Don's Fly Tying - Nation's Blue

[Nation's Blue]

Much of the area that I like to flyfish slows with the heat of summer. However, there are higher elevation lakes where fishing can still be interesting at this time of year. Bill Nation, a 1930s Kamloops fly fishing guide, tied creative patterns with limited materials of his day; patterns that today can still produce trout in good numbers! Blue damselflies are very numerous in July, flitting about near the surface of the water. I cannot say that I have seen trout rising to the damselflies but Nation tied a pattern, although fished wet, that he claimed represented an adult damselfly. I don't know whether the fish can distinguish the pattern as airborne or not, but I have caught rainbow trout on his fly fished just under the surface. A pair of fish that measured 22 inches in length from Roche Lake some years ago comes to mind! Therefore, let's continue with the Bill Nation fly series and examine his Nation's Blue for our July fly tying article.



Start by attaching a thin barred mallard breast feather about as long as the hook shank for the tail. Next half hitch an oval piece of silver tinsel at the hook bend as well as a section of flat tinsel. Wind the flat tinsel about halfway up the hook shank where you then continue with blue floss to the hook eye to complete the body. Now wrap the oval tinsel in about 6 or 7 turns over both sections and tie off, thus forming the rib. The next step is to tie in the blue thin hackle feather at the hook eye, making sure that it flows back low to the body and about as long as the tail. Then make an overwing of barred mallard breast feather slightly shorter but parallel with the blue hackle underwing. Add a full badger hackle at the hook eye, cement, tie off and you have finished another of Bill Nation's classic early British Columbia flies!

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