Sunday, March 3, 2013

It's Chum Baby Time!!!

Little Stone's Chum Baby

 Chum Baby flies are Now available at the

Orvis Bellevue Fly Shop.

 This fly has become a very well known, popular and successful pattern for sea-run Coastal Cutthroat trout fly fishing on Puget Sound regional waters and beyond. I worked this fly up over several seasons of trial and error on my local beaches. After catching many sea runs on it from late winter through early summer, from the north Olympic Peninsula and Admiralty Inlet to the Hood Canal beaches, I knew it was a winner. I originally intended the Chum Baby as an imitation of our out migrating juvenile Chum salmon, which are plentiful here along the shallow and warmer near shore areas, pocket lagoons and estuaries in early spring, and the trout eat them aggressively.

 What has come as a happy surprise is how well this fly can work at other times of year here, even when there are no Chum salmon fry around. And I use it in our rivers and streams too. Even in the fall. Some people are using this fly on the Skagit system for Dolly Varden in the spring  And now many of my fly angling friends and fellow guides are using this as an all-around fry pattern; in Alaska for Rainbow Trout, Dolly Varden, Arctic Char and Grayling, and on the Atlantic Coast for "Coaster" Brook Trout and Striped Bass. We are also using them on Snook, Redfish and Sea trout down south. This has been a very fun thing to watch evolving. And sometimes we need to remember that this whole fly fishing thing is supposed to be fun.

 The Chum Baby fly can be presented using a wet fly swing, dead drift, cast and strip, fast, slow, shallow or deep- as needed. One thing that you will notice about it is that the wing really lights up under water with even a small amount of sunlight. And the sparser you tie them the better this works. Juvenile salmon and other forage fish are not opaque underwater, they are semi transparent. The distinct dark peacock herl collar on this fly is meant to emulate the eye of  a chum fry. The glittering tinsel body is to imitate the gut and the two crystal flash strips represent the lateral line. The barring of the natural Fox Squirrel tail wing seems to work very well, even though most of the Chum salmon fry and older juveniles you see will be subtler in color, spotted, and usually more on the green, olive brown side. The peacock herl topping is simply because I am old fashioned, and I try to include some of the more traditional features of old world patterns in my flies. All in an impressionistic effort. Strictly speaking we can call this fly an "attractor" pattern.

 I tie them sparsely in the early spring, March and April, at under two inches long overall. By May and June I tie them much longer, and with a larger bead. They can be tied with a smaller hook, size # 8 or #10, and with a much smaller wing etc. But if I am tying it larger I do not increase the hook size above #6 as we are trying to avoid injury to these precious wild trout. I like these medium shank length hooks as we tend to get good hook ups, with only very rarely any deep hooking or tongue injuries this way.

 The Chum Baby Challenge! Every year for some years running since I created it, I have shared this fly with my fishing guests and friends. And I make this offer: Take this fly and fish with it- wherever you go, whatever you fish for. And take some pictures of these fish. Send me the pictures, with your information and fishing story. Each new species caught gets entered into the annual Chum Baby Challenge. And at the end of the year I draw from those names, and  the winner gets a box of my own hand tied flies. And I will post the picture and your story here at the end of the year.

 If you want to tie your own Chum Baby flies, and if you would like to have a tying recipe and model flies to begin with:

Send me $5.00 and a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope, and I will send you back two original Chum Baby flies, hand tied by myself- one early season fly and one later season fly- along with a tying instruction page that you can work from to tie your own. And if you would like me to send you an email version of the tying instructions please include your email address as well. Print all neatly and clearly.

Send To:

Bob Triggs
P.O. Box 261
Port Townsend, Wa

 Time to start tying our spring sea run Cutthroat flies! I can taste the salt already. More of my original fly patterns will be shared here soon.

For trip information contact:

Bob Triggs

Phone: 360-385-9618 / International Toll free: 866-793-3595


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