Fly selection for spring trout fishing is essential to angling success – without the correct fly you’re not imitating the available food source. In no particular order, here are six favorite patterns – well, technically seven due to a tie – for the next several weeks on any local trout water. Carry these fly patterns for fly fishing for trout this spring and you’ll bring more fish to hand. And, if you need a place to fish, be sure to inquire at your local fly shop or check out our app at onWater App.
Gary LaFontaine, a fishing and fly-tying pioneer, developed this simple pattern. While fishing the Missouri River in winter, he struggled to imitate clustering midges, so he created the Buzzball. This pattern is extremely effective and it should work anywhere midge clusters get thick and gooey. LaFontaine’s original pattern was tied without a high-visibility wing, but recent tiers added the wing for better visibility. When fishing the Buzzball, it is a good idea to put fly floatant on the leader so the fly floats higher on the surface.
Pat’s Rubberlegs/Girdle Bug/Crazy Legs
Is there any time of year this fly doesn’t catch fish? A stonefly imitation at its core, this simple fly just works. Dead-drift it under an indicator as a nymph on its own, or use it as a lead fly in a two-fly setup. The rubber legs flex and pulse in the current adding life to the fly, and the chenille color can vary to match any shade of stonefly. Black, brown and variegated black-and-brown are also very effective colors.
As many rivers transition from winter to spring, trout will be on the lookout for easy meals with lots of calories, and a firebead can check that box. Firebeads burst onto the angling scene about 10 years ago. Some argue that the firebead imitates an egg – we’ll never know what a trout is thinking when eating a fly – but there’s no argument about its effectiveness.
Beadhead Zebra midge
This fly imitates a midge pupa or emerging midge. Midges are prominent in every trout river, year round. However, the Zebra midge is not just for imitating midges. Fish this as a mayfly, as a caddis, and as freshwater shrimp. Drop it under your favorite dry fly and few rising trout can resist.
Tie: Zuddler and Sculpzilla
Both patterns are intended to imitate baitfish and larger food sources – such as crayfish – found in our local waters. They can be fished with action, or dead-drifted under an indicator.
Parachute Purple Haze
Blue Winged Olives could hatch on any given day. A regular Parachute Adams will work fine, but in seeing thousands of fish eat dry flies on various Parachutes, the purple body makes a difference. LaFontaine was a believer in the way light refracts off a fly…and there’s something about purple. The Purple Haze will put a spell on you.
Armed with the proper fly patterns for fly fishing for trout, the places to fish, and the right amount of faith, your early spring fishing should be rewarding.
Stop by your local fly shop today and load up on these effective patterns.