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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Last fall @hitcher generously mailed me some double hooks. The hooks were in sizes 14s and 16s. He mentioned that they were dressed as Bombers/Carter Bugs/dryflies and dead-drifted effectively in landing east coast Atlantic salmon. He suggested that I might try them for our pacific northwest steelhead.

Excitedly, I tied on the small hooks late last fall. Knowing that salar anglers use small dries for early fish in the system, my thoughts reasoned that late summer-run steelhead would be a great test for small flies - the water would be cooler and they'd have been pressured over the course of summer & fall.

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It was late November 2021 when I was able to fish the tiny doubles (local river regulations allow for double hooks). My assumptions were that doublehooks would not fare as well on the surface when compared to sz 6/8 single dry fly hooks which I typically use. Man, was I wrong.

They elicit a surprising wake for their size.
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Dancing high on that surface...it's like the little angry dude yelling "Let me at 'em! Let me at 'em!"

As an added bonus, I also noted that the double keel helped the fly balance better on the swing.

I didn't hook any steelhead on the wee Steelhead Bee that November but I did see one fish surge at the little tiny bug on the dangle...missed that steelhead.

馃摷 Fast-forward to 2022: Last week we had some cloudy mornings; I was stomping around the local river testing out a Bridge Tributary line and my CDC Pig Caddis.
Boats and boating--Equipment and supplies Watercraft Wood Water Recreation


The trout and smolts would not leave the Pig Caddis alone. Ironically, I was a bit annoyed at the effectiveness of that pattern - I wanted a steelhead but the trout would launch at the Pig Caddis as soon as it landed on the water.

After numerous releases, I decided to switch up flies. Hmmmm...something in my box that trout would leave alone. Well not being very bright and easily distracted, my fingers pulled out the wee Steelhead Bee. Common sense should dictate that if trout&smolts are bugging your drift go bigger (not smaller).

I employed the Hazel's Non-Twist Knot on the small double and started dead-drifting it upstream - and letting it skate downstream.

There are a few good fish-holding lies in the particular section I was in. But there is the "one" submerged rock that usually holds the silver-back gorilla so to speak. If there are other less aggressive steelhead - those will get shoved off to the other lies.

That little sz 14 Steelhead Bee inched closer and closer to that "rock". I made sure to cover it well - in front, on both sides, and then below...

...little double happily skating downstream looking at the overcast sky - like a lass in a bikini slumped in an inflatable holding a White Claw with her arms and legs dangling in the water...

As the fly managed to survive the eddy behind the rock it resumed its path on the swing...that's when I saw the bulging follow of a steelhead. The big fish slowly followed the Steelhead Bee displacing water above its body.

As it neared the fly, the predator lunged and swirled in a big flush. The rod tacoed over and the old Dingley reel growled once again.

Runs, leaps, some back and forth zips and zags but I know their tricks in this run. The chrome fish came to leader quickly.

Vertebrate Fish Food Ray-finned fish Fishing

Serendipitously, the light minty color of the Bridge Tributary compliments the light mint guide wraps on this JMReid MK1 Summer Run. The river obliged with a minty steelhead - check out that light mint belly, eh
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The battered Bee...now retired on the wall

So...small dry flies indeed work for fresh summer steelhead. Those salar anglers know what they are talking about.

Many thanks @hitcher

Cheers and Blessings,
Adrian
 

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Thanks for the report, very cool!
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
That is very cool! I suppose the double hook is pretty strong compared to a single. Did both hook points penetrate the jaw?

Nathan
Nate, I should have payed more attention to which hooks penetrated. Not surprisingly, after the pics the barbless hook just fell out. I did fight the fish pretty hard to test the doubles. You can see in the pic below that we know which hook took the brunt of the pressure:
Hand Arthropod Insect Finger Terrestrial plant


@JMoon man, I was stoked at how well it waked. As a disclaimer, I fished it in busy water yesterday - being such a tiny fly, I would only see it periodically in the slicks with the appropriate lighting.

Water Sky Cloud Water resources Fluvial landforms of streams


But as we talked about last week at camp, all we need to know is that it stays up and that we are just there for the party...a little skating, a little dancing, a little...nevermind.
 

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Nate, I should have payed more attention to which hooks penetrated. Not surprisingly, after the pics the barbless hook just fell out. I did fight the fish pretty hard to test the doubles. You can see in the pic below that we know which hook took the brunt of the pressure:
View attachment 402878

@JMoon man, I was stoked at how well it waked. As a disclaimer, I fished it in busy water yesterday - being such a tiny fly, I would only see it periodically in the slicks with the appropriate lighting.

View attachment 402879

But as we talked about last week at camp, all we need to know is that it stays up and that we are just there for the party...a little skating, a little dancing, a little...nevermind.
Sir, what are you doing on that side? Hehehe.
 
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Adrian,

A great story about an interesting small dry pattern. Your fine pictures were like frosting on a good cake.

Thanks for sharing all the details including those about your rod and reel. Everything fit in nicely.

Doug
 
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