Davidson River Outfitters - Articles

Articles & Fly Tying Recipes

Created by Newland Saunders from Lenoir, North Carolina in the late 1950’s, the Sheep fly has found a home in the fly box of every prominent trout fisherman that has ever walked the streams of the Southeast.  The Sheepfly has produced more and bigger fish than a lot of other good flies combined, and is a hard fly to fish incorrectly.  I have caught fish while dead drifting the fly, swinging the fly, and on one crazy day I even caught some fish stripping it like a wooly bugger.

Materials Needed for the Sheepfly:

While it looks like a flashy Christmas ornament the sparkle minnow is one of our top streamers.  Not only is effective on trout but it is one of our go to bass streamers as well.

Tying Instructions:


Hook:  Mustad 79580 #6 or equal

Thread:  6/0 Veevus color to match fly body

Bead:  Gold Brass or Tungsten to match hook size

Tail:  White Marabou or desired color

Flash:  Pearl Krystal Flash

Body:  Sparkle Minnow Body Brush Pearl or desired color.



Hook:  Mustad 9671 or equal

Bead:  Black Tungsten to match hook size

Thread:  Black 6/0 Veevus

Legs:  X small brown rubber

Rib: X-Small

Flash: Pearl Midge Krystal Flash

Hackle:  Partridge Soft Hackle

Collar:  Black UV Ice Dub

Abdomen:  Whitlock’s SLF Red Fox Squirrel Thorax Dubbing


Over the past several years, Kevin’s Stonefly has become our number one trout producing fly here at Davidson River Outfitters. Kevin designed this fly to meet the needs of the slightly smaller stoneflies found here in the Southeast. This fly has become so effective that  Kevin’s Stonefly has been featured in two national magazines, and on two national television shows. We have found this fly effective everywhere there are stoneflies, and even on Great Lakes Steelhead.

A long time staple of most fly anglers, the simple Zebra midge is the best caddis pupa imitation any angler can have in their box, and one of the simplest to tie.


Hook: DRO Guide Series 7051 size 16-24 or equal

Bead:  Tungsten bead to match hook size in desire color

Thread: UTC 140 denier thread in desired color

Wire:  X small wire in desired color

Tying Directions

Step One:  Place bead on  hook and then place hook in vice.  Start thread on hook in middle of hook.


Hook:  #8 DRO guide Series 7040 or equal

Thread:  Black 6/0 Veevus thread

Underbody:  Lead Wire .025 diameter

Body:  Medium Brown Chenille or desired color

Legs:  Medium Flexi Floss or desired color



If we had to choose one streamer to fish for trout with anywhere in the world, this would be it. Tied from Red Fox Tail, this streamer has very realistic life in the water and a classic jigging motion that fish find irresistible.

Hook:  DRO Guide Series 7042 #6 or Equal

Thread:  6/0 Camel Uni Thread or similar

Eyes:  X-Small Lead Dumbbell eyes painted red with black pupils

Flash:  Gold Krystal Flash and Bronze Flashabou

Underwing:  Red Fox Tail

Overwing:  Red Fox Tail



Hook DRO Guide Series 7010 size 12-18 or equal

Thread  Red Veevus 6/0

Tail:  4-6 Fibers off of a pheasant tail

Body:  Red and Blue ice dub

Wing:  White Calftail

Hackle:  Brown Dry Fly Hackle to match hook size


Step 1.  Place hook in vise and start thread on hook in the middle of the hook.

This is the standard by which all fall dry flies are measured. BWO's can be found almost every cloudy day in the fall of the year. Never leave homje without one, and smaller is better.


Hook:  DRO 7010 14-24 or equal

Thread Olive 6/0 Veevus

Tail: Medium Dun Hackle Fibers

Parachute:  Calf Body Hair typically white but can be different colors

Body:  Super Fine Dry Fly Dubbing BWO

Hackle:  Light to dark dun Whiting Saddle Hackle


For years as I guide I fished the Clouser Foxee Minnow with great success in high clear water situations.  However I often found myself wanting a fly that would push more water and make a little more disturbance.  I would often switch to wooly buggers in the traditional colors which would work but the fish seemed to like the mottled tan, brown and cream color combination on the Foxee Minnow better.  When tying variegated girdle bugs one night I got the inspiration to tie a variegated woolly bugger.  The first prototypes featured a ginger tail and variegated brown/yellow chenille body with a

This fly is so simple, yet very effective. The soft hackle has been in use for over 200 years and shows no sign of fading off into the sunset anytime soon.

Materials Needed:

Hook:  DRO 7021size 10-18 or equal

Thread:  6/0 Veevus Brown Thread

Body:  Pheasant Tail natural or dyed to desired color

Rib:  Small copper wire

Thorax:  Peacock Herl

Hackle:  Partridge or Speckled hens back


Step 1:  Start thread in center of hook and wrap to rear of hook until thread is directly above the barb.

The Blood Dot was developed by Jeff Blood for steelhead fishing around the waters of Erie, Pennsylvania. We have found this egg pattern to be super effective locally, especially in the fall during delayed harvest season.

Materials Needed:

Hook: DRO 7051 Size 10-16

Thread: Danville Fluorescent tying thread to match dot color

Material:  Egg Yarn of desired color, use a contrasting color to form dot


Step 1:  Place hook in vise and start tying thread in middle of the hook and wind it to the rear of the hook just above the barb.

The clipped caddis was developed on the banks of the famous Madison river in the 1980’s. This pattern has been adapted to be super effective wherever caddis are found in the world. 

Fly Recipe:

Hook:  DRO 7010  Size 12-18

Thread:  Tan or Light Cahill  6/0 Uni Thread

Abdomen:  Ginger or Tan Rabbit dubbing

Hackle:  Grizzly and Brown Saddle Hackle no wider than gap of the hook

Wing:  Dark Elk

How to tie:

Step 1:  Tie thread on hook and wind thread to back of hook just above the barb.  Tie in grizzly hackle.

I designed this fly in 1997 while building my house in Pisgah Forest.  While on the roof working I noticed that there were thousands of saddle backs (tent caterpillars) crawling all over the roof.  I thought if there was that many on my roof that some had to be landing in the stream.  After collecting a few to study, I went back to the house we were living in at the moment and tried to create a fly as close to the caterpillar as possible.  On an outing with my fishing buddy John Brinkley the next day.  I decided to use the fly up in the day when we got ready to go.  It ended up saving the d

This is a re-rerun of an article that I wrote last summer. But it is something that we should all adhere to in the summer time.

I have seen several large trout in the last few weeks caught and released only to watch them float by me down river dead as a door nail. Below are five tips you can use to help trout survive the summer.

Well… it’s that time of year when we start having dreams about where we would like to go fishing over the summer. For some it is an easy choice, for others we only get to make a destination trip every four or five years or maybe even once. So here are some of my thoughts that help me make decisions about where to go.

I often see people standing at the airport trying to figure out what they are going to do since there gear did not make it to the final destination, or what to do about their broken rod. So here are some tips to help you get to your destination with all of your gear.

How many times have you arrived at your favorite fishing spot only to find the river high and muddy? We have all been there from time to time and more often than not we just turn around and go back home. What most of us do not realize is that the majority of large Brown Trout in the river gorge themselves during these times of high off-colored water. Here are some helpful tips that will help you find and catch more fish in high colored water.

Well, winter has finally arrived in the mountains; the fishing however is still decent. But you can get into real trouble, if you are not dressed properly. Here are some things that I do for winter fishing that will help you stay warm and safe.

Tenkara is a traditional Japanese method of fly fishing. A simple and effective way to fly fish the mountain streams of Southern Appalachia. A rod, line and fly are all that is used, NO REEL. The appeal of Tenkara is its elegant simplicity.