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Wet Flies For Trout:
The Ones You Should Carry
Gene Macri

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© 2017 E. P. Macri Jr.

Wet flies for trout are some of the most beautiful patterns that fly fishermen can use especially those used for Salmon and Steelhead.   There are thousands or perhaps hundreds of thousands patterns so it boils down to how many and which ones do you need. No two wet fly fisherman will ever agree on all the patterns to carry so here's a strategy  that I have used over the years. It works well for me so give it a try. Remember contrary to what is written wet flies imitate a variety of fly stages. They are readily taken for mayflies, caddisflies, stoneflies and midges.

Wet Fly Patterns For Trout

  • Classic Wet Fly Patterns: Yes these patterns still work surprisingly well. I'm
    talking about patterns like: Lead Wing Coachman, Royal Coachman, Grizzly King, Black Gnat, April Gray, Light and Dark Cahill, and others.  You should have these in three sizes at least: Size 6, 10, 14 or perhaps 8,12, and 16 depending upon you waters. Why do you need the large ones too?  Because you can often raise trout or get them to move even in the spring or cold water by dangling three of these larger flies that no one fishes anymore. You will really be surprised on how successful this technique can be in catching trout from heavily fished waters.
  • Black Gnat Classic Wet Fly Pattern from

  • Classic Suggestive Patterns: These patterns will include the Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear, Sulfur Wets, Picket Pin, and other suggestive patterns. Many times these patterns are nothing more than other patterns tied with down wings.

    H.E Gold Ribbed Wet Fly;

  • Soft Hackle Patterns: These flies many of which are old English Patterns (see our Classic Fly Fishing Library to get these books) are killers even though many fly anglers have them in their fly boxes but seldom use them.  I'm talking about Grizzly and Green, Grouse and Orange and many more.  You can easily and quickly tie these flies up in no time.  Once again you want these in larger size, a medium and smaller size.  I like these soft hackles down to size 20 because they also imitate midges and other small stuff you'll find on the stream. Check this out for some of the best overall wet fly patterns you can carry: Best Wet Fly Patterns Volume 1.
  • Early Season Wet Fly Patterns: These are basically Steelhead patterns scaled down for trout fishing. No one fishes them and yet you can clean up on them even in open water. I use these patterns all of the time in open water and thrown the fish back to the dismay of bait fishermen because they don't believe you can catch fish in the spring on flies. Here's a great article on tying these patterns: Early Season Killer Wet Fly Patterns.
  • Emerger Patterns:  You should have a few of these patterns on hand.  Match them to major hatches like Blue Winged Olives, Sulfurs, Hendricksons, etc. there are a variety of emerger types a few of each in sizes to match the stream you fish. Most of the time we talking sizes 12-18.
  • Seasonal Wet Flies:  You say what are these?  Here's a basic rule of thumb good wet fly fishermen know that's not discussed too often.  The early season mayflies, caddisflies, and stoneflies tend to be dark--greys and browns.  As the season progresses the flies lighten up. Just think about it.  It works! You don't need a ton of  patterns just a few with various fur bodies that will work for the time of the season.  Try this: a few with bodies of tannish gray to medium and dark brown for early season. Mid season tannish yellow to sulfur. Late season tannish yellow to cream.  And guess what you have a pretty good mix for the year.  I know wet fly anglers who use these methods and seldom worry about anything else and catch trout all of the time. The wings tend to be shades of blue dun and grey in the spring and then lighter greys to tan and cream as the season progresses.



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