Anybody got a killer Stickleback pattern they want to share?

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by Jim Wallace, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

    Posts: 5,663
    Somewhere on the Coast
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    I've been doing some reading, and I have learned that Sticklebacks are a preferred food item of Searun Cutthroat. Maybe even more so than are Sculpins! All of the tidal creeks, sloughs, ponds and drainage ditches in my area seem to have a population of Sticklebacks. There were some in the sump pond of a cranberry farmer I worked for.

    So what y'all got?:)
  2. Jack Devlin Active Member

    Posts: 1,222
    Western Washington, Puget Sound area
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    I suspect that sticklebacks are out and about more than sculpins and therefore a SRC preferred menu item. I think they are probably easier to catch, too. I don't have any specific stickleback patterns but it will be fun to try and come up with something. Any sticklebacks I have ever observed seemed to be "stiff" in the water unlike other small fish I've observed. Aside from the stickles, the prominent feature of a stickleback seems to me to be the long, slender caudal peduncle and long tail. That should be incorporated in any pattern, I think.
    Just some thoughts.
    Jack
    PS They seem to have a fairly large eye and sticklebacks don't seem to be a shiny or bright sided fish - at least not the ones I have seen in the wild.
    J
  3. Jack Devlin Active Member

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    Western Washington, Puget Sound area
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    Found this one on a BC site. Think it's called a Mcloud stickleback. Looks interesting. I like the tail.
    Jack

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  4. Bob Newman Member

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    On the edge of ???, WA
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    The Rolled Muddler has been used for years as a stickleback pattern. Yes it doesn't look exactly like a stickleback but when swimming fast a stickleback will lower the fins to slim down and become hydrodynamic.
  5. Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

    Posts: 5,663
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    Thanks for the replies. I dug out an old Audubon field guide and found a description and photo of a Three-spined Stickleback.
    Dark back, either dark gray or dark olive, fading to slightly lighter on the lower sides, silvery-white belly, becoming reddish in the head and belly during the spawning run occurring April thru June. Max length to 4".
    They have three dorsal spines, and there are bony plates running down their sides.
    They die off after spawning and supposedly wriggle near the surface in the shallows, often breaking the surface.

    Funny thing is that the Mcloud Stickleback pattern looks similar to an effective Searun Cutthroat trolling pattern that I came up with, that is basically a modified Knudsen Spider. I use natural Mallard Flank in the tail and wing (since mine is derived from the Knudsen Spider), but I have tied a few variations with additional wing material, usually either "Peacock" or "Baitfish" Angel Hair, and one with wings of matched grizzly saddle hackles. I also have added the beard of red hackle. They have all caught fish.
  6. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,268
    Willamette Valley, OR
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    [IMG]

    Interesting looking fish. I think one of my warm water bait patterns might represent the guy quite well. The vertical lines are very obvious.
  7. Jack Devlin Active Member

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  8. Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

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    GAT, the stickleback in the photo you posted is much lighter hued than the one in the pic I saw, but the body shape is the same.

    Nice ties, Jack. I think the top and middle ones are better looking fakes than the bottom one.
    I've got some grizzly saddle hackle that I cut off and used the tip sections for another pattern. I was thinking of tying a couple of those in for a tail, like the fly in your top pic.
    I like the white throat or beard, but I might mix in some red (spawning colors) on a couple. The brown "soul patch" you have over the white beard probably achieves this.
    Dark grizzly hackle and some dark hair for the wings is looking like part of my plan.
    Not sure what I'm using for a body yet, but I have a few materials that'll work.
    Thanks for coming up with those.
  9. Jack Devlin Active Member

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    Western Washington, Puget Sound area
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    In Art Lingren's book "Fly Patterns of British Columbia, The Roderick Haig-Brown Centenary Edition" there is a Stickleback pattern on page 92 which will probably work just fine.
    jack
  10. Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

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    I think the one you're going with is purty dang sweet. did you say "Pass the mustard?"

    Ok, page 92. I'll have to sneak a peek if I can find a copy on the book rack in a fly shop.;)
  11. Jack Devlin Active Member

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    Western Washington, Puget Sound area
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    Not "pass the mustard", but "pass muster" i.e.. be accepted as adequate or satisfactory.
    I'll bet a cutt or two has taken a chum baby for a stickleback, eh?
    Jack
  12. GAT Active Member

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    Willamette Valley, OR
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    I kind'a wonder if this guy would work...

    IMG_1383.jpg
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  13. Jack Devlin Active Member

    Posts: 1,222
    Western Washington, Puget Sound area
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  14. Jack Devlin Active Member

    Posts: 1,222
    Western Washington, Puget Sound area
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    Still playing around with sticklebacks. Thought this little guy might be good. The first one I tied looked like it fell out of a B-29 so I decided to call it a Sticklebomb.:rolleyes: View attachment 22864
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  15. GAT Active Member

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    Willamette Valley, OR
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    I think you're getting closer with the back colors and the vertical stripes. I also like the new tail approach. That one looks like the ticket!
  16. ak_powder_monkey Proud to Be Alaskan

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    Eagle River, Alaska
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    an olive matuka comes to mind
  17. Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

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    Yeah, I think a dark olive one with a body and beard similar to what Jack did on his "Sticklebomb". A feather tied in Matuka style maybe could pull off the right look.
    However, that Sticklebomb looks like its worth fishing the way it is. Nice one, Jack!

  18. GAT Active Member

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    Willamette Valley, OR
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    I think I'll steal Jack's approach to tie some bait fish patterns for warmwater species. With a few changes in material color, I think the fly could look like a baby LMB.
  19. Jack Devlin Active Member

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    Western Washington, Puget Sound area
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    Here is my rendition of Art Lingren's rendition of Roderick Haig-Brown's "Stickleback" as depicted in Art Lingren's book. Instead of the Polar Bear hair called for in the recipe, I used Arctic Runner and Calves Tail. View attachment 22880
    Jack
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  20. Stickel.back Member

    Posts: 67
    Vancouver, British Columbia
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    OLIVE MUDDLER MINNOWS REIGN SUPREME!!!!
    Trust me.... I know ;)

    Max.
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