Fishing with Rod Discussion Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

Author Topic: Egg Patterns - tying flies that imitate salmon eggs  (Read 3204 times)

RalphH

  • Old Timer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3783
    • Initating Salmon Fry
Egg Patterns - tying flies that imitate salmon eggs
« on: December 06, 2020, 12:29:17 PM »

Here in the Pacific Northwest, egg patterns can be every effective in fall and well into the winter so it’s a good time to have a look at them. Using egg patterns, I have caught coho in October on some of the local flows and trout from mid-November through to the end of January. Mostly the egg patterns I tie imitate chum eggs.

Legend has it that trout get eggs either by bumping ripe female salmon in the belly and forcing them to “squirt a few”. Even brasher fish are claimed to dart in at the moment a salmon pair spawn and gobble eggs directly from a female’s vent or as eggs gather in the gravel depression of the redd. While that may happen and indeed I have cleaned some trout and even coho jacks whose bellies were packed with translucent orange fresh looking eggs, in most cases that’s not the case

There are streams and rivers where during and after the chum spawn loose eggs litter the bottom or drift along with the current. These eggs either get carried away in the current before the doe buries them or are disturbed and exposed later. You can even pick them up at the waters edge. Those eggs are an opaque pale pink perhaps with an orange spot from collected oils. Pick up those eggs, give them a squeeze between your fingers and the resulting paste smells distinctly rancid. They are all water hardened and dead. Trout, bulltrout and white fish love that stuff!

I am going to take a different approach than my past fly tying posts and look at a few styles I have used and how to tie them. All 4 patterns will be under this topic.

I will include specific tying info with photos.

Eggs have to be fished along the bottom to be effective so either weight the hook, weight the leader or some combination of both.

You can use either lead or tungsten wire or slip a bead on the hook before you begin to tie. I prefer gold beads in either 5/32 or 3/16th of an inch.

Tungsten is close to 2x the mass of lead but considerably more expensive. Beads are made either of drilled brass or a tungsten alloy. Both work well.

For hooks I prefer short shank hooks of stout wire. There are “egg hooks” in this style, the Tiemco TMC 105 being an excellent example. I have done well with wide gape caddis hooks such as the TMC 2457 and just about  any quality octopus hook  is a good choice.

For trout I use sizes #6 to #10. If specifically targeting steelhead or salmon #2 to #6 are more appropriate.

For colours I use pale pink, preferably florescent. Some commercial colours that I find effective are "salmon egg pink"and peach. At times colours sold as champagne and cream work well. In the interior hot oranges and flame work well on streams like the Birkenhead, Stellako, Adams and many more.

These days I mostly use egg yarn and include a hot spot of flame or hot orange by layering a small piece of yarn on a thicker piece of pink. Chenille also makes a good egg pattern though I don't think it's any easier to tie with than yarn though there is less waste since the yarn has to be cut under tensions to form an egg .

In part 2 I'll illustrate a simple chenille egg pattern.

Logged

RalphH

  • Old Timer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3783
    • Initating Salmon Fry
Re: Egg Patterns - tying flies that imitate salmon eggs
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2020, 12:53:06 PM »

Part 2 The Chenille Egg

Hook: TMC 105
thread: white or orange 6/0 or 3/0
Weight: (Optional) lead wire or a bead
Body: small or medium pink chenille
Hackle: white marabou or webby hackle (optional)

Put the hook in the vice and attach the thread with a few wraps



I'll use .025 lead  wire for weight. Usually it is sold on spools.

Use a small length of a few inches or just unwind a small bit from the spool.

Tie a small bit on top of the thread layer and wrap the thread back.

Only 3 to 4 wraps of wire are used. Apply some superglue then wrap the thread forward then follow with the wire and tie it off with the thread and break the wire. Coat the wire with tying cement then wrap the thread back.

Strip some  of the chenille fibre from the cotton core and tie in. Then wrap the thread to the front of the wound wire.

It should look like the photo.



Next wrap the chenille to the front of the wire but not off it and onto the shank as the chenille will likely slip and expose the wire.

At this point hang on to the chenille keeping it taut. Wrap the thread over the chenille  so it hangs off the far side of the hook. Hang onto the thread or the bobbin. Move your hand back in line with the shank keeping the chenille taut and tighten the thread then complete the wrap.



Another tight warp can be added then wrap 3 or more turns of thread against the front side of the chenille where it touches the shank. That builds a bit of a thread dam that helps prevent the chenille from slipping forward.



Do not wrap over the chenille!

Clip the chenille and tie off the thread.

At this point that's all that's needed. It will catch fish.

You can if preferred add some marabou or hackle. This adds some action to the fly and some think this imitates a bit of skein.





« Last Edit: December 06, 2020, 05:43:10 PM by RalphH »
Logged

RalphH

  • Old Timer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3783
    • Initating Salmon Fry
Re: Egg Patterns - tying flies that imitate salmon eggs
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2020, 05:26:07 PM »

Ok to wrap up and move on to the next part these days most egg imitations are tied with other materials. Most are tied with egg yarn. Some anglers use ready made imitations of plastic. Cotton chenille is increasingly replaced by plastic fibre.

One product that should work well is gel core fritz. This is the same stuff used to tie the well known Tequila Fly pattern and Bobbies. When wet the fuzzy plastic fibres become soft and pliable. It comes in suitable colours and can be trimmed to shape. Coral is very close to the light pink I recommend.



A few wraps of that, a wrap of UV orange a bead for weight, perhaps a bit of trimming makes a good looking egg.



Fritz Egg.

Hook: #8 Tiemco 2457
Thread: orange or white
Bead: Gold tungsten
Body: Coral Gel Core UV fritz 2 to 4 wraps
Head: Orange Gel Core UV fritz.

up next will tying eggs with yarn, specifically the well known Glo-bug.



Logged

clarki

  • Old Timer
  • *****
  • Online Online
  • Posts: 1636
Re: Egg Patterns - tying flies that imitate salmon eggs
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2020, 10:01:53 PM »

Thanks Ralph. Similar to your elk hair caddis post in late summer, this is also very timely for me. 

This year I wanted to try my hand a nymphing eggs for cutthroat without an indicator, so I went to the flyshop and they hooked me up with Mustad Caddis Curved hooks, C49S, size 10, a couple tones of  pink ultra chenille, and some tungsten beads. I used this video as my tutorial https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1B_gYAn8po&t=117s

And this is what I turned out in my first go. I also re-purposed orange wool from my drift fishing days



Moderately happy'ish with the results. They look sorta egg-like but I am banking on fast moving current and poor fish eyesight to have any success :)

So far I've hooked a few fish and landed a ct and a jack coho. There are lots of fish in the system that should be turned onto eggs so I think I should be hooking more fish than I am, but I chalk that up to my inexperience in my nymphing technique.

Thanks for the tying instructions. I  like the suggestion to strip some of the chenille fibers before tying in.  My ultra chenille seems a bit flat and doesn't have the flowy fibres that yours seems to.

Open to feedback, constructive or otherwise!
Logged

RalphH

  • Old Timer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3783
    • Initating Salmon Fry
Re: Egg Patterns - tying flies that imitate salmon eggs
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2020, 11:47:50 AM »

Part 3 Glo Bugs (and other cut yarn eggs)

Yarn eggs are about the most realistic egg patterns that can be tied.

Glo bugs and other yarn egg patterns are cut from continuous filament yarn to form a round yarn puff that simulates a fish egg. The process is pretty much the same as making a yarn presentation by inserting a piece of yarn in an egg loop and cutting it. However because it’s done under tension, the yarn egg is denser and rounder.

Egg yarn is ubiquitous is tackle shops. While there are brands such as Glo-bug yarn and McFly Foam marketed for tying egg flies, the generic brands in tackle shops work well though they may have some twist in the yarn.

The ideal yarn is a cylinder of continuous yarn filament with little or no twist. It is available in various diameters. Thick yarns can be separated while thinner ones can be stacked. Yarns have to separated into smaller diameter pieces and stacked if an egg spot is desired.

(...next)
« Last Edit: February 24, 2021, 06:08:02 PM by RalphH »
Logged

RalphH

  • Old Timer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3783
    • Initating Salmon Fry
Re: Egg Patterns - tying flies that imitate salmon eggs
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2020, 12:26:25 PM »

The procedure to tie make a yarn egg is straightforward.

1.   Put a hook in the your tying vice and lay down a base of thread. It doesn’t have to be more than a few wraps. Add a small amount of super glue or a whip finish provides a stable base

2.   Cut a yarn piece to size - about 3cm works for me.

3.   Add a piece of contrasting color is you want a spot – hot orange, flame, black or chartreuse are popular with light pink. Separate a 3cm piece of the chosen color that’s about ¼ of the diameter of the yarn

4.   Lay the spot color on top the main piece from step 1.





5.   Place the stacked yarn on top the hook and tie a tight wrap over the stacked yarn.





6.   Tie a 2nd wrap directly over the first.

7.   Pull up on the yarn while keeping tension on the yarn to concentrate the pressure at the tie in point. Maintain the tension.

8.   Add a couple of wraps on either side of the tie in point. Alternatively 2 wraps around the V of yarn at the hook shank can be made. You can let go of the yarn for now

9.   Wrap the thread forward and whip finish. A small dab of tying cement can be applied to the thread (not the yarn) at the V of yarn.

10.   Brush the yarn to loosen the bundle. A tooth brush works fine.





11.   Get a good pair of sharp scissors ready.

12.   Again grab the yarn in one hand & pull upwards.


 


13.   Use the V of the open scissors and cut the yarn firmly, as close to the hook shank as possible. Make a good hard snip!

14.   The cut yarn will open into more or less a 1/2 globe .



15.   Use your thumb and fore-finger to stroke the fibres down to produce a round ‘egg’.





16.   Apply head cement near the hook eye and let dry

The finished glo-bug.





A top view shows the egg spot.





I can readily produce eggs of about 5mm to 10mm or so. Larger eggs are fine but you may need to increase the amount of yarn to keep them firm.

Next time, making a yarn egg using a piece of monofilament.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2020, 06:14:57 PM by RalphH »
Logged

RalphH

  • Old Timer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3783
    • Initating Salmon Fry
Re: Egg Patterns - tying flies that imitate salmon eggs
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2020, 05:34:39 PM »

Thanks Ralph. Similar to your elk hair caddis post in late summer, this is also very timely for me. 

This year I wanted to try my hand a nymphing eggs for cutthroat without an indicator, so I went to the flyshop and they hooked me up with Mustad Caddis Curved hooks, C49S, size 10, a couple tones of  pink ultra chenille, and some tungsten beads. I used this video as my tutorial https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1B_gYAn8po&t=117s

And this is what I turned out in my first go. I also re-purposed orange wool from my drift fishing days


Well there is nothing wrong with the patterns in the video or the ones in your photo. Don't know where you were fishing but as I wrote above I focus on spots where chum have spawned and found that light pink is the best color. at about 3 minutes in the video there are some sampled of banded chenille - alternating light and darker shades of pink or what looks like cream. That's what I used in my  1st couple of posts.

I haven't talked much about presentation other than use weight to get the egg close to the bottom. Some places a bead or weight on the hook will do. Otherwise put BB shot or flat lead twist'ems on the leader.

Essentially it's nymphing and techniques like indicator fishing, high sticking and Euro style work well. Get it down, keep it there with little or no drag and be alert to a strike and set the hook asap. Back in the I whittled my own indicators from cork but really like the thingamabobber. It's very light and comes in a variety of sizes. Use enough weight and leader to hit bottom and draw a foot or two of line back up. Some places a bead or weight on the hook will do.

Hope that helps

Logged

clarki

  • Old Timer
  • *****
  • Online Online
  • Posts: 1636
Re: Egg Patterns - tying flies that imitate salmon eggs
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2020, 11:31:54 PM »

Thanks Ralph, while my ties may appeal to a half blind, half starved fish, I appreciate your pictures and instructions. That will be helpful in round 2 of tying.

I’m trying to learn upstream Euro nymphing. While I have a tungsten bead in my egg, and use a split shot or two, you’re right that I don’t think I am getting it deep enough, or keeping it deep long enough.

My target species is half blind, half starved, cutthroat that suspend in the water column! 😀
Logged

RalphH

  • Old Timer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3783
    • Initating Salmon Fry
Re: Egg Patterns - tying flies that imitate salmon eggs
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2020, 09:59:40 AM »

Once  I would note about the egg patterns in your photo is that they don't limit the hook gape in any way which has been an issue with yarn flies in particular - which I'll get to in my next posts. I think that also may reduce the likelihood of fish ingesting the fly and getting hooked deep ion the throat.

Also suggest you might look into drop shot nymphing. his technique attaches the weight to the end of the tippet ( the point) and the unweighted fly goes on a short dropper 1.5 to 2 feet above. Here are some links:

https://troutbitten.com/2018/09/16/ask-george-daniel-drop-shot-nymphing/

Weighted nymph techniques pretty much all rely on short searching casts - cover all the water with short casts (15 to 30 feet)  & keep in contact with the feel of the weight.
Logged

RalphH

  • Old Timer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3783
    • Initating Salmon Fry
Re: Egg Patterns - tying flies that imitate salmon eggs
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2020, 09:38:17 AM »

Part 4 Mono tied Glo Bugs

There a few of ways that glo-bugs could be improved. The biggest issue is making a sizable egg on a smallish hook reduces the hook gape or even the point. 

Here is a photo I found on the web of an extreme example. This egg pattern includes a foam sphere to make it buoyant.



This may inhibit hooking ability, though that’s debatable. It may also lead to fish swallowing the hook as the big clump of yarn reduces their ability to feel the hook. Frequently hooking fish in the throat and gills may result

The heavy wire hooks used also inhibits how the yarn flairs around the underside of the hook and can cause the yarn for form more a less a semi-sphere – though it’s not at all clear this matters to the fish.  Wrapping wire around the shank to weight the fly exacerbates this problem.
Finally where and how many yarn eggs can be placed on the hook.

By happenstance I found eggs could be formed simply by tying a piece of mono around a clump of yarn and cutting the yarn in the same manner as tying one on a hook shank.

Basically start with the same clump of yarn as in the glo-bug instructions but have 12 inch  piece of monofilament ready.



I have had success using 6 to 12 lb test line. Here I am using a piece of Suffix neon red 12lb test so it's easy to see.


Wrap the mono around the middle of the clump and tie a improved clinch



As you tighten the knot the yarn will flare somewhat



Brush the yarn lightly with an old tooth brush or something similar.

Next I anchor the whole  assembly in a tying vice as once again when cut the yarn,you have to pull the yarn to tension it. I use a Regal vice with clamp mount. I have also done this with a type A vice and with a vice mounted in a heavy base.



Pull upward to tension the yarn and cut the yarn with your other hand along the line shown. To get a small egg of 5 to 6mm cut about 1/8th of an inch above the knot. The Yarn should flare to a globe shape.



If you like you apply a small amount of head cement or super glue to the tie in point to help fix the yarn in place. Use a small amount on a tooth pick or something similar and just follow the path the mono path .

Fix the egg to the hook shank with a few loops of tying thread then pull the egg close to the shank or even dangling behind it if you want. Fold the thread back and wrap back over the thread, whip finish and cement.

Here are a couple of examples of egg placement and there are more variations possible. Note the full hook gape is available.



 Also note in the second example the egg is place over the hook bend putting it right at the business end of the hook to maximize hooking efficiency.



Logged