fly patterns

Have you ever been on the river when one person was hammering the fish and all others were picking their nose?  The dude seemed to hook up 3 or 4 times for every touch you had.  Probably wondering what fly pattern he was using, right?

Sometimes in fly fishing, bigger isn’t always better.  In fact I’ve found that the smaller you go, the more effective fishing can be for summer steelhead on the wet fly swing.  Winter steelheading is a little different story and doesn’t always apply the same.

But, with summers they seem to love the small, sparse stuff.  The life history of a summer steelhead is after all more like a trout then it is for winter steelhead.  Summers are in the river for much longer periods before spawning and thus aren’t focused as much on spawning once hitting the river.  They remember some of these cues from 2 years back in time when they were just small little mini me’s, trying to stay out of the eye site of an osprey.

Next time you plan your trip and start filling the fly box, make sure to include some smaller and sparser patterns.  Here’ s a link to one of my favorite patterns.   You can even test out different flies as you’re fishing.   Try one fly through a run, then let the hole rest and go back through with a smaller.

Maybe your buddy is fishing in front of you; make sure to test out something different.  It’s this type of experimenting that’s going to teach you a bunch about steelhead.


Make sure you have smaller sized fly patterns that are dressed sparsely.  As you fish the run, test out different patterns.  Have you already caught a steelhead?  If so, leave a comment below of whether it was a heavy dressed or sparsely dressed small or large fly.