Tim Flagler has steelhead on the brain. It is that time of year, though, so all is forgiven.
On Western rivers that run to the sea, these far-traveling, ambitious rainbows have come home, and they’re in the tailouts and the deep pools, waiting winter out just like the rest of us. In the upper Midwest, where chromers are losing weight and gaining color in the clearwater tributaries of the Great Lakes, anglers are braving icy temperatures just to get a shot at these massive migrators.
But flies? What to use this time of year, when fish are lying deep and quiet? Steamers? They might get a wild hair and chase something gaudy. Something skated? Not likely. Flagler might have the answer—a nymph drifted deep and right in front of these big fish is probably your best bet.
Here, Tim ties Rusher’s Steelhead Nymph, a bright pattern that can be tied in many colors that has that traditional nymph look and feel, but with a little bit of incorporated tacky steelhead glitter. If you’re dying to chase fish this winter, and you can handle the weather, you might consider tying up a handful of these flies. They might be just as important as the coffee of the hot cocoa. Enjoy.
— Chris Hunt