March 18, 2013
Best Winter Fly: Serious anglers take great pride in hooking trout with hand-tied flies. Local fly-fishing guide Paul “Pablo” Russell has taken that art to another level: his mayfly pattern, Pablo’s Cripple, is carried by the famed Umpqua Feather Merchants in its national catalog because there are times when no other fly will seduce finicky trout.
The fly pattern is meant to mimic a mayfly, particularly the mayfly commonly referred to as blue-winged olives, in distress.
Aquatic insects go through several stages of life, and one big transition arrives when the nymphs rise in the water to break the surface, shed their nymphal shuck and dry their newfound wings before flying away.
However, some mayfly nymphs are unable to shed their skin and, as Russell puts it, become “stuck in the shuck.” “That can be a trigger for the fish,” Russell says. “When nothing else works, you put the fly on and catch that fish you just spent an hour working on.”
— Tom Ross