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Lateral view of a Female Hexagenia limbata (Ephemeridae) (Hex) Mayfly Dun from the Namekagon River in Wisconsin
Hex Mayflies
Hexagenia limbata

The famous nocturnal Hex hatch of the Midwest (and a few other lucky locations) stirs to the surface mythically large brown trout that only touch streamers for the rest of the year.

Dorsal view of a Amphizoa (Amphizoidae) Beetle Larva from Sears Creek in Washington
This is the first of it's family I've seen, collected from a tiny, fishless stream in the Cascades. The three species of this genus all live in the Northwest and are predators that primarily eat stonefly nymphs Merritt R.W., Cummins, K.W., and Berg, M.B. (2019).
27" brown trout, my largest ever. It was the sub-dominant fish in its pool. After this, I hooked the bigger one, but I couldn't land it.
Troutnut is a project started in 2003 by salmonid ecologist Jason "Troutnut" Neuswanger to help anglers and fly tyers unabashedly embrace the entomological side of the sport. Learn more about Troutnut or support the project for an enhanced experience here.

Hollidaysburg Pa

Posts: 251
LittleJ on Jul 28, 2007July 28th, 2007, 5:42 pm EDT
I'm not sure if this has been a topic recently or not but figured I'd give it a go anyway. I have recently started trying to fish these things. I've stuck to the old standbys like clousers and wooly buggers. (mainly because I don't know how to tie any others) My leanings so far have been toward a olive/dun or white /chartuse clouser, but i'm anxious to see what some of you have come up with.
Martinlf's profile picture
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Jul 29, 2007July 29th, 2007, 2:25 am EDT
Jeff, your choices seem like good ones to me. Some folks like a peacock body on a dark wooly bugger. I also like the Shenk White Minnow and the Shenk Sculpin. I've been watching Kelly Galloup's video on streamer fishing and may tie up some of his Wooly Sculpins and Zoo Cougars too.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Jul 29, 2007July 29th, 2007, 2:52 am EDT
Before the Susquehanna bass population declined in 2005 I fished it extensively at least three days a week. Included here are my all time best Clouser minnow producers:

Chartruese over white - gold mylar tinsel & gold krystal flash
Chartruese over hot yellow - gold mylar tinsel & gold krystal flash
Gray over white - silver mylar tinsel and silver krystal flash
Brown over green over white - gold mylar tinsel & gold krystal flash
All yellow - gold mylar tinsel & gold krystal flash
All white - silver mylar tinsel and silver krystal flash
Blue over white - silver mylar tinsel and silver krystal flash

These were tied mostly on Mustad 34007 stainless steel hooks and #4 - #1/0. Tying with SS let me use the same flies in salt water if I wanted to do that. I think SS hooks are better looking but it can be difficult to get the larger barb out of a bass's mouth.

For trout I've used just two colors as I've experimented a bit and found these to be all I need:

Light gray over white - silver mylar tinsel and silver krystal flash
blue over white - silver mylar tinsel and silver krystal flash

I use various style and weight of eyes depending on how much depth I'm looking to achieve. I also use 6' sink tip line for water deeper than three feet. I manually sharpen all of the hook points with a 6" flat jeweler's file. I first re-do the point by forward strokes of the file with the hook inverted in the vise. Then I angle the file to dress each side of the point so when it is finished the extreme tip of the point is needle sharp and the sides slimmed down to allow for easier penetration.

Here is a picture:

Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Spring Mills, PA

Posts: 97
IEatimago on Jul 29, 2007July 29th, 2007, 3:13 am EDT

JOHNW's profile picture
Chambersburg, PA

Posts: 452
JOHNW on Jul 29, 2007July 29th, 2007, 6:08 am EDT
I tend toward 4 streamer patterns for trout.
In order of preference:
1 Shenks Minnow in solid white and solid grey
2 Shenks Sculpin in white or black
3 Double Bunnies again white or black
4 Zonkers in white, olive, or black.
Number four is reserved for places Like the Upper Delaware system where I'm able to fish from a drift boat.
"old habits are hard to kill once you have gray in your beard" -Old Red Barn

Posts: 59
Davez on Aug 1, 2007August 1st, 2007, 5:08 am EDT
double bunnies. chinchilla/white #2 only

double bunnies. orange/brown #2

a sculpin pattern that I have come up with. It is solid black, wool, bunny and marabou.

thats pretty much it.

open my smallmouth box and its a whole different game.
CaseyP's profile picture
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
CaseyP on Aug 12, 2007August 12th, 2007, 2:37 pm EDT
only streamer i ever caught a trout on:

John Hadley’s Mini Bugger—White
hook: tmc 105, size 8 or 10
bead: 1/8 gold-colored
thread: white unithread 6
tail: white wooley bugger marabou
body: pearly cactus chenille
if stream is high or fast, tie weighted with non-lead wire sized to hook
good for stocked fish on a sunny day.
for cloudy weather, tie it in black.
if strikes are short, trim the tail.
also great for bluegills, etc. in your local pond.
Shawnny, take note! little shiny fly for little kid.
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
Bellingham, WA

Posts: 7
JMarcus on Sep 4, 2007September 4th, 2007, 8:44 pm EDT
We fish mostly a few patterns here for silvers in the saltchuck in the fall. They are either herring/candlefish imitations about 2" to 4" long, rather sparse, lots of white, sparkly filamentous stuff like Crystal Flash and some others that have white, pearl, silver "hairy" fibers,(think of polar bear fur) a tinsel body, maybe a few strands of pink or fushia above the white and something along the line of olive and peacock herl color fiber on top. The bottom whiter part should make up about 2/3 of the bulk of the fly. (Sparse, as I said.) You can weight them with wire or barbell eyes according to need. Eyes increase their effectiveness. The other streamers we use are mostly clousers. The best colors here are flourescent colors like fushia, chartreuse, purple, lavender, pink or combos of these with white or the lighter color on the bottom. Use colors according to the mood of the silvers. (Don't ask, but they can get real particular.)

For a little lake here with wild cutts and some triploids eating Fathead minnows I've found that mini candlefish imitations (see above) from 3/4" to 2.5" are killer. However, they're particular. If they have silver bodies and some silver flash on the sides they love 'em, but if you use gold instead you might as well stay home. Go figure.
J Marcus
Posts: 107
Gene on Sep 6, 2007September 6th, 2007, 10:10 am EDT

All your streamer patterns are fine. I have found over the year there is one streamer pattern that is neglected yet it is one of the most effective patterns for brown trout and stocked brown trout too. It's the Black Ghost! I like them on sizes 8-14. In the summer tie them thin and you'll might be surprised at what they take for holdover browns in stream that aren't suppose to have any fish. Sometimes you can use White marabou instead of rooster hackle for the "wing" and it will work better. I actually think it's the combination of the black, white, silver and little bit of red that looks like a lot of dual shading on some minnows.

tight lines and trout that you'll remember forever


Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Sep 6, 2007September 6th, 2007, 10:39 am EDT
Thanks, Casey. My 4-year-old son already ties flies - I'm sure he'll like that one soon enough. I start some thread on a hook for him, give him a selection of maribou and misc. feathers, and he cuts them carefully and ties them on. I'm sure they would catch fish if you stripped them hard enough through some likely water.

And, Gene, that is a great fly. I prefer the Gray Ghost, but both are beautiful and productive.

Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
RleeP on Sep 29, 2007September 29th, 2007, 1:07 pm EDT
For trout, I like a streamer called the Llama, which I think is an Eric Leiser creation dating back somewhere around the heady opening weeks of the Ford Administration...

With it's red floss ribbed with gold tinsel body and its woodchuck wing, it doesn't really look like anything I know of in Nature. But it catches fish, for me at any rate. It may be effective because at last count, I think there are only 16 of us fishing this fly in the entire country and the fish don't see too many of them....

Martinlf's profile picture
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Sep 30, 2007September 30th, 2007, 12:58 pm EDT
Anyone ever try the Moosehead Belle?
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Posts: 1
SickFlyman on Jan 4, 2009January 4th, 2009, 2:54 pm EST
I don't fish streamers much. In the the past few years I've been more into nymphing the runs and riffs. I like to catch trout on a flyrod and I'm not about to limit myself to dry flies only. I discovered the Moosehead Belle in one of the quarterly flyfishing magazines. There was an article about the creator, who I can't remember. He was an artist and based the fly on the three main strike inducing colors Red, Yellow and White. I tied a couple and I quickly found out that large brown trout go out of their way snatch this thing. It is by far the most effective streamer for brown trout that I've used. Spring, summer, and winter, high water low water. It has produced for me. Probably should keep my shut about it.
tioga co. pa.

Posts: 33
Sandfly on Jan 4, 2009January 4th, 2009, 10:58 pm EST
Muddlers, ghost's, bc sculpin, milky chub, bucktails, hornbergs.
shop owner
N.J.B.B.A. #2215
Tiadaughton T.U. 688
I didn't Escape------They gave me a day pass !
Southern calif.

Posts: 45
Hellgramite on Jan 5, 2009January 5th, 2009, 7:44 am EST
I met a guy a couple of years ago who is an avid fly fishing freek.He fishes streamers about 80% of the time.He switched over a few years back.He told me that the big Trout are in the deep pools and that they feed on other fish and smaller Trout.So he uses a sink tip with floating line.He lets it sink for a few seconds and then strips it in.He claims to catch some large Trout.Has anyone fished this way?I ask because most of the water i fish is small and i well be moving to central OR.in the summer.I hope to fish some larger water with deep pools and want to try this method.Hellgramite.

Posts: 4
Baetis89 on Jan 5, 2009January 5th, 2009, 9:00 am EST
Silver, White, Natural or Olive Zonker, JJ Special or Bighorn Bugger or Spruce fly. all #4 or #6.
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
RleeP on Jan 5, 2009January 5th, 2009, 11:41 am EST
>>I ask because most of the water i fish is small and i well be moving to central OR.in the summer.I hope to fish some larger water with deep pools and want to try this method.>>

I've never been a big streamer fisherman as a method of choice, other than during the usual times of higher or discolored water and despite knowing that I was probably passing over some of the bigger fish by niot fishing streamers more.

But I will say this:

Central OR will be a great place to explore this sort of fishing. Large streamers are the method of choice for the big bull trout of the Metolius and there are sections of the Deschutes below Wickiup Reservoir and above Bend that have a reputation for big browns that hang tight to the banks and this part of the river just screams out great streamer water.

Good luck!
Northwest PA

Posts: 87
Grannom on Jan 5, 2009January 5th, 2009, 11:44 am EST
Still haven't caught a trout on a streamer yet, but I like CASTING a Gray Ghost the most...really effective... :)

RleeP- I see how it is, trying to keep a secret. Posting up false links... Dirty dog you... :)
"Be calm - you're there..." "...Tell yourself there's no rush, even if there is."

-John Gierach

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