Originally Posted by dmas
"Save the popsicles for a trip to B.C."
Sorry this is a bit off topic but I had to chuckle when I read this. The popsicle was my number one fly this year out on the western basin tribs. I went one stretch of about 6 trips this fall where I was averaging a pull an hour...all on swung popsicles. For a chop like me at least that is enough to convince me that they work here in NY.
That said, I only use Marabou hackled patterns in stained or low vis water. If I want a long hackle fly in clear water conditions I will go to a Spey pattern. To my eye at least, the individual hackle fibers of a Spey look more lifelike in clear waters where as a Marabou hackled fly forms a tremendous silhouette but the hackles kinda blend together to form one pulsating unit. This seems to be the ticket in low vis conditions...for me at least. I'll also use bunny flies for the same reason.
As far as the traditional west coast patterns are concerned. I think you could open up Combs and pick out any fly in the plates and have success with it. As always, the key is to match the fly to the conditions. I tend to fish bigger water relative to most great lakes tribs so patterns like Cook Marabou's or Glasso Speys do fine for me. I'd agree that on smaller more pressured tribs they won't be as effective.
For whatever reason I get a charge out of catching fish on flies that I read about in Combs etc. Maybe it adds a bit of romanticism to my fishing. Or maybe it just gives some sort of a connection with the great rivers and fisherman out west that I have read about but yet to experience.
Funny.................that makes me chuckle too. About 7 years ago when those popsicle's came whizing through this area we were tying them up too. I get out a couple times a week all year, it's a poor steelhead fly for the catt. and other Erie tribs. Kings............they love the things put it front of there noses.
"open Combs book and have success with any pattern here".........................
We (myself & the fishing crew) got all hot & bothered over that book several years ago . I guess it depends on what you call "success". I like to catch a few fish when I go out. There are much better patterns to do that with here...................than are listed in that WEST coast steelhead book. This is the Great Lakes and it will always be the Great Lakes
. I tied & fished the crap out of those flys back then popcicles, Lady Carolines & other speys, Ferry Caynons, etc. etc. For "Steelhead" not Kings the only Popcicle, Marabou Spider, etc. out of the hundreds I tied that C&R a few fish was a white & grey combo.
Popcicles are West Coast searching patterns for big water with few fish. Here the waters run less CFS as a whole and the Steelhead are plenty.
In my fishing they were no where near as effective as the above listed streamers and other local patterns like Rick Kustish "Bunny Spey" (Zonker). Looking at Peter's Great Lakes patterns on his site and having fished Steelhead over 20 years here, I would recomend them as being on the right track
for here over Combs book. If I was going to take one pattern from Combs book and fish it here it would be the Boss but, with a marabou or arctic fox tail, and tie it on a lighter wire iron
that does not rip a hole in there mouth like a saqlmon iron.
I am glad you are currently romancing Combs book and it's beautiful patterns. Been there................done that.
I also fish larger waters. The gentlemans question was in regards to Steelhead on the Salmon river........................one of the more pressured rivers in the Great Lakes.
The advice I gave trying to help
................was good. This is and will always be the Great Lakes. It will never be the West Coast. Our fish will never see salt
, they will never travel hundreds of miles up-river.
I bet if Mr. Combs wrote a Great Lakes Steelhead book..........................the swing patterns would be much different .................much more like there summer run and low water patterns.