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Charlie 10-13-2005 03:00 PM

Troth Bullhead
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I was going through my steelhead flies the other day and ran across a bunch of flies that I use for my steelhead fishing but were really developed for other species. This particular fly, the Troth Bullhead, is a great example. Next spring when the steelhead runs are slowing down I will start using this baby to target river smallmouth bass, which is what it was developed for.

It is simple to tie.

Tail: Black ostrich herl over white bucktail
Underbody: lead wire.
Body: off-white yarn with a shell of black ostrich herl over.
Collar: natural deer body hare.
Head: natural deer body hare with some black deer body hare tied in on top.

I was wondering if anyone else had flies they use for one species that were made for other species?


Dble Haul 10-13-2005 07:39 PM

Nice fly Charlie.

I have many flies that were originally tied for other species that I have found success with. A few examples that immediately come to mind are stonefly nymphs for steelies that work great for smallmouth, and saltwater baitfish patterns that are good for pike.

peter-s-c 10-13-2005 08:19 PM

Ya, the brown trout weamer, originally intended for browns ended up also hooking pike, chinook, steelhead, and smallmouth. Clousers used for stripers have done double duty for pike and more recently, walleye. A few have even taken larger smallmouth. Probably some time in November, I'll take a shot at Fort Erie and at some point I'll probably end up chucking some for steelies too. Mickey Finns have worked for me on pike, smallmouth, chinook, browns, brookies, and landlock salmon. A lot of the smaller streamers that I've chucked at browns have ended up in a smallie's jaw, usually unintentionally. Gold conehead olive buggers seem to take just about anything.

A Black Ghost actually hooked a huge carp once that had sucked it in on the drop. I had been chucking it for smallies so you can imagine the shock when this big brown freight train took off.

flytyer 10-13-2005 09:04 PM


The Troth Bullhead IMO is one of the best sculpin imitations ever developed. Al Troth developed it for the monster browns found in certain areas of Montana's Big Hole, Beaverhead, Jefferson, and Upper Missouri rivers. It is Al's adaptation of Art Shenk's Sculpin (Art Shenk is one of the folks who fished with Marinaro and Charlie Fox in the spring creeks around Carlisle, PA) that has a tail, overbody of marabou in black, dark olive, or brown with the undertail of cream marabou, which was then twisted and wound forward to form the body. And of course, it had the spun deer hair head and collar of most sculpins. Shenk also ties the fly in all black, as does Troth.

Troth also developed a further variation of this fly that has a wool head, deer hair collar, marabou feather tip tail (natural grizzly, dyed brown grizzly, or olive grizzly, and a body of pearlescent braided mylar and an oval gold tinsel rib. Sometimes, Troth will add a palmered grizzly hackle to it and I've also seen him use plastic eyes on the sides of the wool head. I also never saw it smaller than a #4, and often saw it being used on #2/0 -#4/0 salmon irons.

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