At Alaska West our guides are constantly pushing the envelope as it relates to fly design. Big, beautiful composite hackle king flies, innovative new mouse designs, dangerously articulated flesh flies and more are routinely born in our staff quarters next to the Kanektok River.
On the other hand, there are some patterns that have produced for years, are simple to tie, and yes, might even be called ugly. The reigning king of this ‘old and ugly but effective’ category at Alaska West is, without a doubt, the Cotton Candy.
What We Know About the Cotton Candy
- It consists of egg yarn, chenille, thread and a hook.
- It probably represents some combination of eggs, flesh and milt, we think.
- It catches loads of rainbows and dollies and grayling.
- It works in May and June and July and August and September.
- It can be fished on flats, off ledges, on spawning beds, around snags, on inside bends…basically anywhere it’s wet.
- It seems to be particularly effective when conditions are tough – early season, cold water and bad visibility are no match for the Cotton Candy.
- It can be dead drifted, or not.
The one big thing that we don’t know about the Cotton Candy is why on earth is works so well, but after all these years we’re just done asking.