Filling Fly Boxes for Spring Success on Steelhead Alley!

Written by Bob White. Posted in Bobs Fly Fishing Journal, Fishing, Uncategorized

Published on March 06, 2014 with No Comments

Filling Fly Boxes for Spring Success on Steelhead Alley!

Well with another “polar vortex” or as I like to call it “winter” upon us, I thought I would share what I’m filling my steelhead/smallmouth fly boxes with for the upcoming spring season.

Steelhead Flies:

  • Glo Bugs-  This is a very familiar pattern to most steelhead fisherman it is simply an imitation of an egg, successful color patterns include Oregon cheese, pink, Chartreuse, and orange.

glo bug



  • Sucker Spawn/ Crystal Meth- These flies are both imitations of the the beloved fish the sucker, spawn.  Sucker Spawn is typically tied with yard and the Crystal Meth Egg is tied with diamond braid material
Crystal Meth

Crystal MethSucker SpawnSucker Spawn

  • Woolly buggers- The Woolly Bugger is probably one of the most versatile flies in my opinion.  This fly can be dead drifted under an indicator, swung with a two handed rod, or stripped through a slow moving pool.  The woolly imitates a nymphs, bugs, leeches, and other food sources for game fish.  Colors you must have are black, purple, brown, olive, white, and pink.

wooly bugger


  • Egg Sucking Leech- This pattern is basically a combination of the Glo Bug and Woolly Bugger.  This pattern is also pretty versatile with it’s uses and ways to fish it.  This fly can be tied in many different ways with many different materials, my favorite materials to tie the ESL with is Zonker strips used as the tail then palmered around the shank of the hook to about 1/4″ from the eye of the hook, this is where you would tie in the Glo Bug portion of the fly.  Colors to have Black/pink, Black/Chart, and Purple/pink

egg sucking leech


  • Stone Flies- This fly my be my least favorite to fish, but saying that they also may be the most effective pattern in the box.  When you tie or buy Stone Flies make sure that your colors vary, think outside the “box”

stone army


that is a few steelhead patterns that you MUST have in your boxes when targeting steelhead in the spring.  So start tying and getting prepped for the tug.


Smallmouth Bass Flies

  • Clouser Minnow- When targeting bass there probably isn’t a more effective fly than the Clouser, it can be tied in many different colors and they all pretty much work.  My favorite color patter is Chart/White with red dumbbell eyes!


  • Murdich Minnow-  An excellent fly for streams and rivers, this is another minnow imitation except this pattern typically is tied without the use of lead eyes.  This pattern can be tied in all shapes and colors and will undoubtedly produce fish.  An advantage to this pattern is that it is almost completely synthetic so it casts easily.                                                 Murdich
  • Sculpins-  Sculpins are bottom dwelling fish that seem to make for tasty snack for many game fish sought after by fly anglers.  There are so many different variations of sculpin patterns to list all of them, but in general they’re typically heavy and stripped off the bottom of the river bottoms.



  • CrawFish Patterns-  Very effective pattern when searching for largemouth or smallmouth bass.  My favorite Craw pattern would be the Shaggy Craw.

shaggy craw


These are just a few must have patterns that all fly anglers should be carrying with them when they hit the rivers this spring.  Make sure to stop by Ohio Steelhead Drifters for all your questions regarding guided trips for the spring.  Head over to Allen Fly Fishing and purchase all your hooks and beads for tying successful steelhead alley flies!

See you on the River




About Bob White

Native of Ohio, Bob has been chasing fish throughout Ohio on the fly for the past decade, he enjoys every aspect of fishing from the preparation to the moment of hook up. The hobby of fly fishing has evolved from a passion and a job as a guide for a premier outfitter at Ohio Steelhead Drifters, Bob spends 250+ days a year on local rivers and lakes chasing all species of fish.

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