When smaller is needed, this small "Woolly Bugger" designed to swim upside down can do just the trick. Fish it like a nymph, strip it like a streamer, jig it like a jig - this pattern is extremely versatile.
HACKLE: Size 12 grizzly/drk olive Whiting 100's by Whiting Farms
Tyler Ekdahl is a B.C native with over 10+ years experience fishing his local waters - so when he says this Chironomid is his favourite pattern, I'll take his word for it! There are over 2,500 species of chironomids found in freshwater habitats throughout North America. They are one of the most abundant food sources found in small lakes throughout our BC. Since trout, char, and even kokanee feed extensively on chironomids, these small insects make a great food source for fly-tyers to imitate.
A Frank Sawyer design, the ever popular and versatile Pheasant Tail is a must have pattern for every fly box. You should have these in several sizes, and weights, and flip a few rocks to see what size is most suitable. Sold in just about every fly shop across the globe, it's a vital pattern you should learn to tie.
The Blue Winged Olive, more famously referred to as a BWO, is a must have pattern for every dry fly box. Traditionally being the most effective in June in Ontario, but always keep an eye out for this hatch in the warmer months. You should have these in sizes 16, 18, and 20.
Emerger patterns are like the cheese in a stuffed crust pizza. Can't see it, but once you bite into it, it's full of hot, melted, oozy goodness. These patterns are designed to imitate larvae that are just about to turn into flying insects. So you can kind of see why trout love them so much.
Rainbows, salmon, steelhead, bass, you name it - they love this fly! Golden Stonefly nymphs crawl on the bottom of the river searching for food and they aggressively feed on other smaller insects. Since they live in strong fast water, the current consistently washes them away making them a prime food source.
Very similar to the Copper John, with a few minor changes. Main changes being the addition of rubber legs and the wire body is two toned. Barr’s Jumbo John is a heavy and life like stonefly and works well on great lakes steelhead and western trout!
WING CASE: Flash and brown scud-back, topped with UV resin
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.
The Hares Ear is probably one of the most highly used flies across the globe. It's a "generic" nymph that represents many mayfly and caddis nymphs. The shaggy appearance resembles when they shed their skins or shucks as they progress into their next stages. The most common method of fishing this popular fly is on a dead drift, but like most flies, you'll often get takes on the swing as well.
WING CASE: Blue flash or tinsel, topped with UV resin
Skull Head Bunny Leech
Leeches are a vital source of trout food, as they are present throughout the entire season. They are especially active during the late fall & early spring when forage for other insects are scarce, as the main hatches have already run their source, or they are yet to start. The fact that leeches are always present makes them excellent for a searching pattern.
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.
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.
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 colours to represent leeches, damsels and dragons or tied with bright colours to be more of a lure. Either under an indicator, slow or fast sink, a go-to searching pattern in both lakes and rivers.
A super effective mayfly imitation but again, time and time again, this pattern will put you on fish when all else fails. This pattern can be fished in both lakes and rivers but is most predominantly used in rivers. The heavy bead and thin profile help this fly penetrate the water column as fast as possible to get to the feeding zone. When the trout are keying on a mayfly emergence, throw on a rainbow warrior for good results.
Translating to “little devil”, this simple pattern holds true to its meaning. It is ideally used during a chironomid or mayfly emergence but when tied in larger sizes it can resemble damsels, dragons and caddis. Whether it is swung in a riffle or retrieved on a clear intermediate, it is hard to compare patterns more versatile than this. Simple and effective.