Don's Fly Tying - The Brown Leech

[The Brown Leech]

This year, the ice on White Lake cleared on April 17, 1997. After a long, snowy winter, the craving was strong to dip a fly in that fabulous rainbow lake. It wasn't until Sunday the 20th that I was free to try my luck. I had tied up several brown leeches modified from a commercial version that was rather successful in early spring last year on White. As luck would have it, just as we arrived at the lake, a steady rain started to come down. We waited for a time but the urge to fish was just too strong and even though I had forgotten to bring my rain pants, we headed out on the water. And pour it did, alternating between a steady drizzle and violent downpours! After an hour or so, my jeans felt like I had walked through a car wash and the wind gusts began to feel oh so cold. However, just as we were talking about heading in, a heavy strike rocked my fly rod and about a 3 pound White Lake rainbow leaping wildly behind the car-topper, my brown leech embedded in its jaw. The fish fought stubbornly in the steady downpour but when I began to think about the landing net, a quick flip and the rainbow was free. The barbless hook had either worked loose or I was not diligent in keeping a tight enough line.

We tested the merits of the brown leech again on the following Thursday and it did not disappoint us. I had four solid strikes and again failed to land a fish but my fishing companion, Skip Wheatley, managed to land two beauties on a similar pattern, one fish weighing a good 4 pounds! I feel this fly is a definite winner and thus the choice for this month's fly tying feature.



Start by crimping the hook barb in order to slide the small gold bead through to the fly head. I buy a lot of my fly tying materials in sewing shops, including the embroidery floss, the beads and the invisible thread used to tie this fly. I tie some of these flies weighted because in the first few weeks after ice-out, the fish are often deep, perhaps to avoid the oxygen depleted water near the surface. Therefore, wind about 8 turns of fine lead wire just behind the gold bead. The tail is next and I double a folded length of embroidery thread to extend about one quarter inch behind the hook bend, half hitch along the hook shank, and then I cut the extended loop so that 4 strands of the floss make up the tail. Then wind your rust chenille from the bend to the gold bead and tie off. The final step is to tie in the marabou wing and here is where the invisible thread is invaluable! I use 4 or 5 separate pieces of marabou and start by tying in the first piece about 1/4 inch from the hook bend, working in each piece of marabou until I reach the gold bead at the fly head. Each piece of marabou is cut in length to reach about 3/4 inch behind the hook bend before tying it in, ie, you end up with a marabou back of uniform length. The invisible thread allows you to tie in each separate piece along the hook shank without much distortion to the chenille body! Cement and whip finish at the head and you have just completed a winning rainbow trout fly.

Your comments are welcome at "dhaaheim at telus dot net"

Http:// -- Revised: April 29, 1997
Copyright © 1996

[Canada Flag Icon] CANADA, a clean, spacious, scenic, fun place to visit!