Fly Fishing Forum banner

Big flashy flies?

1178 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Fred Evans
I often fished directly across from a skillfull spin fisherman on fall mornings and evenings to/from work in Issaquah, WA. The Snoqualmie was a very easy detour en route.

I'd be swinging something small and dark, shrimpy or pupa-like through the rock garden or skating something overhead - and he would be slinging a flashy bright spoon or spinner across the tailout of the pool.

Sometimes I would hook up and land the fish, sometimes he would, occasionally we both would. Before you know it we'd be giving each other the thumbs up when the other hooked up and became familiar acquaintances. I recently found some pictures where he is in the background while I am fighting a fish.

Anyway, his approach was to wobble or spin a big bright shiny lure through the hole to shake it up a bit and get a steelhead to charge it and nail it. My approach was to present something in a stealthy, buggy or sculpin like manner into the fish's world while trying not to stir it up too much.

Opposite worlds, side by side, yet the results were about the same (in the fall). I've wondered many many times what would happen if we each crossed into the other's world...

I guess the bobber and jig technique is the spin fisher's foray into the fly swinger's world, but what do we do that stirs up a pool to exploit the type of attack that a spinner or spoon incites?

The closest I've come is probably on the Skagit with Andre and 'the steelhead bum' sans the flash... but even that was far from the approach that a lure uses.

Then I get to thinking about the herring and candlefish they gorge on out in the sea. Why are no steelhead patterns suggestive of such species when lures commonly suggest baitfish?

Now I have zero complaints about the way steelies rise to caddis patterns, grab wet flies on the swing, and take a gaudy spring fly fished on a tip, none at all... just wondering if there is another dimension yet untapped in steelhead FF.
See less See more
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Very thought provoking Juro. I'm sure that some have tried baitfish patterns in the rivers and I bet some fish have been brought to hand on same. My guess is they are more effective in the salt for the same reason the spoon works well in the river: action. Most of our steelheading is done with a downstream swing. This method is hard pressed to match the action of a spoon or a baitfish pattern retrieved with an eratic strip.

I'll take a couple of liberties hear. I think you have gone this way and shaken up the pool. The contrast and profile provided by "The Rat" are big and "flashy/life like/contrasty" enough to shake up the largest sections of summer water. Bright flashy no, I know Tyler and Dana also use large flies to entice the monster summers of their zipper lip. How to hook up with you guys up there soon.
Tend to think it's a river by river thing. On the Rogue it's usually dark (black if typical) flys, Bead head prince nymphs, etc. On the North Fork of the Umpqua (low water and all) it's Carnival Time.

Large, bushy, flashy, etc., appear to be the toys of choice. On the Rogue you'd get zip for your effort with most of these patterns.

I guess that's a good part of why my vest has to run to 10# with all the boxes, spools, etc. God help me if I ever fall in fast water.
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.