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Jeffery Skeate

 Jeff's Cricket  
Hook: #12 dry fly hook, standard fine-wire
Thread: 8/0 Black pre-waxed
Body: Black Hareline dubbing with palmered and trimmed black hackle feather
Legs: Knotted turkey tail quill segments
Wing: Black kip tail
Head: Mixed black and grizzly hackle
                           Tying Instructions and Commentary:

Tying Instructions:

  1. Attach thread to hook
  2. Tie in rough black palmering hackle feather
  3. Tie in black body of fly, dubbing a shade more than half-way to the eyelet
  4. Palmer black feather over dubbing and trim to leave "beard" over hook point
  5. Attach two pre-knotted legs from turkey tail quill segments and trim to proper length
  6. Tie in black kip tail wing, using Just The Right Amount!
  7. Attach black and grizzly hackle feathers just above wing and wind both to eyelet to form "head" of fly
  8. Finish head of fly in preferred fashion
Cricket patterns began to be tied particularly towards the middle of the twentieth century, though there were of course earlier variations. This pattern was developed from what I considered the best qualities from a number of different existing patterns. The pattern is easy to see on the water, floats extremely well and is deadly from early August through the end of October on virtually any stream in northeast Iowa. I have used it very successfully in South Dakota, Wisconsin and Minnesota as well. In his book In The Ring Of The Rise (1976), Vincent Marinaro says that the Cricket pattern is the most underrated dry fly imitation in existence. If you hear crickets chirping anywhere in the vicinity, it's time to tie on the pattern! Wait until the morning dew has dried, as one would do with grasshopper patterns. The pattern works amazingly well in quiet, slow moving water as well as fast water. Use 4X tippet material when fishing the #12 Cricket. In my experience, a good cricket pattern is considerably more effective than a hopper pattern. Also, the cricket pattern tends to draw strikes from large trout, so the pattern provides lots of surprises for both trout and fisherman!
December 2008

Snowshoe Trude

Steve Matter

 Snowshoe Trude 
Hook: Barbless #10-16 dry, 1X or 2X long, any brand--they’re all good. I have using #16 on area streams.
Thread: 6/0 or 8/0, black, wine or rust. 8/0 makes for a neater head.
Tail: Golden Pheasant tippet
Body: Peacock herl
Rib: Extra-fine wire or thread
Wing: Snowshoe rabbit foot
Hackle: Brown, grizzly or combo. (I like to undersize the hackle).
                              Tying Instructions  and Commentary:
Tying Instructions:
  1. Attach tail: four or five barbs the length of the shaft, or a little shorter.
  2. Tie in rib and then two or three herl, depending on length of fibers on the herl. I don’t like them too bushy but that is somewhat arbitrary. Wind them about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way up the shank. Counter wrap with rib.
  3. Wrap shank with a layer of thread to give the snowshoe hair purchase. Snip a bunch of hair from between the toes or anywhere up to the hock. Now what is a “bunch”? Trial and error, my friends. You will soon know what looks and handles the best. Holding the bunch in your fingers, tease or comb out most of the under fur. You don’t need a hair stacker--nature is not that neat. Place on top of shank and lock in and tie down the cut ends. Since this material is sometimes slippery, I also use a couple figure eight wraps. NOTE: There is the Jacobsen variation wherein you tie the material by the tips. This radical technique will need stream tests to determine legitimacy.
  4. Hopefully there is plenty of room to attach hackle in usual manner.
Snowshoe feet are hydrophobic. Given that attribute, plus a generous coating of flotant, this fly is a treat to use. Hard to sink it in fact, even after having caught several trout. When it does manage to sink, you can strip it back like a streamer, and trout like it that way also. Equally nice is that this fly is very visible.

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