DIY flies for rainbow trout

by Dan Kennaley | November 13, 2013

For Ontario fly fishers looking to reel in rainbow trout, the Lake Huron tributaries — Sauble, Saugeen, Nine Mile, Maitland and Bayfield — are among the finest steelhead rivers in the province.

Here are a couple of flies that are sure to bring you some action when fishing that area.

flies - Sassy Steelhead Sculpin fly

Photo courtesy of Mike Verhoef

Sassy Steelhead Sculpin (Olive Version)

  • Hook: spey hook or 4X-long streamer hook – size 2 or 4, or use a tube
  • Thread: 6/0 black or olive
  • Body: Caddis green midge cactus chenille
  • Wing: rabbit strip – dyed golden olive
  • Overwing: pearl flash
  • Legs: round rubber hackle – white
  • Eyes: lead dumbbells – small (optional)
  • Hackle: schlappen feather – barred olive
  • Collar: micro squirrel strip – sculpin olive
  1. Lay down a solid thread base to a point opposite the barb.
  2. Tie in cactus chenille at rear and wrap body forward to an eye length back from the eye.
  3. Tie in a hook-length of golden olive rabbit strip on top where the chenille ends. On top of the rabbit, tie in 4 to 6 strands of pearl flash.
  4. On the bottom side of the hook, tie on 2 pieces of white rubber hackle that are twice the hook length, doubling them over to hang out towards the back end on the bottom side. (OPTION: For a little weight, add a small set of lead dumbbell eyes on the bottom side in front of where the white rubber hackle strands were tied in.)
  5.  Take a barred olive schlappen feather and cut off about an inch of the bottom thick stem and then tie in bottom. Palmer wrap it forward, half-way to the eye.
  6.  Take a length of sculpin olive micro squirrel strip, tie in the end and palmer wrap it 2 or 3 times towards eye, tie off and then whip finish.


flies - The Only Nymph fly

Photo courtesy of Mike Verhoef

The Only Nymph

  • Hook: scud hook, size 8 or 10
  • Thread: 8/0 black
  • Bead: gold tungsten 5/32 inch
  • Tail: deer hair
  • Rib: gold wire, fine
  • Body: midge cactus chenille, brown
  • Side wings: goose biots, black
  • Collar: peacock dubbing
  1. Slip a 5/32-inch gold tungsten bead over hook.
  2. About 1/3 of the way back along the hook on the bend, tie in 5-7 deer-hair tips that are half the hook length, trim off excess. Pheasant tail could be used, but I have found deer hair tips are tougher.
  3. Tie in a length of fine gold wire and a length of brown midge cactus chenille. Wrap the chenille forward to an eye length back from eye and tie off. Wrap gold wire as a rib, evenly spaced to same spot and tie off.
  4. Take 2 black goose biots and tie in one on each side with curve pointing out from sides and up a little with tips ending where chenille and wire started, trim off excess biot butts.
  5. Take a small pinch of peacock dubbing and apply to thread and wrap in front of the biots, which should be right behind bead as well, whip finish.

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