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Fly Selection 101: Introducing The TRUE FLY Patterns

True Fly Patterns

I kept the True Flies installment of the Fly Selection 101 articles until last because these patterns are near and dear to my geeky, invertebrate-loving heart! Not to be confused with the broader invertebrate order Diptera that also goes by the moniker "True Flies" and includes midges, mosquitoes, crane flies and black flies, we are commandeering this name to describe a category of artificial flies.

These unadorned beauties don't need the tinsel and sparkle of the attractor to stand out, but strive to look as close as possible to the naturals that they are modeled after. Encompassing roughly 50% of dry patterns and 20% of wet patterns, True Flies shine when only the most realistic imitations will get the job done with selective trout.

In the midst of a hatch, trout will key their feeding in on a specific species and will ignore generalist and attractor patterns alike. Likewise, in heavily pressured waters, trout get wary after being caught multiple times, so the fly angler needs to up his/her game to hook these selective fish. From the speckles in the wings of a callibaetis mayfly to the segmented orange and black underbody of the Salmon Fly, some hatches will always be best matched by the use of True Fly patterns.

For every hatch that the angler has tried to match, there are likely scores of True Fly imitations. While we can't all have 250,000 flies taking up room in our basements, here are a deadly dozen True Fly patterns that I like to keep in my box:

BTS Mysis

BTS Mysis Shrimp

Sizes: 16 - 22

Imitates: Mysis Shrimp

Beadhead Woven Net Spinning Caddis Larva

Beadhead Woven Net Spinning Caddis Larva

Sizes: 8-10

Imitates: Hydropsyche Caddis Fly

Chewee Cranefly Larva

Chewee Crane Fly Larva

Sizes: 6 - 12, 

Colors: Tan, Olive, Grey

Imitates: Juvenile Crane Fly

Juju Baetis

Juju Baetis

Sizes: 18 - 22

Colors: Black/Grey, Black/Olive

Imitates: Blue Winged Olive Mayfly Nymph

Mosquito Emerger

Mosquito Emerger

Sizes: 16 - 20

Imitates: Mosquito Larva and Pupa

Poxyback Little Yellow Stone

Poxyback Little Yellow Stone

Sizes: 18 - 22

Colors: Tan, Cream

Imitates: Yellow Sally Stonefly Nymph

Black Tentwing Caddis

Tent Wing Black Caddis

Sizes: 14 - 18

Imitates: Adult Black Caddis Fly

Loopwing Parachute Callibaetis

Loopwing Callibaetis

Sizes: 12 - 16

Imitates: Callibaetis Mayfly Duns & Spinners

Mac Salmon Fly

Mac Salmon Fly

Sizes: 6 - 8

Imitates: Adult Salmon Fly (Stone Fly)

Hen Wing Green Drake

Hen Wing Green Drake

Sizes: 10 - 14

Imitates: Green Drake Duns & Spinners

Parachute Trico

Parachute Trico

Sizes: 18 - 22

Imitates: Trico Mayfly Duns & Spinners

Parachute Hopper

Parachute Hopper

Sizes: 6 - 16

Imitates: Grasshoppers

The True Flies often can be the game changer that turns a frustrating day on the water into one for the books! So, now is the time to plan your fishing trips and load your fly box, as spring with its abundant hatches is just around the corner!

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