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Greetings gents...

Evaluating my somewhat disorganized system for fly organization and began weeding out some I just do not use or have not had a chance to. This led to thinking about simplifying my selection for Great Lakes Steelhead and Browns...or at least putting together a "one box" setup I can always have with me.

This was inspired by Bob Wyatt's books on "What Trout Want" and "Trout Hunting". Last year I organized my trout flies and though I have many boxes for specific hatches, situations, etc...I found myself selecting flies from the "Bob Wyatt inspired" simple box quite often...

I would like to do the same with Steelhead flies...keep it to a few go to patterns in one box..and of course a separate box for beautiful Veverka inspired Spey style ties and another separate box for eggs and nymphs..as I do live in the midwest...:)...you get the idea.

If YOU had to put together a box of must haves or top flies for any situation and time of year. THE box...what would you include? Curious after looking over Trey Combs' book again and again..so many choices...thanks in advance for your list.

Cheers
Mark
 

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seaterspey
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Even though they say steelhead are a fish of a thousand casts they are somewhat simple creatures. By this I mean if you put the fly in front of an agreeable sterile chances are he or she are going to make a grab.

What I'm trying to say is make a box, wallet or baggy of your confidence flies. I try to keep my on river selection down to a very small selection, flies I know if put in front of a fish they will take.

Lady Caroline
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Intruder-size to your river and time fished.

Just have confidence in what you are fishing. The more confidence you have the better you will properly fish your run.

Just my 2 cents

KC
 

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If it were me, that would need to be a pretty big box! I don't doubt what people say about steelhead being not overly concerned with the pattern and all that, but... since I love to tie flies, and I love to take them swimming I have trouble paring my selection down. Oddly enough, this simplification has begun to take over on my trout fishing days. Usually just a specific color scheme soft hackle, and an alternate, maybe a size up or down, and a few streamers. The streamers for me have become very simple, just depending on the time of year and the stream I'm fishing but most are pretty similar patterns for me now.

The steelhead flies are just too cool to tie and to fish to limit myself to just a couple of patterns. Not that I would ever encourage others in this, being that it borders on compulsive. I don't have any recommendations on patterns as I am not particularly good, or fond, of tying up named patterns true to recipe.
JB
 

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I could basically do summer with 2 flies: A deer/elk hair caddis/muddler pattern that skates well and a black/purple wet of some sort. A black or silver body on that one.

For winter fish I could get by with a Squidro or Intruder that was black marabou and blue collared.

I might add one offering to each season...but I could actually live with those three.
 

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... since I love to tie flies, and I love to take them swimming I have trouble paring my selection down.

The steelhead flies are just too cool to tie and to fish to limit myself to just a couple of patterns.
What Jason stated above , holds true for me as well .
I can't even imagine to hold to a few proven patterns and that would be it for my tying .... I can't go there ....

Good luck with your selection :)


Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #8
re:tying

Don't get me wrong.. I love tying and modifying existing patterns. Still it is an interesting exercise to pare choices down to the essentials. Thanks for the ideas so far.
 

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I'm from Michigan and one fly that has consistently out produced everything else, hands down, is a spring wiggler, in chartreuse. That's my "one"
 

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Skunk, Muddler, Black king .. summer box

assorted marabous on cheap hooks.. winter box
 

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I'm from Michigan and one fly that has consistently out produced everything else, hands down, is a spring wiggler, in chartreuse. That's my "one"

Yes that is a good one for michigan. Try one with a white or creme body also.

Others for me would be the black bear, cardinelle, Madonna style rabbit fur steamers

Ds


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Yes that is a good one for michigan. Try one with a white or creme body also.

Others for me would be the black bear, cardinelle, Madonna style rabbit fur steamers

Ds


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Agree. Antron bugs in cream are very good producers. Very similar to the SW and a great bug.
 

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One box for summer. This is an old pic and it is now quite a bit more full with one row of muddler a in purple and black.
 

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Summer
1) Muddler/McMillan Caddis
2) Silver Hilton

Winter
1) My big ugly sculpin tube fly
2) Squidro
3) muddler fished on top

In reality I could never do this because I like to tie flies too much and feel compelled to have no fewer than 800 flies with me at any one time. You never know you might need them.
 

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Having fished the rivers on the east, coast of lake michigan, like the Manistee, I found that black/blue, black/olive, various sculpins, a perch minnow work the best.,,,nothing too exotic, as I learned to opt for more natural stuff.
The flies I referenced I tie using bunny strip on tubes with the UV marabou from spirit wrapped in the head/eyes. The swing can slow in some of the nicer water....
An interesting thing a pro staffer recommended for me to use in the midwest, and yes I tried it, was an Airflo Speydicator line, to be used around tough log jams where no swing was close enough to fish, or the long dark deeps you can find there....under an indicator with a weighted green caddis nymph or rag egg pattern...a lot of roll casting but you could really get into tight stuff,,,and fish were almost always there...I learned to like it because it kept me busy when streamer swinging was tough.
ps...I caught a huge brown on Charles St Pierre wine hoh bo spey,,,so I carry those for luck!:hihi:
 

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If I was tying for steelhead, I would have a black one, orange one, purple one, blue one, green one, pink one, yellow one, red one, or any combination of any color. I am not saying the fly does not matter, just don't limit yourself. Learning to match your fly to the fishing conditions is far more important than color or style. having confidence in the fly will also help. This is an old photo of my summer box and late fall box. No limits........



 
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