Pink Squirrel

Some call them Bottom Dredgers. They are too often over shadowed by the dry fly, but have their place here.
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Eperous
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Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 3:20 pm
Location: Catskills

Pink Squirrel

Post by Eperous »

I hope WiFlyFish reads this... a couple buddies have been doing okay/well winter fishing this past few months using a Pink Squirrel Nymph, apparently a pattern from your part of the country created by John Bethke... I must live under a rock here in the Catskills, as I never heard of this pattern until two different buddies mentioned it to me, noting trout they caught under tough conditions... John, fill us in please... and Barleywine, maybe post that photo of those killing patterns...

Thanks...

Ed

tie2fish
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Location: Harford County, Maryland

Re: Pink Squirrel

Post by tie2fish »

Several years ago while visiting relatives in Milwaukee, I took a couple of days to explore the "Driftless" region of SW Wisconsin. Not knowing anything more than I had been able to find on-line ahead of time, I went to a fly shop in Viroqua, asking for advice and a local fly pattern or two. The first fly I was handed was the "Pink Squirrel", which I was told had been designed by John Bethke just for the picky brown trout that live in the area spring creeks. Below is the recipe and a photo of one of several I tied after getting back home.

Hook: Wet fly (Daiichi 1530 or equal), Sizes #12 - #14
Head: Gold bead, 1/8" or 7/64" dia
Thread: Uni 6/0, red
Tail: 1/4" long "V" of Krystal flash, pearl or rainbow
Rib: Red wire
Body: Mix of fox squirrel body hair and amber scud dubbing in dropped loop brush
Collar: 1-1/2 wraps pink chenille

Image
Last edited by tie2fish on Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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ewpeper
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Location: Austin, TX and Island Park, ID

Re: Pink Squirrel

Post by ewpeper »

Don't mean to preempt John's possible reply, but the Pink Squirrel is a fly from the "driftless" region as noted in Bill's post above. John "WiFlyFisher" ain't from there. His fishing is in the NW area of Wisconsin and is actually much more similar to Catskill fishing in terms of environment, fish chased and flies used.

Eric
A mountain is a fact -- a trout is a moment of beauty known only to men who seek them.
Al McClane in his Introduction to The Practical Fly Fisherman . . . often erroneously attributed to Arnold Gingrich

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Eperous
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Location: Catskills

Re: Pink Squirrel

Post by Eperous »

Gents, thanks...

Bill... under a macro-lens that collar appears--- to me--- to be something other than chenille...

Eric... thanks... the two guys I know who fish this pattern--- over winter/cold weather--- do so in freestone streams of CT, NY, & NJ... I think I'd rather tie/try/fish this nymph in the cold days ahead rather than a "Pinkie" or pink San Juan Worm :oops: --- which did nothing for me this past winter, but than I only used it on days none of my other flies moved trout either... :oops: :roll: :oops:

PS --- plus one of my favorite early season dropper nymphs is a Beadhead Red Fox Squirrel on a small similar style hook/model... fished a couple inches below the water's surface... the idea of using a squirrel body intrigues me... :D ;)

FYI: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=5179&hilit=+red+fox+squirrel

Ed

catskilljohn
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Location: Yardley,PA- Jeffersonville,NY

Re: Pink Squirrel

Post by catskilljohn »

I have a few of these tied by the originator I got in the mail a few years ago. Someone on Clarks was looking for a brown saddle to tie Cracklebacks with [man those western dudes sure have funny fly names :lol: ] and I sent him one, he sent me a box of assorted flies. Among the soft hackles and cracklebacks were 3 of these P.S.nymphs, said to be tied by the originator.

I also remember reading on Clarks were someone in internet land did a step by step on this fly and claimed it was his own invention...and when the guys at Clarks got wind of it there was hell to pay. Nice close knit group of guys over there, I was happy to see them sticking up for their friend so vehemently.

Anyway, here are some of Bethke's originals...

Image

Never used it but glad I kept them in a safe place. CJ
"Gentlemen,remove your hats,this is it"
"This is where the trout was invented?"
"Oh he existed in a crude,primitive form in Waltons England"
"But this is where they painted spots on him and taught him to swim"

catskilljohn
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Location: Yardley,PA- Jeffersonville,NY

Re: Pink Squirrel

Post by catskilljohn »

tie2fish wrote: Below is the recipe and a photo of one of several I tied after getting back home.

Hook: Wet fly (Daiichi 1530 or equal), Sizes #12 - #14
Head: Gold bead, 1/8" or 7/64" dia
Thread: Uni 6/0, red
Tail: 1/4" long "V" of Krystal flash, pearl or rainbow
Rib: Red wire
Body: Mix of fox squirrel body hair and amber scud dubbing in dropped loop brush
Collar: 1-1/2 wraps pink chenille
Bill, I think the body is a blend of 3 dubbings, fox squirrel, amber antron and olive ice dubbing. At least the ones I have look like they have an olive hue to them. CJ

update...after reading the link Chuck provided, John states he had added the olive ice dubbing to the dressing.
"Gentlemen,remove your hats,this is it"
"This is where the trout was invented?"
"Oh he existed in a crude,primitive form in Waltons England"
"But this is where they painted spots on him and taught him to swim"

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Barleywine
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Location: Wyckoff, NJ

Re: Pink Squirrel

Post by Barleywine »

CJ, those are the best photos of the originals that I've ever seen. I picked up on this pattern fishing the driftless area in 2006, buying some in a hardware store that doubled as a fly shop. This fly has worked great for me in places that have spring influences, or have slightly off-color water. It tends not to work so well in crystal clear mountain streams. Other people may have a completely different experience.

Here's a link from John Bethke with his recipe.

http://illinoiswisconsinfishing.blogspo ... -of-3.html

I follow his recipe but tend to use pink dubbing for the collar. I really should start using chenille after seeing the flies from CJ and tie2fish. I've got a photo of my tyes, but can't seem to get it attached since the board update. Basically, just picture flies that have already been posted here, but not as nice.

Chuck
"The secret to life is honesty and fair dealing. When you can fake that, you've got it made." ---Groucho Marx

tie2fish
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Location: Harford County, Maryland

Re: Pink Squirrel

Post by tie2fish »

catskilljohn wrote:
tie2fish wrote: Below is the recipe and a photo of one of several I tied after getting back home.

Bill, I think the body is a blend of 3 dubbings, fox squirrel, amber antron and olive ice dubbing. At least the ones I have look like they have an olive hue to them. CJ

update...after reading the link Chuck provided, John states he had added the olive ice dubbing to the dressing.
Duly noted, CJ ... thanks. I will add that to my 3x5 card.

BrownBear
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Location: Kodiak, AK

Re: Pink Squirrel

Post by BrownBear »

I came across this pattern in a Montana friend's fly box a few years back. He reported getting them from his brother in WI, and proceeded to prove their value during tough, run-off fishing on the Big Hole and Madison. I liked it, but lacking pink chenille at the time I subbed pink ostrich. I can't claim it's any better than the original, but it's a worthy sub in smaller sizes when chenille is just too big. Nice to have a name for the original in any case!

joaniebo
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Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2016 1:30 pm

Re: Pink Squirrel

Post by joaniebo »

A little update on the Pink Squirrel.

I'm the guy that received the brown saddle hackle from catskilljohn - tied the nymphs that CSJ previously posted and also the same guy that raised a fuss when a guy (in Michigan or Ohio, I think) took a pic from "The Classic Rod Forum" of the Pink Squirrels that I tied and then used them in an article he wrote. If you do a Google search for "Pink Squirrel Trout Nymph" and pull up a bunch of pics / images, the pic with the 6 Pink Squirrels in a semi-circle are those that I tied and posted on the Classic Rod Forum.

Re: the video posted on Orvis and other videos posted on other sites, including YouTube, I've yet to see any of them that are in agreement with the materials that John Bethke taught me to use quite a few years ago. Haven't talked to JB recently but he ties his nymphs for a fly shop in Viroqua, WI called "The Driftless Angler" and you can get JB's Pink Squirrels and the materials needed to tie the PSs (including the mixed dubbing) by calling the Driftless Angler.

Here's what I posted on recently as a "reply" on the Orvis site:

"The Pink Squirrel Nymph is probably the most fished / popular nymph fished in the Midwestern “Driftless Area”, especially in Wisconsin. Years ago, John Bethke showed me how to mix the dubbing used in tying his Pink Squirrel nymph and the materials that he was then using, as follows:

Hook: Mustad #3906 wet fly hook – sizes 12 – 16
Bead: Gold
Thread: Black poly
Body: Fox Squirrel body fur mixed with Lureflash Amber Antron & Olive Ice dubbing. Touched dubbed.
Ribbing: Red copper wire
Tail: 1 piece of Krystal Flash Rainbow / Pearl tied & then doubled back to make a V-shaped tail.
Thorax: Medium Fl. Shrimp Pink Chenille (Hareline CHM140)'


As added notes, I tend to use Daiichi #1550 hooks in size 12 for virtually all the Pink Squirrels that I tie. Additionally, using black beaver, black squirrel plus natural or dark Hare's Ear furs, I mix the Lureflash Amber Antron and Hareline Olive Ice dubbing with the furs to make dubbing mixtures used in the flies posted by CSJ. (CSJ - if you want some more of these nymphs to fish, drop me a note and I'll send you more so you can fish them, ok?)

Lastly, regarding "Cracklebacks", years ago I became aware of this dressing and started tying it....with modifications. Although my variation of the CB may look like Ed Story's Crackleback, other than the two pieces of peacock herl on the top of the fly, I use different materials so that my variation fishes more as a dry fly...... plus, as a dry fly, I probably fish the CB 80% - 90% of the time when I fish the waters in "Cheese Country".

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