sculpin patterns [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: sculpin patterns

11-24-2004, 04:33 AM
Hey I was wondering if anybody here has any good sculpin patterns. Something easy to tie, yet still big and fish fooling. I would like em from #2 to #10 those are mainly what I 'd be tying. Right now I make mine like this.

Tail & back rabbit strip; Grey Olive brown

Body is two pieces of lead wire .035 on top and bottom of hook shank, then covered with gold metal tinsel

Fins behind the head they are hen pheasant neck feathers( but they don't seem to be stiff enough)

Head Brown Sculpin wool Wrapped in a dubbing loop. Now if you guys have a better way than that please tell me :Eyecrazy:

And all other suggestions and photos would be awesome.


Scott A. Burgin USAF in Germany

11-24-2004, 07:58 AM
I tie mine with the rabbit tail, and then a body of light flashy dubbibng, olive or cream, 2 olive saddles on the back, then a dahlberg diver style deer hair head. The collar of deer hair creates the side fins and they don't flair back, and the saddle hackles, tied tent style on the back create the slimmer profile. It probably takes a few extra moments to tie, but I've caught 3 species of trout, steelhead, smallmouth, largemouth, pike pickeral and a walleye on it. I tie it in a #2 for steelhead and as small as an 8 for trout. I also make the "olive's", brown and do well.

Hope this helps,

11-24-2004, 08:05 AM
Grab a copy of Spring 2004 Fish and Fly, one of the Muskegon river guides has an article in there with some of his patterns.

Trust me he nails a ton of fish on them.

11-24-2004, 09:39 AM
That issue of Fish and Fly is written by Kevin Feenstra. He also did an article back in 2002 where he profiled his Emulator (a sculpin pattern). I have fished this pattern, and modified versions of it, with a lot of success. Another great pattern that came out of Michigan is the Zoo Cougar. This is a very good streamer / sculpin pattern for the great lakes. Schmidts rabbit muddler and Maddonna are also very effective.

Although I love wets and speys, streamers and sculpind swung on a sink tip is a great way to more traditionally fish the great lakes with a higher rate of success.


11-24-2004, 09:49 AM
Good thread . . .

Don't use many sculpin patterns as I've been looking for a good clouser style sculpin that can really get down among the rocks. Tried inventing a couple but didn't like the looks. I've been thinking of a popscile style clouser in sculpin colours.

11-24-2004, 10:39 AM
They call them big uglies on the Mo', trust me that is no exaggeration.

11-24-2004, 10:44 AM
I have been using the feenstra Sklupin Emulators for a few years now and have done well with them. here is the recipe I am using and a pict.

Hook CS15 Carrie Stevens 10x Long Streamer Hook. size 2
Thread 3/0 brown
Head Opposim
Collar natural wood duck flank feather
hackle Olive Schlapen
body Golden emu
Tail Olive barred marrabou

1 Start with a very secure thread base.

2 Wrap threadbase back to the hook bend. Tie in the marabou feather so it is about the length of the hook shank.

3 Tie in the hackle feather by the tip here, followed by the 2pieces of emu.

4 Wrap the emu forward and tie off. Then palmer the hackle forward and tie off and trim.

5 Cut a clump of opposim or rams wool and tie it in so that the tips sweep back over the body a bit. Take a couple of wraps through the flared butts to lock the hair in place.

6 Complete the fly by trimming to shape with a razor blade or sharp scissors.

Original Pattern by keven Feenstra

11-24-2004, 11:04 AM
I have that issue of fish and fly and was just looking at it. Some of those seem really good. But i don't have all the materials, that will happen soon though. Thanks for your help guys. Also doesent that emulator seem to be almost too long, I would think an 8 or 6 xl hook would be better, especially to hold onto the fish.

11-24-2004, 11:05 AM
that article that I have is actually the sprind 2004 isuue

11-24-2004, 11:21 AM
That's the whole idea, big and ugly.

Steelies rock em jard, they will rip the rod out of your hand. Think about how big sculpins are. Fish expend the same amount of energy no matter the size of the meal. Eating a bigger meal means you have more in your belly, more energy in return for your effort.

11-24-2004, 03:34 PM
all of the steel head I have spoke too this fall have not had a issues with the proportions... just the sharp in the tail :D
Yeah they really hit em hard.

11-24-2004, 03:43 PM
awesome guys I'll see if I can get some pics going here soon. My scanner says .tif files are not compatible. I'll fix it non the less. See ya soon

11-25-2004, 11:14 AM
Rarther than tying the head in a dubbing loop, Spin the material as if it were deer hair and then trim to shape with a razor blade. You need to use material that will absorb water to aid in getting the fly down. Wool or opposum rather than dear hair. Although you may want to spin one or two clumps of hair for the fins.(I would use feathers instead) Spinning works best on a bare hook shank. And by spinning, you can varie the color with each spin to achieve that mottled look of a sculpin.
Hmmm,,,,wonder if there are any sculpin in the Rogue?

11-25-2004, 03:27 PM
I will definitely try the spinning technique. i believe that is how I used to make them but it was a while since I made any. Thanks for the help.

11-26-2004, 07:25 PM
Yeah baby!,,and they ,the sculpins spawn in spring=active=and Winter's are this far up and moving fast to the redds,,,bait guys have told of winter steel stuffed with them,,as well as one guy who said the same about summer steel,,in fact,one guy cought a sculpin on a worm,!!!,springtime,,,this is an interesting thread for me, :) ,,i'm going to go look for a magazine i bought this spring==sculpin patterns,,,and info about these little `devilfish'-----------------------------O-K,,,march 04 issue of flyfisherman magazine has patterns,,i've honestly never tryed to log onto their site but they say you can ,and info is there,they say!,,,a timely thread lads!,,, :wink:

11-29-2004, 08:42 AM
i've been playing with sculpin like patterns while in new york. i like simple patterns because i just am not that into tying. i think the flies i fish have the profile and movement to mimic a sculpin (at least close enough). they seem to work, and the fish seem to really eat them.

i tie them on a plastic tube (freshwater ones... thinner diameter). weighted with the visible cone and 5-6 wraps of .30 lead beneath the palmered straight cut rabbit. the rabbit colors i have had the best luck with are olive grizzly (shown) and plain grizzly.

the dubbing is just white lite-brite mixed with silver angel-hair. the collar is grizzly hen hackle.

i like the emulator fly, but don't have all the materials... i'm planning on playing with some different materials to speed things up and save me trips to the fly shop for materials.


11-29-2004, 09:39 AM
Here's my original steelhead sculpin pattern: (

Click image for recipe (; also works well in natural, purple, olive, etc.

This fly has done the deed for many years and is adopted by many friends, thus it has earned it's place in the box for sure.

12-11-2004, 02:52 PM
Topwater, That sculpin looks a lot like a sculpin that someone may have givin you on the Catt. BTw did you have any success after we talked?

12-11-2004, 06:19 PM
now that you mention it, it does. i had forgotten about the fly you had given me that day. hope you enjoyed the rest of your trip. for the life of me, i cannot remember how i did the rest of that day. i remember being pleased getting that one fish in the run we shared... due to the number of people on the river.

btw, your sculpin pattern is classes above my simple rabbit thing. in fact, i think others should see it.

chris (the fly pictured is twohanded's)

12-12-2004, 11:14 AM
This thread has made me get off the couch and tie up some attempts at a clouser sculpin. Our sculpins tend to be tan and brown so this pattern tries to mimic their blotchiness. I don't have any sculpin wool so the head was dubbed out of hare's ear and geinger SLF -- pretty crappy but it will do for now. The fins don't really work that well so I'll have to search for some better grizzly and tan saddle hackle. The next one will have tan and grizzly chickabou palmered over the body to fill that out.

and here's the second one sans marabou tail and with palmered tan & grizzly chickabou plus a better head made out of yarn (need a better colour though).

Improved the fins by using two crappy saddle hackles then tying them with figure-8s to clump them to the sides.

12-12-2004, 07:34 PM

nice ties, make em bigger and uglier :lildevl: . Kevin F. calls them biggg uglies for a reason.

they really move fish, for grins tie up some zoo cougars. those babies work also, real pain to cast but they move big michigan fish.

12-12-2004, 08:58 PM
Bigger? Uglier? Don't know if I could stomach that. These are pretty big & bad already.

Got plans for the next variant but I need to get some extra materials. I'm trying to get not only the profile right, but also the wobbly swimming style of the sculpin. Figure that this back & forth wobble should set off some good lateral line vibes.

12-13-2004, 07:03 PM
The fly of mine that topwater posted isn't exactly a sculpin, it's kind of a cross between a sculpin and a giant esl. We have started calling it the "head turner" and it has been an awsome fly for us the last couple of years. I'll see if I can round up some sculpins and get pic posted. BTW the picture is actual size approx. 4-5 in.

12-13-2004, 09:42 PM
Hey Gillie What about a Double Bunny Sculpin?

12-19-2004, 02:22 AM
hey peter those flies look like they are half bonefish half steelhead nice tie non the less

12-19-2004, 02:43 AM
Here's the one that I managed to tie up and wait to use once i get back to the states.

12-19-2004, 02:46 AM
opps here it is

12-26-2004, 05:51 PM
Here are my two favorite sculpin patterns:

a wool head maktuka using a hen ringneck saddle
& an olive deerhair zonker

both flies have a light cahill dubbed body and rooster ringneck fins

12-27-2004, 04:21 PM
not too shabby