Leech pattern question - Fly Fishing Forum
Pacific Northwest Sea Run Forum No such thing as rainbow trout, only landlocked steelhead

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Old 02-27-2005, 08:12 PM
SteelFeathers SteelFeathers is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Washington State
Posts: 7
Leech pattern question

Any suggestions fishing marabou/bunnie-type leeches in rivers for steelhead?

I've tried everything from dead drifting, to swinging, to stripping. Apparently, I'm not very good at it since I am not successful in catching fish with them.

Also, I was wondering if anyone had suggestions regarding the use of cones and/or barbells for weight. If I use a turned-up eye hook and put the barbell on top, it seems that the position of the fly in the water is erratic. But when I use a staright-eyed hook I can place the barbell on the underside of the eye (i.e. - with the hook in the typical downward position) the fly swims with the hook in the upward position, making for fewer snags on the bottom. For this reason I have quit using cones.

Any comments and suggestions are appreciated.
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Old 02-27-2005, 08:37 PM
FLGator FLGator is offline
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Location: NW USA
Posts: 197
Sounds like steelheading! Don't get discouraged. Swinging a black or purple rabbit leach WILL catch steelhead...period. It took me about three years of beating the water to a froth before I fished with any confidence. The key is not the fly but rather the holding water and then covering it effectively.

For weighting my leach pattern I have been putting the lead under the body on the shank and not using the barbells or the cones.

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Old 02-27-2005, 09:12 PM
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MJC MJC is offline
Junkyard Spey
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Clearwater River, Peck, ID
Posts: 887
Hey Gator...

The key is not the fly but rather the holding water and then covering it effectively.
Sometimes it's the fly. The hot fly yesterday was an orange body, purple marabou, and a hackle of Fl. blue and orange guinea. Margo's old man got 3 out of your "skatin water" by the black jack tables
How you get the line out and fishing is personal preference so as long as it works and is easy no one should care but the caster. MSB
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Old 02-27-2005, 10:09 PM
FLGator FLGator is offline
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Must have been yesterday! He and I hit the water this afternoon messing with some lines for the Salar and he filled me in. Awesome!
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Old 02-28-2005, 09:51 AM
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Luv2flyfish Luv2flyfish is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Western Washington
Posts: 117
Bunny and Marabou I feel it safe to say are "staples" in the steelheaders aresenal. No doubts about it - bunny will catch steelhead, marabout will catch steelhead, and marabou/bunny combos....will catch steelhead. You may be noticing a trend here.

Sounds like you are going through the oh so typical "dry spell" as far as catching goes. Thats just steelheading and that's a part of what makes it soo damn cool!

Here is my breakdown:

Match your fly to the water condition first of all. if you are fishing low and clear - a size 2/0 orange and white bunny tube fly string leach, articulated monsterous creation isnt LIKELY going to be your GO TO fly for low and clear (allthough without doubt it would catch a fish). That 2/0 strung, articulated monster would be a fine first choice for water that is colored with high flow. I've heard the "rule" both ways, and both have produced fish for me. Dark Day, Dark fly, Bright Day, Bright Fly as well as Dark day bright fly, and so on. Low and Clear make steelhead a little more spooky simply because they are Visible to their various enemies. Fish smaller, more unobtrusive flies. Big water, blown out conditions, or what have you - a white bunny can become your best friend, or orange, or black, or whatever.

Secondly - You gotta fish your fly with confidence, and keep fishing it and fishing it. Every steelhead I have caught has been on a fly that I have tied. Not ONE SINGLE fly has been of "traditional" dress or pattern. I whip some feathers and floss on a hook because I think it looks fishy. I fish that fly until it catches a steelhead. Soo far - It has worked for me. Just last week, I was fishing a yummy little river in a rain forest which was really low and clear. I had tied a couple simple flies for the trip. I tied one on and started fishing it. Half way throught the run I had somehow convinced myself that my fly sucked and it just wasnt going to work. I reeled up, grabbed my fly and it dawned on me that the fly didnt matter much but rather I was the problem. Sooo, out that same fly went again. I reminded myself to fish this fly confidently. Wouldnt ya know it - about 10 casts later my 9150 is doubled over and I'm into the biggest fish I have ever had the pleasure of swimming! that little fly worked just fine.

For those wondering - the water was very low, clear, and COLD..... The fly was tied on a size 6. I was thinking that was probably too much fly for the condition but I guess that wasnt the case that day.

Anyhow, Fish your bunnines confidently in proportion to the conditions of the water at hand. This is the tough time of year and make sure your fly is down (maybe a rock tick here and there) and make sure its moving s...l...o...w. I'd fish a black bunny with a little guinea hackle at the front, or your favorite color gadwall flank. I'd fish that fly until I caught a steelhead. I'll bet ya a hundred bucks that you'll catch a fish on it!
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