Why do SRCs hit ugly flies

golfman44

5-Time Puget Sound Steelhead Guide of the Year
#1
I was tying up some clousers last night for coho and it got met thinking....

Short way of asking this is why do SRCs hit a gaudy pink and chartreuse clouser yet we spend hours obsessing trying to mimic a perfect bait fish / flatwing pattern at the vise?

Is it some of the steelhead instincts to just attack/chase/defend response?

I realize coho attack the pink but srcs are actively foraging in close, so why try something that looks so ugly and fake?
 
#2
I've wondered the same thing...I guess some folks just like to tie co placated stuff simply for the satisfaction of tying. I generally get stuck on wanting to try new materials but my flies remain rather simple and the more they get hammered and worn has little effect on it's effectiveness. Until there's nothing left but a hook and dumbbell eyes of course ;). But I tie my flies durable :). Really for SRC all you really ever need is Bucktail and some Krystal flash and your good to go for a life time. But that gets boring, so then SF Blend comes out and we're like, ooh, gotta try that! But really hook ups aren't increased based on materials, at least not in my experience.
 

Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
#3
I once stood knee deep in the flowing tidewater, just yards away from a group of sea-run Cutthroat that were very actively feeding on the surface in a rushing foamy riffle. We swung one fly after another in front of them. Every time that a fly would be presented to the cavorting chow hounds the fish would stop feeding briefly. We tried everything that we had pretty much, all of the usual beach fishing stuff- Clouser minnows, streamers, sliders, baitfish, shrimp etc. I always have a few "river" flies in my box, so we began using them too. On every swing we changed the fly as the fish were still avoiding the presentations almost every time. But we had a few follows on the dry flies, even when swung across the surface with a big sloppy waking drag.. Then I tied on a scraggly looking old orange brown #6 Stimulator fly, dead drifting it right over the top of the feeding fish. BOOM! We caught fish after fish with that fly for the next half hour.

I have done this with smaller flies as well, down to size 18 Blue Winged Olives, #12 Royal Wulffs, very small soft hackle flies, tiny bead head nymphs, and countless other dry flies. I have no doubt that these fish learn how to avoid certain types of flies at times, especially the most popular flies, the ones that everyone talks about in articles, books and on the internet. Just remember that sea-run Coastal Cutthroat trout flies should reflect the entire range of their forage or prey across their life history, and carry some freshwater flies along with you to the beaches too. Sea runs take spinners, spoons, plugs etc as well. So they are not naturally so picky. My hunch is that flies mean more to us than they do to them. As members of the genus oncorhynchus they have some similarities to the others, steelhead and salmon, and one of those traits is a tendency to hit brightly colored lures, fluorescent colors etc. http://olympicpeninsulaflyfishing.blogspot.com
 
#5
I we spend hours obsessing trying to mimic a perfect bait fish / flatwing pattern at the vise?
I don't do that at all. SRC will bite just about anything that looks like food on a given day. If the water is murky, I'll use brighter minnows, chartreuse, pink, etc. The fish can see it a little sooner in fast current, so I hook more fish. Good visibility, olive clouser, or a worm.

This is a photo of the most productive pattern I use.
 

Attachments

Bagman

Active Member
#6
I have made a fly test tank, one that I can run water over the fly and watch it from the side as well as the top. I'm trying to figure out how to get a mirror under it so I can see the fly from below as well. This has taught just how bad some of my flys swim, as well as just how easy some of them can be made to swim correctly.
 

Chris Bellows

Your Preferred WFF Poster
#7
clousers have good action, ultra-realistic patterns often look like crap unless constantly under tension, cutthroats are notorious for being aggressive, and chartreuse has magic fish catching abilities.
 
#8
I don't do that at all. SRC will bite just about anything that looks like food on a given day. If the water is murky, I'll use brighter minnows, chartreuse, pink, etc. The fish can see it a little sooner in fast current, so I hook more fish. Good visibility, olive clouser, or a worm.

This is a photo of the most productive pattern I use.
Don, I fish something similar and it IS ver effective and simple. Orange/rust rabbit strip, gold bead up front with stinger in the back pierced through near end of strip. Marine worm imitation? I dunno, but it works. Fish it in rust orange, olive and pink.

My most effective bucktail patterns are white/chart, tan/white and yellow/orange or yellow red.
 

golfman44

5-Time Puget Sound Steelhead Guide of the Year
#12
Not trying to be an ass, and I genuinely appreciate all the responses... But I'm yet to see one actually addressing my question (besides you Chris bellows). I know all types of flies get hit, from elaborate ones to plain ones. I've caught srcs on just a hook plus two pieces of chewed up flashabou. However, this is not what prompted me to post this.

My question was/is: Why does a src attack a chartreuse and pink clouser? What triggers that response?

A chum baby fly mimics a chum fry... That makes sense why it's effective. Lelands poppers mimic a wounded bait fish... That makes sense. Shrimp patterns mimic shrimp... So on and so forth. Why does a chartreuse and pink ugly get consistently hit?
 
#13
A Sea Run Cutthroat is an aggressive, foraging fish living in a target-rich and hostile environment. They are most often in the company of other Sea Runs making them, I think, even more aggressive and competitive.

Why does a Sea Run Cutthroat attack a chartreuse and pink clouser? The simple answer is: because it's there. And, as Chris said, because of that particular type of fly's action and, of course, the colors.

Jack
 

Chris Bellows

Your Preferred WFF Poster
#14
the key is that a clouser mimics a baitfish pattern better than most others. looks at the vise can be deceiving that things that look great often don't. flatwings are a perfect example of a fly that while it also looks great it looks even better under the water action wise, but the flies imo are not that close of representations of what baitfish look like. we make pretty big presumptions about what flies look like to fish and what they take it for. popular chum fry patterns vary quite a bit, yet they all "mimic" chum fry. most popper patterns look like floating cocks, but when moved create an illusion of a wounded baitfish. much of what we do at the vise (and some of our best ideas) matter little to the fish.
 

JonT

Active Member
#15
I developed the conclusion after guiding in Florida for several years and relying heavily on Clouser Minnows that, yes, they mimic baitfish, but they also mimic shrimp retreat action. In that case, the fish, I decided, would hit any Clouser in any color as long as the retrieve was what they wanted. Maybe SRCs are similar in the salt. Dunno, I'm not Bill Nye.