What the Postfly Tribe demands, the Tribe gets. A little while back we posted an article about “The 5 Trout Flies You Should Carry At All Times,” and so many people asked what else they should put into their flybox that we figured we better tell them. Of course, you could just go for the minimal route and only carry five different flies, but I suppose some fly anglers like to have it all. Who can blame them?
1) Elk Hair Caddis
I’ve always like the stimulator because I tend to throw more color in my fly choice, but if you want the natural look then the elk hair caddis is the fly that can’t be beat. While it doesn’t really look like any specific bug, trout from all over have been slashing at this fly for decades.
Whether you tie it up big or small, bushy or sparse, this fly is perfect for dead drifting through a seam, fished soaked through a riffle or even skated across the surface of a deep pool. Any time you want to fish something big on top, the elk hair caddis is going to catch fish.
2) Muddler Minnow
One of the first deer hair patterns I ever learned how to tie, I’ve been fishing with a muddler minnow since my first days of fly fishing. With so much versatility in a single pattern, the muddler minnow has the perfect profile for imitating sculpins, baitfish, or even big terrestrials. You can fish it on top with some floatant, or soak it and fish it like a streamer. Either way, fish will agree with your choice of presentation.
3) San Juan Worm
Let the controversy begin. The San Juan Worm gets a lot of hate from some of the purists out there, but if your goal is to catch fish, then what do you care what the fly looks like, as long as it works? Dead drift, on the retrieve, as a beadheaded nymph variation; no matter how you present this fly, it’s going to catch fish.
4) Hare’s Ear Nymph
Trout eat more nymphs than any forage, which is why it’s always a good idea to carry a few nymphs, in various sizes and colors. If you only want to fish one pattern of nymph though, the hare’s ear nymph is a sure contender. This golden fly can be fished with or without a beadhead for catching fish at different depths and is perfect for tying on as the second fly in a dropper rig.
5) Mouse Pattern
Now there are many, many of you that just threw your phone on the ground. “Why the hell would I include a mouse pattern into my flybox, the trout around me aren’t that big.” Listen, I get it, you may have never seen a big enough trout to slam a mouse fly, but when’s the last time you threw a mouse pattern and double checked?
I know a fly guide up in Vermont who normally fishes size 22 flies for tiny mountain trout who still keeps a mouse pattern, or three, in his box at all times. He says you never know if there’s a brown trout or a giant rainbow feeding on other fish lurking somewhere in the lake. The tricky part is, those fish will only come out when it’s dark, as fish turn nocturnal when they get that big. The next time you’re out fishing until dark and you see a big undercut bank or log, tie on the mouse pattern and listen. You just might hear a massive splash before feeling your rod double over.
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