A Federation of Fly Fishers Club

Tale Waters

Club Fly : Lady Todson

December 2002

Table of Contents

Scheduled Activities
Committee Chairs
President’s Page
Minutes MVFF Board Meeting
Elections for 2003 MVFF Officers and Board
Instructions for Fishing The MVFF Runyan Ranch Lease
Plans in the Making for the San Juan River
Drift-Back For Greater Distance With Less Effort
From the FFF Clubwire: H & L Variant (a.k.a. House & Lot)
Officers & Board of Directors


Scheduled Activities

9 Dec. General Meeting, Doors open 7:00 PM, NMGF Conf. Room, 566 N. Telshor Blvd. Las Cruces, NM Feature Demonstration: "Tying Effective Patterns for the Rio Penasco" and**MVFF Elections**

16 Dec Board of Directors Meeting 7:00 PM NMGF Conference Room

Is it time for you to renew your MVFF Membership?

Check your address label for your renewal date, and don’t miss out on any fly fishing activities.


MEMBERSHIP Bob Pridgen (505) 526-9132
BY-LAWS Ron Smorynski (505) 526-8086
HABITAT Ron Smorynski (505) 526-8086
AWARDS/BANQUET Paul Turner (505) 523-6880
CLUB WATERS Bob Silver (505) 522-6325
FUND-RAISING Bob Silver (505) 522-6325
CASTING CLINIC Norm Mabie (505) 522-3810
NEWSLETTER Jeff Arterburn (505) 524-0773
ADVISORY Norm Mabie (505) 522-3810


President’s Page

Next Meeting Our next meeting will be December 9th at the NM Game and Fish Office in Las Cruces. Doors open at 7PM. Instead of a guest speaker, we plan to have a fly tying demonstration. Four club members who regularly tie flies will show members how to construct 4 different flies – Olive Wooly Bugger, Flashback Hare’s Ear, Flashback Pheasant Tail, and Adams parachute. These flies are successful just about anywhere including our lease on the Peņasco. They represent imitations of insects and other prey that trout feed on. We’ll also discuss ways the proper way to fish these flies. If you have questions about how to tie flies or what’s involved to get started, this would be a good time to find out.

Last month Al and his wife, Helen showed some wonderful slides of their trip to Idaho and Montana. They spent about a month retracing parts of the Lewis & Clark Trail and fishing the local rivers. It’s hard to imagine so much good quality fishing water all in one area.

Cleanup Project There were some heavy rains north of the lease in September. I would estimate that the Rio Peņasco must have risen 15 feet above normal by the flotsam we saw in the trees along on the banks of the stream. But, Mother Nature actually did us a favor by flushing a lot of the muddy silt from the gravel and deepening many of the holes. The cleanup that was held on the 16th was a big success. I can’t believe the amount of work that 12 people accomplished that day. If we had a traveling trophy it would have gone to Bill Wenthe. He came all the way from Lubbock, Texas to help. Al, Mark, Brian, Doug and Dee came from El Paso, Charlie came from Tularosa, and the rest came from Las Cruces. The stream is much more accessible again and we stocked some brown and rainbow trout. Everyone that attended received a fishing permit for their efforts.

Raffle Don’t forget about our Raffle on February 1st at the Annual Banquet. Please sell or buy the tickets that you received in last month’s Newsletter. Thank to those that have sent your ticket stubs and money back to the Club.

Elections We have received nominations for new officers and board members for 2003. Please send your ballots.

Club Meetings are held the 2nd Monday of the month, at the New Mexico Game and Fish Conference Room which is located on 566 N. Telshor Blvd for NMGF info call (505) 522-9796.

The December 9th General Club Meeting "Tying Effective Patterns for the Rio Penasco" Doors open at 7:00 P.M. in the NMGF Conference Room

Current fishing and club information, newsletter, pictures, links to other fly fishing sites, info on the club projects and more! Please verify your current email address by completing the guest page or contact Jim Hulsey directly (505) 524-1880

Minutes MVFF Board Meeting 7:00 p.m. November 19, 2002


Elections for 2003 MVFF Officers and Board

Please mark your selections and submit your ballot at the Dec. 9th Club Meeting, or mail them before the next board meeting Dec. 16th to:

Mesilla Valley Flyfishers, Inc. P.O. Box 2222, Las Cruces, NM 88004-2222



write in: _________________________________________________________________


write in: _________________________________________________________________

SECRETARY: Jeff Arterburn

write in: _________________________________________________________________

TREASURER: Al Trompler

write in: _________________________________________________________________



(1) Wade Hedgecoke

write in: _________________________________________________________________

(2) Bob Pridgen

write in: _________________________________________________________________

(3) Bob Silver

write in: _________________________________________________________________

(4) Paul Turner

write in: _________________________________________________________________

(5) Tom Wobbe

write in: _________________________________________________________________


Instructions for Fishing The MVFF Runyan Ranch Lease

1. Contact Norm Mabie (505) 522-3810, email ( , 2711 Claude Dove Drive, Las Cruces, NM 88011 to obtain a fishing permit for $20.00 per day. Student permits (for over 12 years) cost only $12.00 per day. You must be a current MVFF member to fish, and wear your MVFF identification badge while on the property. Members can purchase a one-day, one-time permit for an out of town guest.

2. Follow NM 82 East from Cloudcroft or West from Artesia to get to the lease. Fill out your permit and place it in the drop box at the upstream parking site near mile marker 54. Keep the other stub on your person while fishing. You can either park here or drive to the downstream parking lot and park in the designated area. Don’t park inside the fence here or you could wind up locked in.

3. Head through the marked MVFF access gates and start fishing. The lower access lets you go downstream to several runs and nice pools, and the waterfall hole, or you can start upstream here to get to the middle section. The route from the upper lot will take you over the metal bridge where you can head up to the boundary and fish the tight, densely wooded section, or you can work down through the dark timbered deep holes past the pallet fence hole where the stream cover opens up through the middle section. Please close and latch the chains each time you cross the gates.

4. Come to the monthly meetings to hear the latest fishing reports. Feel free to contact the board members for additional information.


Plans in the Making for the San Juan River

During our annual Club trip to the San Juan we heard about possible plans to reduce the flow in the river to 250 cubic feet per second (CFS) which about half the normal wintertime flow. The following information about the status of the water situation was taken from the New Mexico Trout November 2002 newsletter. The Bureau of Reclamation has prepared an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that proposes the low flow. According the Bureau the low flow will go into effect as quickly as the EIS is signed. The Bureau is required to consider public input and comments will be accepted until December 1, 2002 on the website

The EIS states that the low flow will reduce trout habitat by 30 to 37%, increase water temperature on the lower river by 8 degrees, and reduce the trout population by 20%. New Mexico Game and Fish does not support the low flow plan. Please log onto the website and offer your comments before December 1, 2002. MVFF does not support the proposed action to reduce the flow in the river.



In his book, "Salt-Water Fly Fishing," George X. Sand refers to an article by Lefty Kreh titled "New Way to Fly Cast" published in the March 1964 issue of Outdoor Life magazine.  This new way to cast was the first widely publicized description of the drift-back; a means whereby the length of the casting stroke is increased appreciably for greater casting distance.  Here’s a summary of why it works and a suggested method for easily integrating the drift-back into your casting.

The drift-back works because it virtually doubles the distance that the rod tip travels during the forward cast, allowing the caster to carry much more fly line than with a shorter casting stroke.

The procedure calls for a normal back cast stopping at about 11:00; (observer’s clock watching a right-handed caster from the right side), immediately followed by a slow drift-back of the casting hand without power until the casting hand is well behind the caster with the rod in a horizontal position.  That’s the easy part.

Thereafter it simply "feels" awkward to begin a forward cast with the casting hand and rod in such an unconventional position.  So, here’s the trick.  While moving into the forward cast, keep the rod horizontal until the forward progress of the casting hand passes the elbow.  The easiest way to get the "feel" of this hand-past-the-elbow timing is to practice while wade fishing.  Make a back cast of about forty feet, allowing the line to fall to the water.  Next, make a forward cast keeping the rod parallel to the water as long as possible.  The water will grip the line helping to load the rod as it begins to rise from horizontal.  The greatest resistance should be felt when the casting hand passes the elbow. 

The rest of the forward cast is easy since it is the same as that without a drift-back, but the resulting cast will probably be 50% farther.

(Copyright; Daniel L. Lagace, 2002, of the Tampa Bay Fly Fishing Club, courtesy of the FFF ClubWire Email NewsWire)


From the FFF Clubwire


In 1991 my son Hilary and I were fishing Millionaire’s pool on the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River, near Last Chance, Idaho with his friend, Lorie Ann Murphy. He knew her in Seattle before she became a well-known guide. She told us that President Eisenhower used the H & L Variant when he fished Millionaire’s Pool as a guest of the Harriman family. Many people and several books also tell us that the H & L Variant was President Eisenhower’s favorite fly. It is so easy to see that it should be everybody’s favorite.

My references back to 1960 talk about the H & L Variant or House and Lot, but the tying instructions were a little confusing. One book had a picture of it, and the hackles were extremely long - three to four times the gap width - which does fit one definition of variant. Most tiers and other references said that it should have normal size hackle. Certainly Ed Thomas from Montana who tied it at the 1993 FFF Show and Lory Watkins from Washington who tied the pictured fly at the 2002 FFF Show use a normal hackle length.

Fish it in a stream is like any dry fly using a floating line and drag free float. At one time I thought that "drag free float" was just something magazine writers made up to fill space. However in the 50’s, Yellowstone National Park browns and rainbows convinced me that it is important.

For a real thrill on still water, cast it in the path of a big chain feeding fish and watch the fly disappear. The trick is to judge where that fish will come up next.



Hook: Mustad 94840 or Tiemco TMC 100, 100BL or 900BL, 10-18

Thread: White 3/0 and Black 6/0

Tail: White calf body or calf tail hair

Body: Rear half stripped peacock quill, front half peacock herl

Wing: White calf body or calf tail hair, upright and divided

Hackle: Furnace

Tying Steps:

1. I always smash the barb first. Start the thread at mid-shank and make a thread base rearward. Lory starts with white thread, and Ed uses black from start to finish.

2. Cut a bundle of calf body hair or straight calf tail a little bigger in diameter than the hook’s eye. Clean out the fuzz and short hair and stack it. Tie on a shank length tail, trim butts and wind a thread base forward to near the eye before bringing it back to the 1/3rd point.

3. Cut another bundle of calf hair about twice the size of the first. Clean out fuzz and short hair and stack it. Tie in bundle with tips forward one shank length. Hold the hair toward you (assuming that you wind away from you over top of hook) to it on top of the shank. Trim butts to match butts from tail, taper the body a little and make a smooth thread base for the body.

4. In tying flies to catch fish there is usually more than one way to accomplish the task. Ed and Lory tie the wings differently. Try both ways and see which you like.

5. A. Ed’s method: Divide hair and use a figure eight to put wings into almost a spinner position. Post each wing by winding up the wing bundle and then down again. If the thread slips off the wing, then use a little less thread tension, more calf hair or both. Do a figure eight on top of wings and drop the bobbin. Now just pull up wings to position them instead of pulling the thread. Put one or two thread wraps behind the wings.

B. Lory’s method: Pull up tips and wind thread in front of wings to stand them up. Divide hair and wind thread in a figure eight to keep hair divided. Post each wing. Put a drop of cement on the base of each wing and body. At this point Lory ties off the white thread and attaches the 6/0 black thread.

6. Strip about 2 inches of the fuzz off the butt part of a peacock herl using your thumb and first finger. If you have never used this method of stripping herls, you will probably break a few before you get the pressure right. (I find that a newly trimmed thumb nail helps.) Attach the quill under the shank and pull down on quill as you wind thread rearward to the bend. Return thread to mid-shank. Wrap the stripped quill forward. If the quill splits or breaks as it is wrapped, soak it in water first.

7. With a little practice the quill will run out and the herl start at the point 3/4ths back along the shank from the eye. If there is a little too much stripped quill, wrap a little forward of the 3/4th point and then back to the 3/4th point so the herl starts there. Then wrap the peacock herl forward to the mid-point, secure and trim. (If all else fails, wrap on the quill and tie it off. Then tie on herl and wrap it forward to the mid-point.) Some recipes call for counter wrapping the quill and herl with fine gold wire.

8. Tie on a hackle and secure shaft under hook to in front of wing or put shaft between the wings and tie down. Pull hackle forward before starting to wrap. Put three wraps behind wings and three in front. Stop wrapping on top of hook and secure. If you clip off a few fibers on top when trimming it is OK.

9. Finish the head and put on a little cement.

I cannot guarantee that this tie is identical to the pattern that President Eisenhower used, but even without that information there are many expert fly casters who use the H & L Variant. It is a great dry fly.

You can direct any questions or comments to Bob at



PRESIDENT Bob Silver (505) 522-6325

V. PRESIDENT Jim Hulsey (505) 524-1880

SECRETARY Jeff Arterburn (505) 524-0773

TREASURER Al Trompler (505) 532-5668


Ron Smorynski (505) 526-8086

Wade Hedgecoke (505) 527-1187

Paul Turner (505) 523-6880

Bob Pridgen (505) 526-9132

Jim Bawcum (505) 541-1189