Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Pom Pom fly - your alternative to a yarn fly

If you are new to North Shore steelhead fishing, you will soon find out that yarn is a popular and effective "fly" for our migratory steelhead, trout, and salmon.  

Many anglers simply snell a hook and place a chunk of their favorite colored yarn inside the main loop, pull the snell tight, trim up the yarn, and you are off fishing. These anglers often have several colors of yarn tucked away in their vest along with a few hook sizes for easy access.

For those anglers yet to learn how to snell a hook, there are two alternatives.  You can visit your local fly shop and purchase some, or you can make your own.

There are several ways to tie your own yarn flies, but if you want to try a simple alternative to a more traditional yarn fly tying pattern, give pom-poms a try.  

You can find pom-poms at most craft stores.  They come in all sorts of sizes and colors, but look at the variety packs for starters.  When selecting a size, keep it to a size smaller than a dime or a pinky fingernail.  The yellow fly with a blood dot (sharpie marker) pictured above is a good size for low and clear water.  Go a bit larger for the high water spring conditions.

When selecting hooks, don't use those no-name bargain hooks.  Purchase a tried and true brand... another reason to visit your local fly shop.  A good all around style and size is an egg style hook in a size 6.  Other styles and sizes also work, but this is a good place to start.  Now you simply poke the hook through the center of the pom-pom and slide it up the hook.  

The pom-pom will need to be secured to the hook or it will slide around.  To be most effective, the pom-pom needs to be secured right behind the hook eye. A great way to do this is with some tying thread.  With the pom-pom slid up agains the hook eye, you only need a bit of thread on the hook shank at the rear of the pom-pom. This bit of thread is all you need to keep it from sliding to the rear of the hook.  

If fly tying is not your thing, back the pom-pom down the hook shank a bit.  Place a drop of super glue on the hook rear of the hook eye.  Slide the pom-pom up and over the glue.  When it drys, you can place a drop behind the fly if the pom-pom slides a bit, just be carful not to get glue all over the pom-pom.  When all dry you are on your way to a simple yet effective north shore fly pattern.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Lake Superior tributary clean up gets notice.

Be part of the solution.
Join the Adopt-a-River program.

Since 1989, volunteers have removed over 6.5 million pounds of trash from thousands of miles of shoreline on Minnesota’s lakes, rivers and ponds. Minnesota Steelheader, a non-profit conservation group is one such volunteer group.

We sure are! We (Minnesota Steelheader) have been part of the program since 2011, pulling hundreds of pounds of garbage and debris from the Sucker River over the years.

The year 2014 was a memorable clean up year.  The weather was terrific.  It was a cool clear morning as the sun was gently rising in the southeasterly sky over Lake Superior.  One of those picture perfect mornings that made you just want to sit back and enjoy the scenic splendors the North Shore offers.

We had an eager group of volunteers show up to help with our efforts that September morning.  We also had our staff photographer along to capture the day.  After some basic instructions and trash bag distribution, our glove wearing, wader and boot laden group, ventured out.  Volunteers hit the ditches along HWY 61 at the Sucker River overpass, a few attack the high visitor traffic at the scenic route parking lot, and the rest worked in the river itself, the banks, and the surround woods for anything that does not belong.

We found over 100lbs. of items that day.  Most notable was capture by our photographer and pictured in the previous post.  That picture is also being proudly used by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources as their featured header image on the Adopt_A-River webpage.  It is nice to be noticed for our efforts!
Here is the link:

Joining the program is easy and FREE!  You do not have to be a non-profit to do this, anyone can set up a clean up program.  Reach out the MN DNR at the above link for more information.  Or contact us if you wish to be part of our 2016 clean up crew, we welcome anyone willing to volunteer a little fishing time.