Fly Tying: Scuds Ambivilancy

Years ago, as I explored Central Oregon streams, I followed the advice of those in the know (blind leading the blind) and used an orange scud. As many do in the beginning stages of fly fishing, I followed the advice without knowing why, only that is offered a supposed higher odds catching a trout….good enough. As I read more, I realized that stillwaters reportedly harbored large concentrations of scuds.

As the years have progressed, I have seldom relied on scuds on rivers or lakes. I read about them. They seem to be a sure fire provocateur of the bite. So, why do I not fish them? I have tied up gray, dark olive, tan and, of course, orange ones. Yet, there they sit in my fly box….untouched. I vow to actually use scuds (this is in addition to my already issued vow of discerning a spinner fall, having spinner patterns and using them).

An intermediate clear line or floating line with long leader (10-15′) seems to be the ticket.  Scuds have two venues (streams & stillwaters) and each requires a different presentation. Scuds in the stream are best fished like any nymph, tumbled along as in drift mode. In stillwaters a more manipulated retrieve is used. Scuds will move about in several inch bursts with a pause in between. So, a strip retrieve & pause or finger roll retrieve would work. Focus on the location of weed beds (over the top, around the edges or through them if you’re patient) or lily pads.

My scattered, hodge podge of patterns displays my lack of clarity for the go to scud pattern.

1 Response to “Fly Tying: Scuds Ambivilancy”

  1. 1 Fly-to-Fly
    April 10, 2010 at 21:59

    Like you state, you haven’t fished them, so I would point out that in my experience, curved or curled scud do not present well underwater. Picture 4 does represent more of a straight scud, they are straight as an arrow when they swim, and that attracts the trout. Curled scud appear lifeless to the trout and will most times be rejected. Get a good, straight scud in orange or dark tan, and you will be surprised at the results. Scoot it with a finger roll and you will get hit.


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