Sea Run Cutthroat Fly Series: Olive Spider

Olive Spider Variant

Nicholas' Olive Variant Sea Run Cutthroat  Fly

Nicholas’ Olive Variant Sea Run Cutthroat Fly

Olive Spider Sea Run Cutthroat Recipe.

This fly is a size 6, but it fishes for summer steelhead down to a size 3 and up to a size 8
Thread – 8/0 or similar
Cement – Hard as Hull for the traditionalists; Solarez Bone Dry for the modernists
Hook – TMC 3671 #6-10
Tail – Yellow and Olive feather barbules
Butt – Lagartun or Hareline Fl yellow flat braid
Shoulder – Senyo’s Fusion Dub Crusty Nail + Lizard, dubbed as a noodle
Wing – sparse clump of olive Natures Spirit Moose
Rear hackle – Yellow Saltwater Rooster Feather
Fore hackle – Olive Saltwater Rooster Feather

Hello Oregon Fly Fishing Blog Readers. I woke the other morning, later than usual, and looked out the window to see clouds in the sky.

Boom! there it went, my memory jumping back more than a few years to an August day with clouds in the sky. The memories flowed like water to the sea, and in a heartbeat, I was slipping into my felt-studded boots, sitting on the tailgate, in a rush as always, anxious to get dressed for midsummer wading in a coastal river.

I was on the lower Alsea, but it could as easily have been the lower Siletz, Siuslaw, Coos, Coquille, Sixes, Trask …. I think you get my drift. Anywhere on the Oregon coast. In fact, it could have been the Rogue or the Umpqua too, but those are big bold rivers, and the places I fished for sea-run cutthroat are small low flow rivers, with short riffles and long slow-moving pools in the month of August.

The thing about stepping into a summer flow river, small or large, is that the possibilities of finding willing trout or summer steelhead are so much greater on a cloudy day.

Dark days are perfect for luring trout and steelhead from tidewater into the low flowing coastal rivers. RAin is even more likely to bring on a push of pacific salmon upstream, and the cooler waters are sure to stimulate a bitey temperament on the part of the fish too.

August days with clouds and a hint of water from the sky have been declared national holidays, you know. Yes. Holidays and vacation days and sick leave days and playing hookey days. This is such good luck because a day in August has the potential to produce magic for the angler who can be on the water.

If I’m fishing for sea-run cutthroat in late September or October, after a few spots of rain have cooled the rivers, after the flows are doubled or tripled from their August low flows, chances are good that I will tie on a Borden special, or a female coachman. or a royal coachman.

But if it is August and the water is at its lowest, I will usually reach for this fly or one like it in more subtle color hues.  This particular fly is a pattern I’ve been tying for SRC since the late 1980s. The fly is related to my Simplicity series of steelhead flies.

Tying notes for the Olive Spider:
The desired action of this fly is a wiggly and puffy motion of the feathers in the water. I think that this movement of the fl hackles is best achieved by plucking the longest feathers taken from a rooster cape.

When and where To Fish This Fly:
I fish this fly upriver anywhere above the head of tide, never near the river mouth closest to the ocean.

Olive is especially effective when cutthroat are feeding on various mayflies, as they are prone to do whenever they encounter a late summer hatch. The subtle olive hue of the fly is ideal for use as a followup fly. I’ll tie on a natural-looking pattern like this after I’ve been teased and refused by a trout or steelhead; in t=the years I have followed this practice, the fish will come back and eat this fly about half the time, so it is definitely worthwhile to carry a few in your box, and to swim it past a fish that is being pesky.

I will add that I have caught chinook jacks in august on this fly, but only if a rain cooled the river and rain jumped the flows a few hundred cfs to bring these little chinook out of tidewater pools. An 18 or 20″ dee[ bodied jack salmon is quite the thrill when you are expecting a sea-run of 12-14″. The jack salmon’s flash and pull at the end of your line on a 3 or 4 wt delivers quite the surprise.

Sea Runs or steelhead?
Although I first tied this pattern thinking about sea runs, a slender version of the fly is straight out of the playbook for summer steelhead, and never doubt that this fly will lure the larger sea-runners to your engagement.

Have fun out there,

Jay Nicholas,

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