standby fly

Hey all, i was just wondering what you think the best "standby" fly is for trout. The fly that you turn to if you cant catch anything. For me, my standby dry is my trusty elk hair caddis, of which i have caught a 18 inch cutt, 21 brown, and 18 inch rainbow all in the same day, in the same river. My standby "nymph/streamer" is a conehead bugga size 4-10, it seems to dredge some nice fish up.

lookin forward to responses


Old Man

Just an Old Man
I might be old---but I'm good.

Royal Wulff is one that I can go to when nothing seems to work. But I discovered a new one last night. I was doing some practice out in my back yard with my 8wt. Had a eggsucking leech on. I forgot about my cat on how it chases any thing thrown. Last night I caught my cat. I tried to get to her but she broke off. Another LDR. I just can't seem to catch any thing.

Since I use barbless hooks,the hook fell out and the cat is fine now.

Wow! did she fight hard? I have tied dog treats at the end of my fly line and fought my 100# lab a few times...fought my 7 year old daughter too, but she came too close and the rod broke...thank goodness for life time warranties.

Jim W
My standby fly is a clear glass bead, olive seal bugger with a chickaboo soft hackle. It alyays catches fish for me. I like the cat story. I almost did the same thing with a muskrat at Rocky Ford.
Aaron J
Standby fly is a woolley bugger. Olive or black will catch about anything.
For the cat, I use a bass rod that's 5 1/2 feet long and my prefered lure is a feather jig with no hook. They can't resist it pulled slowly across the floor. Jim, check the regs for cats. I don't think it's open for them now.

Old Man

Just an Old Man
I might be old---but I'm good.

Thank youse guys on all the responces on my cat story. I should have known better. Because my daughter used to cast her spinng rod in the back just to let the cat chase it(no hook). From now on no more hooks.

I checked the regs and found no open season on house cats. Maybe we can get it added,but I don't think so,too many animal lovers out there. Me for one.

My standby fly for Eastern Oregon is a Royal Humpy. I just moved to Washington within the last nine months or so, and I would have to say for Washington I would have to go with a tan elk hair caddis. I really appreciate the feedback on this site, since my first few times out up here I hadn't a clue what to use.

Tight lines,
I like to always try a Lightning bug as a good standby. They seem to work just about anywhere.

If you want to see something else that is funny, check out He has a picture on his web site of how he caught a rock in Alaska (this web site's home page a link to his site as well). I was standing right next to Jim and saw the whole thing. We had both hooked into some big Chums right where the Clack river comes into the Kanektok. He thought he hooked into another fish so he gave his rod to a young girl who was on the trip who had never caught a Salmon on a fly rod. I watched as she struggled as she reeled in the "fish". When Jim pulled up a rock after all the effort I almost fell into the water laughing. My comment was "Nice rock, make sure you release it gently"
Standby Fly?

This must be the fly that works when every other fly isn't. Maybe it is a fly that you pull out of your box first? Maybe the fly that you tie when you don't want to tie a K-man Stone.

I like the standard BWO.
TMC 100 size 18
Tail-dun hackle tips
Body-olive spun poly. (I spin my dub so it looks more segmented)
Wings-dun hen neck hackle tips

This is the best fly for me when the caddis are not in. If the caddis are in, I always start with a size 14 chocolate trude style caddis. If anyone is interested in this fly, drop me an e-mail and I will trade you for your favorite pattern. This pattern has worked all over the western US for me. Chuck Stranahan is the one who popularized it a few years ago but I just had to tweak it to make it mine. In case you are a good tier, here is the pattern:

hook-tmc 100 or 900bl #14
body- coarse poly dubbing twisted and tied on and twisted again. You will want a segmented appearance that reverse tapers just like the real bug. I use the coarsest dubbing I can find which I can't find anymore so use whatever. Don't dub the dubbing, tie on and twist!!!
wing-dark elk yearling or hock.(fine and black tips)
hackle-grizzly saddle but tie in front of the wing and only 3 or 4 wraps. Trim the bottom a little so that the fly sits just off the water but the body is in the water.

Use colors and sizes to match the hatch.

Okay, you now know all of my secrets. Good luck.

Old Man

Just an Old Man
I might be old---but I'm good.

That rock story reminded me of what happened to my buddy two years ago on the N/fork of the Sky. We were drifting jigs and he said that he had a big one on. Well as it turned out He was using a dink float and it was bouncing around in the current. And his jig was caught on a rock. He swore it was a fish and he fought it for twenty minutes. Before he gave up and broke it off.

It's things like this that make fishing interesting and some times funny.


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