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Monday, March 7, 2011

Pink Squirrels and Golden Retrievers

Both have demonstrated their character in yesterday's foray to CamelCreek in quest of the wily winter trout.  We're not talking about cocktail recipes here, rather, a history of results for a well-known and variously tied trout fly.

Dawns a perfect winter fishing day: air temperatures hovering around 38°F while the water, revealing some snowmelt, was just a trifle off-color, with temps of 43°F.

Long known to Driftless Area fishermen, the Pink Squirrel, first tied by Wisconsin fly fisher John Bethke, has proven itself time after time as a reliable "attractor" nymph pattern.  No one really knows why attractor patterns attract fish since they don't imitate any known species or life stages of particular aquatic organisms. But, attract fish, they certainly do, indiscriminately duping browns and rainbows alike, in summer and winter, testifying to their appetites for squirrels or dogs.

The original tying recipe has been modified innumerable times with variations in the dubbing and collar. All seem to work, but the fox squirrel dubbing and pink chenille may challenge the fly tyer's supply house.  Yarn in colors from cream through pink to fluorescent orange will suffice for the collar, but a variation on the fur dubbing has also proven effective by my good friend and master rod builder, Dave Norling, of Minneapolis.

Dave, who breeds and trains golden retrievers (who also attend his fishing forays), ties his pink squirrels with a masterful blend of fibers salvaged from his own genetic line of loyal, faithful, true, and golden retrievers. Just as Whiting hackle attests to the value of prudent breeding in producing chicken necks, so do the photos here attest to Dave's perspicacity in dog breeding and fly tying.

So, the next time I'm out on CamelCreek or some other incarnation of karst geological drainage, perhaps it would be appropriate to raise a toast to John, Dave, trout, pink squirrels, and a continuing line of Rough (Ruff), Ready (Reddy), and all the rest--with a Pink Squirrel, of course!


  1. Very unique fly with a great story behind it. It's a great feeling to fool a trout with a hand tied fly. Look forward to seeing more.


  2. Thanks for the link on the fly! Gonna be tying some of these tonight! Great blog! You got a new follower