ties to Minnesota, with all the materials harvested in the state. CDC is another one of my favorites, so I paired it with lemon flank feathers and deer hair to create this nice little emerger. I absolutely love emerger style flies like this, and I’m excited to get it out on the stream and see if the trout approve.

  • Hook: # 14 dry
  • Thread: 8/0 Black UNI
  • Tail: Cream antron, clipped to half the length of the hook shank, and lemon wood duck fibers
  • Body: Red squirrel dubbing
  • Rib: Brown 210 denier Ultra Thread
  • Hackle/underwing: Natural gray CDC, palmered
  • Overwing: Deer hair
  • Head: Red squirrel dubbing

Minnesota winter trout season is right around the corner, and hopefully we’ll make it down for some fishing, but until then we’ll be tying flies and hitting the ice for some hardwater panfish. Also, if you haven’t already, be sure to check out our Facebook page and give us a “like” while you’re there to stay connected with all our fishing, hunting, and fly tying pursuits!

Tight lines,

Conner

Ice Flies, Early Duck Season, and TUNGSTEN Slab Spikes

Here is a recent order of ice flies that just came off the vise. While it’s hard to think about winter right now, ice fishing will be here before we know it and I’m really excited to chase a few panfish and walleye through the ice this season! Some TUNGSTEN Slab Spikes are in the works and will be available later this fall…

Slab Spikes

Slab Spikes

The first week of duck season here in Minnesota was pretty good. We hunted opener with our cousin and had some great action with lots of woodies and a few mallards hanging around the small rice-filled lake we hunted. We also got out a few times during the week and found some wood ducks on the swamp. Definitely need to shoot some clays, though :)

Morning in the duck blind

Morning in the duck blind

 

2012 Year In Review

2012 was probably the best year we’ve had as fly fishermen. It was our first full season fly fishing southeastern Minnesota’s Driftless Area. We fished a ton, camped, and caught some great trout. Here are a few pics and highlights from the season.

Driftless Trout

80 degrees and wet wading in mid-March!

 

Noah with a nice brown trout

 

We found a great new brookie hole...

Fat brookie that crushed Braden's hopper

Another trout on the hopper

Camped on this awesome creek during the fall C&R season

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Smoky Mountains were amazing. We fished Great Smoky Mountains National Park for almost a week in late October. Endless miles of beautiful, trout-filled streams cascaded through the park. While the weather didn’t cooperate on the first few days, we still got some awesome small stream fishing. I landed a 17 ” rainbow, the biggest I’ve caught on the fly.

Lake Taneycomo

Warmwater

The warmwater fishing was great this year. We started throwing big, heavy flies for bass and it payed big. I caught my first pike on the fly, and Braden and I also caught our first smallmouth on a fly rod. Noah terrorized the local panfish population with his glass rod and some Noah’s Minnows. Highlights include a camping trip to the St. Croix River, lots of fishing at the cabin, and finding some small, quiet rivers loaded with fish.

First pike on the fly

Bucketmouth that slammed a big yellow deer hair bug way back in the weeds

Braden caught this smallmouth on his Braden's Crayfish fly

Braden's first smallmouth.

Bass-filled granite quarry

Early morning mist on the St. Croix River

Hunting

We duck hunted a few times in central MN with our cousin Andrew. It was a blast…

Ice Fishing

We brought in the new year with some hardwater fishing on Gull Lake.


Tight Lines in 2013 and thanks for reading!

The Deer Woods

I love this time of year in the woods. A lot of the leaves have dropped, and there is a nice chill in the air. Hunting season is here, and deer opener is right around the corner. The fishing is pretty good too. This weekend we headed up north to check on deer stands for a possible deer hunt. We walked miles of old logging trails through deep woods searching for grouse and squirrels. The grouse are on the low end of their cycle, so by this time of the season the few birds around are pretty smart and wary. I shot one red squirrel, and we flushed two grouse way out of range in front of us. I also got a chance to do some fishing. I caught a few small bluegills while fishing for bass. Even though we didn’t get much action, it was great to be in the woods. The scenery is great this time of year. I’ll let the pictures do the talking…..

Lots of old logging trails to walk

A few small bogs in the valleys broke up the dense woods...

Duck Opener

Duck opener was on Saturday here in Minnesota. We hunted with our cousin Andrew on a private lake in central MN. We got going a little late, but had some wind and an overcast sky to work with. Andrew shot two, a nice drake mallard and a hen woody, and we ended up both shooting one duck, a good drake. I’ve gotta say, I’m very rusty, as I haven’t shot since last October. There’s nothing better than grilled duck after a long day of hunting….I got a few bags of feathers, including some awesome cdc, and mallard flank for Zoo Cougars and other streamers. It was a ton of fun, and I can’t wait to go out again.

 

Deer Camp 2011

This year Braden and I got to go on our first deer hunt (thanks Scott!). Six minutes in the stand a small buck walked right in front of my stand. Just a few points off of an eight pointer (it was a button buck):) It took a while to track him since there was no snow, but it was worth it. Unfortunately, Braden had no such luck. He hunted for hours and didn’t even see a deer.

The cabin we were staying at was on the shores of a lake, and I didn’t fail to bring a rod. Since the hunting was a little slow, I fished for a while during lunch. Started with a zonker type fly in hopes of catching a bass or pike, but was surprised with a small perch that ate my 3″ fly. I switched to a perch fly and Braden and I landed half a dozen each in the half hour we fished.

Guess he was hungry... The fly's tail was as long as the body of the fly, which is visible in the picture.

Tight Lines,

Conner

 

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