Montana Intruder

by Mysticfish on June 22, 2015

Montana Intruder

Montana Intruder Fly

The Montana Intruder fly pattern has been a work in progress for several seasons.  It is modeled from the Flash Bang Intruder that has been my go to fly for Silver Salmon on the Kenai River.  With some color changes and a little down sizing, this pattern has been a winner for swinging up rainbows and brown trout in Montana. It’s flashy, has good swimming action, and is easy to cast on a little two-handed rod.

Wadington 25mm Shank
Senyo’s Standard Intruder Wire
Gamakatsu Drop Shot Hook #4 or #6
Spirit River Real-Eyes Plus Red 5/32″
Senyo’s Laser Dub Tan
UV Polar Chenille Gold
Hedron Flashabou Gold
Hedron Flashabou Silver
Larva Lace Angel Hair Root Beer

Montana Intruder Fly Pattern

Montana Intruder Trout Spey

My trout spey set ups for fishing the Montana Intruder of late:

Sage 4116 with 320 grain Rio Scandi Versi Tip with the Type 3 and Type 6 heads

Winston BIII TH MS  ”3wt Micro Spey” with Scientific Anglers Sharkwave Siege Line and an 8′ 2x leader.

Tight Lines!


Fly Tying the Bald Eagle

by Mysticfish on January 26, 2015

During the Alaska guiding season, my fishing time is limited to just a few hours in the evening.  That is if I can even drag myself out there.  When I do, I don’t want to waste a bunch of time choosing patterns.  I also want to fish flies that are relatively easy to tie, so I have more time left to fish. On any given day, when I do wet a line, I am likely to start with a Bald Eagle.  That says a lot about my confidence in the fly. I grab a spey rod when salmon are common, or opt for my favorite 4wt switch rod when trout and dollies are the primary target.  Then I tie on the Bald Eagle and start swinging.

The Bald Eagle Fly is so named for the obvious color relationship to the great bird.  It is also rare to swing for a couple hours and not see a couple bald eagles whether I am in Alaska on the Kenai River or in Montana on the Missouri. They are after the same prey as I am.  After tying this fly in the cream and brown color scheme, Bald Eagle seemed like the obvious name. The cream colored head simulates either wounded prey or a flesh eating fish, something game fish have a hard time passing up.

The fly Recipe is:

Senyo’s Articulated Shank 1″
Senyo’s Standard Intruder Wire
Spirit River Real Eyes Plus 3/16″
Krystal Flash UV Tan
Flashabou or not
Rabbit Strips Dark Brown
Rabbit Strips Cream
Diichi 2557 Intruder Hook or Spirit River Spear-It Sickle Hook

Fly Tying the Bald Eagle


Brown and cream rabbit was my original “Bald Eagle” dressing and has been a favorite color combo.  More recently, I’ve had success tying the body with black or purple zonker strips and using peach as a head color. I carry a couple flies with ample amounts of flash tied in for sunny days or salmon attraction.  Pearl, Silver and Copper flash are my favorites. In general however, I find that a little Tan UV Krystal Flash works consistently well regardless of the body color or water conditions.

The Bald Eagle can be effectively scaled down by using Pine Squirrel Zonker Strips in place of the rabbit zonkers.  I switch to 5/32″ eyes on the smaller flies. A squirrel strip version Bald Eagle has been a great Montana trout spey swinging fly. Brown, Olive and Claret have worked well for body colors.





by Mysticfish on December 9, 2014

Ok, be honest.  How many fly rods do you have that you seldom or no longer use?  One…three, a whole bunch?  Most of us who have been at it for some time have a closet, den, garage, storage unit or some dark location that is housing unused rods.  Possibly, they were once prized possessions, but then something else came along. Maybe your casting style changed or your rod action preference or your target species or your rod type entirely.

I need a fly rod!

I need a fly rod.


New, shiny, higher tech rods have also come along. Now there are good old fly rods living in lonely spaces, marooned like the sad little doll on the Isle of Misfit Toys. 

Take heart.  There just might be a little boy or girl who would cherish your misfit toys.  Your old toy might create a spark that will ignite a lifetime of fly fishing passion for some youthful recipient. Give that poor misfit rod new life. #passiton

If you are interested in donating your used angling gear, contact your nearest North 40 Fly Shop, or just find a kid, #passiton, and make their day.

Now that you’ve selected some unused but very serviceable equipment to pass on, you should feel great; liberated even.  You can once again consider that new Sage One or Winston Boron III TH-MS that you could not justify with a closet full of rods.

Happy Holidays!

Check out the latest issue of the North 40 Fly Shop eMag.


Alaska Fly Fishing Final Days

by Mysticfish on October 27, 2014

Alaska fly fishing final days are bittersweet.

Alaska FlyFishing Final Days

The atmosphere is changing. The sun is low in the sky, casting golden light.  The days are shortening. The air is chilling.  Leaves are falling. Swans are trumpeting, Wolves are howling. Moose are sparing. The views are achingly beautiful. The longing to reunite with family and friends is a constant ache.  The body is tiring…

Kenai River Fly Fishing

and some of the best fishing of the year is happening.

Alaska Fly Fishing Rainbow Trout

The trout are as fat and feisty as they can get.

Frosty morning Alaska Fly Fishing

The final mornings are frosty and full of anticipation.

Middle Kenai River Morning

The sunrise is a welcome promise of warmth.

Colorful Kenai River Rainbow

The rainbows are spectacular.

Alaska Fly Fishing on a snowy fall day.

The camaraderie on the river is like nowhere else.

Keeping the bugs off

 A fine cigar is a treat.

Final Silvers

 Fat chrome silver salmon are a gift.


Fresh Salmon Sashimi with a side of Bluefin Tuna caps off an incredible Alaska fly fishing final day.

Final Alaska Fly Fishing dawn

On final days mornings, when I roll out and its dark and cold and raining or snowing, I feel like that Dunkin Donuts guy from the 1984 commercial.  Time to make the donuts.

But soon, I’m back on the oars; going with the flow and in my rightful place, sharing the joy of spectacular fall Alaska fly fishing  final days.

Time to make the donuts

Cold, but not too cold.

Snow adds to the magic of final days.

Final trip to the Moose Bar

While the river never goes to sleep, the pace is slowing down.

Alaska Fly Fishing Friends

A final late season outing with friends is a testament to why we are here.  Fishing in this place is really fun.

Final Outing

The beer stays cold just sitting in the boat.

Final Silver Salmon Double

A fish rolled.  Lines were cast.  Lines were crossed.  A fish took a fly.  Then another.  It was chaos. There was shouting, There was laughter. There were gyrations by anglers and fish. You had to be there.

Final Trout Spey

 A final hour of swinging before sunset yields one more powerful rainbow.

Sunset below Kenai Lake

You only have one chance to make a first presentation on your Alaska Fly Fishing Final Day.

Alaska Fly Fishing Final First Cast

It was another fulfilling season…on spectacular waters…shared with exceptional people…creating lifetime memories.