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10 Go-To Flies For Trout

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top 10 Trout flies

With so many trout flies available today, it can be confusing to try and choose what to carry in your fly box. There are literally 1000's of flies to choose from in various sizes and colors. However, many are redundant, and you really don’t need that many fly patterns to cover most of the situations you will find in trout streams around the world. 

If you are looking to simplify your fly selection or you are just starting out, here are 10 go-to trout flies that I carry when I head out fishing.

1.Parachute Adams

There’s a reason that the  Parachute Adams is the most popular fly on the planet. It works. No fly box should be without them. The Adams Parachute is quite simply indispensable. This fly will catch fish all year long. It’s resemblance to a multitude of insect type gives makes it the most versatile fly ever designed.

2. Elk Hair Caddis

Caddis are a staple of a trout’s diet. These insects attract trout like no other. The Elk Hair Caddis dances and flutters on the water just like the natural. You’ll find it in every fly shop across the country. I always have Elk Hair Caddis in my box…GreenTanBrownBlack….they all have a spot.

3.Blue Winged Olive Sparkle Dun

From late winter through late fall, olive mayflies hatch in trout streams throughout the world. There are literally hundreds of species, so don’t worry about which one it is exactly, just know that you need this fly. The  Blue Winged Olive Sparkle Dun imitates the stage trout prefer—an emerging mayfly with the shuck still sticking to its back end.

4.Wooly Bugger

While the Parachute Adams is the most versatile dry fly, the most versatile streamer award goes to the  Wooly Bugger. Buggers imitate baitfish, leeches, nymphs…virtually anything swimming beneath the surface. With an endless supply of colors available, the hardest part will be choosing the right colors. Personally, I pack black wooly buggers, white, olive, red, and purple at a minimum.

5.Bunny Leech

Rabbit fur is one of the more effective materials for streamers simply because it offers more movement and visual flare in the water. Think about it: there are really no flies more visually impressive than  rabbit fur flies, and if you think that, you can bet that the fish do as well.


Sculpin streamers imitate the small baitfish found in waterways across the U.S. The Sculpzilla pattern works well for runoff conditions when waters get muddy. Throw this fly against boulders, banks, back eddies and in pools. Work it on the bottom and give it subtle twitches. Just remember to streamer set when that hungry trout latches down.

7.Hare’s Ear, Flashback

The Hare’s Ear Fly is yet another classic bug that should have a place in any trout angler's tackle box. Hares ear dubbing gives this fly a buggy look that is irresistible to fish looking for drifting mayfly nymphs. Use this pattern where more robust shaped mayflies are present or simply rely on the flash given by the pearlescent wing case and other attractive properties of this proven fish catcher.

8.Pheasant Tail

The  Pheasant Tail Nymph fly functions similarly to the Hare's Ear, using its sinking nymph distinction to mimic a wide variety of bait species in the eyes of trout. From a visual perspective, it's not as flashy as the Hare's Ear. Still, this fly has been proven over the years as an effective and reliable means of catching fish, and that's ultimately the most important thing. It works during hatches, before hatches, and when there are no hatches. Don’t leave home without some. I like mine both with and without beads.

9.San Juan Worm

You fish the worm? Yes, yes I do….and proudly. The  San Juan worm is a proven killer on trout everywhere and it might be the hot ticket next time you are on the water

10.Zebra Midge

The  zebra midge is the most effective midge pattern out there. It is my go-to midge pattern when the situation calls for small ball, especially in tail waters. Although this one officially imitates a midge larva or pupa, it works when trout eat small mayfly nymphs and caddis pupae as well.

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