Fly-tying corner

Improved Hale Bopp

Derek Fergus originated this one back in the 1990s when the Hale Bopp comet was high in the night sky. He used it to good effect that year on Davis Lake and it has become a favorite across the West. Here is an “improved” version that is a good choice on overcast days when trout are feeding beneath the surface.

Use the Improved Hale Bopp on a floating or a slow-sink line with a long leader and a 4x tippet. Pull the fly behind a float tube and give it 1-inch twitches with the rod tip held at the surface.

To tie this pattern, use dark red thread and slide a black chrome bead up against the eye. Next, tie in a sparse marabou tail. Build the body with black angora, rib with black thread, and pick out the fur with a needle to give the fly more motion in the water. Complete the improved Hale Bopp with a long, soft dyed yellow grizzly hackle collar.

— Gary Lewis, for The Bulletin