Utah has a good number of small streams that are a fly fisher’s paradise during the warm months. The fish average on the small size for what most consider a trophy. But the wild populations are hungry and put up a good fight. Every fly angler has different flies for different types of fishing. Different months, means different bugs. Lake vs. streams and so on. Because of this I decided to put together a list of my top 5 for August. I’m not normally a “list” type of guy. However, when I was getting geared up for the weekend, I did a check to make sure I had my arsenal well stocked. It made me think about what flies I really wanted. Which were the ones that would guarantee a successful day on the water? Without meaning too, I came up a list of flies. Here are my top five summer flies.
The Elk Hair Caddis. The versatility of this fly makes it a no brainer in my book. Over the years, I have tied different varieties ranging from light cream hair to dark browns and black. As a general rule, I matched the dubbing and hackle to match the hair. A lot of trial and error later and I have come to tie a standard pattern that may seemingly make no sense to some tyers and anglers, but it works. Medium brown hair, olive dub, and a brown hackle. Good fly all around most times of the day.
The Mosquito. Love this fly for small streams in the summer. As the sun ducks behind the mountain and cools the air, there is no shortage of insects that begin to swarm including the mosquito. It is also a simple fly to tie. I use moose mane for tail and body, then grizzly hackle for wings. I do not often I fish a mosquito in direct sunlight and have much success. Morning and evening seems to be the best. 4. Hoppers. Just like the Elk Hair Caddis, I have over time developed my own style of hopper that I find works well on any moving water. A simple foam body, with a brown matching hackle depending on color, and elk or deer hair wing finished with a few wraps of grizzly and brown hackle on the front. May sound complicated, but it’s not. Although I have had some success on still water, fish find them irresistible in a current. Much like a stimulator, they are also a good searching pattern. Even used them in a Stonefly hatch and got the bite.
The Beadhead Prince Nymph. Love the fly, but hate to tie. I admit that these are one of my favorite flies for any occasion and location. I have fished with and without a bead on the same stretch of water on the same day. I found no difference in the bite, only in the differing depths. This pattern I tie by the book. A brown biot tail, peacock body with a gold or copper rib, white biot wing and a brown hackle wrap up front. Really awesome all around fly.
Pheasant Tail Nymph. The last one was a toss-up. Summer is the time for dry flies. However, during August where Utah temperatures are hanging in the high 90’s, sometimes you have to go deep to find the fish. In general, if I am using a dropper, it’s a Pheasant Tail. I rarely fish it on its own. Pheasant tail, for the tail, body, and wing case. A copper rib, and I use brown hackle up front instead of pheasant. I also use beads often when fishing these, and at times there has been a significant difference in the bite so I carry both.