Need Cress Bug Pattern

ts47

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I have some waters around me in Maryland and Pennsylvania that have those little flat dark grey or dark brown cress bugs. I hope I have the name of the bug right. They look similar to an underwater potato bug (has a shell on it's back) but much flatter. I've never tied one before. Is there a good pattern that you can recommend? I'm not sure if one would be better than another. If you've got a good or favorite imitation/pattern that you like and are willing to share, I plan to tie a few over the winter. EDIT: It may also be called a scud. I'm sorry to be so vague. Like I said, I haven't tied one before. :eek:

Thanks!
 
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TristianSutton

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I have some waters around me in Maryland and Pennsylvania that have those little flat dark grey cress bugs. I've never tied one before. Is there a good pattern that you can recommend? I'm not sure if one would be better than another. If you've got a good or favorite imitation/pattern that you like and are willing to share, I plan to tie a few over the winter.

Thanks!
A walts worm would be a decent start

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ts47

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You guys are fast! I was still updating the description of the bug while you were responding. The bug I'm am trying to imitate is a small, wide(almost oval looking from the top), and flat with what looks like it has a shell on it's back and legs under the shell. Color is a dark grey or dark olive/brown bug. There is no defined head or tail. Is the a cress bug or scud or...? Anyway, that is what I'm looking for. I have an Eastern Hatches book or two and am struggling to find a pattern.
 
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ts47

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A walts worm would be a decent start

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
Yes, that would be a start. I know how to tie that one too. I would likely add some scud back to it. The Walts Worm is already buggy enough to look like it had some legs.
 

ts47

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google "ray charles fly pattern"
If I tied the Ray Charles all in dark grey or a dark olive, that would likely do it. It seems to give that flat look that these bugs have. If you've read my second post, are these cress bugs or scuds?
 

sparsegraystubble

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Those Cress Bugs as we called them in Central PA back in the 60s are properly known as Sow Bugs and called that more frequently in the west.

It is not a scud, though I believe it is a crustacean rather than an insect.

We used to use muskrat fur dubbed on a number 16 hook sometimes clipped top and bottom to get the flatter shape. Also sometimes with a dark stripe down the back.

The Ray Charles is a killer pattern, but the ostrich herl makes them less than durable. That is the fly on the Big Horn River, but you need a lot of them.

The Tungsten Surveyor by Egan is another good imitation that holds up well and is designed to use more weight to get it deep.

I haven’t tied any yet, but the Fly Fish Food has a pattern listed called a Complex Twist Sow Bug that should be great. It uses gray and tan ostrich herl but twisted into a rope with red wire so it doesn’t break.


For a while some guides on the Big Horn had a secret fly that was killing them. Basically it was a Ray Charles, but tied with bright pink Ostrich Herl. I have not heard of that being used in the northeast, but also might be worth a shot.

those are a major food source on any of the limestone streams.

Don
 

flytire

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The bug I'm am trying to imitate is a small, wide(almost oval looking from the top), and flat with what looks like it has a shell on it's back and legs under the shell. Color is a dark grey or dark olive/brown bug. There is no defined head or tail. Is the a cress bug or scud or...? Anyway, that is what I'm looking for.
i think you have a recipe now be creative and tie one up
 

ts47

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Those Cress Bugs as we called them in Central PA back in the 60s are properly known as Sow Bugs and called that more frequently in the west.

It is not a scud, though I believe it is a crustacean rather than an insect.

We used to use muskrat fur dubbed on a number 16 hook sometimes clipped top and bottom to get the flatter shape. Also sometimes with a dark stripe down the back.

The Ray Charles is a killer pattern, but the ostrich herl makes them less than durable. That is the fly on the Big Horn River, but you need a lot of them.

The Tungsten Surveyor by Egan is another good imitation that holds up well and is designed to use more weight to get it deep.

I haven’t tied any yet, but the Fly Fish Food has a pattern listed called a Complex Twist Sow Bug that should be great. It uses gray and tan ostrich herl but twisted into a rope with red wire so it doesn’t break.


For a while some guides on the Big Horn had a secret fly that was killing them. Basically it was a Ray Charles, but tied with bright pink Ostrich Herl. I have not heard of that being used in the northeast, but also might be worth a shot.

those are a major food source on any of the limestone streams.

Don
Sparsegreystubble,

Can you expand on what you mean by, "sometimes clipped top and bottom to get the flatter shape"?

BTW... Yes. It seems like you know the (sow) bug I'm trying to tie.
 

sparsegraystubble

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Sparsegreystubble,

Can you expand on what you mean by, "sometimes clipped top and bottom to get the flatter shape"?

BTW... Yes. It seems like you know the (sow) bug I'm trying to tie.
First, you read my post before I added an edit directing you to Loren Williams’ web site at Loren.teamfreestone.com He has a lot of patterns on there including Egan’s Tungsten Tailwater Sow Bug.

My reference to clipping the dubbing top and bottom was on the old Muskrat Nymph which we dubbed roughly and then teased out to make it bushy. The effect was similar to that shown in some of the other flies posted here.

But even though the bugs are flattened, I wouldn’t go too far in chasing that look. An overly flat fly wobbles in the current unlike a naturral and takes on a look that the fish aren’t used to. I tend to tie most subsurface nymphs or crustaceans “in the round” so that kind of movement isn’t a negative factor.

I also tend to tie these flies without a lot of weight just because it allows the bug to move with the currents in slower streams as the naturals do when drifting. These guys are not strong swimmers. The flies are best fished right above weed and cress beds, downstream from such beds where the water gets a bit swifter. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to weight the leader with a dropper or shot sometimes to get the fly deep enough.

The cress bugs are most active in periods of low light including dusk,dawn and on overcast days. They are similar to scuds in that regard.


The Humphreys bug is another good one. And I know I have seen a number of videos including from Tim Flagler on tying these flies.

Good luck.

Don
 

ts47

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First, you read my post before I added an edit directing you to Loren Williams’ web site at Loren.teamfreestone.com He has a lot of patterns on there including Egan’s Tungsten Tailwater Sow Bug.

My reference to clipping the dubbing top and bottom was on the old Muskrat Nymph which we dubbed roughly and then teased out to make it bushy. The effect was similar to that shown in some of the other flies posted here.

But even though the bugs are flattened, I wouldn’t go too far in chasing that look. An overly flat fly wobbles in the current unlike a naturral and takes on a look that the fish aren’t used to. I tend to tie most subsurface nymphs or crustaceans “in the round” so that kind of movement isn’t a negative factor.

I also tend to tie these flies without a lot of weight just because it allows the bug to move with the currents in slower streams as the naturals do when drifting. These guys are not strong swimmers. The flies are best fished right above weed and cress beds, downstream from such beds where the water gets a bit swifter. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to weight the leader with a dropper or shot sometimes to get the fly deep enough.

The cress bugs are most active in periods of low light including dusk,dawn and on overcast days. They are similar to scuds in that regard.


The Humphreys bug is another good one. And I know I have seen a number of videos including from Tim Flagler on tying these flies.

Good luck.

Don
Don,

I really appreciate the added information. It all makes sense to me. I will need to sort through the different patterns and pick something to tie. You've given me quite a lot to go on. It looks like my biggest challenge will be to choosing which fly to tie. :clap:
 

sparsegraystubble

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Don,

I really appreciate the added information. It all makes sense to me. I will need to sort through the different patterns and pick something to tie. You've given me quite a lot to go on. It looks like my biggest challenge will be to choosing which fly to tie. :clap:
For my current uses, I carry a variety of Tungsten Surveyors and Ray Charles (those mostly in size 16). I do plan on tying some of the fly fish food.com Complex Twist Sowbugs in hopes that they will hold up better than the regular Ray Charles. On that last pattern i will probably just do size 16 jigs and I will use a small bead instead of the big one that the pattern calls for.

Have fun.

Don
 

ts47

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For my current uses, I carry a variety of Tungsten Surveyors and Ray Charles (those mostly in size 16). I do plan on tying some of the fly fish food.com Complex Twist Sowbugs in hopes that they will hold up better than the regular Ray Charles. On that last pattern i will probably just do size 16 jigs and I will use a small bead instead of the big one that the pattern calls for.

Have fun.

Don
I used a homemade sein to sample the bugs last fall. If my memory serves me correctly... a size 16 is the largest I will tie. ;)
 

Ard

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I used to make a bug for Letort Spring using dubbed muskrat like Don mentioned and put a strip of plastic from a bread bag over the topside. They passed the test and caught fish. Getting the size to match the stream is important. I used a #16 hook - picked the dubbing out wide - trimmed top and bottom then pulled the plastic forward to create a shell back effect and you just tie it off and trim excess.

You end up with an acceptable bug.
 
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