January, 2012. Here we are in full-frontal winter steelhead mode, watching our rivers raise and fall, sneaking off to ply the waters whenever and wherever we can, swinging, jigging, and dredging for chrome.
Chris asked me to share a few of my favorite winter steelhead flies and shoot videos for our fly tying fanatics on the blogosphere. I peeked into my fly boxes and was not pleased. Too much energy has been devoted recently obsessed with salmon, and not nearly enough on steelhead. My best ready to go boxes held only a modest assortment of tube leeches and simple marabou flies – my always dependable and ever-so-simple to tie steelhead flies.
Fact is, I gave away all of my steelhead egg, jig, and nymph flies two years ago. Gave ‘em to my friends, and fly tying buddies. All of my incicarot flies plus about four hundred hooks with chrome dumbells already lashed on, ready to whiz on some chenille and egg yarn to make deadly efficient, pocket probing, steelhead catching flies. Figured that I wouldn’t need ‘em cuz i was going to be swinging leeches and tubes and intruders and besides my fly boxes were full anyway and …
So here we are in 2012 and guess what? I got me a brand spankin’ new single hander and a switch rod. I got me some big plans to tromp around some old and new haunts with egg flies, steelhead nymphs, and yes, some great jig-like flies too. This is back to my usual winter steelhead year, and I am excited at the prospects. Even got a tried-and-true 15′ T-3 sink tip for the single hander to swing the soft water when conditions are just right.
Back to topic at hand: winter steelhead flies. I dug deep into my memory banks and pulled up my most favorite eggs, nymphs, jigs, and prawn-like patterns – and then i spiced them up to please my eye and re-stock my winter steelhead fly boxes. It took me awhile to find my stride, and I have a pile of not-quite-right flies to share with my friends, but I am plain happy with the flies that now fill my winter boxes.
I now have a pleasing assortment of steelhead jig flies, steelhead nymph flies, steelhead prawns, and even a modernized Polar Shrimp. Imagine that. I am poised to be humbled, with all my great flies and tackle and supposed knowledge, and return to my roots searching for winter steelhead on the Oregon coast.
So sit back, peer into your computer or iPad and enjoy my 2012 collection of absolutely-guarenteed-to-catch-steelhead flies. Yes, that was one long adjective string.
We’re starting with the Steelhead Ugly Bug Fly. A fly that combined rubber legs with chenille and lead always caught steelhead in the old days. Now we have fancy chenille, and we have tungsten hot beads, and we have really neat colored wiggly dangly rubber legs, and these flies are gonna earn their way if we have the gumption to add water.
Eleven more winter steelhead flies will follow the Steelhead Ugly Bug. My ability to name these flies is not nearly as hot as the flies are, and I invite our readers to think up some great new names. Point is, these flies are all based on patterns that I have fished effectively over the years, and each is flat out assured to catch twenty seven steelhead per, or close, or at least get a bite, pull, grab, twitch, nudge, or look of interest.
Hope you find something of interest in this steelhead fly series. And BTW, these flies fish well in spring, summer, and autumn too.
Steelhead Ugly Bug
Hook: TMC 5263 #4
Bead: Rainbow Hued Plummeting Tungsten Bead 7/32
Thread: Lagartun 150 D Black
Legs: Fly Enhancer Blue -Black
Body: Speckled Crystal Chenille Midnight Fire
Thorax: Cactus Chenille Black Large
Legs/Hackle: Fly Enhancer Blue -Black