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Winter Fly Tying in Montana By Kyle Roope | Jan. 4, 2017

Lately I have been tying up a ton of streamer flies for my favorite time of the year to go fly fishing. Winter in Montana is a great time to get out on any river system. For me it is the fact that fish are still hungry, and if it is above 32 degrees you are ok for freezing temps. This will also ensure that you and your gear will stay thawed out and intact.

The Caterpillar Streamer

The main fly that I have been tying this early winter season is a leech variation of my own design that I call the caterpillar. This fly uses a lot of synthetic material along with some natural rabbit strip material. I will usually tie this fly in olive, white and yellow/orange variations. These colors tend to work out pretty well in the areas that I fish and other new areas I have tried lately.

I use tungsten cone heads and bead heads on most if not all of my streamers and other flies. This allows the fly to sink to the optimum depth so that it can be seen by the bigger fish hiding out in the deeper holes and eddies. I have caught many trout on this fly and it is not a particular easy fly to tie but I will get a video up soon so that anyone can try to make this streamer themselves.


First off, make sure the tungsten cone head is attached to the hook, then let it sit against the eye of the hook. I tie in the flash to start at the bend of the hook. Then I will tie in the rabbit strip tail only to the length of the shank of the hook and no longer, then let the rest of the strip hang back. I then attach the polar chenille and ice dub chenille at the front of the tie in point of the rabbit strip to build up the main body portion of the fly. I will wrap the ice dub chenille first, followed by the polar chenille on top. I will then glue the underside of the rabbit strip with cement and carefully fold that section of the strip down onto the top of the materials I have just wrapped. Press firmly on the rabbit strip to ensure proper drying.

Next, add the rubber legs to each side of the shank. Follow this by tying in the schlappen and wrapping it around the shank until it is firm against the tungsten head. You may need to add two separate pieces of schlappen at this point to build up the front of the fly for maximum play in the water. To finish it off, whip finish behind the cone head and glue if you want. Then attach your thread to the front of the hook near the eye and in front of the cone head. Build up a good enough barrier to keep the cone head in place. Add any type of UV finisher like Clear Cure Goo or the great products that Loon Outdoors offers on their site.


-Olive Rabbit Strips -Tungsten Cone Head -Size 6 hook of choice
-Black flash for under the tail -Olive or green silly legs or legs of choice -Olive Polar Chenille
-Ice Dub Chenille Lt. Olive -Olive 5-7" Schlappen -A good fast drying cement
-Clear Cure Goo (Optional)