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The Black Ant: As spring arrives and bugs start to crawl, trout look forward to the taste of terrestrials.  Although they can be hard for anglers to see as they float on the water, this time of year ants are a staple of a troutís diet. Some anglers swear that a hungry trout will not pass up this simple fly which is made up of two balls of dubbing with a sparse hackle middle.  Cast a size 18 under low hanging bushes and watch them rise to the occasion.

The March Brown: With a body of tan dubbing and a heavy hackle of mixed brown (red) and grizzly feather the high floating March Brown can imitate many early season duns. I have found references to the March Brown being used to catch fish as early as the 1800ís. When you fish with this fly you truly are dabbling a bit of history on your local waters.        

The Elk Hair Caddis: Anyone who takes a fly tying class will recognize the Elk Hair Caddis as the first dry fly most new tiers attempt. An excellent all around fly, the over wing of elk body hair makes this fly float high even when drifted through the roughest of rapids.  This buoyancy makes it great for use as the strike indicator portion of a dropper rig.  If nothing else seems to be working try using the Elk Hair Caddis as a searching pattern drawing fish up from the bottom to inspect its meaty body.       

Photo Courtesy Fishing Files Online

The Bead Head Midge Nymph: Our Recent trip to fish the fabled waters of the White River in Arkansas proved the thinking that sometimes the largest fish are caught on the smallest flies.  Tied in Red, Green,and black and accented with a rib of gold, these flies mimic all kinds of tiny aquatic life.  A tungsten bead will help you get the fly down into the strike zone. Those Arkansas Rainbows couldnít get enough of this fly when fished with long slow drag free drifts. 

The Copper John Nymph: Ask any angler and he will most likely tell you that sometimes it takes a bit of flash to draw a strike.  Named after a famous statue of a revolutionary war soldier, this nymph has what it takes with a body of copper wire and a dollop of epoxy for a shell back.  Fished in fast or slow water the glint of sun on the shiny parts of this fly can often entice a strike.  Try it in sizes 16 or smaller.

Photo Courtesy Fishing Files Online

 The Muddler Minnow:  If your plans this summer include going after a big brown trout, offer him something worth his trouble. The muddler minnow is just the kind of mouthful to tempt bigger fish who feed mostly on minnows and need more nourishment than can be gotten from nymphs and bugs alone. It is thought that the spun deer hair head gives this fly a vibration when fished that can sound the dinner bell for a hungry trout. Try fishing it below a split shot and stripped across the current at the tail of a deep pool.  This fly can even be fished as a dry on those summer days when the hoppers are jumping. Suggested sizes 10-18.

Photo Courtesy Fishing Files Online

The Female Adams: The Female Adams with its gray dubbed body terminated with a yellow tuft simulating an egg sac, offers the hungry trout a chance to have breakfast and lunch at the same time.  During her brief life the female may fly must deposit her eggs on the waterís surface. This powerful drive to procreate often takes her dangerously close to the jaws of a hungry trout. We all know that trout like the color yellow.  Sometimes this small change in the Adams pattern will result in strikes from finicky fish. No fly box is complete without several examples of this pattern.  Suggested Sizes: 14-20  

Photo courtesy

The Brassie: A few rounds of copper wire, a bit of peacock herl for a collar and a bead head make for a deadly combination.  A dozen or so of these make a fine addition to any fly box. Try this where you find cased caddis pupa on the creek bed. The flash imitates the tiny pebbles they make their homes out of.  Suggested sizes:  16 and smaller.


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