Green Butt Pink, best danged steelhead pattern there is

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by GAT, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,021
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,598 / 0
    Well, okay, that statement is up for debate but for me, it is true.

    Way back when the Model T was driving the streets, only a few of us in town tried flyfishing for steelhead... especially winter steelhead.

    Mike Gorman was the owner of the local fly shop and was bound and determined to come up with a pattern that would fool steelhead. At one of our fly tying sessions, he showed us a pattern he came up with that was working for him. He called it The Green Butt Pink.

    It is based on 2. 2 wraps of chartreuse chenille. 2 wraps of pink chenille and 2 wraps of pink dyed saddled hackle. The colors are based on the same as a Clown Corkey.

    Simple. So simple you'd think there is no way it would work. For me, 80% of all the summer and winter steelhead I catch are with this simple pattern. I added a clear glass bead with a silver lining but otherwise, left the pattern as it was originally tied.

    At his shop, his employees thought it was too simple of a pattern for customers to purchase so, with suggestions from Brian O'Keeffe, they started using a traditional salmon/steelhead hook, made the body longer and added shredded mylar tubing for a wing. They called it The Gay Caballero but that wasn't politically correct so they changed the name to The Caballero.

    I once asked Mike if he personally used the Caballero or the Green Butt Pink, he said he still used the Green Butt Pink.

    In all its simple glory, here's the pattern that has landed me more steelhead than any other fly:

    [IMG]
    S Fontinalis likes this.
  2. Pat Lat Mad Flyentist

    Posts: 1,046
    Des Moines
    Ratings: +773 / 0
    looks like a killer Puget sound waiting period salmon fly too, I might have to try that next year for coho
  3. Jamie Wilson Active Member

    Posts: 967
    Arlington WA
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    Do you swing it on a tip, high stick nymph it, indicator, dead drift, or all?
  4. psycho Active Member

    Posts: 337
    B.C. Canada
    Ratings: +132 / 0
    Steelhead are as dumb as a post, once you find where they live they are the easiest fish to catch. :D
  5. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,021
    Willamette Valley, OR
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    All of the above. Except I don't bother with an indicator. It also works to fool SRC.

    I was going to say a dead-drift presentation works the best but now when I think about it, I've probably caught just as many steelhead with the pattern at the end of the drift and sweeping downstream.

    Almost always, I use two patterns when fishing for any steelhead. The Green Butt Pink is usually one of the two flies.
  6. zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

    Posts: 3,161
    Moses Lake, WA
    Ratings: +967 / 1
    Gene, What size bead is that? I have up to 6/0 but think yours is bigger.
  7. Jamie Wilson Active Member

    Posts: 967
    Arlington WA
    Ratings: +92 / 0
    Thanks for the info
  8. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,021
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,598 / 0
    Hmmmm.... the bead size isn't indicated on the package. I buy them at a craft store, I'll need to measure the bead to know the size. The hook is a #2. The bead is not absolutely necessary so I tie the pattern with and without a bead. I think it gives it just a tad more glimmer and sometimes, that's a good thing. However, I caught this hatchery steelhead last year and was using a Green Butt Pink without a bead head so I'll switch up. Normally, I used the bead head version when the water is a little high and maybe a touch off color. I use the non bead head when the water is low and clear... as it was the day I caught this critter.

    [IMG]
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  9. Jamie Wilson Active Member

    Posts: 967
    Arlington WA
    Ratings: +92 / 0
    The fly looks non-weighted
    How do you obtain the depth you want? Glass bead right? I've used these before but mainly lake - like for an Olive Willy
  10. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,021
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,598 / 0
    It is non-weighted but I use a heavy wire hook and sometimes a split shot. With a dry line and fairly long leader, I cast a goodly distance upstream so the fly is at the deepest point as it drifts in front of me and then I let it swing downstream.

    I once used a steelhead sink-tip fly line system but started catching more steelhead when I went to a dry line and longer leaders. Leader materials sinks much, much quicker than a fly line and I can keep more of a direct connection between the rod tip and the pattern.

    If I did plan to use the pattern in deeper water than I do now, I'd probably add a heavier pink metal bead or use lead under wraps for the body but it works fine as-is for me.
  11. Jamie Wilson Active Member

    Posts: 967
    Arlington WA
    Ratings: +92 / 0
    Very helpful
    A heavy wire hook must sink way better than I thought. I'm going to look at doing this over the next few days!
    Happy New Year!!
    Jamie
  12. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,021
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,598 / 0
    The bead is 1/8 inch.
  13. tkww Member

    Posts: 464
    WA
    Ratings: +66 / 2
    Gene, if you don't mind sharing, what brand/model of hook is that?

    ~Tyson
  14. kelvin Active Member

    Posts: 2,016
    Seattle,WA
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    Whats the hook?
  15. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,021
    Willamette Valley, OR
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    Oh, forgot, it's a TMC800S (or you can use a similar short shank, heavy wire, ring eye hook) size 6. I use 4-6, 4 for off color water.
  16. tkww Member

    Posts: 464
    WA
    Ratings: +66 / 2
    Thanks. I've been trying out various hooks for steelhead nymphs and haven't settled on one yet. I've been using a Daiichi hook that I like for it's length and shank weight, but it has an o'shaughnessy bend that I don't like. The octopus-style hook works well but I'd like a little longer shank. I'll have to track down this hook (in person) and see if it's a better compromise between shank and gap.
  17. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,021
    Willamette Valley, OR
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    I bought a ton of the TMC 800S hooks when they were available. I think they changed the model number to 105.

    http://www.barlowstackle.com/TMC-105-Fly-Hooks-P637.aspx

    The hook started as a TMC 800 in black... then for some reason, they went with stainless steel and changed the model to TMC 800S. I liked the hook better when it was black. Now... they've gone to bronze . Sheeesh. They need to make up their minds.
  18. Robert Engleheart Robert

    Posts: 1,147
    Lemoore, CA
    Ratings: +112 / 0
    GAT, what rivers do you fish with that? Looks like something to use where they have settled in and reverted to being "trouty"?
    I'm thinking of the upper Trinity, I fish it exclusively with a dryline and often go down to #14-18's in nymphs. Larger sparely dressed traditionals as well.
  19. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,021
    Willamette Valley, OR
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    The rivers I steelhead fish on the Oregon Coast are not overly large and usually, I'm fishing the upper areas. They are not anywhere close to the size of the lower Deschutes.

    I don't really use nymph patterns, but I do use the dead drift system. And of course, across and downstream.