I know, that statement seems like an oxymoron. Let me explain.
With my growing interest in steelhead fishing I naturally started doing some research. Where to fish, what gear will I need and of course what flies will I need. Everything seems so different from simple trout fishing, like trying to order a meal in a foreign country where I don’t speak the language.
Spey casting, switch rods, gaudy flies – yikes! What’s a simple trout fisherman to do?
Enter Ian Colin James
Fortunately, I stumbled across Ian Colin James’ website. Ian, I gather (pardon my ignorance), is a rather famous Grand River guide known for his ‘No Bull’ approach to fly fishing. Ian calls a spade a spade and a strike indicator a bobber. My kind of guy.
Ian also has a way of simplifying things. Like fly fishing for steelhead and steelhead flies for instance.
Ian Collin James Top Steelhead Flies
If you follow the likes of Ian Colin James then you already know that Steelhead flies don’t have to be a complicated affair. Ian favors tried-and-true patterns like:
- Muddler Minnow in Copper and Black
- Zonkers in White, Blue and Grey
- Mickey Finn
- Blacknosed Dace
- Egg and Yarn flies
- The Thundercreek series
- Dark Spruce
- Matukas in Black and Olive
- Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear Nymph
- Pheasant Tail Nymph
- The White Puke fly
- Logie, Jeannie, Blue Charm (low water salmon flies)
- Green Butt Skunk
- Muncher Nymph
- Caddis nymphs
- Bomber (dry)
- Double Elk Hair Caddis (dry)
- Klinkhammer Special (dry)
- Stonefly nymphs in Black, Yellow and Peach
- Blue Thunder
- Michigan Wigglers
- The Sparkler
As we continue the our mini-series on Steelhead Alley and Steelhead flies we will heed the sage advise of Ian Colin James and keep things simple, including simple steelhead flies.