Top 10 Favorite Steelhead flies


I probably got me first dozen or so fish on the Polar Shrimp, or the Kispiox Special which is a close relative. Then I realized it had to be more difficult than that so I started to tie flys that actually looked really cool. I didn't catch more fish with those fancy flies, it just made me stand on shore longer than usual trying to decide which fly looked best to me in my box.


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For some reason I've never thought of the Green-Butt Skunk as a winter steelhead pattern though I've fished it a lot during the summer. the Green-Butt Skunk is a fairly recent variant of the Skunk (it's not even mentioned in Trey Combs' 1976 Steelhead Fly Fishing and Flies) and the origin of the basic Skunk itself is uncertain. It may well have originated as a summer-run fly on the Umpqua. An early pattern for the Skunk featured a white-over-black wing with the white applied as a narrow stripe.
Not in any Particular Order:

1. Spade
2. Steelhead Coachman
3. MOAL Leech
4. Spey Bug (Swannundaze O Caddis Pattern)
5. Crystal Caddis
6. Intruders (purple or gray/grizzly)
7. Caballero egg (straight eye hooks only)
8 Spun Marabous
9. Halcyon
10. Blue Charm
My favorit flies I mainly fish are tube flies/rabbit leeches, and marabou string leeches in mainly black and purple. Sometimes Moals.

My new fun fly that seems to work quite well is a Metal Detector. It doesn't have alot of movement, and I'm not sure what the deal is, but it catches fish. The last fish I caught, I went through with a big marabou string leech and didn't catch anything, went through again with the metal detector, and fish on.


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the bigger and nastier the better!!!
Not necassarly. I would agree for west side winter fish, but there is certianly such thing as too big and nasty for east side and west side summers.

I don't really have a go to fly. I kind of look in by my box on any given run-- based on the water and light, and pick what feels right at that time.

If i had to pick one fly though it would probably be a purple peril.


Tight line takes ain't no fakes!!
For summer fish, a Skater,with a few traditional following flies if you raise one and he won't come back.

For winter, I'm kind of with Pan,whatever feels right for the day and water conditions. But I like Intruders, GP's, maribou and bunny type flies.


Will Atlas

I fish classics almost exclusively for summer fish. Winter fish however are another creature entirely. I have experimented with pretty spey flies before and honestly I've not had too much success. Given the number of flies I loose I've decided to keep it cheap and dirty. My boxes this year consist mostly of marabous and lead eyed bunny leaches. If I want a larger profile, I will get a 45mm waddington, tie one marabou on the back half, dub the middle of the body and tie another marabou on the front half, sometimes I'll attach some ostrich herl or grizzly hackle for feelers too.

basically I think of winter steelhead flies as having three variables. size, color and weight (sink rate). Then I just tie every fly I can think of with those combinations. Colors that have been good to me have been orange and red, black and blue and purple and pink. I've also caught fish on purple GPs before so I've got confidence in their mojo too. Hope that helps, good luck in your quest for steelhead, it is tough but the payoff is huge.



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Winter I use one of these most of the time:

Glasso's Orange Heron
Glasso's Brown Heron
Glasso's Sol Duc Spey
Glasso's Polar Shrimp
McLeod's Skykomish Sunrise (spey version)
General Practitioner (Orange)
Ally's Shrimp
Ally's Shrimp, Purple
Akroyd Dee (argus wing)
Avon Dee

In summer these I use most of the time:

Purple Peril (bronze mallard wing)
Ally's Shrimip
Lady Caroline Spey
Lady Caroline Low Water
Old English Iron Blue Dun
Night Dancer Shrimp (my fly)
Lemire's Grease Liner, Black
Lemire's Grease Liner, Burnt Orange
Arnold's Spade