Tyler Potts is a PA angler, Postfly Ambassador, and passionate about tying flies. Read on to learn a thing or two about 5 flies you might just want to load up on this winter.
The holidays are over, the days are short, and it is getting awful cold here in the northeast. My fishing excursions are limited to weekends and I can’t do anything about it; however, that can only mean one thing…it’s tying season!
If I can’t actively catch trout, the next best thing is preparing to, after all. There is something satisfying about sitting at the vice on a cold winter night and whipping up some bugs that will hopefully end up in a trout’s mouth. There is no proof that it makes Spring come a little faster, but I am a believer.
Looking back on this past year, I was thinking about all of the flies I was introduced (or re-introduced) to and how well some of them fish. Some new, some old, here are 5 flies I will not be found on the water without in 2020.
Mayer’s Mini Leech
I really don’t know what else to say other than…“Wow.” This fly became an easy “go to” this year in all sorts of water conditions and situations. It’s so simple and effective, and I’m convinced there is no wrong way to fish it. Swing it, drift it, add it in front of your favorite streamer, or even drop it off a dry fly. Leeches are an easy, nutrient-filled meal, and I promise you trout know it! For such a simple tie, it has great movement with the micro-pine squirrel strip and ostrich herl, and just enough flash with the underbody. Tie a lot of these in a size 16 in black and you won’t be let down.
Articulated streamers intimidated me for my first few years of fly tying – and I know I can’t be the only one. I was also a believer that most trout were just too small to find them interesting. Enter the Peanut Envy.
I couldn’t believe how easy this fly was to tie and how many fish did, indeed, find it interesting. When it all boils down, a Peanut Envy isn’t much more than two wooly buggers tied together with some extra marabou and rubber legs. They’ve become a favorite tie of mine and my go to streamer.
Despite being an articulated streamer, they are fairly sparse and not a total sore arm to cast. They also fish well on a standard floating line and short leader, which I always find attractive. The marabou and saddle hackle add to the articulation point – the fish just love the movement this fly provides. I like this fly on two size 6 streamer hooks tied together with 20 pound braid/backing in a sculpin olive/brown color.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to add weight to the back hook so the fly sinks horizontally on a pause!
$3 Dollar Dip
One of the reasons I’ve been a Postfly customer for so long is the joy of fishing new flies that I may have not tried otherwise, like the $3 Dip. This fly was once featured in the trout box and I loved it. I tied some up, but they sat in a box until recently when I gave them another go. I did some research to see what it was supposed to imitate to find that just about everyone has their own opinion on exactly what it is. I like to fish it in a size 18 in a red/rust color, so I’m chalking it up as a midge. I’m not sure how a trout sees it, but any fly designed for the Madison River has a place in my fly box.
This is another fly that Postfly has turned me on to over the years, and for good reason. I am a firm believer in fishing a smaller fly on lighter tippet than the guy next to me, and this is a great fly to have in your arsenal. It is sparse, tiny, but has just the right amount of flash you need. I often fish a midge with an attractor, with the attractor being a larger bug with an aggressive hotspot or bead. I’ve found that (sometimes) that setup can just be too much, but instead, the WD-50 can be just what you need.
I am pretty embarrassed to even say this, but for a long time, I just ignored the prince nymph. I fish a lot of classics like Hare’s Ears & Pheasant Tails religiously but for some reason I really never gave the Prince a go. This fly clearly deserves the same sort of fame. A friend of mine (who is a much better fisherman than me) has sworn by them since we started fishing together…and maybe that’s why he always out-fishes me. The color options and spinoffs are endless, but I don’t believe any is better than the classic is a size 14 or 16.