What is your favorite historic Sea-Run Cutthroat Fly?

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by Steve Rohrbach, Dec 21, 2011.

  1. Steve Rohrbach Puget Sound Fly Fisher

    Posts: 608
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +46 / 0
    A recent lacrosse trip to British Columbia allowed me to spend a couple of hours exploring the fly selection at several shops including Sea Run Fly & Tackle in Coquitlam. It was interesting to see the wide variety of small flies that dominate the beach fishing in BC. Flies like the Hurst Handlebar, size 8 Rolled Muddlers in 6 different colors and a wide variety of top water flies featuring deer hair.

    I went back to reread Fishing the Sea-Run Cutthroat Trout that Les Johnson first published in 1971. It also sent me back to some of my older fly boxes to examine tried and true patterns that have fallen into disuse. Old favorites like the Allard Orange and Allard Yellow emerged. I tied on an Allard Orange on a recent outting and found that it was very successful in landing some large Coastal Cutthroat. This morning Norm Norlander posted a tweet of him tying the Cutthroat Coachman. It made me wonder what other great old patterns should be brought back and fished in the coming year.

    I would love to hear what historic flies are used in your Coastal Cutthroat fishing.
  2. Roger Stephens Active Member

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    Steve:

    The orginal "Fly Fishing for Pacific Salmon"(1985) by Ferguson, Johnson, and Trotter had a statement on page 71 by Bruce Ferguson: "If he had to confine himself to one fly only, this(Ferguson's Green and Silver) would be it, provided that he could have it in the full range of hook sizes." For many years that was my "go to" fly pattern when fly fishing on Puget Sound. However, over the last 15 years I have rarely used. It is now time to start using it again since it was extremely effective for sea-run cutthroat and salmon species!

    Roger
  3. speyflyfisher Member

    Posts: 135
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    I used to like fishing Roderick Haig Brown's silver brown in the salt and spruce fly streamers in the rivers.
  4. ganglyangler Bird Dogs and Fly Rods

    Posts: 465
    Port Gamble WA
    Ratings: +42 / 0
    I love the borden special and the good old mickey finn. There is something about fishing an old pattern that really makes it fun. Picked up a beater bamboo rod for fishing the salt with just that in mind. All of Haig Brown's flies are cool and I think I need to tie some up.
  5. Steve Rohrbach Puget Sound Fly Fisher

    Posts: 608
    Seattle, WA
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    Roger, with Bruce's passing I am going to add his Green and Silver back into my SRC box. It produced many of my first Coastal Cutthroat. Thanks for sharing. I also tied a bunch of Johnson's Beach Flies recently as it was one of my favorite patterns.

    Speyfisher, your post is spot on and it motivated me to pull out my treasured copy of Fly Patterns of Roderick Haig-Brown.

    Ganglyangler, the Mickey Finn is a go-to fly for most saltwater fly fishers in BC. I went back this summer and researched all of the historic Bucktail patterns and tied streamers using Fish Skulls and Fish Scales. One of the things that surprised me most was the number of flies with yellow as their main color. I also realized that I have not used red as much as they do in BC.
  6. Dale Dennis Formally Double-D

    Posts: 527
    Arlington, WA
    Ratings: +5 / 0
    I too was a Fergusons Green and Silver fan after reading Pats book and although I didn’t take all that many coastal cutts with it I do think it’s a great salt fly but rarely fish it anymore. I think back in the day when we had a fair amount of resident silvers it was a great producer for both.

    In my early days of searun fishing Hood Canal my go to fly was the Knudson Spider in all white (Ghost Spider) or the standard yellow or red body.
    Some of the old timers hear in the north sound still fish it exclusively and do very well. Although I still carry a few with me I find I don’t use them in the salt as much as I used too.
    Now in a river system a Knudson Spider variation is a hard one to beat.
  7. Preston Active Member

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    While I fish a variety of patterns for sea-run cutthroat in salt water, some of my fresh water favorites have been the Dead Chicken (my first large sea-run, a whisker under twenty inches, came to one) and the Knudson Spider, in the classic yellow and a couple of other colors. Mike Kinney introduced me to his Reverse Spider many years ago and, for a long time it was my go-to fly. Now, whenever the opportunity offers, I'm more likely to fish dries. The October caddis, cranefly and small Blue-winged olives are among my favorites.
  8. Steve Rohrbach Puget Sound Fly Fisher

    Posts: 608
    Seattle, WA
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    Preston, thanks for sharing some of your great flies. The first three are old friends but I admit I have not used the October Caddis. I share your love of fishing dries and the floating line is about all that I use lately in the salt. Happy holidays!
  9. 1morecast Active Member

    Posts: 751
    Port Angeles
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    After spending 2 weeks this fall fishing the beaches in B. C. I agree yellow,and red were the two colors I found in most of the patterns that the locals were fishing. Most of the guys i talked to were tying their streamers with polar bear. Now I need to find some yellow polar bear fur, this stuff glows in the water.
  10. Brookie_Hunter aka Dave Hoover

    Posts: 1,351
    Phinney Ridge, Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +120 / 0
    Spruce fly and Royal Coachman Bucktail
  11. weiliwen Active Member

    Posts: 221
    Chicago Illinois
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    I've always caught a lot of SRC's on the Spruce fly, but if the Muddler Minnow counts as an historical fly, I'll add that one.
  12. Preston Active Member

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    While I rarely fish the Spruce fly, it certainly qualifies as a classic. It was developed in Oregon by the Godfrey brothers, Cap and Milo, and has been around since 1918. Re polar bear hair: I love the stuff and there is no other kind of hair that comes anywhere near it for translucence and the ability to hold and refract light. One of the best substitutes I've found is kid or goat hair but it is still far short of the real thing.
  13. SpeySpaz still an authority on nothing

    Posts: 1,826
    Roy, WA
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    Queen of The Waters. On a 3x long hook
  14. Mark Mercer Member

    Posts: 1,146
    port orchard, wa
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    I'll have too agree, in streams, the Spruce fly has netted me many, many cutt's (and bow's). I've been tying some with a gold body, instead of red floss, and has been fantastic in sizes #8 to #12, A true classic.
  15. Kcahill Active Member

    Posts: 894
    Renton, WA
    Ratings: +262 / 2
    If I do not see active fish or bait moving I always start with a mickey finn, if there are fish there something will take a swipe at the red and yellow.
  16. toddr Member

    Posts: 82
    Peninsula, Wa
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    I like Preston's list. The Knudsen Spider in yellow or red are two favorites. I've had good success with an October Caddis nymphs this year as well.
  17. miyawaki Active Member

    Posts: 3,235
    Kent, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +887 / 1
    My first searun I ever caught was in Hood Canal on a Spruce Fly. My other go-to fly for many years was the Allard Yellow. In fact, Allard Yellow and Orange were also my steelhead in the salt flies along with the Polar Shrimp.

    Leland.
  18. dryflylarry "Chasing Riseforms"

    Posts: 4,102
    Near the Fjord
    Ratings: +569 / 0
    I guess an old favorite for me is the Silver Brown by Roderick Haig-Brown. I'm like you guys, I need to put some of these old patterns back in my box. I used the Silver Brown a few years ago very successfully in an estuary on coho also.
  19. Tom Bowden Active Member

    Posts: 451
    Black Diamond, WA
    Ratings: +74 / 3
    The Rolled Muddler is still one of my top flies for saltwater fishing. I tie it sparse with silver diamond braid ribbed with reinforcing silver wire for the body. For stream fishing in the fall, my favorites are the Borden Special and Pat Trotter's K-Special Orange.

    Tom
  20. Olyfly -

    Posts: 24
    Olympia, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Another shout out for the Borden Special as it is one of my sentimental favorites. I first started coastal-SRC fishing on the Alsea River in Oregon when I was going to school in Corvallis. I took a fly tying class hosted by the Scarlet Ibis fly shop and one of the patterns they taught us was the Borden Special. Not sure what it is, but there's something special about the yellow, pink, and white combination that really works well.