Steelhead Flies of Choice! [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Steelhead Flies of Choice!

01-26-2002, 07:44 PM
Everybody has a special fly they love to use! And most will use this fly as the go to fly for their own reason, but most of use tend to use the same type of fly but in different versions. What is your favorite fly and why?
And Fred, if I come to Medford, are you going to show me your special flies? I haven't been to the south end of the state for many years! Since 1972.... Just need a reason to get back there!

01-26-2002, 09:09 PM
I am a firm believer that the actual pattern makes no difference at all. A steelhead is not going to refuse a # 4 skunk then turn around and gran a #4 green butt skunk. So I like to keep things simple. A summer selection and a winter selection

Silver hilton spider
Bi-Color (my own pattern) will describe it for you
Variation of the Damsel Fly by Ed Flemming
Queen Caroline (my version of lady caroline)

marabou spiders:
orange/purple /blue
red /purple /blue
GP's in black purple and orange

My absolute favorite though is my Queen Caroline.

here are a couple descriptions

Bi-color (purple and pink)

Tail: short tips from a pink marabou blood quill (Tie in the whole feather and dont trim it)
Body: purple wool, chiniel,or dubbing
Ribbing: Flat silver mylar
overbody: Pull the rest of the pink blood quillover the bodyline on a nymph
Wing: pink marabou
Hackle: purple saddle
Other great color combos black and green, black and orange

Water pusher
Same as Ed Flemings damsel fly but I use a heavier wing and I don't trim the bacl side(where the elk flairs)

Queen Caroline
Same as the lady caroline but the wing is simplified. I just use another golden pheasant breast feather or two

01-26-2002, 09:11 PM
This is my go to fly. It's a mixture ofy favorite colors on the river it was named for. I tied this fly up especially for the Nooch. In fact, all you involved in my flyswap will recieve both the high water and low water version of the Wynoochee Special. At times I almost feel it's your confidence in a fly that gets the job done. You take more care in presentation and setup. It seems if you don't haveconfidence you don't fis the fly hard enough or correctly. But if all else failss, I dig the Nooch out.

01-26-2002, 09:30 PM
I really dont have a favorite wintertime pet fly as of yet just because I have not fished the bugrod enough in the winter to develop a favorite pattern(s).

In the summertime, it is a total differnt story as the flyrod is my primary tool.

The Spade is the fly pictured in my avatar and I tie minor (and some major ;)) variations of the fly in many differnt color schemes.

One of these days, I'll post a picture of my Fortson Special Spade which brought me my first steelie to hand. Mr. Arnold would be very proud. :devil:

01-26-2002, 09:34 PM




01-26-2002, 10:23 PM
I also am 99% sure that pattern makes little difference. Of course that 1% is just as sure that size, color, action and silhouette have some impact depending on time of day, water clarity, water temp, sun v. clouds, number of flies seen, etc., etc, etc. Besides, if the fly actually doesn't make a difference, why experiment and tinker trying to find the magic pattern.

I am however 100% convinced, as mentioned already above, that fisherman's confidence makes a big difference. Karma is everything and when you don't trust the fly, it is tough to have good karma. Of course even if you are sensing bad karma, good karma is just a pull away. Would that be Instant Karma? Hmm, great name for a fly.

The flies I feel confident with this winter, they change from season to season, are my Black Scampi (also my go-to summer pattern) and either a purple and red or an orange and red marabou spider. I like the former for first light and dark days and the latter when the sun is on the water.


01-26-2002, 10:48 PM
Sheets are clean, pillow fluffed ... Just let me know when you're coming. E mail is posted.

PS: For summer runs the answer down here is BBB aka Big Black and Buggie. Wted 6 or 4 hook, bead head black body and rubber legs bring something to the party. Very early/late in the day white legs can turn the trick. Most of use use the above fly, or the theme, followed by a trailer of a bead head Prince Nynph.

Winter fish .... throw anything you want. Spring salomon ... well that's a lesson for later.

01-30-2002, 08:38 AM
My rule of thumb is:

Presence of fish first, presentation second, fly third and in that order of importance - but all are critical! Clearly the fly is less critical as long as it solicits the response - but it is without a doubt still a factor for success or failure.

I can't say I have a specific goto fly for winter or summer but I have a small circle of flies I wouldn't leave home without. Early summer would be one fly, fall would be another, deep winter would be one fly, spring would be another.

I guess that's not an answer!

02-03-2002, 02:25 AM
New to this board, but turning into a FF convert!
My favorite fly right now, with winter conditions, is the wooly-bugger! course' that's all I've been catchin' anything on since Dec 24th.
Got my first steelie on one the 24th and have also C&R'd four beautiful Dollies on buggers (3 today)
Colors? black, brown, yellow, and the best one, olive! these are bead or cone head sinkers.
Also had god results on salmon with rabbit fur streamers (zonkers) but Steelhead are my passion!

I know I'll get ots of good ideas and tips from you guys/gals and I'm looking forward to it.:)

02-04-2002, 10:27 AM
I'm not much of a"this is it" kind of fisherman. Like most I do get enamored with a particular style from time to time, usually brought on by a fishless stretch followed by a few fish on a particular pattern, the "this is it" syndrome. I have seen a lot of slow periods most are because of high water, cold water, and or too much competition.
Generaly speaking I like my steelhead flys to have a tail, a body, several turns of webby hackle, and an overwing that maybe (like the tail) is either fur or feather.
I have and still do twist up a fair number of palmered flys but it takes alot more time to do the overwire wrappings to keep them from breaking and unwrapping,which isn't the end of the fly but you could have saved your self a lot of trouble and just tied on a clump of marabou. Staying with the larger webby hackles gives the fly a bit of brethability in the water and imparts a tiny bit of life into the offering.
The tail I find myself using artic fox the last few years for the tails. and I also like the fox as an overwing but in looking at the box I see about half are featherwing (Glasso style not married). I have ttied and used the big bunny leeches and they catch fish as well as the rest of the stuff out there but as far as I am concerned they are troublesome to cast and are like putting a sponge in your fly box a great place to store moisture to help put that beautiful petina of rust all over your shiny new hooks.
I see that I also have several weighted flys in the box they have been there for quite some time no doubt as some talisman against the forces of evil or some such balderdash. I don't think that I have fished with a weighted hook in well over 15 years. I went through the lets see how many rods we can break today phase a long time ago. There I did it I took them out of the box and cut the hooks free of weight and feathers next time i tie I will take the freshly liberated hooks and cloak them in new attire more suitable for display in front of school of wild steelheads.
I really like to use several colors to achieve a hue that looks and feels right I can see the look right and the feel comes when the big grab happens on a fast swing in the sweet spot.
Well not much new in flys is there but at least the drill was good for I now have removed the weighted flys from my box.

02-04-2002, 10:54 AM
Interesting thread. My favorite fly is a black or orange GP. I believe it is not the fly necessarily but, the material that makes the difference. I like rabbit because of the motion it has in the water. I like to tie my GPs with long feathers to give them a lot of action in the water. I think most steelheaders look for materials that impart lots of motion to their flies. Marabou, Heron, Blue Eared Pheasant, Rabbit, and other materials that give the fly life seem to me to be of more importance than the actual pattern.

02-05-2002, 12:21 AM
Flies we use for steelhead are important, because it is what defines a steelhead fly fishers creative whims, anticipation of the upcomming river conditions and compare them with your fishing partner. It can be an eloborate creation of spey and jungle cock or just a plain wolley bugger, the bottom line is your confidence in a few patterns. Like others I like my winter flies to impart motion and I rarely use hair wing patterns in the winter. I agree with Juro's four points, but I would make it five points and insert appropriate fly line for the given conditions & run unless he was including that in presentation.

02-05-2002, 06:22 AM
Agree 100% on the fly having life like breathing motion on the mid west nymph patterns we use marabou, filoplumes, and large hackles to imitate the breathing action.

Makes a difference in my opinion. a big difference

IMHO .02 cents