Favorite flies for winter steelhead

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by John Hicks, Nov 7, 2005.

  1. John Hicks Owner and operator of Sea Run Pursuits

    Posts: 2,137
    Ratings: +182 / 1
    What is everyones go to fly for winter steelhead? The egg sucking leech, green butt skunk? I am finally going to try my hand at steels on the fly this winter and am wondering what to tie up. I will be fishing the O.P. mainly but my venture out to the rest of Wash.

    John Hicks
  2. Anyfish Fishing with the kids

    Posts: 190
    Olympia, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    For swinging flies - Green Butt Skunk
    For indicator fishing - egg leech pattern (not an egg sucking leach)

    I am also sending you a PM. Let me know what you think.

  3. TomB Active Member

    Posts: 1,620
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    you can't go wrong with the Syd Glasso series of speys, or for something more simple, spun marabous.
  4. Mike Colagrossi Whammo!

    Posts: 495
    Sammamish, WA, USA.
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    Articulated Black Skagit Minnow.......... WHAMMMMOOOO!!!:beer1:
  5. Jake Smulkowski Throwing hoppers into baetis falls

    Posts: 483
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Swinging: green butt skunk
    Skating: bomber, royal wulff
    Nymphing: prince nymph
  6. Panhandle Active Member

    Posts: 4,103
    Selkirk Mountains, Idaho Panhandle
    Ratings: +23 / 0
    Smulkowski, skating for winter steelhead? I like your style...... you're a better man than I. Big black gerneral practitionars and big orange maribous mixed with purple,pink,or black preferably on tubes for me.
  7. Old Man Just an Old Man

    Posts: 21,743
    Dillon, Mt
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    I really don't know because I have never caught a winter Steelhead. But I do swing a few ESL thur numerous holes on the rivers.

  8. Nooksack Mac Active Member

    Posts: 1,952
    Bellingham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +110 / 0
    Since catching winter steelhead on a fly is a long-odds proposition, and since we're not trying to imitate a specific insect or baitfish, we're free to indulge our fancy. That's why there's such a huge variety of steelhead flies, none of them overwhelming favorites.
    For a start, tie some dark (mainly black or purple), some light/bright, and some medium flies; sizes 2 to 2/0. Tie them in varying densities, by using different hooks, lead-free wire underbodies, bead- or coneheads or not.
    If you're an enthusiastic fly tier, you're free to tie elaborate, complex patterns to your heart's content. If you lose a fly that took a half-hour or more to tie in the first few casts, that's your choice. But since any one fly of the desired size and color is likely to be as effective as any other, a lot of us look for simple combinations. Rabbit fur strips, either used as wings or crosscut wound as bodies, is probably the fastest way to put enticing bulk on a hook. Maribou spiders look fancy, but are quick and easy to tie. Traditional ties like the Fall Favorite create conventional patterns with just a few materials.
  9. Stephen Rice Senior Member

    Posts: 1,479
    Wasilla, Alaska
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  10. John Dougher Member

    Posts: 357
    SW WA
    Ratings: +5 / 0
    You may want to add to your box a few articulated leeches. My preference is black or brown with bead eyes.
    Hills Discount sells them for $13.50 a dozen plus s&h.
    Big and a lot of movement.
    I used these on the Hoh two years ago with good success.
  11. Stephen Rice Senior Member

    Posts: 1,479
    Wasilla, Alaska
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    oh yeah that sounds good. I will just make them instead of buying. I can't buy flies any more now that I know how to make them. I almost feel like I am cheating if I do.:eek:
  12. Jake Smulkowski Throwing hoppers into baetis falls

    Posts: 483
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I like skating because I have a really short attention span and often spend hours of my time questioning whether or not there is really a fly on my line, even though I check it after each swing!
  13. Anyfish Fishing with the kids

    Posts: 190
    Olympia, WA
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    Nice fly Stephen. I have never tried articulated patterns. I may have to give them a try myself.
  14. Bob Triggs Your Preferred Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide

    Posts: 4,020
    Olympic Peninsula
    Ratings: +682 / 0
    Let's not forget that people have been catching wild Olympic Peninsula Steelhead and Salmon with a two-inch hank of bright red yarn, lashed to an egg hook, for over sixty years. :eek:

    (The last guy that came out and tried to "indicator fish" with me went home in a weelchair!)
  15. John Hicks Owner and operator of Sea Run Pursuits

    Posts: 2,137
    Ratings: +182 / 1
    Bob, Good to know! I had already packed my plastic red and white bobbers and salmon roe. ;) Now I'm going to have to actually fish when I come out to fish with you this winter.

    John Hicks
  16. John Dougher Member

    Posts: 357
    SW WA
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    After you stopped laughing at my attempt to tie an A leech, you would agree that I need to continue my relationship with Hill's.
  17. Salmo_g Active Member

    Posts: 7,543
    Your City ,State
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    "Go to" fly for winter steelhead.

    I don't find steelhead to be very particular about fly patterns; note Bob's point about a piece of red yarn catching many fish over the decades. For the past 21 years my standby has been an easy to dress variation of a General Practitioner on a size 1 or 2 hook. I use orange bucktail and some flashabou or crystal flash for a long tail - length of hook shank. Then a red wool body with silver rib and orange palmered hackle, finished off with a flashabou or crystal flash wing. A few dozen get me through every winter. I also carry a few small bright patterns and some black and purple ones, mainly for emotional security, as I'm certain the fish don't care.

    I'll take a flawless presentation over a perfectly dressed fancy pattern any day.


    Salmo g.
  18. Preston Active Member

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    A wise man once said that "the fly that will not catch a steelhead has never been tied". Many years ago, it was catching winter steelhead while gear fishing with a couple of strands of brightly colored yarn that convinced me that fly fishing for them was a possibility. Pick something that appeals to YOU and fish it with confidence.
  19. Stonefish Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater

    Posts: 3,861
    Pipers Creek
    Ratings: +1,263 / 1
    Just my opinion, but I've found that hatchery winter steelies aren't the greatest biters. Folks catch them on flies but it can be long periods between fish. Native fish are another story. They are more aggressive in taking the fly. It may have to due with the slightly warmer water temps you get in Feb, March and April. I've had my best luck on large ugly leech patterns in black, purple or blue.
  20. miyawaki Active Member

    Posts: 3,227
    Kent, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +878 / 1
    That's about right Preston. I have a box stuffed full of speys, GPs, Freight Trains, Purple Perils and gobs of Marabous. When I get to the river and open my box, I fish the one that falls out.