TROLLING FLIES

Home of Arctic Fox and J. Fair Trolling Flies

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 fur.

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 imagination.

In 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.

Rainbow Trout: This pattern is based on the pink/blue hues typical of juvenile rainbow trout. It was the first in our baitfish series.

Lahontan Redside 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 dace patterns.

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.

CHARTREUSE: This 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.

Cinnamon: This 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 Rocky Mountains.