If you could only buy 12 flies for steelhead??

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by J Nordwell, Dec 8, 2006.

  1. J Nordwell

    J Nordwell New Member

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    Well I just bought my frist steelhead fly fishing set up. Now comes the hard part. Which flies to get?? I will be fishing the Cowlitz, Both the north and east forks of the Lewis, Kalama, Klickitat, Washugal, and the White Salmon. I plan on fishing more but these are close and I know some of them. Mark at the Greesed Line shop in Vancouver. Says that Purple and black and pink are hard to beat, in leechs, streamers, etc...I've only fly fished for trout in lakes. There I used elk hair caddis, ants, adams patterns. 99% dry flies. The wet flies look like they shouldn't catch any fish. Thanks for the help I need all I can get. I bought a TFO 4 pc 8wt, Orvis battenkill vi , Versa tip line, and case.:thumb:
     
  2. James Mello

    James Mello Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"

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    Honestly, flies aren't that big a deal for steelhead. These fish aren't "feeding" and will move to a fly for reasons completely foreign to us. Lots of people love the venerable Egg sucking leech, while others perfer less "caveman" style flies and look to Dee Style and Spey style flies like the Lady Caroline. Both work, and it's entirely up to the person (and either wallet or tying ability!) to decide what's best.

    Just to prove how little a fly matters to steel, take a look at a "flesh fly" at some point in the future. It's nothing more than a few wraps of rabbit fur on a hook, but catches fish with regularity.

    Considering that you're new to this, I'd say get the most durable fly you can and fish it until it falls apart. Get some buggers in large sizes (2/0, 1/0) in black, purple, and brown and some in smaller sizes (2 and 4) in the same colors. Avoid the cheapy $1.00 files cause they'll fall apart a after a few snags/rock dings, and that's just not cool.

    -- Cheers
    -- James
     
  3. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    JN-
    Take a look at the some of the steelhead patterns in the fly swaps -

    http://www.washingtonflyfishing.com/gallery/showgallery.php?cat=537

    The folks at the fly shop are giving you good advice. The exact pattern isn't critical in steelheading; more important have a fly that you have confidence in. The black, purple, pink, and oranges in any pattern using marabou and rabbit strips will do the trick.

    The biggest issues in successful winter steelhead fly fishing is being able to fish over fish (find them) followed by presentation (deep and slow). the specific pattern is a distant third or fourth in importance.

    tight lines
    Curt
     
  4. fishkisser99

    fishkisser99 Member

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    ...buy? Flies? Pfft.

    If you are seriously considering a concentrated effort at fly fishing, pick up a dozen recommended patterns and more importantly a vise and tools and material for tying your own imitations. Yes, a larger initial outlay, but decidedly more cost-effective in the long run.

    I agree with Smalma about the importance of the specific pattern...presentation is 90% of the nuance when targeting steelhead. That said, a variety of sizes of different patterns does much to compensate for water visibility issues, particularly in the winter...tying your own flies allows you to create small, medium, and large versions for varying degrees of visibility.

    No, many of those patterns don't look like they should catch a fish. Ever seen a cat play with a piece of string?

    You might spend an evening or two browsing the "Stories and Articles" here: http://www.flyfishsteelhead.com/ Good stuff.

    Good luck!
     
  5. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    J,

    I'd go broke if I had to buy my steelhead flies. You will lose a lot of them while fishing winter steelhead. I lost over a dozen today, but that is unusual; normally it's only 2 or 3. Low clear water was really snaggy today. Fortunately they are easy to tie. Learn to tie your own, then you can fish whatever patterns you wish.

    Sincerely,

    Salmo g.
     
  6. Kyle Smith

    Kyle Smith Active Member

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    I have very little steelhead experience myself, but my steelhead boxes consist of: beadhead zonkers or egg-sucking (weighted)zonkers in black, purple, or pink sizes 6-1/0 and big beadhead buggers in various dark colors plus pink. Flesh flies should work great given that I've considered taking a bite out of a pink bunny leech that's been sitting on my desk for a couple of weeks.
     
  7. Jason Decker

    Jason Decker Active Member

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    i will take 12 of Wayne Jordan's egg sucking articulated leaches thank you very much. purple with hot pink flash and bead head.....deadly!

    in fact, wayne........tie me up a 8 please! i will pick them up at issaquah creekside when you have them ready!

    jason


    J Nordwell --- the best answer to your question that you'd ever get. Read Dec Hogan's Passion For Steelhead book.
    In the book he describes in detail his fly selection. The chapters devoted to Steelhead flies is one of the best I've read.
    His fly choice is quite refined and fits in 2 boxes. If I was Dec, I'd market
    those boxes, sell them stocked. Dec1 and Dec2. They'd sell like hot cakes.
     
  8. Pete Davis

    Pete Davis New Member

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    My amateur choice:
    Get all twelve like this:
    Size #4 and #6:
    Long black tail
    Black chenille body with an oval tinsel rib
    Black hackle swept back.
    You can add a dab of color or eyes.
    These hackle flies work like crazy and are just nymphy enough to capture the fisherman's imagination. Seriously, I've caught a lot of steelhead on these and I don't even live there(anymore)bawling: !
    PD
     

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  9. Steelie Mike

    Steelie Mike Active Member

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    J, I fish those same waters and use a variety of flies from nymphs to six inch streamers. You are going to read over and over that flies do not matter. However you will find confidence in certain patterns and you can then move on from there. I personally would start getting used to your setup and fish large streamer type flies since it is wintertime. The key in the winter is movement. Winter steelhead will not move to a fly unless your fly attracts an instintive strike. Marabou flies, buggers and bunny leeches are great choices. I started with these and moved on to MOAL leeches and intruder type flies. Bright colors are great if the river is off color, but I personally stick with purple and black most of the time. The exception I have to this is egg flies.

    See you on the river.
     
  10. Kevin J. Burnham

    Kevin J. Burnham Active Member

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    Hmmm lets see !! Soft Hackles weighted soft hackles oh ya ! and some soft hackles !!! Naturally in various color variations !!
     
  11. otter

    otter Banned or Parked

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    You can fish flies made of tinfoil and toilet paper. The old adage. "The fly catches the fisherman first and the fish second". The steel respond to presentation not pattern. So you get the best of both worlds.

    Good fishing ........

    otter
     
  12. Davy

    Davy Active Member

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    6 Intruder type
    6 Green Butt Skunk,long hackles

    I think fly choice and the materials used in that fly do matter often. I agree not #1 on the list, you do have to present the meal accordingly.
     
  13. Philster

    Philster Active Member

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    6 size 4 skunks for summer

    6 lead eyed purple egg sucking leeches for summer and winter
     
  14. Coach Duff

    Coach Duff Banned or Parked

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    Fellas, Dec wrote a hell of a book. To add the list of 150 before him. Start with Van Fleet Steelhead to a Fly in 1954 and keep going. Nothing smart ass or preachy here, get to work. Its a big world. Love ya. (Some of ya) Coach
     
  15. Davy

    Davy Active Member

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    actually, I think I will go with the tinfoil and toilet paper patterns from now on.
     
  16. fredaevans

    fredaevans Active Member

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    "Otis Bug" (a Rogue river pattern) with a bead head prince nymph as a trailer. First on a (time of year/flow dependent) 6-8 2x hook, the PN in size 8-12.
     
  17. Davy

    Davy Active Member

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    Now that you mention the Rogue, I think I would add 6 Umpqua Specials too, scratch the Skunks
     
  18. Flyborg

    Flyborg Active Member

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    I gotta second Steelie Mike on the purple and black MOAL leeches. Getting steelhead to hit a fly wasn't a challenge for me, but using a fly that kept them hooked seemed to be a serious issue. When I switched from bunny leeches to moal leeches, I started bringing a lot more fish to hand. I think it's all in the hook placement. Then again, it could be that confidence thing :)
     
  19. fredaevans

    fredaevans Active Member

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    Interesting you'd make the shift. The 'Skunk,' in it's choices/off shoots used to be one of my 'go to' flies when I lived in Washington. Since in Oregon ... I don't recall actually hooking a fish on the pattern. Go figure?:hmmm:
     
  20. kamishak steve

    kamishak steve Active Member

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    2 - black articulated leeches app 3 inch
    2 - orange GP's size 2/0
    2 - Purple bunny leech
    2 - orange and red articulated leech
    2 - glo-bug eggs in sz 8
    2 - black egg sucker
     

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