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Filtering by Category: Featured Fly

Featured Fly: Gold Digger Stone

leah kirk

 A creation of Gold Digger Stone pattern came from Loon Outdoors. Great for this time of year, the Gold Digger Stone is designed to get down fast; way down- real fast where trout typically have an opportunity to snatch free-floating, big stoneflies that are common to southern freestone trout streams. The legs add the perfect amount of movement underwater and the dubbing blend finds that balance between flash and buggy. See instructional video -

HOOK:                  Daiichi 4640

BEAD:                   Slotted and sized to match hook

LEGS/TAIL:          Daddy Long Legs - Black

THORAX:             Veevus Body Quill - Black

RIBBING:             Ultra Wire - Small

COATING:           Fluorescing UV Clear Fly Finish

ABDOMEN:         Ice Dub - Olive, STS Trilobal - Black

WING-CASE:       UV Clear Fly Finish - Thin, Fluorescing UV Clear Fly Finish, UV Clear Fly Finish – Thick

Featured Fly: Y2K

leah kirk

It’s not tough to figure out when the infamous Y2K patterns came on the scene. It is a bit of a task to figure who exactly was the daddy of the first Y2K. I tend to believe it is of Ozark origins. Most importantly though, the Y2K pattern has a proven track record on all southern trout waters.


Hook:                    TMC 2499 SP #12,14

Thread:                 GSP 50 white/ or yellow

Body:                     Glo Yarn / Fl. Yellow and Fl. Orange

Bead:                     Gold Tungsten

Featured Fly: Smokejumper Midge

leah kirk

The Smokejumper Midge is a transitional midge pattern that imitates an emerging BWO pupa during winter on southern trout waters. Emerging pupae get stuck just beneath the surface where they are easily picked off by trout. The CDC wing makes this pattern easy to see on the surface. This pattern effectively emerging blue-winged olives.


Hook:                    Daiichi 1130 or Tiemco 2487 size 18 to 20

Thread:                 iemco 16/0

Abdomen:           Stripped Peacock Herl, Turkey Biots, or Thread and Wire

Wing:                    2-3 matched CDC feathers

Thorax:                 Nature’s Spirit Fine Natural Dubbing, Nature’s Spirit Emergence Dubbing

Smoky Mountain Starling Soft Hackle

leah kirk

Smoky Mountain Starling Soft Hackle is a stealth version of the Yallarhammar that also originated as much as a century ago. Insofar as the hackles of the non-native starling were unavailable in the region prior to around the time of the Stock Market Crash of 1929, it’s a pretty good guess that the Smoky Mountain Starling Soft Hackle was probably preceded by the better known Yallarhammar. Who knows, eh?

                The key to tying the Smoky Mountain Starling Soft Hackle is splitting the wing feathers which usually is done most easily if you soak the wing feathers in warm water.  This is a very productive, year round fly. Personally I like it during the Mother’s Day caddis fly hatch, but the Smoky Mountain Starling Soft Hackle is a good “go-to”now through late May.

HOOK:                   TMC 5262, #14 – #16

THREAD:              Tiemco 16/0,Black

ABDOMEN:         Ostrich herl

RIBBING:             Gold wire

HACKLE:               Starling 


leah kirk

An Ozark classic, Dave Whitlock’s Red Fox Squirrel-Hair Nymph, is an effective, anywhere, anytime pattern for taking trout from southern waters. It’s worth noting that according to Whitlock, the squirrel tail hair is completely unsatisfactory for this nymph's body or tail. Hair from the animal's body, not the tail must be used. If red fox squirrel is not available, lightly dye grey fox squirrel with a tangerine or orange dye. You may substitute hare's mask for back fur and bleached muskrat, beaver or Australian opossum for belly fur. (When bleached, a medium grey fur first changes to a color similar to the red fox squirrel's belly.) a color similar to the red fox squirrel's belly.)


HOOK:                  Tiemco 5262 (standard & bead head); Tiemco 2313, 2302 (caddis emerger); Tiemco 2457 (scud): Sizes 2-20

THREAD:             Black or orange 70 Wapsi Ultra Thread CEMENT: Dave's Flexament & Zap-A-Gap HOOK

WEIGHTING:     Lead wire, diameter of hook wire, 8 to 12 wraps ABDOMEN: Belly fur from red fox squirrel skin mixed 50/50 with sienna or fox tan Antron dubbing OR Dave Whitlock SLF Dubbing - #1 (blended to my specs). Abdomen should be 1/2 to 2/3 of the overall body length

THORAX:             Back fur from red fox squirrel skin mixed 50/50 with charcoal Antron dubbing OR Dave Whitlock SLF Dubbing - #2

RIB:                       Oval gold tinsel or orange-pearlescent Flashabou

TAIL:                     Small tuft of back fur from red fox squirrel skin

LEGS:                    (On sizes 10 and larger) Metz dark ginger back-hackle or back-hackle of Partridge, one turn NOTE: Squirrel tail hair is completely unsatisfactory for this nymph's body or tail. Hair from the animal's body, not the tail must be used. If red fox squirrel is not available, lightly dye grey fox squirrel with a tangerine or orange dye. You may substitute hare's mask for back fur and bleached muskrat, beaver or Australian opossum for belly fur. (When bleached, a medium grey fur first changes to a color similar to the red fox squirrel's belly.)a color similar to the red fox squirrel's belly.)

Featured Fly: Miracle Midge

leah kirk

There are hundreds of subsurface midge fly patterns. The Miracle Midge has been around for several years. It is a great winter pattern on freestone streams, and even more productive on tailwater trout rivers. Usually tied on a size 18 straight or curved hooks (both work equally well), it is highly effective when tied on size 20 to 22.  


Hook:                    Dai Riki 135 or TMC 2487, size 16 – 22

Bead:                    2 mm silver tungsten, small silver-lined hi-lite glass bead or size 11 glass pearl bead

Thread:                8/0 Uni or UTC 70 denier thread (see below)

Rib:                        Small copper or gold wire

Overbody:          Single-strand white floss

Body:                    Thread colors – peacock blue, gray, fluorescent pink, black, red, yellow, and light cahill

Tennessee Stonefly Nymph

leah kirk

Bill Boyd’s Tennessee Stonefly Nymph is one of the most significant patterns to come on the scene of southern fly fishing for trout. Known to many fly tiers, as “Nick,” he is part of the famous Dubbing Teasers Fly Fishing Team out of Dayton, Tennessee. Knack and Nick are the Featured Fly Tiers in the soon to be posted Feb/March 2017 issue of Southern Trout Magazine.


This is the original recipe of an often copied and modified trout catching pattern.


Hook:                    Tiemco TMC5263, sizes 16 to 10.

Thread:                 Brown or tan 6/0 (140 denier).

Weight:                Medium lead wire.

Tail:                        Two brown goose biots.

Abdomen:           A blend of angora dubbing containing burnt orange, cream, brown, tan, black, and olive.

Rib:                        Copper wire.

Thorax:                 More blended dubbing.

Legs:                      Orange barred Sili Legs.

Wing case:          Dark mottled turkey quill and clear Thin Skin.

Featured Fly: Early Black Stonefly Nymph

leah kirk

The Early Black Stonefly Nymph does a great job of imitating the small black stoneflies that are one of the first aquatic insects to hatch in significant numbers on southern trout waters. Stoneflies are bottom crawler that tend to hatch where there is a slight increase in temperature, such as when sunlight warms the water a couple of degrees. Nymphs crawl to the bank to emerge rocks, and are especially easily to spot on streamside snow. Fish these flies in tandem in a dead drift.


Hook:               TMC 2457 #8-12 or Daiichi X120

Thread:            Uni 6/0 Black

Tail:                  Peasant Tail – Black

Body:               Thread

Rib:                   Black Wire – Large

Thorax:            Ice Dub – Peacock

Wingcase:       Pheasant Tail – Black

Legs:                Pheasant Tail – Black

Featured Fly: Beadhead Soft-Hackle Pheasant Tail

leah kirk

Great trout catching fly patterns evolve endlessly, the tried and true Pheasant Tail Nymph is a perfect example. On everyone’s short list of go-to-fly patterns, the Pheasant Tail for long time this was a pretty much standardized pattern. The Beadhead Soft-Hackle Pheasant Tail morphed from the introduction of bead heads, and then later the revival in bountifully wrapped soft hackles. These modifications make a great fly even better.

Hook:                                    2X-long nymph hook (here a Dai-Riki #730), size 16.

Bead:                                    3/32-inch gold bead.

Thread:                                Olive, 6/0 or 140-denier.

Rib:                                        Copper Ultra Wire, small.

Tail & abdomen:              6 pheasant tail fibers.

Thorax:                                 Peacock herl.

Collar:                                   Hungarian partridge.

Diawl Bach Nymph

leah kirk

                While not well known in the Southern fly fishing community, the Diawl Back Nymph is a simple-to-tie, great go-to pattern in December. Fished under the surface, it can be drifted or retrieved slowly and steadily.

Hooks:                  Size 8-12 Tiemco 2457

Thread:                Claret, black or brown 8/0

Tail:                        Red/brown cock hackle

Body:                    Bronze peacock herl

Rib:                        finest copper, gold or silver wire


Hackle:                 Red/brown cock hackle

Featured Fly: Redeye Pellet

leah kirk

Sometimes the fly fishing tricks require to fool border on the edge of “Is this really fly fishing or what?”

The Redeye Pellet patterns is a fly, well perhaps not in the classic sense of the Royal Coachman or Adams, that is highly effective on newly released trout in delayed harvest waters. During their time in hatcheries the trout grew up fighting for their share of the food pellets scattered atop their concrete runs. This pattern was created to mock trout chow. The addition of the red dot is to simulate trout eggs, further triggering an instinctive take among hatchery released trout, and sometimes even resident trout. Funny looking may be---effective now, yes!



HOOK:                   Mustad 9671 size 8 or similar

WEIGHT:            Tungsten beadhead

THREAD:              Brown 3/0 or 6/0

BODY:                   Deer or caribou; clipped to shape

SPOT:                    Revlon ruby red fingernail polish

Featured Fly: Davy Wotton Shad

leah kirk

Winter shad kill on lakes upstream from tailwater trout rivers in Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and Georgia are great news for fly fishermen. Lots of protein rich food is release into tailwater rivers and it does not go unnoticed by the biggest trout in these rivers. Davy Wotton’s Shad is tops for taking advantage of this feeding bonanza. It’s a dead ringer for distressed shad emerging from the turbines of a dam.

Hook:                    Pencil popper hooks – 2/0, 1, 2, 4

Thread:                006 monofilament

Lead wire:         .25 or .30 or (unweighted to stay on the surface)

Inner body:       Wing-n-flash / dubbed around the shank

Outer body:        Flexi – cord ¼ any color you desire. Pearl and pearl silver are the popular ones.

Gills:                      Dave Whitlock SLF minnow gill

Eyes:                      5/16”, 1/4 “

Featured Fly: Bloody Black Leech Streamer

leah kirk

Found in many southern tailwater rivers like the Little Red, it’s easy to overlook the leech as an important source of food for trout. Protein packed meaty morsels, leech are gobbled down by trout. This is especially true of late fall/early winter. The Bloody Black Leech pattern reminds me of a sort of wooly bugger fly masquerading in drag as a streamer fly pattern. Of course, this makes many wonder if fishing the Bloody Black Leech fly patterns should be called lechery (perish the thought...).

 Hook:                   #08-16 Tiemco 200R >>

Thread:                 Black UTC 70 >>

Tail:                        Black Woolly Bugger Marabou >>

Body:                     Bloody Black Leech STS Trilobal Dubbing


Featured Fly: BWO Soft Hackle

leah kirk

On most southern trout streams between late fall and winter, Blue-wing Olives are the dominant hatches encountered by fly fishermen. Sometimes trout react with vigor to BWO emergences, and sometimes they are a bit picky. The BWO Soft Hackle quartered downstream works wonders torpid trout.

Hook:                    standard wet fly hook such as Diichi 1550 - sizes 16 to 18

Thread:                 Uni light olive

Tail:                       pheasant tail fibers (half the body length)

Body:                     the tying thread

Hackle:                  gray partridge  

Rib:                        extra small copper wire

Thorax:                  pheasant tail fibers

Featured Fly: Shenk’s Cricket

leah kirk

Grasshopper fly patterns have become so popular on southern trout waters that many overlook the effectiveness of similarly tied cricket patterns. Our preferred cricket deceiver is Shenk’s Cricket. The brainchild of Ed Shenk, a Pennsylvanian fly tying guru, it is one of many patterns that carry his name, including the Letort Hopper and the Letort Cricket.


Hook:                    Dry 2XL, size 10-18

Thread                  Black 6/0

Body                      Black Fine & Dry dubbing

Underwing         Black goose quill segment

Wing/Head         Black deer hair

Featured Fly: Black Beauty Midge

leah kirk

The Black Beauty Midge is a popular cool/cold weather, western fly pattern that has made its way East with surprisingly little fanfare. The pattern was created to imitate a midge pupa, a common trout staple this time of year, especially tailwaters. It’s a very basic, easy-to-tie pattern that has many variations as you have colors of tread. Black or red or purple, they all are effective on many of southern trout streams and rivers. Midges are small in size (tied on #18 - #28 hooks), but trout eat large numbers of these little larvae. Think small when using a Black Beauty Midge, as the “smaller the hook size, the bigger the bite” will be from trout.

Hook:                    TMC 2487, 2488 or 101 in sizes 18- 24

Thread:                 8/0 Uni-Thread, Black (Black UTC 70 Denier for flies size 22 or larger)

Abdomen:           8/0 Uni-Thread, Black

Ribbing:                Fine copper wire

Thorax:                 Black beaver, rabbit, or Fine and Dry dubbing

Featured Fly: Mr. Rapidan Dry

leah kirk

The Mr. Rapidan Dry is the sire of a family of flies began in the early 1970’s at Murray’s Fly Shop in Edinburg, VA when two gentlemen in Harry Murray’s advanced fly fishing class at Lord Fairfax Community College came to the tie master with a simple request.

“They asked me if I could teach them to tie a dry fly that would float very well in the choppy mountain streams, that would mimic the major aquatic insects which hatch during the first several months of the season and that would be easy for them to see on the stream,” says Murray.  “I thought this was a great idea so I started experimenting.”


Virginia’s greatest fly fishing legend and most ingenious fly tier, Harry Murray has added to Southern Appalachian fly fishing more than anyone else in his great state. The Mr. Rapidan Dry evolved into what is without question the most significant contribution to the region’s rich fly fishing heritage. We all owe Murray’s sometimes overlooked accomplishments a heaping big southern thankie. 

Featured Fly: The Cooper Bug

leah kirk

The Cooper Bug is an easy-to-tie and highly effective pattern in southern freestone streams this time of year. It’s an old pattern of disputed origins. The Cooper Bug is generic in nature, trout can mistake this nymph for lots of different "stuff" including caddis, Iso’s etc. Plus, flies tied with peacock herl just seem to catch fish.

Hook:                    #14 Mustad 38941

Thread:                 black

Body:                     Peacock herl

Back/tail:             Caribou hair, trimmed at the eye of the fly

Featured Fly: Articulated Wooly Worms

leah kirk

Articulate streamer are quite popular these days. In a nutshell it is a two hook streamer with the trailing hooked connected to the lead hook with thick monofilament line. Articulated Wooly Worms are identical, except they are not streamers (although many fly fishermen present them “streamer style”). You can use the recipe below, or assimilate your favorite wooly worms’ pattern. One word of caution, though, some artificial only stream regulations specifically say “single hook flies or lures.” While you might convince yourself that the second hook is merely a very, very short dropper, odds are the person wearing a badge will say you are casting a two-hook fly. You will not win this argument. 


Hook:                    Front #10; Back #12 

Thread:                 Black 6/0

Tail:                        Burnt Orange Brown & Golden Yellow marabou (1X hook length)

                 Monoflash Pearl #202

Body:                    Brown or gray tone dubbing

Weight:                 Lead wire (under cone) and 3/16 gold cone head

Hackle:                 Brown and Yellow Saddle Hackl

Featured Fly: Packsaddle Wooly Worm

leah kirk

Anglers often encounter packsaddle caterpillars when these despicable worms fall from the branches of trees directly into the collar of their shirt.  Packsaddles are the larva of a moth common to southern trout fishing country. Other parts of the world call these caterpillars “saddlebacks,” but in the South they are typically referred to as “packsaddles.” Harmless looking, these caterpillars have a prominent white-ringed center that resembles a saddle. A pair of fleshy horns that along with body hairs secrete an irritating venom and causes a painful, swollen rash and sometimes nausea.

Trout are not negatively impacted by packsaddles that occasionally drop into the water. Like other meaty terrestrial meals that hit the surface, packsaddles meet a swift end. 

Hook:     Usually a streamer in 2X to 4X size 12 – 8

Thread:  Olive

Body:     Olive chenille

Hackle:   Stiff grizzly saddle hackle

Tail:        Red yarn