Straight From the Fly Bench
The Chappie---More than a Fly Fishers Friend
While most steehead fly patters associated with the Trinity River are tied with subtle dark and drab variations, this edition of Straight from the Fly Bench I have selected a bright attractor or simulator fly pattern that has been a favorite of ours for many years and has consistently proved its effectiveness throughout the entire year---the Chappie. The Chappie is an old pattern, dating back to the 40’s, and was popularized by the 30 year Klamath River veteran, C.L. “Outdoor” Franklin, who claims he “dug” the Klamath River. Several variations have spawned from his original orange wool body/grizzly hackle pattern and we have settled upon a style and various colors that compliment the Trinity and its water conditions. The Chappie is an excellent representative of a single egg, during the salmon spawn, and has proven very effective in many waters during the height of this particular activity. Either dead-drifted in and around spawning salmon or simply fished down and across in tail-outs or riffles that funnel the drifting eggs into primary steelhead lays.
During low-water periods and the height of the spawning activity we have discovered smaller, size #10, patters tied with body colors most closely representing the true single egg to be most effective. Quartered upstream and fished on a true dead drift the take is very subtle. Often only a slight hesitation, signaling a brief series of pulls. When in doubt strike. Quartered down and across the take can be, on the drop/dead drift, as well as the lifting swing; which is a much more pronounced grab. While the Chappie is a great imitator, Herb feels the pattern also is a great suggestive simulator of a fry, freshly emerged from the gravels, and with the egg still attached to its body. The bright body suggests the egg, while black and white barring of the grizzly wings and tails may suggest the fry with pronounced par markings. Combined with the suggestive colors and style, the breathing motion of the Hackles creates a very life like attraction. The Chappie fishes well right on through the winter and early spring season, when, peak numbers of both salmon and steelhead fry are emerging from the gravels, and has accounted for not only numbers of steelhead each year but also some of our largest steelhead as well.
- Hook - TMC 3769 (6-8-10)
- Tag - Silver Mylar (Tied 3/4's bend of hook
- Tail - Two Grizzly Hackles (Tied back to back)
- Body - Florsecent Tinsel - Core Chenille
- Wings - Two Grizzly Hackles (Tied back to back)
- Hackle - Large Gizzly