Article Contributed by Field Staff Writer H. Jefferson.
When I was first getting into fishing flies I became a member of Trout Unlimited and in addition to my membership was mailed a bumper sticker, a hat, and thirteen of their favorite flies. In that group of flies I received a little green bit of fuzz tied to a hook, and my immediate reaction was “too bad they couldn’t send me a REAL fly to fish.” I immediately scorned this bug because of how simple it was and how little thought was required to tie it. It took me a few years before I ever tied it onto a leader and it took all sorts of anglers (much more competent than myself) recommending it before I fished it seriously. When I did, I started catching fish on a highly technical creek where I was having the hardest time matching midges on fine tippet in slow, clear water.
To be completely honest I was pissed off. Here I was examining spider webs, picking out tiny chironomids, and matching them perfectly, meanwhile the trout would nose, false take, and refuse the flies I slaved over in my vice.
The aforementioned creek, a central Pennsylvania gem that holds a special place in my heart, is choked with eastern hemlocks that reach their branches over the water to steal flies from sloppy casts. Despite the tight situation, I love the wood thrush and veery songs I hear, the bear scat along the creek bed, and the solitude that can be found not too far from the parking spaces. When I finally peeled my eyes off the water and started looking at the timber I saw the green weenies in the hemlocks dangling over the creek.
The green weenie is the name of the fly used to imitate the cute little green inchworms. These are the larval stage of the Geometer moth, and the name is Greek for “to measure the earth,” hence inchworm. These bugs are plentiful in the eastern hemlock timber and are cumbersome, falling into the creeks enough to be a recognizable food source to the trout of these waters. I’d like to add that the TU bugs I received were all great and I was an idiot not to trust the experts.
These flies I usually sink and dead drift, but I have friends who tie them in foam and readily catch big, buttery brownies on the surface.
- Hook: Nymph hook sizes 14-8
- Thread: Chartreuse, any size will work
- Body: Chartreuse micro chenille
- I like to tie the chenille in starting at the eye and working my way to the barb of the hook.
- The trick to the tail bit is to twist it between your fingers. Twisting it makes the tail much stiffer, and when tied correctly the fly will dance and wiggle as it sinks down through the water column. I think it looks like a worm struggling and freaking out over the fact that it is drowning.
- After I twist the tailpiece and fold it over it will wrap around itself like a little bit of rope. Here I will tie in the thread right above the barb.
- Next step is to wrap the twisted chenille back towards the eye of the hook. With one hand I will hold the chenille down and with the other I will tightly wrap the thread over the chenille to lock it into place. Do not worry about letting the thread show on the outside, if the colors match it will help with the durability and will not affect the way it looks in the water.
- Afterwards whip finish, add a dab of head cement, and roll cast it under some conifers. Enjoy!!
As a side note I am a very stubborn person and I insist on adding something to this fly to make it more complicated. I’d like to be clear that the fly fishes best in its simplest form, but if you put the trout on a pedestal (despite their peanut-sized brain) and are offended by the idea of a noble trout eating something so simple you can add some extras to it. As I said before it will actually hurt your success rate, but will help your pride. Sometimes I will wrap size 18 dry fly hackle around the body or add a little feather to the front to give some color variation.