Tiny Baetis mayflies are perhaps the most commonly encountered and imitated by anglers on all American trout streams due to their great abundance, widespread distribution, and trout-friendly emergence habits.
Simple, Vinnie, the one that's on the end of your line. After all, that's the only fly that stands a chance of catching a trout for you, and what good is a fly that only catches trout for other people? :)
Woolybuggers, anyone? Hare's Ears? Pheasant Tails? Royal Wulffs? Adams? Seriously, the question is too general to have much meaning, but such questions are always great for stirring the pot, so have at it.
I'll reluctantly confess, however, that if I had to narrow your question down to the fly that has caught more trout weighing over 10 pounds (for me) than any other, the answer would be an egg pattern. But that really says much more about the situations in which I have encountered trout over 10 pounds than it does about anything else.
PS--If Louis mentions the Hairy Honeybug again, I'll....
Lastchance on Jul 11, 2010July 11th, 2010, 10:20 am EDT
I don't think there is one "best fly" but I guess the pheasant tail is the most versatile for nymphing. Then there is the hare's ear and the--ah, see what I mean? For dry flies my guess would be the elk hair caddis, the Admas, etc. but you're going to get endless opinions. Like Gonzo said, the best one is the one at the end of your line.
Falsifly on Jul 11, 2010July 11th, 2010, 11:52 am EDT
I’m with Gonzo on this………….Well maybe not quite. I caught my biggest trout to date on an egg pattern many years ago, and I haven’t used an egg pattern since, nor will I. I just can’t get myself to accept the use of egg patterns, woolybuggers, muddlers, leach patterns, sculpins, streamers etc. etc. as fly fishing. I suspect I’ll catch hell for my abstinence ( read between the lines if you will), but then again I’m the kind of guy who will set his derriere upon a large rock at dusk, waiting for the hatch, and often times return to the truck after dark without making a single cast.
I don’t have a clue what the world’s best trout fly is, but my guess is it’s a nymph. Yes, I know there are those who wouldn’t consider a nymph a fly either.
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
Dryfly on Jul 11, 2010July 11th, 2010, 4:04 pm EDT
I'll have to try out the whathavu dun. Although "whathavu" does sound like an actual species. If I ever discover a new species of some kind of bug, I'll name it _____ whathavu.
On a serious note, It is my opinion that there is no best trout fly. Fly fishing is situational. A hopper can be dynamite is late summer, but not effective in early spring. Same for egg patterns, which I have never used. They would not be real effective with no eggs in the drift.
In terms of the most consistent trout catching pattern, a midge or scud would be best as they are in the stream always. A minnow pattern would be effective too. General nymphs (prince, pt, hares ear) work well most if not all the time.
Jmd123 on Jul 11, 2010July 11th, 2010, 5:28 pm EDT
C'mon, everyone has their favorite, therefore the "best" will vary with the person.
In my humble opinion, and that's all it is: a White Wulff, size 10 or 12. Perhaps that's because I had one of the best nights of my life with one recently, but it's far from the only night on which it has worked it's magic for me. Number 2, if such is allowed in this discussion, for me is the Elkhair Caddis. As I have said on previous occasions, your results may differ...
If we dare talk warmwaters - and I know this started out as a discussion of "trout flies" but since quality trout waters are truly LACKING in my part of the globe at the moment - then it's a toss-up between the good old Woolly Bugger and my own Killer Bass Fly (which, by the way, hooked me into a 20"+ brown two summers ago up on the Pigeon...).
Just my own humble opinion, folks...
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Martinlf on Jul 12, 2010July 12th, 2010, 5:33 am EDT
I'm late to this discussion, and will only note that the Hairy Honeybug was brought up to meet a specific need of Shawn's for a very quick and effective fly. He seemed at a loss when his brother Duane recommended that he tie up such, so I felt obliged to offer him something. He appears, however, to have overlooked or otherwise misinterpreted my kind gesture according to his recent reply. Oh Well . . . no good deed goes . . ..
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"
Oldredbarn on Jul 13, 2010July 13th, 2010, 8:25 am EDT
"size 16 Royal Wulff. you'll always catch something with it, if only hell from people who think they know what they're doing..."
There's no one on this site like that...Right?...Right?
I love your sense of humor! We need more of this between us anglers and a tad less dogma...Right, Spence?! Old dogs, even oldredbarn dogs sometimes can learn some new tricks...If you are patient with them, eh!?
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively
"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Softhackle on Jul 13, 2010July 13th, 2010, 4:33 pm EDT
There's no way I could select only one, however I could list a few I would not leave home without. Of course they are, mostly, wingless wets:
Leisenring's Black Gnat, Leisenring Spider, Partridge and Orange, Tups Indispensible & Weilenmann's Partridge and Olive Emerger.
Anyone remember a great dry fly "Tap" Tapply of Tap's Tips? It was called a "Nearenuf" I believe. It kind of covered a lot of the well known hatches and tied in various sizes, it was pretty effective.
"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt
Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders: http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/index.html
Well its simply got to be the wooly bugger in different colors. It works all year round like most of the flies mentioned above don't. It attracks fish of all sizes. It can be fished so many different ways. I mean i get the reasoning behind a lot of the other choices, but i would have to say they sound more like personal favorites. And i know this wasn't part of the question, but you can catch all species with the bugger which makes it an even more correct choice. Got my vote (and i don't even throw them to often)!
Griffith's Gnat is the "best" fly as it's simplicity allows it to pass for a myriad of different offerings such as a larger individual midge, cluster of smaller midges, ant, bettle, tiny mayfly (especially tricos) as well as a small caddis just about to emerge from it's casing...in larger sizes it also passes for a cricket, catepillar, and dark stonefly. It's ability to effectively imitate Mayflies, Caddisflies, Stoneflies, Midges, and a number of different Terrestrials, in many cases simultaneously, give it the nod as the single "best" fly in my book.