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I sat down at the vise this afternoon and again tonight and tied up a few more flies to take along to the river this week. Don't look for great art here; these are intended for the river, not a shadowbox. As I've pointed out before, my flies are workmanlike--and they work. For trout, most of the time. For steelhead, some of the time.
I'm still trying to find that sure thing for steelhead. My stonefly nymphs come the closest but there must be other flies they'll take in this river. So, a veritable grab bag for their consideration.
Call this one an "eggish nymph" fly. I've caught steelhead on egg flies, but I also once had one slam a little orange caddis nymph. So this fly is inspired by both of those experiences. I also sometimes just get the urge out in the river to tie on something small. This is tied on a Daichi #4 3X short shank hook.
Another marabou fly. I'm wanting to believe the "purple theory," namely that steelhead are suckers for purple, but I also threw in a black tail, a black dubbed body with a silver tinsel rib, and a few grizzly hackle tips. Tied on a Gamakatsu #6 salmon hook.
I believe in nymph patterns for steelhead, so, following the success of stonefly nymphs, this is a version of the flashback pheasant tail nymph. The legs came out long but I like that swept back look. I'll try it like this and clip them off shorter if need be. Tied on a #10 White River 3X long curved shank streamer hook.
This one was inspired by a little panfish fly I bought in northern Indiana many years ago. It's got two things going for it: it's nymphy, and it's black. Tied on a Gamakatsu #8 4X long streamer hook.
I seem to keep coming up with versions of this fly. Again, it's nymphy. I've caught smaller fish on smaller versions, so maybe this bigger version will bring in some bigger fish. Tied on the Gamakatsu #6 salmon hook.
Finally, a fly that follows pretty closely an actual steelhead pattern sometimes called the "Starlight Leech." I used marabou and dubbing instead of rabbit strip (got to get me some of that), the saddle hackle is too short and the eyes are a wee bit big, but otherwise it's completely faithful to the original. I kind of like those big goggley eyes. Think I'll call this one the "Owl Leech." Tied on the Gamakatsu #6 salmon hook.
I will definitely let you know if any of these flies end up in a steelhead this week.