Five Favorite Flies

Everyone has a list of favorite flies. These are the patterns that produce consistently, are easy to tie (if applicable) and usually can be fished a number of ways. Each angler’s list is unique. Here are five of my top picks:

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Five flies not to leave home without. Left to right: woodchuck nymph, hare’s ear, elk hair caddis, pearl/natural zonker and wooly bugger.

Hare’s Ear Nymph: It’s no wonder this fly has been a standby for so many generations. Simply by varying the color one can catch fish on this pattern just about any time. I tend to stick with natural color and sometimes add a strip of pearl flashabou to the back. And it’s pretty easy to tie.

Pearl/Natural Zonker: I love this fly. I usually tie it with weight or a cone head but it’s not essential. The rabbit fur gives it a nice action in the water and there doesn’t seem to be a wrong way to fish it. As long as it’s moving, fish are interested. You could (and should) experiment with colors, but for me the natural and pearl combination is a solid producer.

Woodchuck NymphThis is a pattern of my own creation. I generally despise complicated patterns calling for numerous materials that take several minutes to tie. Woodchuck fur and turkey wing are the sum total of materials, unless you count the thread. The woodchuck fur gives a decidedly buggy appearance.

Elk Hair Caddis: I’m not much for dry flies. When I do tie one on it’s usually something general. That’s where the EHC comes in. Tied big or small in a variety of colors or color combinations, it works. Big ones can pass for stoneflies or grasshoppers, small ones look generic enough to cover most anything. Buoyant with plenty of hackle, the elk hair caddis works in rough water and can skate across a smooth surface. What’s not to love?

Wooly Bugger: Another simple fly, the bugger is easy to tie and fish. I tend to stick with black in size 6 but varying size and color can work wonders. It’s not elegant, but it gets the job done.

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