Green Machine (single) sizes 2 through 8

Marc LeBlanc

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A fly designed 3 decades (or so) ago, this fly continues to account for significant catches of salmon in all Atlantic Canadian and Quebec rivers.

I refuse to fish this pattern as I would prefer to catch 1 salmon in a season on a Green Highlander rather than a dozen on a Green Machine.

Having said that, if you ever have a chance to fish North American rivers, no fly box is complete without this “fly for the people”. This version with a white tail, simply referred to as a White Tailed Green Machine is particularly popular and effective.

(I tied these ones for a box of flies I am donating to raise funds for the Miramichi Salmon Association. They won’t be found in my fly boxes!)

Cheers!

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Grassy_Knollington

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Marc

Is the Green Machine fished like every other wet fly, like a nymph upstream sub-surface or upstream as a dead drift dry-fly?

I’ve always wondered how it was fished and that might explain its popularity.

Rgds

GK
 

Loyalist84

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I couldn't begin to count the number of times another salmon angler walked by or sat down at the bench, asked and was notified I hadn't had a hookup yet, and offered "have you tried a Green Machine yet?" - especially if they were from Doaktown! Beautiful bugs, but I'm of a similar mind to yourself - I essentially never tie one on, except as a bit of deference to the old fellows who have mentored me who insist on it on a given pool or conditions. Doesn't stay on for a second run through the pool.
 

Marc LeBlanc

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Hi GK,

Thanks for the question.

The Green Machine (and other deer hair “bugs”) is typically fished like a standard wet fly- cast quarter down stream and swung on a tight line through the pool. I like to provide it with an upstream mend to keep it subsurface if the current is swift.

Cheers!

Marc
 

firefly

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I used the Green Machine with success on Finnmark rivers, mine were a bit fatter though and didn't have a tail. Wouldn't compare it with a Frances as it is very buoyant and stays high in the water column.
 

Heero

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Out of curious it’s, why don’t you like them? Is it just the look of them or something else?
 

Marc LeBlanc

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Great question. There are two reasons I don’t like deer hair bugs. One very simple reason and another that is bit more profound.

1. They are very messy to tie and it appears I developed an allergy of some sort to deer hair as I get itchy eyes and my lungs get congested when I tie them.

2. The more profound reason is when I started salmon fishing some 35 years ago, it was all about catching fish. I would use whatever pattern was effective including deer hair bugs. After I started catching fish and I matured as a fisherman, I learned that the joy of fishing extends well beyond the simple act of hooking and playing a fish. As you know, there are many elements that make up the joy in salmon fishing- the people you fish with, the natural surroundings, the sound of the water, the smells of nature, the meals we share with our fishing mates... I them started to experiment with patterns that not often used. I enjoyed hooking a fish in a situation where other anglers didn’t. As I don’t own any pools myself, I have to fish the public runs. The fish in these pools see a constant barrage of the usual suspect of flies (#1 being the Green Machine). I very much enjoy tying classic featherwing salmon flies and I use them every chance I get as I am fascinated to understand the effectiveness of the flies that for generations were the “go to” flies. For that reason, I prefer to avoid the modern flies. Simply put, on a bright day rather than using a Silver Rat, I will use a Silver Doctor. On a dark day, instead of a Black Bear Green Butt, I will use a Canadian Black Dose. On a mixed weather day, instead of a Green Machine, I will use a Green Highlander.

Cheers!
 

Handel

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I used the Green Machine with success on Finnmark rivers, mine were a bit fatter though and didn't have a tail. Wouldn't compare it with a Frances as it is very buoyant and stays high in the water column.
See point 2 of Marc's post above. You will find several threads on the board about use of the Frances in which people make a similar point to the one Marc is making. It isn't about how they fish it is more fundamental about using them at all.
 

firefly

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See point 2 of Marc's post above. You will find several threads on the board about use of the Frances in which people make a similar point to the one Marc is making. It isn't about how they fish it is more fundamental about using them at all.

Oh, I've never been into excommunicating devilish flies from my box. I always used whatever I thought was effective in the circumstances. And I used them all. The difference in using the Green Machine and a Frances for me was the first clearly being a nice little fly to provoke a rise when conditions were right and the latter an in your face last resort.
Anyway, Mark also said he liked to give them an upstream mend to keep them subsurface, so he must have tried them at some point. The reason for banning them out of his box is of course personal and shouldn't be questioned. I think the reasons to use them (or any other fly for that matter) shouldn't be either. But again, that is a personal opinion.
 

Heero

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Great question. There are two reasons I don’t like deer hair bugs. One very simple reason and another that is bit more profound.

1. They are very messy to tie and it appears I developed an allergy of some sort to deer hair as I get itchy eyes and my lungs get congested when I tie them.

2. The more profound reason is when I started salmon fishing some 35 years ago, it was all about catching fish. I would use whatever pattern was effective including deer hair bugs. After I started catching fish and I matured as a fisherman, I learned that the joy of fishing extends well beyond the simple act of hooking and playing a fish. As you know, there are many elements that make up the joy in salmon fishing- the people you fish with, the natural surroundings, the sound of the water, the smells of nature, the meals we share with our fishing mates... I them started to experiment with patterns that not often used. I enjoyed hooking a fish in a situation where other anglers didn’t. As I don’t own any pools myself, I have to fish the public runs. The fish in these pools see a constant barrage of the usual suspect of flies (#1 being the Green Machine). I very much enjoy tying classic featherwing salmon flies and I use them every chance I get as I am fascinated to understand the effectiveness of the flies that for generations were the “go to” flies. For that reason, I prefer to avoid the modern flies. Simply put, on a bright day rather than using a Silver Rat, I will use a Silver Doctor. On a dark day, instead of a Black Bear Green Butt, I will use a Canadian Black Dose. On a mixed weather day, instead of a Green Machine, I will use a Green Highlander.

Cheers!

Fair enough, I was just curious!

I actually like the look of them. To me, they look 'different'. But then, I didnt grow up fishing them on the Miramichi!
 

Marc LeBlanc

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Anyway, Mark also said he liked to give them an upstream mend to keep them subsurface, so he must have tried them at some point.
Hi Firefly,

I fished deer hair bugs extensively when I just got into salmon fishing, hence my experience mending the line. (I would also stomp the fly into the ground before attaching it to the leader. This further helped keep the fly down). I caught a fair # of fish on them in those early days.

Funny but 100% true fishing story. About 10 years ago, I had a wonderful experience fishing new to me rivers in Nova Scotia.

While you don’t require a ghillie in Nova Scotia if you are a non-resident (like me), I had one with me so he could show me around this new area. When I approached the first pool, I asked him what fly I should use. He chuckled and said to me “you are from New Brunswick, use this!” and he tossed me a fly. Sure enough, it was a blasted Green Machine size 6. I hadn’t fished a deer hair bug for salmon in more than a decade at that point.

As I didn’t want to disrespect the ghillie, I said to myself that I would swing it through the pool once then change it for something else.

Sure enough, before I was through the pool on that first pass, I was into a solid 15 pound hen fish! All I could do was laugh. (I haven’t fished one since!)

Cheers!

Marc
 

Neil W

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The green machine is also a very popular fly for sea trout on the Rio Grande in Argentina. I have fished it many times swinging down and across with a very fast sink tip (T11+) and various lengths of leader. It either works very well or not at all. the biggest sea trout I caught on the GM was 22.5lb and was a cracking fish
i found using a longer softer hackle worked well
 

Neil W

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CDF04F74-C92F-4FD2-BCFA-A1A58B8BAC4A.jpegI am not in your league when it comes to tying flies and also hate using clipped deer hair but as you see the hackles are different and the body somewhat plumper
 

SalmoNewf

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While agreeing they are, to put it mildly, ugly, they are very effective flies. The pic attached is a version that’s quite popular in Newfoundland, using green wool for the body rather than clipped deer hair. Fished wet and on the swing.
 

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