Fly choice for winter steelhead....

#16
Personal op here only. This "question" has been beaten to death, and death, and death. 'What works' has more to do with three items (imho): How far up from the 'salt' are the fish, how big is the water in front of you, and how cold/clear/dirty is the water.

Item 1. The farther from the 'salt' the fish are, the less a 'bright fly' will work, save for spawning fish putting eggs in the water (match the hatch if you will);
Item 2. If the river is 'big' then a larger fly is probably the better choice as you have to cover/search/piss off the fish to get his/her attention/strike. Smaller water ... stick with smaller flies; (Yes, use sink tips/weighted flies to get them down);
Item 2. The colder the water, then move to a smaller more compact fly as the fish are dour and will not tend to move off their current breaking rock. Here is where a two fly set up (big up front-small in back) can pay dividends. The first get 'his' attention, the second is what 'he' will strike. 'Dirty water?' Then BIG, deep, down and dirty is the better answer regardless of the above (use bicycle chain for a sink tip if you have to :>) ).

Just 50+ years of observation, but what do I know?
:>)

Edit: forgot to add: Nice ties in the pics above. Well done!
fae
 

Brazda

Fly Fishing guide "The Bogy House" Lodge
#17
Movement is key, so is color so I created a fly that has both it swims right side up too so the hook ups are VERY Posative!
Looks kinda funny but the tail increases the movement, adds the color you want and makes the fly track correctly.
 

Panhandle

Active Member
#18
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah

The damn fly doesn't (really) matter, and don't let anyone convince you that it does with "their" fly. If you find a player, you could swing a log of moose shit with cigarette butts hanging out of it and the fish will move. As well, you could swing the most perfectly pulsating, colored formatting fly in existence, and if the fish ain't playing, you're fucked. To be honest, I have to remind myself of this fact often, especially when I can't find a player.
 
#19
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah
some flies like some visitors to this site aren't worth the material that is used to make them. Its really all about the presentation. if the presentation sucks the fly isnt worth a shit, just like if the reply to a question is out of line or rude it says a lot about the one typing it.:thumb:
 
S

stewart dee

Guest
#20
Pan is right. I have seen Steelhead take a small summer fly on big off color water. A nice summer on BIG and UGLY. These fish have a brain the size of a pea and the upper hand.
 

Panhandle

Active Member
#21
some flies like some visitors to this site aren't worth the material that is used to make them. Its really all about the presentation. if the presentation sucks the fly isnt worth a shit, just like if the reply to a question is out of line or rude it says a lot about the one typing it.
Said the guy with 4 posts. :clown:
 

Ed Call

Well-Known Member
#22
Said the guy with 4 posts. :clown:
Saw that one coming!

I've been told BLACK. Black, big and bushy. Black, long and full of action. Black, short and sparse. Black, with a touch of color veiled in black. If not black then something with black in it so that you can still be fishing with black. Sorry my input is not worth the 122 keystrokes to post it, fish Black.
 
#24
Big Brushy, Orange Marabou Leeches have worked for me in both summer and winter. But so have the traditional patterns. Presentation and getting it in front of the fish without spooking them.
 
#25
Everyone, thanks for all the input--it's helpful, and confirms what I've read, heard, and experienced.

I think we can put this thread to bed!

Tom
 
#26
Movement is key, so is color so I created a fly that has both it swims right side up too so the hook ups are VERY Posative!
Looks kinda funny but the tail increases the movement, adds the color you want and makes the fly track correctly.
Now THAT is something new under 'my Sun.' Need to print out the thumbnail and give those a go .... would you consider doing a 'step by step?' Or at least post a recpt?

fae
 

papafsh

Piscatorial predilection
#27
Well, if this thread is going "lights-out" then let me throw a little cold water on it first. I like all the various fly types, anything that works,.... well, works! But here is a fly without pedigree, a simple mongrel, and yet
it has become for me, a humorous fly choice. A hook, a bead-head, wrapped in Polar Chenille....that's it....that's all...zip!
So far, from 2007 to the present this lowly commoner of a fly has produced a worthy Coho, and a feisty Jack both in the Cascade, two Bulltrout, and a winter Steelhead-Nate/hen on the Sauk and I almost forgot this pink in the Skagit.
I have next to catch a nice RB and an SRC on it and I'll then consider it a fly of unusual honor. Hey, this sounds like a story line for an "Olive The Little Wolley Bugger" book...:rofl:

There is a great essay on the subject of fly selection as pertains to Steelhead, in the March 2010 edition of Fly Rod & Reel magazine.The essay written by E. Donnall Thomas, Jr. (OK I don't actually know who this guy is but, it's a good essay) The tile is "Greatest of all Time" let me quote a short paragraph. QUOTE: "I am an avowed nihilist in the selection of fly patterns for anadromous fish. For the most part, steelhead and salmon are either going to hit what's offered properly or they aren't. Most of our devotion to fumbling through fly boxes in search of an irresistible pattern reflects frustration with fish that aren't hitting ( or that aren't even present). Conversely, the intense devotion we feel toward patterns that turned a day or two around is usually the result of getting the fly-whatever it is-in front of an eager fish". END Quote.

So I've decided to give my scruffy fly a name..."Whateveritis"...it works.

LB
 

Brazda

Fly Fishing guide "The Bogy House" Lodge
#28
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah

The damn fly doesn't (really) matter, and don't let anyone convince you that it does with "their" fly. If you find a player, you could swing a log of moose shit with cigarette butts hanging out of it and the fish will move. As well, you could swing the most perfectly pulsating, colored formatting fly in existence, and if the fish ain't playing, you're fucked. To be honest, I have to remind myself of this fact often, especially when I can't find a player.
Spoken like a man looking for those accidental steelhead.
 
#29
again, im not anyone to trust when it comes to steelhead. but a lot of my philosophy on fly choice has proven itself true across the board, from carp, to SRC's, to bass, to brown trout. flies are tools. and you gotta have the right tool for the job. by tying your own flies, you can now tailer each tool to the task. you may be right that a steelhead will eat anything but why limit yourself to one box filled with the same fly? shit tie 30 black ESL's if thats what you dig. some with beadchain. some with lead. some with LEAD. some unweighted. now you got the right tool for the tailout. the deep seam. the head. the froggy shit. the corner pocket. that log jam that pushes out into the heavy water. and the mile long swing step. sink tips can only do so much, sometimes its the fly and not so much the presentation that gets you to that fish. when there is more anglers then fish, you gotta put in a little extra. and im not talking just steelhead. anything that is worth casting to. i try to approach every situation with an open mind. i sure as hell am not gonna be the 20th GBS swung through the mixer bar on a type III on a given day.

at least that is what i tell myself. i'll get my 2010 fish one of these days...... until then i think im gonna tie more flies. black and chartreuse..... heavy.... and huge..... and i know right where im gonna swing it.