Halloween is around the corner and it seems that everywhere you look you can’t escape the color orange. While changing leaves, pumpkin patches, and snack-sized peanut butter cups abound, for fly fisherman, the color orange presents a different appeal—one that triggers a ferocious take, the arching bend of the rod, and the screeching sound of line peeling from the reel. Everyone’s go-to fall color is universally appealing for both humans and fish alike.
As the weather cools and you hunker down in your fly tying cave before sneaking out for some pre-winter time on the water, it’s important to embrace orange and use it to your advantage. Here are four great ways to put a little more orange into your fly box.
1) Orange Hot Beads
There’s something about a bright orange bead that can really trigger a strike. Whether you choose the fluorescent orange tungsten and brass beads, or a pearlescent orange glass bead, the color works well as an attractor and also stands out in murky water. Orange beads give nymph patterns like pheasant tails, caddis pupa, prince nymphs, copper johns, and midge imitations an extra wow factor that could be the difference between filling your net and getting skunked.
2) Orange Eggs
If you’ve eaten at a sushi restaurant recently, you’re probably well aware that orange is often the color of fish eggs. Whether tied using antron, yarn, or fly foam, an orange egg pattern is a favorite menu item for salmon and trout of all varieties. When fish are spawning, other fish will situate themselves downstream to dine on eggs that get washed downstream. Particularly during the brown trout spawn, which occurs in fall, an orange egg fly bouncing around the bottom will do a good job of mimicking a natural egg’s bright orange hue. Egg flies are straightforward to tie while you may choose to tie entirely orange flies, including just a hint of orange can create a hotspot on yellow, cream, pink, blue, and green variations (not to mention the multi-colored clown egg).
3) October Caddis
While everyone else may be preparing to celebrate Halloween, we fly fisherman are celebrating the arrival of the October caddis hatch. Big, bold, and beautifully orange, the October caddis hatch occurs across the nation and represents a fleeting opportunity for trout to gorge themselves on plentiful pupae and dry flies before the weather turns cold. Variations of the October caddis abound, utilizing materials ranging from orange hackle to orange-dyed elk hair and orange foam, often tied on large hooks size 6 to 12. For a bit of extra guidance, check out our Tuesday fly tying video on the October Caddis. Fill your fly box, then get out and present your new pumpkin colored friends to eagerly awaiting aquatic suitors. You won’t be sorry.
In the meantime, enjoy our Beadhead October Caddis Pupa video. You’ll notice the pupae variation is often on the more yellow side of the color spectrum. Brady just recently tied it and is ready to teach you how to tie it too.
4) Orange Parachutes
Despite desperate attempts to escape the effects of age, the days of keen eyesight are in my rearview, and even large dry flies can be a struggle to see on the water. Luckily, my fly box is packed with parachutes to bail me out – orange parachutes to be exact. Experimenting beyond a white parachute post on any parachute-style dry fly can really help visibility, and surprisingly fish don’t seem to mind all that much either. The material you choose for your post is your personal preference, however, Enrico Puglisi fibers and 3D fibers in orange or the orange UV version are easily tracked on the water because they splay out nicely on the finished fly. If you’re feeling adventurous, try combining colors like orange and chartreuse or orange and hot pink EP fibers. You can also use krystal flash or orange foam posts, which are both visible and water resistant.
This time of year, the color orange is all around us, especially in Colorado where a certain professional sports team is nearing mid-season. Embrace this warm, vital color, and you might just trick some finely finned friends into treating you to a great day on the water.