This month's fly of the month features one of our local buddies, Fourth Corner Fly Fishers member and master fly tier. For anyone that doesn't know Jack Salstrom, well...you don't know Jack. Many of his artistically crafted flies adorn the Confluence and Northwest Fly Fishing magazine featured him in their Innovative Tier column a couple years back. Whether you talk to him for 5 minutes or a couple of hours, it's evident that Jack knows a lot about bugs; their shape, color, movement, anatomy, behavior and habitat. In his patterns he thoughtfully seeks to capture all of these traits to the letter. Enter his wiggle bugs.
Many aquatic insects from damsels to burrowing nymphs like the Hexagenia swim with a distinct undulating motion. By articulating the fly with a Flymen Wiggle Nymph Shank or cut off hook you can mimic this unique swimming action. While time consuming to tie, these are fun and effective bugs to make and really look like the real deal. Tie up a few Hex Wiggle Nymphs and head out to Whatcom or Lake Padden on a warm July evening. The nymphs often work best prior to the hatch (around 8 pm or earlier on an overcast day). They'll still produce throughout the hatch but once aggressive riseforms appear all around you it's tough to resist floating a dry.
Jack's Hex Wiggle Nymph Recipe:
Thread: Yellow or Tan 140 Denier Ultra Thread
Wiggle Shank: Stainless wire or cut off #6 Gamakatsu S11S-4L2H
Tail: Yellow Ostrich
Abdomen: Yellowish Olive Dubbing Mix
Rib: Small Gold or Copper Ultra Wire
Shellback: Golden Stone Thin Skin
Gills: Yellow or Tan Uni Stretch
Wiggle shank connection: Beadalon Beader's Wire
Front Hook: #6 Gamakatsu C14S
Thorax: Yellowish Olive Dubbing Mix
Wingcase and legs: Yellow Dyed Ringneck Pheasant Tail
Eyes: Melted #30 Mono or Mono Nymph Eyes
Confluence Beer Pairing: We drink Oskar Blues' Mamas Little Yella Pils when we tie and fish this fly. It fits well in a beer coozy, is a refreshing and light summery pilsner that won't get you too wasted to artfully tie a Wiggle Hex. And if we forget what color a typical Hexagenia comes in, the name on the can serves as a gentle reminder.