This classic streamer was originally designed by Art Flick of Westkill, New York. It is first listed in his 1947 book Art Flick's "Streamside guide".
STREAMER WET FLY PATTERNS. Hook size 2 4 6 8 10 12 - $US each
The silver ribbing and body are great for imitating the silver under-scales found on many bait fish. It also helps catch the eye of any nearby predatory fish. In his book he suggests that the bait fish he was aiming at imitating were two species of minnows; the Rhinichthys atratulus and Semotilus atromaculatus. He had observed that these small bait fish were targeted by trout. He found that their local names varied from place to place but clamed that he had found them on every trout stream he ever fished. Neither of them exceed more than three and a half inches in length. The most common local name for them was Black Nose Dace and it is a bit easier to pronounce than the Latin names. Because the Black Nose Dace is so well liked by trout, he tried to imitate it as closely as possible with a bucktail. The result was a streamer that has proved itself successful, as well as a fly that will take a lot of abuse. Flick normally used it to fish in the early spring, and on days later in the season when he found that the trout were not taking his dry flies.
Flick originally used Polar Bear hair for the white section of the wing. As this hair is now illegal to buy and sell we use a deer hair substitute which works just as well. Except for the Mickey Finn the Black Nosed Dace is probably the best known North American bucktail streamer. We have had good reports from fly fishers in the Midwest of North America. Black nose dace streamer size 6 - Steelhead were hitting this like mad in the beginning of October. Nothing else worked. Matt Pedersen Chicargo
Its ability to catch fish has lead to it being used for salmon, sea trout and big trout fishing. I have had great success when fishing for Coho around Vancouver and also for salmon in Sweden with a size 6 Black Nosed Dace. it is also a good smallmouth Bass fly in smaller rivers. Bait fish have to move quickly in order to survive and your fly must do the same. Ensure you maintain your retrieve until you feel your line stop Salmon do not slam into the fly like trout or bass usually do. With Coho especially you will sometimes see a wake following your fly. Although it is exciting and can be unnerving it is important that you keep the fly moving. Do not be tempted to slow up and let the Salmon catch up. This is unnatural behavior for a bait fish and may spook your target fish into rejecting your fly.
HOW TO IMITATE A DISABLED FRY FISH
Many flyfisherman fall into the trap of slotting certain natural events during the fishing season into rigid time periods. It is all too easy to do. What am I talking about? Spring is the time to pack your fly box with buzzers, epoxy buzzers, suspender buzzers and other emerging insect flyfishing subsurface fly patterns. In late June, when pack damsel imitations. Later, in July, we have to have caddis fly imitation patterns ready for deployment water surface. In the summer, you have to be ready for daddy longlegs, flying ants and grass Hopper's to appear on the trout's menu.
In reality, a skillful flyfisherman can catch fish using these patterns any time of the year. Trout will always binge on fry, baby juvenile fish, in the autumn/fall to stock up on calories so they can put on weight fast before the winter arrives. Rainbow trout and wild brownies in reality will eat smaller baitfish at any time of the year. The main difference is the size of fish that they consume. I first noticed this when preparing a fish I had caught for dinner. It was an autumn Fry feeder and its stomach is full of roach, minnows, sticklebacks and perch. These small fish were nearly identical in length. These baby fish would have hatched together and as members of a shoal of Fry moved around and fed off the same food. This would mean they would grow at the same rate, just like peas in the same pod. The Brown trout and rainbows that have dined on them for a number of days appear to ignore anything that does not conform with the look, shape and size of their targeted new abundant food source.
Another point to consider when fishing streamer flies like the Black Nosed Dace streamer fly pattern is that trout have a fascination with anything injured. An injured baby fish would be easier to catch than a healthy Fry fish. The Lions do the same in Africa. They study a herd of zebra and look for the animal that will not be as fast as the rest. Why make work hard for yourself when there is an easier option. This may explain why the top dropper of a rig of three flies is often taken more regularly than the point or middle dropper. With skill a flyfisherman, or Lady fly Fisher, can exploit this tendency whenever you come across a situation where the trout are gorging themselves on a shoal of Fry.
I have had success by teasing the trout into believing my Black Nosed Dace streamer fly pattern was injured by tweaking the line to make it do an unnatural movement. I bring it up to the surface and cause a visible wake to attract any lurking trout. I have also found that this tactic works to attract the trout to investigate what is going on, but then the fish suddenly sees out of the corner of it's eye, my nymph fly which it then veers off to devour. Either way, this tactic catches a fish. I do not care if it is on the top dropper, middle dropper or point fly.
In clear water, you can see the shoal of Fry scatter, on the approach of the hungry predator trout. Resist the temptation to mimic the natural behaviour of the natural juvenile fish trying to escape being eaten. Remember you are trying to imitate the crippled injured or ill shoal member. Want to give the trout an easy target. Think of your imitation Fry pattern as the dry fly. Just wait until the trout sips it in before bringing up your Rod tip. If you are trying to imitate a disabled Fry, the last thing you should do is pull it away at some speed when the trout is just about to eat it. This is not what the pursuing rainbow or brownie is expecting to happen. It has targeted your fly because it appears to be on the brink of death and therefore an easy meal. You will run the danger of scaring away It is a highly satisfying tactic. When choosing a fly pattern in these circumstances, I think the most important thing is that the size matches the baby fish that are currently swimming around in your vicinity. The next feature is that an effective fly pattern must have mobility, both in the wing and tail. The hair wing and and woolen tail of the Black Nosed Dace streamer fly pattern has that in abundance.
ART FLICK'S ORIGINAL BLACK NOSED DACE
Many classic fly patterns like the Black Nosed Dace, change over the years from the original design. This occurs for many reasons. Cheaper or more modern materials are added. Certain features are omitted because of cost. They are then photographed in magazines and tackle shop catalogues where they are then copied by fly tiers who think they are looking at a fly that has been tied to the recipe of the original design. Patterns are altered over time to comply with the latest fashion, or fad.
This has happened to Art Flick’s Black Nosed Dace bucktail streamer pattern. The best way to find out about these changes over time is to compare the modern versions with either the original fly pattern recipe or finding examples of the older dressing or looking at photographs. I have found that the Black Nosed Dace is a good streamer fly pattern for smallmouth bass in smaller rivers. It just looks and moves like a smaller fly fish. It is one of the best known bucktail patterns among trout fly fishermen.
A 1995 fishing book called “Streamer Fly Tying and Fishing” by Joseph D. Bates and Jr. Bates published by Stackpole Books contains photographs of Black Nosed Dace that were dressed by Art Flick. The hooks were 3x long body length and the hair wing extended nearly the same length beyond the bend in the hook. Many modern designs do not have such a long tail. Flick has used metal tinsel for the body, which is not nice stuff to work with, but it does add weight to the fly. He designed his fly before more modern material like Mylar tinsel became available.
The other feature that is very notably different from modern examples of Black Nosed Dace fly patterns is the size of the fishing flies head. It is much larger on the original. Flick did not have access to the variety of thread sizes we have today. It is difficult to produce a slim small head using Pearsall’s Gossamer Silk or size 00 rod-wrapping thread over a three layered bucktail.
The weight distribution on the original Art Flick Black Nosed Dace streamer that had a metal body and a large head was all centred around the nose. Modern examples of the fly often have very slim heads and near weightless bodies.
Why is this important? The modern design still catches trout. Yes but if you used a Black Nosed Dace tied to the old pattern you would have a better chance of catching more fish because it mimics small bait fish better. I have been lucky to spend a few summer holidays in the Alps. The water in the glacier feed lakes can be crystal clear. On warm days when the small fish move towards the surface you can study how shoals juvenile silver bodied bait fish move. They do not swim in a straight line for more than a few seconds. They constantly change direction in a quick darting movement. This natural defence mechanism makes it harder for cruising predatory fish to snap at them.
The classic designed Black Nosed Dace mimics this darting movement during the pause in the retrieve of the fishing line. As soon as the pulling tension in the line stops the weight of the flies body and nose makes the artificial fly suddenly change direction, nose first. It I such a simple clever design feature. David Train used the same weight distribution principle in his effective Cat’s Whiskers streamer fly. He added bead chain eyes to add weight to the nose of his creation. If you strip pause, strip pause using a gold bead head or deep water dumbbell head woolly bugger, you can get the same effect. Each fly has a different weight designed to his at a different depth. Choose your fly pattern to match the water conditions you are faced with. A Black Nosed Dace would be my streamer of choice for fishing in the top three feet of a lake or river. If the fish are feeding lower then I would tie on a heavier fly.
If you tie your own flies then my advice would be to make the wing about a hook shank length longer than the hook. Do not try to make a slime head. Build up a large head by tying down clumps of bucktail hair with several layers of thread. I hate using flat metal tinsel. It is a horrible material to use. To add the weight to this pattern use a strip of lead wire and bind it to the hook shank then cover it with silver Mylar. You can use braided Mylar tubing for the body.
Flick’s original recipe called for a very short scarlet red tag (tag is the old term used for tail). He also specified that the white hair of the wing should be polar bear hair. As this is thankfully now illegal to buy and sell in many countries around the world, a substitute must be used. White bucktail is a perfectly acceptable substitute. Flick liked using bear products. He specified that you should use black bear hair for the middle section of the wing. Squirrel tail or died kid goat hair works just as well. The upper wing should be made of the dark bucktail hair.
Do not use too much hair on the wing. Remember that this fly is designed to work under the water surface. If you use too much material it will have a tendency to float. This is what I could not understand about Flick’s original choice of polar bear hair. Did you realise that each fibre is hollow. This is why some polar bears in zoos turn light green around their lower body. The algae in their swimming pools gets trapped inside the microscopic drinking straw like pelt hairs. The hairs therefor have a lower density than other fibres and are more buoyant. Do not over dress the wing. If you can try and add a darker black strip in the middle of the wing. Keep the white and top dark brown bunches of hair on the wing the same length. Cut the middle dark hair just slightly shorter to help the fibres tapper down to a point like a normal bait fish shape.
I like Clouser's tied in baitfish schemes. Black Nosed Dace are also killers in North Carolina waters Aarron Parks, Charlottte, NC, USA
What flies work best for Cutthroat Trout? - Black Nosed Dace #12 worked for me in Colorado By Al Schaefer
GOOGLE+ READER'S COMMENT
Nice one and it works at least for a trout here in Iceland..... Kv. Robert Ragnar. Iceland
FACEBOOK READER'S COMMENT
Almost the only streamer pattern needed in Pennsylvania ! Bob Krakowski PA, USA
FACEBOOK READER'S COMMENT
This pattern 'works' for Australian Trout also !... AND its a wonderful pattern for Giant Herring/Ladyfish also Barry Ryan, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia