Title Picture Lava Creek YNP

For those of you who have not made it to the Absaroka Knoll  Farm in Pray, Montana  it is quite well known that  Doc Knoll  is not  "politically correct" for fly fishing. His refreshing and common sense approach to fishing products, fishing techniques as well as his humorous insights into the world of fly fishing  will educate you during your summer visit to Montana and Yellowstone waters  or  hopefully  bring cheer to you on a cold winter's night.

Here are a few of his published short stories.

The Reading Material
(If you click on the highlighted title you will be directed to the story of choice)

It's in the Timing
A short story on casting methods

One Lost Fly Box
Angler's helping other anglers

Twenty Minutes
The short time before the evening meal is tough to get through.

The Defining Moment
Amy Knoll takes out her rod on the Hoh river.

California Corbina in the Surf
an excerpt taken from Doc's   The Beginners Guide to Saltwater Fishing

A Dance at Dawn
 Jim Young's  poem created on the banks of the Yellowstone 2003

The Knoll Trilogy- an insight into how KFP was created and why.
The Founding of a  Business1
Trilogy - Part One  of Doc Knoll's  own story

The Founding of a Business 2
Trilogy- Part Two

The Founding of a Business 3
Trilogy- Part Three

and below
Sometimes a Variation Can Make a Difference.
A short story first published in the Montana Pioneer 12-03

    One of the advantages of owning a flock of genetic birds used for premium fishing flies is the fact that I get to choose what is bred and what variations in feather color  will be attempted during the upcoming season . Often, world renown fly tiers hang out at the shop’s bar and together we contemplate what the other may be wishing to have produced for new or different patterns.  Sometimes when the right birds are selected  the color that is created can be spectacular. However, once the breeding is complete the wait begins and the expectations can take time to prove whether I really “did good.” Then there are the little things in life that will make us continue whatever it is we like to do.

For instance, last April I attended the Snake River Cutthroater’s Spring Show in Idaho Falls, Idaho. It’s a well thought out  show and is something more of us who live in  the West should attend. All the regional hot shots of the industry were there. Each showed their talent for whatever their expertise is but one attendee rose above the others and honored me by spending a little time at my booth. But, before I toot my horn too loudly,  there is a reason I am making mention of this  particular visit and what transpired.

    Henry Hoffman is commonly known as the originator of  the breed of birds which I raise. I’ve seen what he has done and  I’m impressed. He has also worn the crown as Fly Tier of the Year for the year 2000 and I‘m certain there are numerous more awards in his possession. This is not too shabby an honor in anyone’s books.  So, as he tied his flies near my booth,  the four live examples of Genetic Hackle birds I normally take with me to shows beckoned him at times with their clucks and crows. Nearly as soon as he arrived a novice tier showed up and  began to ask numerous and various novice type questions. Not being one to eliminate Henry from any ongoing conversation  I introduced this beginner to the pillar in fly fishing. The next few minutes Henry and I entertained ourselves by showing this young tier some of the genetic variations I had laying around the booth and how they are used for various flies. We explained how this practice of  growing birds for a specific fly is now practiced, in the spirit of competition,  by accomplished fly tiers and their hackle growing friends  from all over the world.

    And, to educate some of you this same principle is what makes a stained glass lamp by Tiffany totally different then a craftsman who just cuts and assembles  colored glass. Tiffany colored the glass for where it was going on the “picture.” He just didn’t use what was available from the scrap heap. Well, maybe he did but not often. But, in hackle and feather selection the principal variant which is I am referring to is the Cree. A tri colored mix of white, brown and black. And, if you fish with Adams or Light Cahill flies then this little article should get your attention.

    To tie an Adams Fly the common practice is to take one feather from a brown neck and another from a Grizzly neck and blend the two into the hackle of the fly. But if you take a well mixed brown and grizzly Cree feather you can accomplish the same task without the use of a dual feathers. Taken one step further the variant Cree also comes in a wide spectrum of color. The bred birds will span the spectrum of mix from a barred cream to nearly all black. Capitalizing on using this variety of  multiple colors, all of your fly patterns can become just a little deadlier on the rivers and streams where you fish.

    For instance and  I use this example quite often in the shop when discussing the Cree. If you tie a common light Cahill onto your line and drift it down a riffle you may catch a fish. However,  if you alter the hackle of  this particular pattern by using a light Cree variation that is barred with the Cree  tri-color and cast this new variation of the fly  within inches of the control Cahill the chances are 80-90% in favor of the Cree Cahill being taken before the common Cahill. Don’t laugh I’ve done it.  Overall, Charlie Darwin would call it survival of the fittest or unfit test depending on how you look at it.. This formulation of  survival and predation I adhere to and implement in many of my own personal flies. The Cree variation just makes this principal a little easier to create a fly which casts an illusion of  a weak or, in the case of a full blown insect hatch, a better target for a feeding fish to focus on.  Think about that…. A fly that might cause a fish to see it in a flotilla of floating bugs.

     If you take this same concept away from the trout stream and slide it into the realm of salt water you would immediately see how a Cree feather would “outlook” a mix of several feathers. Therefore, shrimp patterns can become almost identical to the shrimp that flood the waters where you fish. My parents live down in Florida and when I fish on visits to their home the Cree feather duplicates the color and “look” of an Indian River shrimp and  the birds around Islamorada and Marathon have watch me take fish after fish using these feathers in shrimp patterns. Some friends of mine who haunt the Texas coast find that the Cree is the best feather to cast at that particular feeding fish red fish. In fact, they like to say, “one cast one fish.” 

    So maybe there is a better mousetrap after all. And, regardless of what fly you tie or whatever the size needed, a Cree neck or saddle can add a little spice into that common fly which you have been fishing. Give it a try. I have yet to hear from anyone, from Maine to California, who has diverted from the “norm,” that the results of this concept didn’t surpass their expectations.


Doc has written many stories on various fishing subjects.
If you wish to ask Doc for a story that you are intersted in just ask!

Send an email to Doc