Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Top Steelhead Flies | 2013 Salmon River Trip

I tied up several dozens of flies for this trip. A lot. As in about a few dozen a week for a few months. My most recent order of hooks was a quantity of 800. Then I tied a few dozen each night after we fished all day on the Salmon River. Most of what I had tied leading up to the trip didn't catch fish.  In fact,  my normal top steelhead fly is an orange or yellow crystal meth fly. It didn't get me a single bite all week.

Here are the top fish producing flies from last week in no particular order:

San Juan Worm. Fish took these with gusto. I had major issues with them falling apart after a few casts or one bite. I used bright pink. Some had a shrimp pink flat diamond braid body underneath. Violent strikes. Others had luck on red. Producer Jason had his biggest steelie take a red san juan. 

 Flash back soft hackle pheasant tail. That is a mouthfull to say. I caught three species of fish on this pattern: brown trout, sucker, steelhead. I'm not sure what size they were tied on. I will do a tutorial on Youtube once I get all my tying material settled in. Its amazing how such a big fish will eat such a small fly. This was Tom's go to fly when he fished the Salmon River. Producer Jason had some good luck with the fly on Saturday. Davenport got her steelhead on one and maybe her brown.
 Intruder style fly. I was hesitant to purchase the material to get into these flies. I went with Hareline Dubbin and more specifically Greg Senyo materials. I wasn't sure how to tie these so I went to Youtube. I'll post those videos in a second. These flies take a time investment to create. I normally would never spend this much time on a fly but the results were worth it. I've never had a more violent strike than the fish that ate one of these flies. I tied them in blues, pinks, purples, and chartruese. I spent most if not all of my food money for the trip stocking up on all the great materials at All Sesons and Malinda's to enhance these flies. Tying them on Senyo shenks worked much better than cut up bass stinger hooks.


Next up was the Blood's Dot. I had never heard of this fly until the podcast with Autumn Siren Flies. I had one fish bend a hook on this. It looks crazy good when wet and is super easy to tie and fun. Just be sure to tie sparse. Play around with colors.
 I purchased some Jumbo John's last year at Orvis in Cleveland. I wasn't sure what the name was until I looked up 'stonefly rubber legged nymph' on the interwebs. I found the fly and then a tutorial. I tied up about 5 dozen of these in different sizes and color variations. The only one that got a hit was the pink version. It was a crazy hard strike just below me. I called the pink version Jumbo Jane.
 Next up is the generic glo-bug or egg. This is literally matching the 'hatch' as there are millions of dead eggs rolling down the stream. Blue was most effective in the early morning low light and then white/cream later in the day. Smaller was better.

 Last is the fly called 'ham and eggs.' I didn't catch any fish on it but saw others.
Like I said, I tried loads of other patterns from Popsicles, caddis nymphs, egg sucking leeches, sucker spawn, buggers, and more. These were the meal tickets. And I'm glad I tied them on barbless hooks as I took one hook to the face.

The fish seemed to change their minds for no apparent reason as to the color, shape, and size of what they would take. And that is the fun of fly fishing. If it wasn't a challenge I probably would knit blindfolded.


  1. It looks like your flies are about size 16. Is this correct? If so or if not, what sizes do you recommend?

  2. I kill them on wooly buggers.... drift them and then strip and hold....

  3. i like them , thank you for sharing fishing lures fishing lures