Everyone knows that stonefly and egg patterns catch steelhead while nymphing. Here is a secret weapon to add to your arsenal of steelhead nymphs. For the past four years I have been Euro Nymphing for steelhead and the Scudmarine has proven to be an extremely effective pattern. My father is an indicator fisherman and he has had success as well, partly due, no doubt to the heavy tungsten bead and bright colors.
I started fishing pink scuds when a friend of mine, Devin Olsen mentioned that he had done very well with them in the past. I started by tying very basic scuds, gold tungsten bead, clear scud back, pink shrimp Sow-Scud dubbing, and a mono rib. I still think this basic scud that I began with fishes right there with the my latest edition of the Scudmarine, but the flashy, stylish scud pictured below is more appealing to me as a fly tyer, and the fish seem to find it attractive as well. I now have three primary variations for steelhead. Pink remains the dominant, but the Lavendar Pink, and the Chartreuse are also found in my nymph box.
I came up with the name “Scudmarine” because of the heavy, quick descending characteristics of this scud. The tungsten bead and lead wraps help get this fly down quick which allows for more time drifting in the zone near the bottom of the river where most fish are found.
Just last week while fishing the Salmon River in Idaho for Steelhead I found success, once again, with the pink Scudmarine. Conditions were tough and there were not as many fish in the system as we had hoped for. However, with persistence we found a handful of fish, and not surprisingly the picture directly above shows what I found in the lip of some. I have yet to run into very many steelhead fishermen on the river that fish pink scuds, but I highly recommend stashing a few in your box for your next trip. I would not be surprised if it is ticket to catching your next steelhead.
Two years ago while nymphing for steelhead on the Salmon River in Idaho I found myself struggling to catch fish. Like most anglers that day, luck was not in my favor. However, turned out that luck was not the contributing factor to my limited success. Fly selection on my part was probably more responsible for the lack of hookups than anything. This was made evident to me by my friend Chris Cutler who was the only one on the river that day not struggling to catch fish. The guy was killing it while the rest of us wore out our shoulders and pondered what he was doing different to aid in his success. I’m confident it was two things, one, he is a great angler with awesome skills, and two, he was throwing a Hot Spot Rubber Leg Stonefly which was found hanging from the mouth of many of his catches (check out Chris’ blog at Living Fly Legacy). The rest of us continued to pound the river with our own stonefly nymphs, and egg patterns, but the tide never changed in our favor. Needless to say I’ve since tied up dozens of these nymphs and will not be found on a steelhead river without plenty of them.
Traditional Rubber Leg Stonefly patterns have been catching trout like crazy for many years now. By adapting colors that are appealing to steelhead this fly becomes deadly while still being one of the easiest flies to tie around. My preferred method of nymphing is Euro Nymphing for steelhead. This tightline technique has done very well for me, and this fly pattern works very well in this setup.
It has quickly proven to be a go-to nymph, and I now started most of my days steelhead nymphing by tying one on. Simple to tie, and effective on the stream. Perfect combination!