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Fly Selection 101: Introducing The 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:
Sizes: 16 - 22
Imitates: Mysis Shrimp
Imitates: Hydropsyche Caddis Fly
Sizes: 6 - 12,
Colors: Tan, Olive, Grey
Imitates: Juvenile Crane Fly
Sizes: 18 - 22
Colors: Black/Grey, Black/Olive
Imitates: Blue Winged Olive Mayfly Nymph
Sizes: 16 - 20
Imitates: Mosquito Larva and Pupa
Sizes: 18 - 22
Colors: Tan, Cream
Imitates: Yellow Sally Stonefly Nymph
Sizes: 14 - 18
Imitates: Adult Black Caddis Fly
Sizes: 12 - 16
Imitates: Callibaetis Mayfly Duns & Spinners
Sizes: 6 - 8
Imitates: Adult Salmon Fly (Stone Fly)
Sizes: 10 - 14
Imitates: Green Drake Duns & Spinners
Sizes: 18 - 22
Imitates: Trico Mayfly Duns & Spinners
Sizes: 6 - 16
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!