There are a lot of great flies in the bins of your local fly shop. These days, in fact, there are so many flies that it’s difficult to choose the right one. The four flies below are our go-to trout flies. They work for us no matter what trout fishery we happen upon. In addition, they can easily be tied in the local dive motel near your favorite stream or with your fly tying friends at the shop. We have attached some of our favorite videos from across the web for you to tie them yourselves and let us know what you think.
DRY FLY – The CDC and Elk
Caddis hatch often enough that trout are always on the look out for them. Even if you are not seeing bugs on the water or in the grass along the river, the caddis imitations will draw fish to the surface. The CDC and Elk was created by Hans Weilenmann in the early 90’s. This fly requires only two materials and can be tied in a number of sizes and color variations to fit your local fishing conditions. This fly floats like a cork and is designed to give the impression of more than just a caddis.
EMERGER - Klinkhamer Special
Originally tied to imitate emerging caddis flies, it was created by Hans van Klinken in the early 80’s. What sets this fly apart from other emergers is its unique hook shape, which is designed so the body of the fly hangs down below the water’s surface, giving the impression of a dry fly emerging from it’s nymphal state. This emerging style pattern is easier to see than other flies of this type and is an excellent searching pattern when you’re not seeing fish actively rising. Our favorite variation of this pattern has a black dubbed body, a peacock thorax, and a black hackle.
NYMPH - Higa’s SOS
Created by Spencer Higa, Head Guide at Falcon’s Ledge Lodge in Utah, this fly excels in spring creeks and tailwaters and was dubbed the “SOS” because of it’s knack at saving the guides — SOS stands for “Saving Our Skins”. This fly represents the baetis nymph. These nymphs tend to turn dark as they prepare to hatch, and that’s why this fly works best in black and occasionally dark olive. We like the little red accents on it, which we feel helps the fly catch the fish’s eye.
STREAMER - Thin Mint
This just might be the most complicated Woolly Bugger combination you’ll ever see, but it is as popular with fish as the Girl Scout Cookie it’s named after is with humans. What sets it apart from all other Woolly Buggers is that the tail is comprised of black, brown, and olive Maribou plumes. We have fished this fly side by side with a Crystal Bugger on multiple occasions, and the Thin Mint was the winner hands down every time. Believe us, this one is worth the extra effort.