Fly tying Fishing

Jeff Blood's White Death

It’s steelhead season, although here in the Northwest, most folks aren’t nearly as excited about it as they used to be thanks to dismal fish returns in the Columbia River system—it’s an unfortunate recurring theme for anglers in the region who are helplessly watching our prized ocean-going fish dwindle seemingly every season.

But for those living in the Great Lakes region, introduced steelhead populations are doing much better than the native runs out west, and anglers have lots of options for chasing chromers in Great Lakes rivers and and streams.

Above, Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions ties Jeff Blood’s White Death, which, as Tim points out, is basically a Zonker modifed for anadromous fish like steelhead and salmon (and for lake-run brown trout, which are also surging up Great Lakes tribs this time of year).

It’s a great searching pattern for migrating fish. A quick note: I’d definitely consider using this fly in the fall in Alaska—it could be a great “flesh fly” for rainbows and Dolly Varden that gorge themselves on decaying salmon at the end of the season.