Fly Tying & Fishing the Scud: To Do List

“This small crustacean is probably the most important of all organisms on which trout feed; particularly when hatches of fly larvae, pupae and terrestrials are not present.” Jack Shaw, Fly Fish the Trout Lakes, 1976.

There it is, one of those almost absolutes of fly fishing that’s plopped down before you. There is often the obligatory section in any pattern book or lake and river how to book about the Scud. But, given its prestige, it is often the fifth or sixth offering in a sequence of possible offerings…well, behind Mayfly, Caddis, Chironomids, Leeches, Stoneflies, Dragon flies, Damsels….way in the rear is the Scud with Ants, Beetles and Waterboatmen. Hmm? Not disputing the worth, just interesting.

For all the praise for Scuds, I do not fish them nearly enough. I have Scuds I tied in the late 70’s for the Crooked River…orange Scuds. I have maybe three dozen scuds, mostly grey green, some orange, some tan, and a few blue. Blue?

Yes, blue. Several years ago, I had been staying near Salmon Lake in B.C. I usually, wind permitting, fished the West end of the lake (C) where I would find plenty of size 14-16 grey-green Scuds. Up in the weeds, I would do well with Scuds as well as over in a back cove (C) (I came to call it Dead Moose Cove because of the remains there near shore). But, one evening I had to stay close to camp, so I put in at (A), a ramp and worked my way up toward (B). All along that shoreline were Bright Blue Scuds, almost electric in color. Did I have any blue Scuds? Of course not!

In the visits to follow, I had blue Scuds and they were reasonably successful in that A to B zone. 

A bit too tasseled on the end. But, a good Scud color.

 Scuds can be quite dense, akin to a Shrimp Feed at a Biloxi BBQ. They can be scattered at various depths in a lake and caught in the drift of streams. In a stream, normal nymphing techniques or Czech Nymphing are suitable. Actually, a Czech Nymph is quite suitable in smaller sizes for a Scud pattern (similar tying technique).

In lakes, the presentation is not the normal retrieve. A more jittery, nervous, fluttering movement is desired. I think, it is typical to many Mayfly and Chironomids that make that journey to the top in stages of up and down and up again movements. Not all critters make steady progress toward the surface and this same presentation would work for the Scuds.

So, one more thing to try to remember to use this Summer… “probably the most important of all organisms on which trout feed…” A Simple Scud (pics a bit fuzzy, but you will get the idea) &  More info about Scuds.


2 Responses to “Fly Tying & Fishing the Scud: To Do List”

  1. 1 Tom
    February 22, 2012 at 20:50

    I have had some success with these, but never have tied one. What difficulty would you give it to do on your own?


    • February 22, 2012 at 22:04

      These are relatively easy to tie. If the link I included is too confusing let me know. The pictures were a bit fuzzy. Curved shank ‘pupa’ hook or perhaps a straight shank hook in a simple size to start with say 12-14. Decide if you want to weight the fly with some turns of lead wire/non-lead wire wraps on the shank and overwrapped with your tying thread (probably 8/0 thread).

      Tie in two things at the back bend of the hook (what you want to use to rib the fly like copper wire or heavier monofilament line and a narrow strip of some plastic material…even a piece of plastic bag like the old days before the new materials) then pick a body material that will tease out a bit on the bottom (to simulate legs) and wrap/dub it up the shank to just short of the hook eye. Then gently pull that narrow plastic strip over the top of the body and tie off the material at the eye and clip the excess. Now rap the ribbing from the rear toward the front with equal spaced wraps. Use your tying thread to tie off the ribbing, clip the excess and then complete the fly with a thread head.

      Here is a bead head scud pattern. For an even simpler pattern, like I described…change two things on this pattern…lose the bead and tie in the plastic strip at the rear not the front and wrap the ribbing forward over the ‘backstrap’ of plastic and the body. Another point, keep the body material less bulky on the top of the body, trimming it shorter if you have to.


      Hope this helps a little bit. Tie away on these and the concept lends itself to Czech Nymph (similar but a bit more complicated).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Below @ “The Past” you can search back to 2008 month by month

February 2012

Please visit MUNCY DESIGNS (click)

Welcome to SwittersB & Exploring. Please Share, Comment & Like Away!

Please subscribe just below. Use the Search box to search topics.

Enter your email address to subscribe to the SwittersB blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 4,233 other followers

The Past

231!!! Countries Visiting SwittersB~Thank You!!!

free counters

Blog Stats: There are lies, damn lies and statistics

  • 4,831,050 Visits/Views (WP Original Stat~Pre Flag Counter Stats)

%d bloggers like this: