Low Water Green Butt Purple
By: Frank Day
As the opposite hills slowly started to gain definition with the first light of dawn, I was staring intently into my Wheatley box. I asked myself, "If I were a Deschutes summer steelhead, what fly would warrant a good savage snap of the jaws as it swims its way across the current in front of me?"
There was one fly in particular that just said "fish me." It was a Low Water Green Butt Purple. The fluorescent chartreuse butt and head of the fly simply glowed in that low light in a very eye catching sort of way. My choice was made. I tied it on with a mono non-slip loop, but as I was tightening the tag, the fly slipped and drove itself straight into my chin past the barb. Great, what now? I am fishing this fly and that’s all there is to it. A grit of the teeth and I pushed the eye back upwards drawing the hook point up and out surprisingly cleanly. A quick mash of the barb and it was retied to the end of my 12 lb Maxima tippet.
About an hour later, I was bearing down on a set of seams which indicated that a few large boulders lay hidden just below the surface. It was a perfect holding lie for a steelhead and an ideal spot to swing a floating line. I’d already missed a fish in the very top 15 feet down from where I’d first stepped in: a short pluck that pulled 3 inches of my shock loop and refused to return on subsequent casts. The snake roll delivered the fly perfectly and as it swung around behind one of the boulders, a steady hard pull took my shock loop. I set to the bank and watched the surface erupt as a thick chrome fish rolled and shook in an attempt to free herself from the strange invisible pull.
She immediately headed for the center of the river and as she did, I watched a river otter slip into the river about 40 feet downstream of me. I didn’t really think anything of it until suddenly my rod doubled over violently and my Hardy was throbbing and making sounds I’d never heard before. Then I remembered that over the winter a friend of mine had lost a winter fish on the Sandy to an otter. It dawned on me that there was now an otter chasing my fish. In the span of five seconds, she had pulled out all of my running line and was getting into the backing. I saw her leap about 70 yards below me and she finally slowed to a stop.
But apparently, a river otter is not capable of swimming 70 yards in five seconds. My fish was free to contend with the second, now immediate threat: the mysterious purple thing that was still leading her around and what ultimately started all the chaos. She shook, rattled and rolled for another five minutes before she turned on her side flipping a pectoral fin in the air as if to say, “You win, I yield.”
She allowed me to tail her and admire her for a brief moment. Once again the chartreuse butt and head of fly caught my eye as it lay, stuck deep in her beak. I thought to myself, "Well thank goodness this fly stuck something other than myself today." A quick removal and I held her in the current, cradling her gently waiting for her to depart. A few kicks of the tail and she was a memory, to be reflected upon and cherished forever.
A Winning Color Combo
Developed by Travis Duttles, the Low Water Green Butt Purple is a great choice for fishing low, clear water. It's an excellent fly for low light conditions of first and last light and is especially effective during days when there is dappled light from drifting clouds and bright sunshine. It seems a bright spot surrounded by darker colors is historically a winning color combo in a variety of current speeds and water temperatures. The low water style allows for it to descend further into the column as well as being less obtrusive. This is also a great dropper fly to put in front of a smaller, darker point fly. Let the Green Butt Purple act as an attracter.
Tie It Yourself
If you would like to tie your own, we have all the materials in stock, with one caveat. The body is typically tied with a - now discontinued - holographic purple diamond braid. However, we have been experimenting with materials and have started tying our personal flies with flat diamond braid in dyed purple over pearl.
Thread: Danville 210 Denier Flat Waxed, Chartreuse DFWT143
Hook: Alec Jackson Spey Hook, Standard Weight, Nickel 2052, sizes 5 and 7
Tag: Danville 210 Denier Flat Waxed, Chartreuse DFWT143
Tail: Red Saddle Hackle fibers
Body:Flat Diamond Braid, Purple
Hackle: Purple Saddle Hackle
Wing: White Calf Tail, Pearl Krystal Flash