Every spring I head north in search of steelhead. For the past five years I have looked forward to this adventure for months prior to the actual dates that we fish. I spend countless hours at the tying bench preparing for what I always hope will be a fruitful spring of catching powerful steelhead. It is angling for the patiently focused fisherman who knows very well that his dreams may not be realized. With that said, when the water stays running clear, and the fish are moving through the system, the chase is on… and it’s worth all the anticipation.
I have now shared my four favorite steelhead nymph patterns with fly tying instructions and a fly tying video for each of them. I do 90% of my steelhead nymphing with these four flies. Check out the links below:
I’ve been lucky enough to have many friends, brothers, one uncle, and my dad join me on such steelheading trips. At the end of the day, it is the friends you fish with that make a trip of this sort memorable. Thanks fellas, here’s hoping for many more trips with such great company!
The Tungsten Embryo has caught everything from Steelhead to Bull Trout to Alaskan Rainbows, dollies, and grayling. Not to mention just about every other salmonid species in the western US. It is an egg pattern with a tungsten bead embedded in the center to add the weight necessary to get the egg near the stream bottom where it belongs.
Steelhead Caught on Tungsten Embryo
Bull Trout Caught on Tungsten Embryo
Alaskan Rainbow Caught on Tungsten Embryo
If you are wondering how to tie flies that quickly get into the feeding zone of fish, tungsten is the answer. In the past I wasn’t a huge fan of the ever successful glo bug because it had no weight to it, and required significant amounts of split shot to get it down. Soft otter eggs fell into this same category of trout/steelhead egg patterns, and after years of moderate success I finally came up with an egg pattern that I have found to be significantly better. I’ve now been fishing this pattern for four years now and have found great success with it. It is extremely durable, and without a doubt either the hook will dull, or you will break off before the body of this pattern will fall apart.
Loon Outdoors has a product called UV Fly Paint. It is a UV curable material that comes in three colors, red, orange, and yellow. All three can be used on this fly, but red and orange are my preferred colors. I’ve also tried many different colored tungsten bead under this material, but silver has a very subtle shine from beneath the material that I personally prefer regardless of the outer material used.
Give this pattern a shot, you won’t be disappointed.
Hook: Dai-Riki 135 Sizes 8-12
Bead: Silver Tungsten 1/8-7/64 depending on hook size
Thread: UTC 140 FL Pink
Egg Material: UV Fly Paint (Red, Orange, or Yellow)