April Fly of the Month: Miyawaki Popper

April Fly of the Month: Miyawaki Popper

Leland Miyawaki's Popper has been a solid fixture on the Puget Sound beach cutthroat and salmon scene for a long, long time.  It was designed to replicate an injured sand lance or other baitfish and wake on the surface.  Imagine you're a predatory salmonid with an eye out for an easy meal.  Nothing screams absolute vulnerability more than a small fish swimming awkwardly at the surface.  When you're at the bottom of the food chain, your life's work centers on evading predators, eating here and there and ultimately hiding out the rest of the time.  Struggling and making a surface commotion inevitably puts you in harm's way most of the time. 

I tie the Miyawaki Popper primary in size 4 and a smaller version in size 6 using a Rainy's Pee Wee Popper head instead of the larger Mini-Me.  I like the size 6 for cutthroat and rely on the size 4 for larger species like salmon and bull trout.  While the fly was originally designed to attract aggressive surface takes along the beaches of Puget Sound, it actually works incredibly well in rivers too during the Spring when thousands of salmon fry and larger smolt migrate downriver towards the salt.  I typically cast it out, throw a big downstream mend in my line and either simply swing the fly or retrieve it in long steady strips, creating a nice enticing "V" wake behind the pattern.

In my experience, you'll often get a lot of follows and even savage takes that don't always result in a successful hook up with the Miyawaki Popper.  Revel in the excitement of seeing the action on top and enjoy the moment.  You now know that there are fish around and can always choose to fish a subsurface pattern on a second pass in the hopes of a solid connection.  While I mostly just tie the Miyawaki Popper in white, I've also done well on pink, chartreuse or olive versions.  Whip up a few before your next beach outing or trip to the lower Skagit above tidewater and see who is willing to come to dinner.


Miyawaki Popper Recipe:
Front Hook: #4 Daiichi 2546
Stinger Hook: #4 Owner SSW
Stinger  Attachment: #20 Maxima Ultragreen
Thread: White 140 Denier Ultra Thread




Confluence Beer Pairing:  The recent spate of sunny days has me on the lookout for something light, clear and refreshing...something to serve as a quenching reward after picking up a winter's worth of windblown branches in the yard or mowing a quickly growing lawn.  Chuckanut Brewing's genuine Bohemian style Pilsner Lager fits the bill perfectly and is now canned for your drinking convenience.  It is equally welcomed at the tying table when putting the finishing touches on a Miyawaki Popper or while taking a break from an afternoon of relentless beach casting on a sun-baked log.

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