Best Fly for Freshly Stocked Lake

The wife and I are looking forward to the opening this weekend and I have been asked to take her to the place where she is most likely to catch a fish (she hasn't caught one on the flyrod yet). So I have a bit of performance anxiety in that I am hoping that Saturday is the day for her. My question is which fly would you recommend for stocked trout? While I think the san juan worm is probably the best bet, is there a better fly that you would recommend? If it is easy to tie, that would be even better! Thanks!
I am new to flyfishing but it's been my impression if you're gonna fish a stocked lake start out dragging an olive wooly bugger around. It's worked well for me so far. Good luck.
Yea drag a leech pattern shallow. The fish tend to hang out in the top level of the water column until they adjust to the lake and discover it is deeper than their old environment in a shallow pen. Or find some fly that looks like a brown pellet like the ones they are fed in the pen. And then slap it on the surface until you get the attention of the fish who think it is feeding time at the hatchery! :thumb:
Try a Cary Special. I like to twitch the fly every few feet. In those lakes that have been stock, you should have any problems. Hold on to your rod, even those little 10" trout hit hard.
The fish hold from the surface to about 8 feet down. Use a Intermediate line or a floating line with a long leader and weight. Color doesnt really matter, but through something dull with a bit of flash, nat a big flashy pink thing. Use a 2-3 flie rigs with the lead fly the largest and the other flies getting progressevly smaller. If the fish already eat natural foods, use chromies. Another tactic is using a floating line and casting double nymph rigs under an indicater. Have the bottom one a natural color for any hold over fish, and the other bright, even and egg pattern works
my recomendation is to pick a darker leech pattern (brown, olive, bleack) with a cone head or beadhead (possibly dumbell eyes) and just cast and strip if your on shore. but if your in a tube or boat, just troll super slowly.



Active Member
I've had 50+ fish days on the opener using sparsely tied leaches in olive or black with a subtle hint of flash. Smaller sizes seem to work better, like a #12 or 10 and fish them about 3' below the surface.

I've moved onto fishing dries for them. Lower % game, but more fun IMO.

Dehlan G

Active Member
A black or olive beadhhead wooly bugger in size ten always works for stocker trout. 7.5 or 9 ft 5x leader attached onto floating line and you'll be good. They will stay shallow for a few weeks after the plant. Save the san juan worm for streams.

Old Man

Just an Old Man
I had a good day on Lake 16 one year a few years ago. The fish were taking anything on top. So I fished with a March Brown dry on top. I never had so much fun on a lake. I'd just cast to the rises and would catch fish like no tomorrow. Every other cast was a fish. They were planters so they all went back into the lake.

I use my Camo Carey, an easy to tie variation of the Carey Special, just substitute chenille for the herl. That and a Zug Bug will slay the stockers.


Active Member
As mentioned a time or two above, the Carey Special is a very effective (and, for some reason, rarely mentioned) fly. Developed in the 1920s by Colonel Carey for use in the lakes around his home in Kamloops BC, it was (in its typical form) tied on a size 6 hook with a tail of a few fibers of pheasant rump, a body of pheasant rump feather or marmot fur with a thread or wire rib and a long hackle of pheasant rump. Nowadays, the body is tied of almost anything; tinsel, yarn, peacock herl, chenille. One of my favorite versions, and the only one to have gained and retained a name of its own, is the Six Pack. It is similar to the basic Carey Special but tied with yellow dyed pheasant rump hackle. I omit the tail and twist a rump feather into a "noodle" to wind on for the body, reinforced with a copper wire rib. Four turns of hackle is sufficient.

The appeal of the Carey Special lies in its apparent resemblance to a wide variety of aquatic life forms. It has been described as imitative of a dragonfly nymph, a damsel nymph, a leech, a small baitfish, or just as a highly-effective attractor. Originally designed as a trolling fly, that being a very popular method in the Kamloops area at that time, it also can be cast and retrieved with good results.
Small 10/12 buggers in olive, black, rust, cary specials, and scuds.
I like to put a bead head on my buggers.
Casting from shore, count down to find the bottom and strip in slow two counts before hitting bottom.
With the scud, let it hit bottom and strip in very, very slow. A strike indicator may be helpful with this set up
I use a floating line with 9' leader.
From a boat/tube/toon, casting and a very, very slow troll.
If there is the possiblity of bigger carry over trout, use a bigger bugger 8/6 and go deeper like 10'/12' or even deeper.
Hope she gets hooked up. Then pizza and beer later.
Years ago a local hardware and sporting goods store in Tenino and I designed a fly called the Offutt Lake Special. Really effective in the early part of the season. It has a peach colored body and tail with white hackle. All the locals (gear guys) use to troll it slowly. I used it on occasion also. Very effective early in the Season. I sold thousands of those flies through that store. It all came to an end when I moved to Newport in Eastern Washington. I tied them in size 8, 10, and 12. The gear folks liked size 8. A great fly for freshly stocked lakes in Western Washington.
Tie some up and try them they work great.

Formula: Tail light Orange (Peach)
Body light Orange (Peach)
Hackle Soft white hackle (its a wet fly)
Head was black tying thread.
Real easy to tie.