With fall coming on and a few high-country leaves starting to turn here in the Rockies, some anglers are jumping ahead to “streamer season.” I’m not ready to make the leap just yet, but I do generally have a few flies in my box that work well during the shoulder season that is late summer and early fall.

And one of those flies is the Mickey Finn.

Tied below by Tim Flagler, the Mickey Finn is a fairly simply pattern to craft at the vise, and I like to use it in deeper water and on brighter days this time of year when big fish need to be coaxed out of hiding.

Later in the season, when the browns and brookies are starting to get aggressive and thinking about spawning, this is an excellent pattern that sort of toes the line between being a traditional wet fly and a full-on streamer. I’ve had great luck with it on lakes where incoming spawning streams run into the bigger water—it just seems to work.

As Flagler points out, the fly has lost some of its appeal, thanks largely, I think, to the advent of bigger, meatier articulated patterns crafted with beads, rubber legs and strips of rabbit fur. But the Mickey Finn still works, sometimes better than the newer patterns that are all the rage for streamer junkies.

At the very least, it’s worth having in your fly box.

By Chris Hunt.