Fly Patterns for Sierra Trout Spring 2022


Preparing for a season takes months of prep and busy work, but I’m finally getting around to gear and flies.

I’m not a great fly tier, but I tie lots of flies and try different things to experiment with each season. I’ve discovered new fly patterns from being in the shop with an extremely knowledgeable staff, but also from tiers such as Jim Sens, Jay Nicholas, and the customers who come in to the shop or order online.

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This season I’ll be back home guiding in the Sierra Nevada and the biggest difference fly fishing in Oregon vs. the Sierra is the size of the fly. In Oregon you might use a size #8 or even size #6 Stimulator, but you would never really go larger than a size #10 on the Merced. In the Sierra, size #16-20 are common. I don’t think I’ve ever gone smaller than a size #16 in Oregon (midges maybe). Other than that, you use basically the same patterns.

95% of my clients have never fished in their lives. The 5% who have, only a handful of them have fly fished. So I need flies that my clients can see and I rarely go smaller than size 14 patterns. I also need flies that catch fish. These are my go to fly patterns I carry in my box all summer.

Parachute Adams (Heavy Hackle Size 14)
Probably the most popular trout fly pattern rivaling the Elk Hair Caddis.

Elk Hair Caddis (Sizes 14 & 16)
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A true classic anywhere trout live. Going to Wyoming, get lots in light tan!!!

Carlson’s Purple Haze (Size 14)
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A Parachute Adams fly that’s purple. A great pattern for callibaetis. East Lake…..yes

Mercer’s Missing Link (Sizes 14-16)
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Mike Mercer has spent a lifetime fishing the Sierra Nevada. I began fishing this fly in 2017. It’s represents both caddis and callibaetis.

Sparkle Dun PMD
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My good friend and guide David Gregory introduced me to this pattern a few years back. There are many versions of this fly and this is the one I tie. David uses the Sparkle Flag fly pattern tied by RIO all summer long.

Kaufmann Stone Black (Size 12-14)
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I use this anywhere trout live and it is probably my favorite nymph. Go big in Oregon, sizes 2-8.

Bead Head Hare’s Ear (Size 14)
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A true classic.

Copper John (Size 14)
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You should have various colors.

Wooly Bugger (Sizes 8-10)
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Black, brown, olive, orange, white.

I tie other patterns too, but I find myself tying these 9 patterns back on again and again.

I use 4 & 5 weights with 5x tippet most of the time with a leader length of 9-11ft.  Six weights are appropriate at times when fishing streamers and fishing high water, but 5wts. are the norm.  Smaller streams, get out your 2 & 3 wts.

Be sure to have a variety of colors, especially with Cooper Johns, Wooly Buggers, and Elk Hare Caddis.

Tight Lines,


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1 Response to Fly Patterns for Sierra Trout Spring 2022

  1. Tony B. says:

    Great simple article, I don’t read articles that get into so many details. Let’s go fishing!!

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