my summer steelhead flies (25 years ago, they worked)

Summer Tan Caddis~GM

Summer Tan Caddis~GM

Yellow Caddis

Yellow Caddis

Doll's Hair~Don Roberts

Doll's Hair~Don Roberts

Don Roberts' Nymph Fishing Lakes

Don Roberts' Nymph Fishing Lakes

Twenty five years ago, I fished with flies for trout with the conventional rod and reel. But, for steelhead I most often used a spinning reel and rod. I set up the normal drift gear and instead of having a corky or bait, I used a fly. I fished in crowds and a fly rod seemed a poor mix with bait slingers and alike. Taking turns casting, drifting, retrieving, waiting your turn, no more than five or so feet separating you up or down from the next fisherman, it required not only concentration on your presentation but coordination with your neighbors. I caught many steelhead on the above patterns. How did I arrive at them? Not from much personal experience or even study. No internet, no money for all manner of books. I watched guys and there was one fellow I saw on the Salmon R. (Sandy R. trib) when it was open to steelhead angling (Geez, that was a great fishing river) and he only used a tan and a yellow chenille wrapped fly with some hackle and a black fuzzy thorax. He caught fish after fish every time I saw him when no one else did well. I copied his patterns and immediately thereafter, caught many steelhead. I also copied the Doll’s Hair from Don Roberts’ old lake fishng book (actually probably not old then!) It was a great Dragon Fly nymph in his book. I used it with success for Steelhead. No Green Butt/Red Butt Skunks, the standard have to have pattern then. No, I used these three flies with great success. Then I learned how to flyfish on bigger water. I studied more. And, as often happens, I abandoned what was working for what is suppose to work. I share this as keeping track of your options; not forgetting what works and at least resurrecting one or two now and then. There is no doubt the long forgotten Doll’s Hair will get a new try on stillwaters for sure (I came across one…only one, in a flybox tucked away with old, poorly tied experiments). Lucky me and you too!

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