Five Flies to Never Leave Home Without

June 16, 2022
Five Flies to Never Leave Home Without

I'm often asked what flies to use, why I chose that fly, and what size I need to fish it in.  I know that a lot of people will find fault with the flies listed here, but, these are my top 5 producing flies personally, and as guide.  I also realize that there are no dry flies listed here,  the old adage is very true 85% of a trout’s diet is what it finds under the surface of the water to eat.  So here are my top five flies to never leave home without, and why I would choose that fly and what sizes to use it in.


  1. SheepflyIf I had to choose one fly to fish for trout with for the rest of my life with this would be the fly.  It was originally tied by Newland Saunders from Lenoir, NC to imitate a grey fly that is commonly found around sheep.  Over the flies 60 year life span is has been modified a few times, after learning more etymology we have come to realize that the sheepfly imitates three different food groups, it looks like a Cranefly larvae, a stickbait, and a large emerging mayfly.  My favorite sizes are an 8 and 10 but I fish it from a 4-16.

  2. Kevin’s StoneflyThis would be my second pick.  Stoneflies have a three year life cycle in the stream; therefore there are stonefly nymphs available to trout every day of the year.  In its twenty years on the market this fly remains virtually unchanged from its original version.  Be sure that they are weighted very heavy and fished on the bottom.  This fly has also picked up a large following from northeastern steelheaders.  The best sizes of this fly are 6-12.

  3. Soft Hackle Pheasant TailThis fly covers about 80% of all may fly nymphs; the soft hackle gives the fly life and movement which will dramatically increase a flies effectiveness.  The fly can be fished weighted and on the bottom, or floated in the surface film.  I typically carry and fish it in sizes 14-22.

  4. Anderson’s Bird of PreyThis is one of the best caddis pupa’s on the market today.  It can be tied in a variety of colors to imitate the different colors and stages of caddis pupa.  It also makes use of a soft hackle and peacock herl, two key ingredients to a good fly.  I typically use a size 10-16.

  5. Clouser Foxxee Red MinnowThis is my “go to” streamer; it can be tied in to imitate any bait fish from dace to darts to chubs.  The fox fur gives it a great motion and life in the water.  I tie it with dumbbell eyes to keep it down on the bottom where the batfish live.  My best size is a 6 but I typically carry it in sizes ranging from 4-10.

Good Fishing,


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