ARCTIC FOX TUBE FLIES
This fly series
represents the next evolutionary step in
trolling fly design. It was inspired by
the introduction of arctic fox fur as a
widely available fly material in the
1990s. Previous streamer fly designs
were primarily constructed with
feathers. Feathers are built for flight
which necessitates light dainty
characteristics. By contrast, fur has
evolved to protect the animal which in
the case of fox fur resulted in a high
tensile strength fiber. This fur is
supple which allows it to move in the
water like marabou and still stand up to
minnow crushing hits from predator fish.
The other fur used for streamer patterns
is bucktail. Bucktail is stiffer than
fox fur. Another disadvantage to
bucktail is its tendency to get brittle
after repeated wet/dry cycles. As the
natural oils in the fur wash away the
fibers get brittle and break.
The other quality of
arctic fox fur that makes it ideal for
fly tying is the white color. This
enables us to dye any numbers of bright
colors which are hard to achieve by
bleaching then dying darker furs. In the
last couple years I have added Silver
Fox Fur to some of my flies when I want
to have dark tips as an accent to the
I consider Tube Flies as
part of a system rather than a stand
alone lure. The flies are tied as a mono
color because they are
“tied-in-the-round”, meaning the flies
have no top or bottom. I often stack two
tube flies on the line to get color
combinations such as orange/chartreuse
to get “Fire Tiger”. Black/chartreuse
achieves a black fly with a “Hot Butt”.
Black/orange is a good Halloween fall
color. Rust/orange is a crawdad color
scheme. You are limited by your
addition to color combinations I add
beads to the tube flies. They can be
used as washers to move the hook farther
to the rear when fish are short
striking. I use metal or glass beads for
weight and flash.
BLACK: This has
been our number one selling trolling fly
color for a number of years. Black gives
the best contrast in low light
conditions such as cloudy days,
dawn/dusk times as well as muddy water.
The crystal chenille body has green
highlights that have been accented by
green flash added to the fly.
Tui Chub: This fly
is based on the baitfish which is common
throughout the Great Basin. As with most
baitfish it is counter shaded olive over
pearl/white. This minnow flashes gold
when it turns. It has red under its
scales that are visible from the rear
under water. This red becomes prominent
during the spawning season. This is why
gold and red flash were chosen for this
pattern in a 2:1 ratio of gold to red.
Prior to designing the color scheme for
this pattern I took a trip down the
Eastern Sierra late in the season to see
what lure colors were sold out in many
tackle shops and resorts. By far the
most sold out color was gold/red.
This pattern is based on the pink/blue
hues typical of juvenile rainbow trout.
It was the first in our baitfish series.
Minnow: This is the native minnow of
the Tahoe/Truckee River/Pyramid Lake
drainage. It is common in other
drainages of the Eastern Sierra. The
dominant color feature is the dark
stripe along the flank. It has hints of
red flash throughout the season. At
spawning time the red dominates. When it
spawns in tributary creeks above lakes,
large schools can turn stream pools red.
The dark stripe is also consistent with
Brown Trout: This
is the most recent addition to the
minnow series. It was difficult to
choose the back color for this fly.
Browns have such varied coloration. I
settled on a custom mix of brown and
olive dye. It is a good choice for
imitating a number of rough fish minnows
with yellow hues.
Cop Car (shad):
This black/white pattern was added
specifically for lakes with shad as the
primary baitfish. Lakes Shasta and New
Melones in California are prime examples
of lakes where black/white is one of the
most productive lure colors. We have
added purple holographic and UV flash to
give them visibility to the fish at
depth. This is a shorter version of our
tandem hook Kokanee pattern.
ORANGE: This is a
must have color for Eagle Lake CA. Tests
have shown that in a nutrient rich/algae
green environment the color hues in the
brown/rust/orange/copper spectrum have
the best contrast and are the most
visible to trout. Orange does well in
both spring and fall in all lake types.
In trolling flies and tube flies I
always include an orange one in my
initial fly trolling spread.
is a good “pelagic zone” choice. Deep
water trout and salmon tend to go for
“hot” colors. I have also done well with
this color in brown-silt stained water.
It is a shade of green and has a place
when olive has been working.
shade of brown is popular in Eagle Lake
CA where there are many brown leeches in
the water. This is a good choice for the
nutrient rich lakes in the Great Basin
between the Sierra /Cascades and the