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peter-s-c 12-15-2004 09:19 AM

Winter Flies / Colours / Sizes
Now that we're getting to the days cold, clear, low waters -- just wondering what people like to use in these conditions.

I don't have a picture of the fly, but a small, yellow wet similar to this one:

has worked for me quite well on the Credit River in these conditions. Though yellow patterns don't seem to be a high on the steelhead fly dressers list of favourites, it has worked for me with some consistency.

Some rivers get associated with a particular colour fly -- purple is the big hit for the Grand, but I wonder if this is mostly due to the predominant water colour. The Grand is usually stained through the Brantford/Paris/Caledonia stretch so big and purple usually works. Once the staining reduces, lighter colours work well. Pink and purple is also a good colour combo for the murk. I've been told a number of times that red & black are good colours for this stretch but that's a combo that's never worked for me.

The milky green colour of the Catt seems to favour pink flies while the slight olive stain of the Credit seems to fit yellow/chartreuse.

Always makes me wonder if there are relationships between flies, water, sunlight, and time of year, or is it a case of anglers fishing flies they believe in and then rationals are built around why they work . . . . :confused:

snaggletooth 12-15-2004 11:11 AM

Purple and Black have both been strong producers for me in murky water, and Olive and White are my top colors for more clear water. I definitely agree with the idea that my confidence in a fly plays a major role in how successful I am with it!

Gillie 12-15-2004 12:21 PM

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In the winter I love swinging bunny speys, anywhere from 4 to 1/0. White in clearer water and black or purple in off color. This is a Rick Kustich pattern.


Gillie 12-15-2004 12:32 PM

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Black Bunny spey with peacock black ice dubbing.

peter-s-c 12-15-2004 12:54 PM

Very nice -- never think to combine bunny with spey. I have both Rick's books, with his patterns in it and I never think to tie them.

On the colour plates of "Fly Fishing for Great Lakes Steelhead, the "Petite" series by John Valk is the same fly as I mentioned above.

Shaq 12-15-2004 01:20 PM

As you guys know
As you guys who have been reading some of my posts know, I am relatively new to the swinging thing, on a recent trip to the Salmon River in extremely high water, I had a moment of insanity and grabbed the single hander. Reqretted it all day. I can no longer return to those days as the only fish hooked was on the swing after bouncing a large nymph through the pool. Also saw two fish hooked on the long rod that day. I have developed some speys based on patterns I used to chuck and duck like a prince nymph tied with long spey like legs and some rubber legged stones to swing for the winter. I am interested in the results and for input on winter patterns. Thanks

ps: Also saq a fish hooked at6 the end of a swing, while the fisherman was pumping the rod back and forth at the end. About 15 sec of this back and forth motion and the fish grabbed it. Right accross the river from me, got a good look for the whole thing. It was cool

Gillie 12-15-2004 02:46 PM


Take a look at the fly I posted on the fly archive titled "red fly". This will also get used quite a bit in cold water. I have fished the petite series on the Salmon River when the fish were skittish.


That pumping is similair to the hangdown, Although he fishes with a single handed rod, Lani Wallers old videos are one of the best how tos on the wet fly swing. He definitely advocates the hang down and twitches the fly to try to entice a strike. he uses the line in his hand rather than pumping the rod, but it produces the same effect. I have heard and read guys letting there fly stay in the hang down for up to a minute to wait for the strike of a steelhead that may have followed in cold water.


peter-s-c 12-15-2004 03:19 PM

Found it -- very nice looking tie. Any successes to date?

Charlie 12-15-2004 03:28 PM

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I use one that is almost identical to the one that Gillie posted. The white and purple. They work great on the Catt., lower Niagara and most of the Ontario tribs. I also like the Picasse if the water is low and clear.


Scored well with your "Brown Trout Weamer" this past weekend. The water was very cold in the trib I fished (high 30's) but they still took it well. Finally got a chance to tie some up and fish them. Just the standard version, haven't put them on tubes yet.


peter-s-c 12-15-2004 03:50 PM

Those are some nice looking ties, the bottom one looks intriguing. A clear water pattern?

Nice to hear that the weamer worked for you. They do seem to be willing to chase it in the colder water.

Gillie 12-15-2004 04:19 PM

The red fly produced a few fish last winter but I didn't have the chance to fish it a lot. I'm hoping to really spend some time with it this winter.

Smolt 12-15-2004 04:49 PM


I tried "Red Fly" in the Archive of Salmon and Steelhead Flies, but came up with nothing. Am I in the wrong place?


Gillie 12-15-2004 04:56 PM

I'm not sure why it didn't come up in the search but it's the fourth or fifth thread down on the Archives of S+S flies now. Let me know what you think.


peter-s-c 12-15-2004 06:41 PM

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Ever try to make a fly and nothing works? Spent some time this evening trying to make a yellow fly for those cold, olive stained conditions and crap came off the vise. Still, it gives a general idea as to what I'm after.

Kicking around this idea that flies that are too bold will spook fish in clear, cold conditions so I'm trying to get something that is "subdued, bright" as opposed to just bright. The spey hackle on this fly is just way too bright. Looking to make something that says "yellow" without saying "YELLOW".

Gillie 12-15-2004 07:13 PM


I have a yellow fly that I think will fit your needs. I don't have one readily available but if you follow this thread I'll post one either late tonight or tommorrow.


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