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New Signature Tyer Spotlight: Devin Olsen joins Fulling Mill USA

Read Time: 6 Minutes | Published: 5th February 2024 | Author: Fulling Mill

We are thrilled to welcome Devin Olsen as a Signature Tyer for 2024 at Fulling Mill. Owner of Tactical Fly Fisher, member of Fly Fishing Team USA and all around exceptional angler, Devin has played a huge role in advancing fly fishing in the past decade. Devin is a deeply thoughtful and analytical angler and tyer and we’re thrilled to welcome him.

Who is Devin?

We’d be surprised if you don’t know Devin Olsen and his flies. However, incase you don’t we wanted to share a bit about him!

Devin Olsen started fly fishing in Yellowstone at age 9. Within a couples of years, it became an addiction he could not shake. As a result, he begged for rides to local streams until he could drive. Then at age 19 he started competing and made Fly Fishing Team USA in 2006 when he was 21 years old. He has competed in 13 consecutive World Fly Fishing Championships with Fly Fishing Team USA. He has earned a bronze individual medal and silver and bronze team medals from these championships and numerous medals from competitions in the United States.

Away from competitive fishing he holds a bachelor’s degree in ecology and a master’s degree in fisheries science. He worked as a fisheries biologist for several years before starting his company Tactical Fly Fisher. Devin has produced three instructional films: Modern Nymphing: European Inspired Techniques, Modern Nymphing Elevated: Beyond the Basics, and Adaptive Fly Fishing. Additionally, Devin is the author of the book Tactical Fly Fishing: Lessons Learned from Competition for All Anglers and the soon to be released Stillwater Fly Fishing: Competition Inspired Strategies for Everyday Anglers.

Devin with a spectacular New Zealand brown trout.

Devin’s Flies

We added 26 of Devin’s patterns to our collection, but we’ve highlighted a couple favorites below. If you want to view them all you can here.

Olsen’s Blowtorch

From Devin: “In 2014 I was in the Czech Republic with my Fly Fishing Team USA mates for the World Fly Fishing Championships. Our guide showed us a tag nymph which he preferred to swing for coarse fish on flatter sections of the Vltava River. I had some success with it during practice but felt I could improve the color scheme, the hackle mobility, the durability and adapt the weight to suit it to nymphing for trout and grayling in the other beats of the river. After a few manipulations I landed on the recipe for the Blowtorch. It was instrumental in 2nd and 1st place session finishes during that championship and has become my favorite attractor nymph since.”

Olsen’s Lite Brite Perdigon

From Devin: “My friend Luis Esteban Hernandez first showed me a perdigon nymph back in 2014 while fishing in California together. I was skeptical at first but his catch rates on these nymphs were impressive. So, I started tying my own versions with krystal flash for the body and the California trout found them irresistible. I also quickly noticed how much faster these nymphs sank than other patterns. This allowed me to fish them in smaller sizes and with less weight. The Lite Brite Perdigon in all its variations has since become a standby for me across the globe. The attractor based pink, purple, blue and butano (orange) variations have been surprisingly effective in tough rivers where the trout often are reputed to only take tiny imitative nymphs.”

Olsen’s Front End Loader Caddis

From Devin: “During practice for the 2013 World Fly Fishing Championship in Norway, I found that the brown trout preferred flush riding dry flies in the low gradient rivers we were fishing. However, the caddis patterns I had with me which rode flush were poor at floating tungsten nymph droppers. I have long been a fan of Quigley’s Hackle Stacker style mayfly patterns. So, I figured the flush riding but buoyant hackle on these patterns would create the perfect combination when added to an elk hair wing to make my Front-End Loader Caddis. I ended up catching many of my fish in Norway on this pattern. It’s still my go-to caddis pattern to appeal to discerning fish while still being able to float tungsten nymphs.”

Olsen’s Backflop Jig

From Devin: “jigging and drifting streamers on a Euro nymphing leader is a deadly technique. This can be especially true when standard nymphing approaches fail to produce well. Effective patterns for this method have mobile materials. They also have a slender profile underwater and extra weight to get them to depth quickly. My favorite pattern for this approach is the Backflop Jig which has just enough movement and flash to catch the attention of trout, but it also sinks quickly. It works well dead drifted as well as jigged during the drift with the rod tip.”

If you enjoyed checking out these new flies from Devin Olsen and want to see other new flies we released for 2024 you can find the nymphs and streamers here.

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