The Ripogenus Smelt was ​originated by Eddie Rief, of Bangor, Maine.  He tied this fly to represent the smelt that were often flushed into the West Branch of the Penobscot through the McKay Power Station turbines.  The smelt came out of Ripogenus Lake and frequently were stunned or dead after going through the power station.  I remember camping on the shores of the Big Eddy and seeing thousands of dead smelt washed up on the shore in the morning.

Eddie tied this fly with two blue and two grizzly saddle hackles for the wings to give it the bluish tint that was common to the natural smelt in the area.  During times when the smelt were floating in the river, stunned, the most effective way of fishing the fly was to cast upstream, like a dry fly, and dead drift it, twitching it from time to time.  This frequently generated some very hard strikes.

The fly is very effective fished in the traditional manner and I have used it with great success through the Northeast.

​You can order the Ripogenus Smelt for $3.95 each.  Typical sizes are #4,6,8

Order by emailing me at

I will be highlighting  flies from time to time that I feel are ones you should consider including in your fly box.  Some might be seasonal and others are just great flies that are useful throughout the season.  Either way, I hope this feature will spark some ideas for you. 

The Hornberg is a pattern that has been around for many years.  It originated in Wisconsin as an idea of retired Conservation Warden Frank Hornberg and was tied by the Weber Tackle Company.

I have found it to be a very effective fly tied in a wide range of sizes.  I often fish it dry for part of the drift, then when it sinks, I fish the remainder of the swing and retrieve as a wet fly.  In larger versions it can even be fished as a streamer.

This is a "must have" in most fly boxes. Tied with real jungle cock, the price is $3.95 each.  Contact me to order. 

Fishhead Striper Flies

The Ripogenus Smelt

The flies that I highlight in my "Bugs and Smelt - Favorite Flies and Streamside Musings" program include twenty-four (24) flies that I use frequently in my trout and salmon fishing.  The flies are: Dry Flies: Usual, Haystack, Elkhair Caddis, Light Cahill, Fluttering Adams, Hendrickson, Henryville Special, Red Quill

Wet Flies/Nymphs/Emergers: Soft Hackle Emergers (2), Rick's West Branch Caddis, West Branch Caddis, Hornberg, Picket Pin, Bead-head Gold-ribbed Hare's Ear, Grey Nymph, Dun Variant, Flick's Hendrickson Nymph

Streamers/Bucktails: Riogenus Smelt, Black Ghost Marabou, Orange Grey Ghost Marabou, Magog Smelt, Gov. Aiken Bucktail, Montreal Whore

Order this selection of 24 flies for $63.40.

(Fly box options and mailing are additional)

​The ICU Baetis

The Hornberg

I learned about this pattern while reading a wonderful book, The Patterns of Yellowstone  by Craig Mathews and John Juracek.  It is an interesting, Western approach, to a dry fly version of the Blue Wing Olive and I decided to give it a try.  On the Westfield River in Western Mass., I shifted to this pattern while fishing a beautiful pool that had been very challenging and was able to hook up on a beautiful Rainbow trout.  If you are looking for a nice bwo pattern, give this a try.

I found # 20 was excellent but I'm sure when the hatches are right, sizes 16, 18, and 20 would be appropriate for Eastern anglers.

​Order the ICU Baetis for $2.00 each

Al's West Branch Smelt

Blue Demon

Fly Selection from the "Bugs and Smelt - Favorite Flies and Streamside Musings" Program

This wonderful pattern was originated by Al Boyvn, a well-known NH fly tyer who observed the smelt in the West Branch of the Penobscot and tied this pattern to represent those baitfish.  This would be a great fly to add to your fly box for fishing anywhere there are smelt in the Northeast.  

One of my customers asked me to create a fly that was like a Pin Minnow lure he had used fishing for trout and Landlocked Salmon.  With a little experimentation, this bucktail is the result.  I enjoy trying to create new flies that will generate an exciting strike!

​The Fishhead is a style of fly rather than a specific pattern.  Jack Gartside, the very creative fly tyer from Boston, was a major innovator incorporating body tubing into his fly patterns.  I find that by varying the other materials used for tails, skirts, and coloring of the body tubing, a wide variety of patterns can be created.   I usually add weight to the hook, so the fly will sink, yet fish them on a  floating line.  This gives me quite a bit of control over the presentation.  I prefer to paint eyes onto the body tubing rather than use pre-made eyes.  They are very effective and very durable.

If you are looking for an effective striper pattern, try the Featherwing Fishhead.

Contact me for Saltwater fly pricing