Anybody got a killer Stickleback pattern they want to share?

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
#1
I've been doing some reading, and I have learned that Sticklebacks are a preferred food item of Searun Cutthroat. Maybe even more so than are Sculpins! All of the tidal creeks, sloughs, ponds and drainage ditches in my area seem to have a population of Sticklebacks. There were some in the sump pond of a cranberry farmer I worked for.

So what y'all got?:)
 

Jack Devlin

Active Member
#2
I suspect that sticklebacks are out and about more than sculpins and therefore a SRC preferred menu item. I think they are probably easier to catch, too. I don't have any specific stickleback patterns but it will be fun to try and come up with something. Any sticklebacks I have ever observed seemed to be "stiff" in the water unlike other small fish I've observed. Aside from the stickles, the prominent feature of a stickleback seems to me to be the long, slender caudal peduncle and long tail. That should be incorporated in any pattern, I think.
Just some thoughts.
Jack
PS They seem to have a fairly large eye and sticklebacks don't seem to be a shiny or bright sided fish - at least not the ones I have seen in the wild.
J
 
#4
The Rolled Muddler has been used for years as a stickleback pattern. Yes it doesn't look exactly like a stickleback but when swimming fast a stickleback will lower the fins to slim down and become hydrodynamic.
 

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
#5
Thanks for the replies. I dug out an old Audubon field guide and found a description and photo of a Three-spined Stickleback.
Dark back, either dark gray or dark olive, fading to slightly lighter on the lower sides, silvery-white belly, becoming reddish in the head and belly during the spawning run occurring April thru June. Max length to 4".
They have three dorsal spines, and there are bony plates running down their sides.
They die off after spawning and supposedly wriggle near the surface in the shallows, often breaking the surface.

Funny thing is that the Mcloud Stickleback pattern looks similar to an effective Searun Cutthroat trolling pattern that I came up with, that is basically a modified Knudsen Spider. I use natural Mallard Flank in the tail and wing (since mine is derived from the Knudsen Spider), but I have tied a few variations with additional wing material, usually either "Peacock" or "Baitfish" Angel Hair, and one with wings of matched grizzly saddle hackles. I also have added the beard of red hackle. They have all caught fish.
 

GAT

Dumbfounded
#6


Interesting looking fish. I think one of my warm water bait patterns might represent the guy quite well. The vertical lines are very obvious.
 

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
#8
GAT, the stickleback in the photo you posted is much lighter hued than the one in the pic I saw, but the body shape is the same.

Nice ties, Jack. I think the top and middle ones are better looking fakes than the bottom one.
I've got some grizzly saddle hackle that I cut off and used the tip sections for another pattern. I was thinking of tying a couple of those in for a tail, like the fly in your top pic.
I like the white throat or beard, but I might mix in some red (spawning colors) on a couple. The brown "soul patch" you have over the white beard probably achieves this.
Dark grizzly hackle and some dark hair for the wings is looking like part of my plan.
Not sure what I'm using for a body yet, but I have a few materials that'll work.
Thanks for coming up with those.
 
#9
In Art Lingren's book "Fly Patterns of British Columbia, The Roderick Haig-Brown Centenary Edition" there is a Stickleback pattern on page 92 which will probably work just fine.
jack
 

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
#10
I think the one you're going with is purty dang sweet. did you say "Pass the mustard?"

Ok, page 92. I'll have to sneak a peek if I can find a copy on the book rack in a fly shop.;)
 
#11
I think the one you're going with is purty dang sweet. did you say "Pass the mustard?"

Ok, page 92. I'll have to sneak a peek if I can find a copy on the book rack in a fly shop.;)
Not "pass the mustard", but "pass muster" i.e.. be accepted as adequate or satisfactory.
I'll bet a cutt or two has taken a chum baby for a stickleback, eh?
Jack
 

GAT

Dumbfounded
#15
I think you're getting closer with the back colors and the vertical stripes. I also like the new tail approach. That one looks like the ticket!