Posts Tagged ‘idaho steelhead’

Scudmarine-Steelhead Nymph Pattern

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.

Nymphing for Steelhead

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.

Scudmarine-Pink

Scudmarine-Lavendar Pink

Scudmarine-Chartreuse

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.

IMG_0910

Pink Scud for Steelhead

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.

RECIPE

SCUDMARINE-Pink
Hook: scud hook size 8-10 (Dai-riki 135)
Bead: Anodized Pink, or Hot Pink tungsten
Thread: UTC 140 Fl. Pink
Rib: 3X Tippet
Back: Spotted Thin Skin
Flash: Magic Shrimp Foil (pink)
Legs: Micro UV Polar Chennil (UV Hot Pink)
Body: Pink Shrimp Sow-Scud Dubbing
 
SCUDMARINE-Lavendar Pink
Hook: scud hook size 8-10 (Dai-riki 135)
Bead: Anodized Pink, or Hot Pink tungsten
Thread: UTC 140 Fl. Pink
Rib: 3X Tippet
Back: Spotted Thin Skin
Flash: Magic Shrimp Foil (pink)
Legs: Micro UV Polar Chennil (UV Hot Pink)
Body: Lavendar Ice Dubbing
 
SCUDMARINE-Chartreuse
Hook: scud hook size 8-10 (Dai-riki 135)
Bead: Chartreuse tungsten
Thread: UTC 140 Fl. Chartreuse
Rib: 3X Tippet
Back: Spotted Thin Skin
Legs: Micro UV Polar Chennil (Chartreuse)
Body: Chartreuse Ice Dubbing
 

NOTE: Many of these materials can be found at the Blue Quill Angler

Steelhead Nymph-Hotspot Rubber Leg Stonefly

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.
Hotspot Rubber Leg Stonefly

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.

Wild Idaho Steelhead

I caught this large wild male steelhead last year on none other than the fly mentioned above. 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!

Wild Idaho Steelhead 2013

For the fourth time in three years I once again made the trip north to french nymph for Steelhead in Idaho’s Salmon River. Once again my dad came up from Southern Utah, and accompanying us on the river was Bart, Brad, and JD some of my Cache Valley friends. This year proved to be quite difficult at times due to the low number of fish that made it back from the ocean this season. All things considered, it turned out to be one of the funnest trips yet regardless of the slow fishing. My greatest highlight came on the first day when I landed my biggest steelhead to date (pictured above). That fish alone would have made the trip worth while.

Once again the Tungsten Embryo proved to be a successful egg pattern to use while nymphing for steelhead (tying video coming soon). The tungsten bead embeded in this fly makes it heavy enough and ideal for euro nymphing for steelhead. Here’s a video from last year: Euro Nymphing for Steelhead.

The fly of the trip would have definitely been a hotspot rubber leg stonefly. My friend Chris from Living Fly Legacy introduced me to this fly last year, and it proved itself once again this year by dominating the catch. How do you beat fishing a fly that slayes the fish, and is super easy to tie?

 The Tungsten Embryo hard at work.

I wouldn’t trade a day on the water with my dad for anything. It was also fun having Brad and JD for their first time ever steelheading. They each payed their dues and caught some nice Idaho Steel. Bart was stoked to have topped his catch from last year. I think we are all hooked! Another highlight of the trip also included the cheap cabin we found to stay in that is located very close to where we fish. We will definitely be staying there again in the future.

This is probably my smallest steelhead of the trip, but it outfought almost every steelhead I’ve ever caught (with a few exceptions like the hog in the top picture). Also, the coloring of this fish was spectacular!

Despite the slow fishing, my dad ended up hooking more steelhead this trip than the two previous years combined. His technique has really improved which shows that a flawless drift is required to catch steelhead. He’s excited to make the grueling 700 mile trip himself again next year. Wait, that isn’t even as far as these steelhead have travel to reach the upper stretches of the Salmon River. Not that far after all:)

Nothing beats good company on the river. My friends and father are as good a group of friends as a fisherman could ask for. Throw in a mix of hog steelhead, whitefish, bull trout, and cutties and a three day trip doesn’t seem long enough. We will surely be making plans to return to Idaho’s wild Salmon River in the years to come.

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