flies [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: flies

01-31-2003, 04:04 PM
what flies do you guys use the most for GL steelhead? and which do you have the most success with?

John Desjardins
02-04-2003, 11:02 AM
Sean, I'm about to start posting a series of flies PmFlyfisher sent in for a fly swap. There are a few in there that fit the bill, and are simple to tie as well.

02-04-2003, 07:10 PM
thanks i know egg patterns work well but i only know how to tie one of them which is the glow bug

03-03-2003, 04:23 PM
i've come up with a few of my own witch i don't know if they will work and i got a few off tv. have any of you used the flesh fly?

03-03-2003, 05:25 PM
Nymphs and eggs are my most often used patterns, but use speys and streamers at times. Imprinting natural food in our GL rivers is often successful when chasing steelhead within the region. At times, modern spey patterns such as marabou speys and bunny speys work well. Most patterns I fish incorperate flashy materials such as krystal flash and holographic tinsel as well.

Here is a pic of some of my most used patterns and ones found in the Great Lakes. Most are my own, but some are old stand by's.


03-03-2003, 07:04 PM

Are those shrimp patterns in the bottom right corner ? I've been working on a number of shrimp patterns all winter.

PM Out

03-03-2003, 07:56 PM
That is the Galloup's shrimp, but I have my own mysis imitation. I can post the pics if you want?

03-03-2003, 08:38 PM
I knew it I can tell a shrimp pattern a mile away.


FYI, I have a combo shrimp and hex pattern. I call it my double nymph pattern. Hex-shrimper, or something like that

PM Out

03-03-2003, 08:57 PM
Do you want to see mine? I have one that is a crossover as I call it....

Here's the pic.

:D :D I call it Dan's Sexy-hexy

03-04-2003, 06:24 AM
If you are interested in steelies (and who isn't), read the book "Steelhead Dreams" by Matt Supinski. In it he has good info on the Great Lakes steelies, and all aspects of the sport, including flies.

For my local tribs, my favorite patterns are size 12 or 14 beadhead gold-ribbed hare's ear (flashback), a size 10 leech pattern (a buddy of mine "invented" a unique tie), size 12 or 14 chartreuse estaz egg, and depending on water clarity, a size 12 or 14 mysis shrimp pattern. These four usually catch fish for me, although sometimes I have to rely on size 4 or 6 "bunny" flies and others.

Like most guys, I carry a lot more flies than I need "just in case", but these are the ones I catch 90 to 95% of the fish on.

(p.s. - Hey, Hal - those are mysis shrimp patterns in Dan's flybox! One of the natural foods of theGreat Lakes!)


03-04-2003, 01:53 PM
Sounds like you are a true GL steelheader!

Your 100% right Bob, I always have mysis shrimp patterns in my box.

03-04-2003, 02:25 PM

I have been using Mysis shrimp for 10 years or morem but special Hex and shrimp pattern is all I really need, when all is said it done.

PM Out

03-04-2003, 03:18 PM
They're pretty cheap to make also.

03-04-2003, 03:20 PM
i know how to tie a egg but what annoys me is that it is only half a "ball" by the way nice selection of flies

03-04-2003, 03:49 PM
That is my winter box, my spring box is alot different. Larger patterns and ones needed for high spring water, and fresh fish.

The patterns I have in my winter box are usually smaller and more elaborate since fishing for stale fish is sometimes a challenge, especially when they have "lockjaw" on those cold, GL wintery days!

03-04-2003, 10:24 PM
Seen steel swim 20' in below freezing H2O to slam a #5 or 6 silver plated spinner. Same spinner in the summer or fall would make them run for cover.

03-05-2003, 06:54 AM
Reading back through the posts, you asked if flesh flies are useable. Yeah, they are. I mentioned "bunny" flies above, and some of these are tied as "flesh flies", and these can be dead drifted. Another fly that's deadly in the spring (late March and April) is sucker spawn. Use it when you start hooking suckers - that means they are in, and spawning (yes, they DO take flies - especially nymphs!). Steelies LOVE to eat sucker spawn!

Another tip - if you catch a couple on a stretch of water and it appears to go dead, change flies. Works wonders.

Hal can stick to one fly if he wants, but I like to catch fish.



PS - mjyp is right about spinners - and I have also seen 'em caught on worms, maggots, mealy grubs, wrigglers and minnows, and I think these "underused" baits are even deadlier than egg sacks, at times! Us fly fishers don't have the only methods to catch 'em!

03-05-2003, 08:04 AM

Thats a big 10-4 on the flesh fly, especially when most of the salmon are rotting.

There is a reason why our fall steel lays in those pockets behind dead fish. Browns also take advantage of the bounty.

Ditto on the odd baits for steel. Seen many fish caught in Indiana on strange baits. Craziest thing ever was a pink (ala Bass fishing) plastic worm under a float. Saw a guy hit 8 fish in a matter of an hour using it.

03-05-2003, 08:55 AM
If your tying flesh flies...might as well throw in a couple dance patterns and big sculpins too. Early in the run and late in the run they like to hammer these protein rich prey when swung low and slow.

03-05-2003, 09:01 AM
They have been using pink plastic worms in the PNW for steelhead since the 1970s. I saw them with my own eyes in 1986 on the BC - Vedder River and almost XXXX in my draws thinking I went to the wrong river the guides in Ruddicks Fly Shop, Burnaby, BC had directed me to for steelhead fly fishing.

Yes they were drifting big bubble gum pink plastic worms on their Silex drift fishing outfits.,

We discussed this last winter in another thread. If you want to see what our PNW experts said on the history of this just put "pink worm" in the search engine and you will get all you want.

You should have seen the strange looks I got from the Canucks that weekend in February fishing the Vedder, I was the only fly rodder I saw.

PM Out

03-05-2003, 10:48 AM
I was just talking about natural baits. The small, 3 to 4 inch bubble-gum colored plastic worms are DEADLY on steelies. I was trying to tie a similar fly, on the idea of a San Juan worm, but so far, no luck. Of course, the EASY way would be just to tie one of the plastic worms to a hook; for the practical fly fisher, I guess that would be OK, but the idea just turns me off. Leave 'em to the float fishermen (which I do once in a while for change of pace)!

Concerning "ETHICS", we use larva lace, antron, hot glue for alevins, we tie tube flies, use mylar and other synthetics without batting an eye. But to use a plastic worm? Heresy! :hehe:


03-05-2003, 11:10 AM
How many packs of plastic worms do you carry in the vest for the critical end of fish less day final drifts ?

Gummie bears and Juicy fruits are also a good contingency plus a great on stream snack.

I would love to know !

Pm Out

03-05-2003, 11:19 AM
Saw the pink worm drift back in the early 90's, nothing really new there.

I think it has to do with the color. Who really knows what pink looks like to a fish.

Caught tons of steel using someting with pink on it. Had to be my best color going for the longest time. Pink and either gold or silver palted spinners were my weapon of choice.