Introduction and Interview with Doug Brutaco of Aqua Flies


Aqua Flies. New Kid on the block. Impressive flies. Very nice. Very tasty. I purchased several patterns and am busily trying to adapt my own flies with the new inspiration I’ve found in these beauties.

Doug Brutocao. Doug is the man who runs Aqua Flies. Doug’s introduction to fly fishing was a lot like mine, except he was a few years over me, 15 versus 13, and he started with a Fenwick while iIstarted with a Japanese bamboo rod. We both started with Pfluger fly reels though. We both read books and had help along the way. My help was from people like Audrey Joy and Lloyd Byerly of Portland Oregon Doug watched Grant King at work, along with people like Bill Schaadt, Hal Jansen, Bob Nauheim and other California fly angler/tyers.

Doug has traveled and fished more destinations than I have too. Places like Alaska, BC, New Brunswick and Russia have been on his itinerary, but BC has been my only out of country venture for sea run fish.

While I was tying for a few retailers, Doug founded Doug’s Bugs at the age of 18 — my semi-commercial tying was as a grad student at OSU and then in my spare time while working full time as a fish biologist.

Doug tells me that he formed Aqua Flies to take the state of commercially produced steelhead and salmon flies to a new level. I look at his bugs and think he has achieved just that. Nice job Doug.

The Caddis Fly Shop is pleased to offer Aquaflies online – after our in-store clients welcomed these patterns with enthusiasm.

Here is a brief Interview with Doug agreed to let me use to help introduce his product line.


Aqua Flies Q/A (July 2016)

Jay: How did you decide on the traditional steelhead and salmon fly patterns you would carry?

Doug: We noticed that the traditional steelhead fly we know 25 years ago was becoming increasingly difficult to find.  It was easy to find a Green Butt Skunk, but many of the other patterns were simply disappearing from the view of fly shop buyers and consumers. The flies you would find were not up to par, except for those flies that were being tied by regional commercial fly tiers. The quality that was on the market was very poor from the use of inferior quality hooks, bad proportions and incorrect color schemes.  We wanted to show shops that we could produce a quality fly that is tied correctly, a good way to do that is with old school patterns with a little bit of glitz.

Jay: How did you meet and decide to work with people like Greg Senyo and Brett Jensen as two examples of your signature flies?

Doug:  Not only do we respect tradition, but we want to be cutting edge.  Greg is well known for developing new fly tying materials and incorporating those new materials into his innovative patterns.  Our lineup of flies was lacking the style of fly that the swing guys in the Great Lakes like to use.  Shops in the Great Lakes were telling us that our patterns looked great, but not exactly what they like to use.  So we fumbled around with a few things until Greg came to us and offered us two patterns as a trial.  As soon as Greg saw the quality and our ability to tie his fly almost exactly as it had come off of his vise, he opened up his box and gave us more patterns to tie.

I had fished on and off  with Brett for many years.  His flies always impressed me, he had good proportions, good color selections, neatly tied and they caught fish.  A few years ago I had a chance to fish with Brett on the Klamath.  We were all having success that day.  I asked Brett what he was using and he showed me his Klamath Caddis, I had seen the fly a number of years ago in his box, but never saw the fly in action.  HE gave me a few to use along with his Obie Skater.  I asked if he would mind if we produced the flies, thinking they would be popular only in Northern California.  He was excited at the opportunity and suggested that he submit some other patterns.  From the get go, his patterns have sold very well, with sales from BC to California.

Jay: I think I see some hooks that are different from those I am accustomed to fishing. Can you share a little information about these hooks and why you selected them for your flies?

Doug: We use Gamakatsu Octopus hooks for our trailer hooks on most of our flies.  The little trailer hooks that are ring eye are out of Korea called Iseama.  The traditional flies are tied on Maruto out of Japan.  Tubes are rigged with the Iseama hooks also. I chose the very best hooks I could find considering sharpness, durability, shape, and wire diameter at each size.

Jay: Could you note a few of the new fly patterns you plan on releasing in the autumn of 2016?

Doug:  We have the honor to be working with Jerry French on his patterns.  Being the father of the Intruder and an innovator in tying using the composite loops, we were thrilled.  IT is very challenging for your tiers to switch gears when tying Jerry’s flies, but they are tuning out very well.  This is a project that has taken over a year to develop, but we feel that there is nothing like Jerry’s flies on the market.   In addition to his Intruders, we will be tying the Dirty Hoh, Summer Sculpin and Jerry’s Waker Maker.

Stu Foxall has also submitted some very nice patterns for release this fall.  He has a PrawnTruder tube fly.  This fly is a little different in that the rubber legs are tied underneath the fly to represent the legs of the prawn.  When looking at the fly from behind, it looks just like a prawn with the eyes, feelers and fluttering legs.  Small brass eyes are tied on the bottom of the tube so the fly rides with legs hanging down.  Very cool pattern.

We will also be introducing a line of marabou tube flies  that incorporate the Pro Sport Fisher Ultra Sonic discs.



End  of Jay’s Interview with Doug

Post Script: 

The Caddis Fly Shop is pleased to announce that our stock of Aquaflies is sufficient to list most patterns we carry online.

My photography is less than optimum, but these flies are the best examples of commercially tied flies that I would be confident fishing myself. kThe following photos are representative of patterns we will stock with more to come by the likes of Greg Senyo and Jerry French and maybe, possibly, a few flies by Jay Nicholas in 2017.

Here are some quick links to the flies we currently stock, absent the riffle hitch skaters we now have in the shop but I just have not placed the link here yet. My bad.

Aqua Flies incite me to swing other people’s flies — and I bet you will feel the same when you see them in person.

Brett’s Obie Skaters

Brett’s Klamath Skaters.

Stu’s Mini Intruders

Brett’s Klamath Intruders

Scorpion Stingers

Stu’s Barred Ostrich Intruders

Senyo’s Predator Scandi


Senyo’s OCD




DSC_3781 DSC_3782 DSC_3783

Jay Nicholas Aquaflies d

Brett’s Obie Skaters and Klamath Skaters.

DSC_3793 DSC_3801 DSC_3792

Stu’s Mini Intruders


Scorpion Stingers

DSC_3803 DSC_3787

Brett’s Klamath Intruders

DSC_3791 DSC_3790 DSC_3800

Stu’s Mini Intruders


Stu’s Barred Ostrich Intruders


Senyo’s Predator Scandi


Senyo’s OCD


Jay Nicholas – July 2016

This entry was posted in Fly Fishing Gear Review, Fly Tying, Fly Tying Materials and Supplies, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *