This Two-fly Setup Proved its Worth for Rainbow Trout

Posted by  Wednesday, June 18 2014 6:00 am
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EggPatternsTrout HEADER

Jeff Blood with a steelhead caught on an egg-imitating fly.

 

Though they lack the glamour of a dry fly and the rich tradition of a wet fly or nymph, egg-imitating flies are one of a fly fisher's most productive offerings.

While the three trout species of which I am most familiar — browns, brooks and rainbows — make good use of eggs at various times over the course of the year, it's the latter that seems especially susceptible to egg patterns.

Take for instance a late season steelhead trip I made last month on a Lake Erie tributary. Typically the steelhead run would have been concluded by then, but following a severe winter, which packed many stream mouths with ice and delayed the arrival of spring-run fish, there were still a lot of fresh steelhead in the streams in early to mid May.

I had the good fortune that day of fishing with Jeff Blood, a seasoned steelhead angler of note. He rigged me up with a two-fly setup that placed a single-egg pattern fly at the end of the leader, and then a white Zonker streamer on a four-foot dropper tied to the hook bend of the egg. The rigging is meant to present the egg fly, and also a trailing minnow-mimicking streamer. The look of a minnow (represented by the streamer) — in a position suggesting the interception of the egg — often will invoke a predatory response from a steelhead. Both Blood and I had many steelhead hookups; the majority of which were fish that took the egg.

A week or so later I was on a stocked stream a few minutes from my home. I was fishing a special regulations area where tackle is limited to flies and artificial lures only. The local Trout Unlimited chapter adds a significant number of fish to what the state agency stocks.

The water was a bit up and off-color as I eased into the stream, seemingly perfect streamer conditions. But after 15 quiet minutes of working a pool I felt confident held plenty of fish, a change was in order. An egg fly from the steelie trip was still on my drying patch. On impulse I tied in on, along with a Hare's Ear Nymph. During the next couple of hours I enjoyed exceptional sport as the fat rainbow stockies took the egg pattern, ignoring the nymph.

I've revisited that stream section a couple times since then. Each time the egg pattern has been my best producer on the stocked rainbow trout.

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Jeff Knapp
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Jeff Knapp, of Kittanning, Pa., has been covering the outdoors for over 20 years. He's been published in a wide variety of national, regional, state and local publications. He also operates the Keystone Connection Guide Service, which focuses on fishing for smallmouth bass on the Allegheny River, as well as other species in select western Pennsylvania waters. 

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