An Order of Frys

With the winter months locking down most of the watersheds, and most recently the melt off/rain blowing them out to unfishable levels, it was time to start re-stocking the steelhead boxes.

The past few years of my late winter/early spring steelhead success can be attributed to 2 primary patterns, an often overlooked pattern and a twist on a common Great Lakes nymph.

As most everyone is aware salmon make their annual spawning migrations in the fall, and fishing several river systems that support a substantial amount of natural reproduction – several thousand salmon fry begin to hatch in the late winter months. These fry often times become extremely easy meals for steelhead and trout that are looking to get a signficant amount of calorie intake without doing a lot of work. Salmon fry tend to congregate in softer seams of pools and runs – causing predatory fish to seek them out in those areas. I don’t often hear of many folks fishing fry patterns in the Great Lakes, and maybe that is a contributor to my success (showing them something different).

My second most successful fly during this time period is a version of any standard hex pattern – a flashback grizzly hex. One of my counterparts refers to his version of the pattern as a “Double Duty Hex” as it could easily be mistaken in the water as a salmon fry/parr as well. As the swamps and mucky areas where these burrowing nymphs begin to unfreeze and escape the grip of winter lock down – often times these nymphs are dislodged and washed into the current to become easy meals for steelhead.

Time to start stocking up on these 2 great patterns and getting ready for chrome the next 2+ months!

Tight Lines,

Bob Barber



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