Being a western angler, I’m not terribly familiar with the steelhead flies used in Great Lakes tributaries. Most western steelhead patterns are purple or pink or some color variation that just looks loud and gawdy. Higher up in the steelhead drainages, like here in Idaho, it’s easier to get awa
y from the “eggy” and “shrimpy” stuff and try more traditional trout patterns, like big stones or other big nymphs meant to kind of remind steelhead what they used to eat before they ventured 800 miles downriver to the ocean. My favorite upper Salmon River pattern? A size 8 Prince Nymph.
Here, Tim Flagler narrates a video featuring east coast tier, John Collins, who ties the Electric Steelie Stone. It’s simply a gorgeous, yet somewhat traditional, stonefly pattern, but tied in the aforementioned electric blue. But, as Flagler notes, tying different color variations is important on Great Lakes steelhead rivers. I’m going to give this a go next spring on the upper Salmon, just to see if our Idaho steelhead will pay it any attention.
— Chris Hunt