One of the articles we featured in “Things Worth Reading” last week was “The Top 5 Trout Flies You Should Carry at All Times.” That got us thinking about the fly patterns we carry and what they would be if we were only limited to five of them.
Top Row (L-R): Frenchie Pheasant Tails (4 sizes/colors), Green Bead Gray Fuzzy Midge, X2 Caddis, X Caddis, Cranefly Larva, Woolly Bugger
Bottom Row (L-R): Scud, Cressbug, Zebra Midge, Lunchtime Caddis Pupa, Beadhead Lunchtime Caddis Pupa
Here are our respective lists – in no particular order – to go along with the picture above (you’ll notice some similarities in these lists – like father like son!):
- Hot Spot/Frenchie Pheasant Tail (various colors – hot spot or drab)
- Green Bead Gray Fuzzy Midge
- X2 Caddis (Tan)
- Lunchtime Caddis Pupa (Tan)
- Woolly Bugger (Black/Olive/Grizzly)
- Lunchtime Caddis Pupa (tan)
- Cranefly larva
- Tie – Cressbug or Scud
- X Caddis (tan)
- Zebra midge
None of these are incredibly difficult flies to tie, but they’re very effective. We carry each of these in a few sizes (and weights, for the nymphs and bugger) to make sure we’re really covering the water we fish.
Some notes on a few of these:
Paul came up with the Lunchtime Caddis Pupa a few years ago to match the tan caddis hatch in April/May and into the summer. He blended some dubbing together to get a light tan combo for the body, contrasted with a dark color for the thorax. You can add some mallard flank on the sides if you want, but make sure you tease out the dubbing as much as possible to create a good air bubble. We carry these in sizes 14 and 16.
The Fuzzy Midge is a pattern Caleb came up with out of a dubbing blend of shed black dog hair and cressbug/scud dubbing, adding a glass bead and tying it in size 18. It’s worked well as a dropper off of a dry fly or nymph.
The dark olive/black/grizzly color combo on the Woolly Bugger works really well around here year-round. We tie these unweighted or with a brass or tungsten cone or bead in sizes 6-8.
The Frenchie/Hot Spot Pheasant Tail is a good one to carry in both bright and drab colors (we carry sizes 14-18). We’ve used regular pheasant (natural and dyed) and golden pheasant fibers for the body, and Ice Dub or Hare’e Ice Dub for the thorax. Throw on a brass or tungsten bead and you’re good to go.
Obviously, we do carry more than those five patterns on the water! This is just our pared-down arsenal. Your turn: what are your top 5, alway-carried patterns?