Guy Clark said it best. Classics and old-standbys are things that are proven, time-tested and true. In trout fishing, there are thousands of variations of effective fly patterns. Among those, certain patterns have reached near-legendary status. In this post, we discuss five essential fly patterns to include in your trout arsenal and how to fish them.
Blowtorch Euro Nymph
A great fly to use when you need to get into deep water in fast current. It's heavy bead, minimal materials, and slim profile help get this in front of fish that are holding deep in fast pockets of water. Also a great searching pattern as it contains enough natural features of a nymph, with enough attraction via the tail and bead, to drive fish crazy.
HOOK: Size 14 jig hook
BEAD: Fluo orange
THREAD: Olive 70D
TAIL: Orange superbright dubbing
ABDOMEN: Goose biot
THORAX: Peacock herl
HOOK: Size 12 competition nymph hook
BEAD: Brass black nickle 2.4mm
THREAD: Red 70D
ABDOMEN: Peacock super bright dubbing
SHELL: Small black flash, topped with uv resin
Zuke Nukem Chironomid
This pattern uses new and old materials that put the wits of the fish to the test. Chironomid patterns are in a league of their own, with thousands of sub-species that have the most unique colours, this combo is a safety net.
HOOK: Size 16 curved nymph hook
BEAD: White 2.4mm tungsten
THREAD: 70D in colour black
BREATHERS: Silver/Gray Larva Lace
ABDOMEN: Black Steel Chirony skin
RIB: X-Small red ultra wire
THORAX: Black thread
Topped with UV resin.
This pattern cannot be overlooked as many large sized trout can be directly linked to a healthy diet of scuds. It is another foundational searching pattern that can be tied on with confidence. In lakes, it is very common for trout to swim above the weeds with their mouths wide open just inhaling scuds by the hundreds. This pattern is best worked on a slow sinking line and a slow retrieve. Olive is a sure bet as it can also represent many other aquatic invertebrates.
HOOK: Size 14 scud hook
THREAD: 70D in colour olive
TAIL: Fluor.Green goose biots
ABDOMEN: Green Olive and Fire Orange Super Bright Dubbing
RIB: Extra-small gold wire
LEGS: Fluor.Green goose biots
SHELL: Light-olive sow-scud back, topped with UV resin.
Egg Suckling Leech
Trout seldom pass up a juicy leech pattern. I find the “egg” in egg sucking leech to be more of a hot spot than the actuality of a leech feeding on an egg. Also, I find the pattern is most effective because of the silhouette. It can be tied in dull colors to represent leeches, damsels and dragons or tied with bright colors to be more of a lure. Either under an indicator, slow or fast sink, a go-to searching pattern in both lakes and rivers.
HOOK: Size 12 jig hook - 60 degree
BEAD: Orange brass bead
THREAD: 70D black
TAIL: Black Marabou
FLASH: Black Super Flash
RIB: Small gold wire
How to get started in fly tying
Tying your own flies isn’t a requirement to be a “serious” fly angler, and thankfully the snooty attitude surrounding it has largely disappeared. Tying is much more of an every-angler activity than it ever has been, and more and more anglers are discovering why tying is so addictive and fun.
There are few things as satisfying as showing up to the river with flies you tied yourself and promptly catching trout on your own creations.
On top of that, tying gives you the opportunity to make flies that perfectly imitate bugs on your local waters. Despite how wide a selection of your local fly shop stocks, trout quickly get weary of seeing the same pattern, tied the same way, thousands of times during a given season. I see this all the time on the big rivers here in the West.
Flies from the bin work – but not as well as the flies straight from my vise. While I tie largely the same patterns as what you’ll find in a fly shop, my patterns have slight differences that I think make them more attractive to trout. Chances are, your own flies will have similar differences that make them stand out from the barrage of size 14 Adams that all came from the same fly shop.
But how do you get started with tying flies?It’s almost as daunting – and in some ways, more so – than starting out with fly fishing itself.
You can get by tying some of the classic patterns with an assortment of materials and supplies to start.
Here’s the only problem – where to start? You can walk into any fly shop and be bombarded with infinite options of materials, threads, furs, etc. And that's before we even dive into color selection!
But here’s the good news – we've developed a kit to help you get started with tying flies, and it’s only half the cost of what you’d spend to assemble all the necessities on your own.