8. Tom’s Top 10 Trout Flies. (8 of 16)
Okay. You've done your homework. You're here on a new river with a rod, reel and line. What's next? You probably want to know what fly to pick. You never know what sure what flies trout will respond to. You hopefully already did your research on what flies to bring, but in case you didn't, or you could not find any information, here are 10 trout flies that should work anywhere in the world.
I would never go trout fishing without these. A black woolly bugger in either a beadhead or Tungsten Conehead version in sizes 6 through 10 is what I tie on when I have no idea what fly will work. You can cover a lot of water with a streamer, and you can fish this fly with action by stripping in line or even dead drift with no action, just like a nymph.
It might look to a trout like a big nymph, a crayfish or a bait fish. Like many great flies, it looks like lots of trout prey. The Parachute Adams in sizes 12 through 16 is a great dry fly to use when you don't know what the trout are taking, or even when you do. It just works. No one knows exactly why it works so well to match a variety of insects, but there's no arguing with its long history of success.
It's the most popular dry fly in the world. The Copper John Nymph in sizes 12 through 18 is a flashy nymph that sinks quickly and is a great imitation of stone fly and mayfly nymphs. It's popular in copper, red and chartreuse. Don't worry so much about having it in several colors.
You're better off with a variety of sizes than a range of colors. An orange or tan Stimulator dry fly in sizes 10 through 14 is a big bushy dry fly that's great to use on a dry dropper rig as an indicator. But it also imitates big caddis flies, stone flies, moths and even grasshoppers. If small mayflies are abundant, there's no better nymph than a Pheasant Tail in sizes 14 through 18.
There is just something magical about this pattern. There are times when you need a tiny nymph, and there are days when nothing else will work. The Zebra Midge, in sizes 16 through 20, covers a host of smaller insects. If you see midges in the air or around the water but no rises, fishing a Zebra Midge is a smart move.
When trout are feeding on a hatch of emerging mayflies, my go-to pattern is a Sparkle Dun in yellow or olive in sizes 14 through 18. This is an especially good pattern for smooth water and when trout get fussy and selective. You'll see many hatches of small olive mayflies on trout streams and there are numerous species that hatch all year long.
Sometimes the trout don't want anything else, so having a Blue Winged Olive dry fly in sizes 14 through 22 will ensure that you don't get caught offguard. Next to mayflies, caddis flies are the most important trout stream insect. The Elk Hair Caddis in tan, sizes 14 through 18 will do the trick when you see caddis flies out on the water.
It floats well and probably also imitates small terrestrial insects. I know people love to fish grasshopper imitations, but you only find them later in the season. If I had only one terrestrial pattern to pick, it would be a Black Foam Beetle, in sizes 14 and 28. They work throughout the season, even during hopper time.