10/15 October Fishing Report

October Fishing Report

 We have already covered the fact that October is down right amazing.  This week we have been welcomed to the water with beautiful fishing conditions.  Slick water, cool weather, and sunshine that has no end.  Did I mention we have been starting at 8am? Yeah, 8am… Eat it August!  I love October.

On a scale of 1-10, 10 being spectacular sea run cutthroat Fishing and 1 being what happens when you try to fish in your bathtub… I’d say fishing is a full on 10.  The cutthroat are gobbling down anything we have tossed at them.

October Fishing

We have been finding most of our fish on intermediate lines pushed up on the shallows.  3-6′ of water has been our main target this week.  Have we found some in the depths? Sure have, but why bother when there are plenty pushed up shallow?  We have been using a wide variety of general baitfish patterns.  Mostly Money Makers in peach and orange or chartreuse and peacock.  As a bonus,  top water fishing has been awesome this October as the fish are pushed into the shallow water and more densely populated.  To round things out,  we have been fishing some worm flies  just to switch things up over the oysters.

To be honest, we have been having a lot of fun trying to see what the fish won’t eat.  They are not exactly picky… More like a vacuum than a traditional trout.

Coming up!

We have some great weather and fishing  the next couple of weeks.  Get your dates, a boat open on the 20th, 21st, 23rd, and 26th.  Let us know and we will get you on the water!

October Fishing Report

Future Dates

If you are going to miss out on October, I have a secret for you!  November is a lot like October… just a little later.  Fishing continues to be great, Cutthroat move closer to their estuaries, and we continue to have more fun than anyone else you know.

November 2nd, 6th, 10th, 13th, 16th and 18th.  Let us know, we would love to share the water with you all and show you why we love the fall out here on Hood Canal and Puget Sound!

October Fishing

Captain Mike’s Guide To Beating The Cold

Captain Mike’s Guide To Beating The Cold

(A brief note from Captain Justin: Captain Mike sent me this a bit ago and I have postponed posting this for when it gets cold. Now as it gets cooler I thought it would be more appropriate.   I don’t think there is a more qualified human being than Mike to do this.  Thanks man!  You are one of the best humans, fishing guides, and writers I know.


Your Wet You Don’t Have To be Cold

Raise your hand if you like to be cold.

(Brief scuffle ensues.)

Alright, now that the one madman is out of the room, we can have a reasonable conversation.

Reasonable is probably a relative term; I hate being cold. I loathe it. I would rather be waterboarded…

OK, that’s too far. (Also, I imagine any torturer worth their golf-cart battery would use ice-cold water.) But yeah, I really do not like to be cold. That being the truth, I have also spent 40+ years (20+ of those years professionally) pursuing sports which require frequent wettings, often in less than warm conditions. I have swum out of whitewater rafts in November and once guided West Virginia’s New River Gorge on a day when the high was 17°F. Was I chilly? Yes. Did I call off the day because it was cold? No, because I know how to dress so to be relatively comfortable in the wet and cold. OK, yes, also because it was February and I really needed a paycheck after starving through the winter… but that’s beside the point.

We Fish In Cold Water:

Individual bravado aside, here in the Pacific Northwest we fish in cold water, often with more cold water hanging in the air or falling from the sky. Perversely, those latter conditions can make for better fishing than we might find on a bright bluebird day. So we don’t get rained out; when we wake in the morning and see those clouds and wet air rolling in, we smile and our hopes begin to rise.

But then we walk outside and remember: It sucks to be cold.

It’s even worse to be wet and cold. Unfortunately, clambering through wet second-growth to get to a trout stream or chasing cutthroat from a boat in the driving rain means wet, or at least damp, is inevitable.

So, what’s the answer?

Step 1: Stay home on less-than-ideal-conditions days.

Just kidding, just kidding…

The real answer: Accept the inevitable, prepare, and remember that being wet does not mean that you have to be cold.

Eat right and stay hydrated:

(Disclaimer: Few reputable nutritionists would recommend as a daily diet the plan I’m about to lay out.)

Start with breakfast. Hell, start with dinner the night before. Make sure the engine of your metabolism has the fuel it needs to burn warming calories all day. A lot of carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Maybe twice what you would eat in a normal meal.

Drink water. Drink water before, during, and after your meal(s) and while you’re on the water. Without this step, all that food is just going to sit. Give your body the fluid volume it needs to carry all those calories and nutrients you’ve consumed.

Dress in layers and NO COTTON:

Old news, I’m aware, but news I see ignored on a daily basis. Cotton absorbs and holds more water than your body can effectively heat. And your goose-down jacket, when it gets wet, is going to lose loft, effectively negating its ability to keep you warm. It is the 21st century, though, so you have a ton of clothing fabric options that will retain heat when wet. Most of these are the newer synthetics, but there are a couple natural fibers that will also serve. Just, again, NO COTTON!

Think of your clothing as a capsule. The idea is to hold warm air in a bubble around your body while limiting the amount of moisture against your skin. If you can do that, even if you’re wet, you will stay warm.

Take a good look at the weather (both current and forecasted). The clothes you pick for that day should require no more than three layers, not counting rain gear. Fewer layers mean fewer options for regulating your temperature. More layers means… We all saw A Christmas Story, right? If you can’t put your arms down, how will you double-haul?

Example 1:

OK, so the forecast for the day is a high of 50°F, rain, no sun, and when you wake up at 4:00AM it’s 40°F with heavy fog. Time to lay out your clothes.

Your three layers consist of base, mid, and outer.


Your base should be tight to your body and of a material that will wick moisture away from your skin. This is where those natural fibers really shine: I like both Smartwool and silk. They’re both stretchy, very warm, and comfortable against the skin. There are also many synthetic choices of base layer. These have all the best properties of Smartwool and silk, but they also share one serious flaw: They retain, and maybe even magnify, smell. Just something to keep in mind for that end-of-the-day stop at the local eatery. Whichever you choose, make sure to tuck your shirt into your long underwear when you dress. Skipping this step will mean lost heat every time you bend over.


The mid-layer should be tight but a little less-form fitting than your base. On the upper half, this is the layer on which I like to have a hood. Also, if the day warms, this is often the layer you end up wearing as the outer-most layer, so consider a fabric with some wind stopping ability.


The outer layer is the big warm air reservoir. Patagonia’s Nano jackets and pants come to mind. When you are first trying on this layer at the store, make sure it fits properly over the layers you plan to put underneath. Too tight, you’ll actually squeeze out some of that warm air; too loose and you will get too much air movement, like a drafty house.

Typically, on a day like I’ve described above, I would wear two layers on the bottom (long underwear and my Patagonia Shelled Insulator pants) and three layers on the top (long-sleeve undershirt, medium-weight hoodie, and a synthetic-down jacket). My rain bibs would go under my outer jacket; my rain jacket would top everything. If I was stream fishing, the outer jacket would go inside my waders to avoid it getting soaked if I waded deep. Then my rain Jacket over everything.

Ultimately, what you want is to be able to regulate your temperature by adding or losing layers. With that in mind…

You Do Not Want To Sweat!

Go back and read that line again, it’s important. What is the purpose of sweating? To cool us. If you dress so warmly that you sweat, you will eventually get cold. This is more a concern when stream fishing, where the day often starts with a hike to the river. On these days, you should be almost cold when you start out; you’ll warm as you walk. If you get out of the guide’s truck and feel comfortable standing there at the trailhead, shed a layer or two.

It’s a different story on the boat. Running in an open boat at 35mph creates a 35mph wind. If you are comfortable when the boat is sitting still, the wind chill is going to make you cold once the throttle is wide open. I often find that the best answer to this is just adding my rain jacket over the clothes I’m already wearing. This creates an effective wind block and lets my clothing hold onto the air that my body worked so hard to warm.

As to that raingear… Jacket over bibs or waders. This is the layer that keeps us from getting soaked by cold rain or melting snow. It is also the outer layer of our warm-air bubble. A breathable, waterproof, (Gore-Tex, etc.) fabric keeps the rain off while also letting out the steam made by our working bodies. Nylon and rubberized fabrics do well keeping the water out, but they hold in the steam. Eventually, this will make you wet, which will make you cold.

Forget about staying one hundred percent dry:

I have yet to find any outfit—including a custom-made drysuit—that kept me fully dry. What we want is an outer shell that keeps the great majority of rain or snowmelt out while allowing the bit that does get in to run back out. While the shell is d

oing its job, our inner clothing should wick moisture away from our skin, not hold onto excess water, and fit in a way that allows air to be held and warmed by our metabolism.

It’s The Accessories That Really Make The Outfit:

We’re talking about those little touches here.

Hat. Your head, face, and neck have a large surface area, roughly two square feet, about the same as your back. Would you want to be outside in the cold with your entire back exposed to the elements? No? Then wear a warm hat.

A buff or scarf. In the boat, as I said, you get cold while running. Your neck is a big hole in the top of your upper layer, letting that 35mph wind get in and steal your warm air. A buff or scarf makes an excellent baffle in that hole and can be pulled up over your lower face while running.

Gloves. Can you stand them? If so, wear them. I wear them, but I also buy the best-fitting, fingerless, gloves that I can find. If you’re going to handle a fish, take them off first. The gloves will stay dry, your hands will stay warm, and you won’t pull slime off the fish. This is good for the fish, and for the way your gear bag smells the next time you open it.


Justin was mocking my socks-under-sandals look just the other day.   Side note: My feet, which were in and out of the water all day, were toasty warm. In the winter, I’ll wear rubber boots, but only once it’s miserably cold out and only when guiding. If I’m actually fishing, I’ll still rock the wool socks and sandals, the latter of which will get kicked off once I have a rod in hand. I hate to be cold, but I refuse to bomb a perfect cast only to find I’m standing on my running line. If you do wear rubber boots on the boat, make sure you can kick them off with minimal work. This is a matter of safety. Swimming in rubber boots is, well… let’s just say difficult.

Avoid alcohol:

Alcohol dilates your distal blood vessels, allowing heat loss through your skin. (That being said, once I’m back in the warmth, nothing chases off the inner chill like a glass of Redbreast neat, just in case anyone is thinking of tipping with anything other than cash. Justin, I hear, likes Don Julio.) Leave the beer in the cooler and drink some more water instead. On that note…

Pee When You Feel The Urge:

You’re drinking water, right?  Well then, your kidneys will make pee. If you hold onto it, your body will lose heat into your bladder. Yes, man or (especially, sorry) woman, it is a chilling, difficult, task in cold weather while wearing all that clothing, but after you’re done, you’ll be warmer.


Like undressing a little to urinate, eating will actually make you feel colder (This is due to the food being less than body temperature, compounded by your body’s shunting of blood to your digestive tract to deal with this new load of food.)  but you have to keep the engine fueled up.  If you ate enough for breakfast, intermittent snacks will probably get you through.  I like Clif bars.  High energy, portable, and if you keep them in a mid-layer pocket they’ll be warm and gooey, which makes for a nice treat on a cold day.


This is what happens when you get too cold.  Despite all our preparations, it can happen, and it can be life-threatening.  Know the signs (clumsiness, confusion, slowed breathing, shivering or, worse, cessation of shivering without being warmed) and be willing to call it a day well before things reach this point.  Fishing is awesome, but it’s not worth dying for.

Parting Wisdom:

River or boat, there are a few things you should add to your cold-day gear list. Mostly these come down to safety. I like to have a way to start a fire (You should beach and get out of the boat first, btw.), extra water, extra food, emergency warming blanket, and one more layer than I think I could possibly need. In the boat, I also suggest wearing an auto-inflating Personal Floatation Device (Mustang makes several excellent options.). I wear one even on warm days, but on a cold day, wearing ten pounds of clothing, with ocean temperatures often in the high 40°F’s, life-expectancy in the water can be measured in minutes. A PFD is, literally, a lifesaver in this situation.

Being prepared for a cold day will not only let you get on the water more days, it will make those days safer and much more enjoyable. Winter brings some truly large fish up out of the depths into fly fishing range. It also chases a lot of people off the water, which results in less pressure on those big fish. And when you’re home, showing people the pictures of the netted monsters, you’ll get that question: “You were out on the water today?”

And you won’t be lying when you say, modestly, “Aww, it really wasn’t that cold.”

Renaming October- Fishtober

Renaming October- Fishtober

October is always a bitter sweet month to be a fishermen in Puget Sound.  The fishing is always pretty good out in Puget Sound, but it does not get better than October.  Sure spring is great, summer is fantastic, and Winter has amazing flats fishing… But October… Oh goodness.  Fishing in October is down right perfect (November is pretty sweet as well).  However,  there are a few down sides…  October marks the end of any hope for flip flops and shorts.  It ends any hope of the occasional bikini hatch at the resorts (I hear the comments from the dirty old guys!). No more swimming when we take a break for a snack. All of that aside, it’s perfect fishing, and I suppose what more could we ask for?

October slob

Get To The Point Will Ya!

What makes October perfect for fishing?  Well, I have asked myself this for about 8 years now.  I think after a ton of contemplation I am finally ready to say… It’s complicated.  Cold weather, less bait, concentrated fish, experience.

Chill Pill

Let’s start with Octobers weather, it’s unpredictably predictable.   October will average air temps in the  50’s.  Which means we will see similar air temperatures to sea run cutthroats favorite water water temperatures.   In conclusion there will not be a die off in the feeding throughout the day.  In contrast, July is wonderful, but once the mercury peaks, we are probably done with the best fishing for the day.

October Bend

Fish Snacks

Moving on from weather, is food sources.  October sees a decrease in baitfish from Septembers endless supply of fatty protein. The fish are still fat and happy, and obviously still well fed.  However,  the pickiness you see in late august/early september is completely void in October.  If you are going to be forced to put shoes on to go fishing for the first time of the year, you might as well fish to happy slob fish.

October Is For Concentration

Continuing on down the list… I always say October is the perfect time of year to fish for Sea Run Cutthroat, this is only true if you find them.  Cutthroat concentrate together way more in October-December.  In the summer we do these endless drifts down shorelines fishing every pocket and piece of structure.  When October hits (the first big cold spell) we notice that the fish concentrate more on certain spots.  Will we catch a single fish once in a while if we drift? Sure! Often though, you will find vacant beaches where we fish in the summer. Those fish have moved onto their cold weather holds. However, if you find the pods of feeders, we tend to double up, or have a dozen fish follow the fly in.  This is the time of year we will have a small fish eaten off the line by a larger cutthroat.

October Doctor

Time Served

Last is experience.  When we first started fishing for cutthroat we were stuck to the beach.  We fished the public (and often private) beaches that we knew we could pull a few fish.  The cold weather would come and some of these beaches would be best suited for contemplating life, and others would all of a sudden make you feel like a fishing god.  As we started exploring more, spending more time on the water, and getting off the beach, it became clear how these fish behave, and we started growing opinions on why.   This is a great time of year to pay attention to the successes and failures on the water.  October changes things out there more than any other time of the year.

October is here, we are stoked. To be completely honest, all of the cold months are pretty wonderful.  We will give you the tips on how to take advantage of it soon.




Mike Lawson recently had to write a similar thing to what I am writing about now, and when I read it, I thought… “Well, that is shame that that even needed to be written.”  I hope my attempt is received in the good nature that it is intended. Full disclosure Mike is much more qualified to write this than myself.  However our fishery is fairly new, and the “elders” are not doing a fair job of explaining what guiding means in Puget Sound.

Quick Background

I am a pretty lucky guy.  Fly Fishing has been my career now for the entirety of my adult life.  For the past quite a few years now I have been guiding for Sea Run Cutthroat Trout in Puget Sound and Hood Canal.  Between that and tying flies this is the only way I make an income.  I have lived in a car, eaten leftover guide lunches, cried, ruined relationships, and perhaps most devastating disappointed my mom to become a professional fly fishing guide.

I met my fiancée Brita, who brought my children into my life, while guiding Puget Sound years ago.  We have spent countless nights tying flies for our guide boxes and filling orders for custom flies ever sense.  To be honest, most days I have to pinch myself at the dream life that I have.  Between Brita and Myself we have 24 years in the fly-fishing industry. Our lives are 100% paid for by fly fishing. Between Guiding, teaching, fishing, speaking, tying, and the business end, most of my day 365 days a year, are spent entrenched in the fly fishing world.  To say we hold it dearly is a massive understatement.


Brita’s a rockstar!

The Big Issue

Recently, I have seen a handful of folks claim that fly fishing guides are overly exploiting the Puget Sound fishery.  Which, really is up to interpretation if I am going to be honest.  However, I think a lot of this comes from a misunderstanding of how guiding in Puget Sound has evolved over the years and who is actually guiding.  I suppose it could also stem from a bad egg acting like an idiot on the water as well, however, thats a completely different issue.

I fully understand how someone could look at a Instagram post or see someone zipping by in a boat and assume they are strictly exploiting a fishery for their own gain… In a nutshell you would be right to say that in that moment.  However, truth be told, we spend a ton of time, money, and effort to give back to the community/fish/ and environment that has supported us. We are very aware and cautious of our impact on the fishery, and environment.

I have seen a lot change over the years in how guiding is viewed in Puget Sound.  I have been fortunate enough to share the water with countless numbers of clients and almost always ask their opinion of Washington Fly Fishing.  Also, I’ve seen the way guiding is handled in Puget Sound change a lot in the last 10 years.  Much of your new guides are coming at the business from a part time standpoint rather than a full time PROFESSIONAL fishing guide. This starts to have an appearance of a lot of pressure on the fish, however these guys are not actually guiding more than a few days a year.



Balding From The #GuideLife

Let’s Break This Down 

In Puget Sound there are MAYBE 22 “fishing guides”… To put that into perspective a outfitter in Montana will typically have that amount of guides on staff… There are typically many outfitters per river in Montana.  The big issue with saying their is only 22 fishing guides in Puget Sound is what constitutes a fishing guide in Washington?  Let’s assume this means legal, licensed guides, mostly working the waters of Puget Sound.

In Washington State a Fishing guide has to pay ~$400 (game fish only), prove (for the day of the issuing) that he/she has liability insurance, and take a first aid class. I am going to estimate that 22 folks have this license and are mostly guiding on Puget Sound.  That’s including a few guides that I know hold a license and hardly work at all.

These numbers are again estimates, however I am pretty well informed on days spent guiding on Puget Sound.  I am going to be generous to the numbers here and be optimistic towards the careers of those calling themselves guides.  There are probably of that estimated 22 fishing guides 11 that work more than 30 days a year,  6 that work more than 60 days a year, and 4 that work 100 or more days a year… and MAYBE 2 that work more than 150 days a year and if that is true, I am one of those two. So, what am I breaking down?  On the average day, there is more “Do it yourself” fishermen down at Purdy Spit than there are fly fishing guides working in the entirety of Puget Sound.


Jacob Is Awesome

The Truth About Guiding

It is almost impossible to luck into being a career fly fishing guide.  This is strictly a career of passion.  Being a passionate angler almost guarantees you are an advocate for the fishery.  Like it or not, our clients use us as the voice of the fishery.  Puget Sound is fortunate to have a lot of caring fishermen willing to put their money, time and effort into protecting it.  However those fishermen need to be able to hear about the issues at hand. How is the average fishermen going to learn about the issues?  The average guy working 40hr/wk is not going to go home and email his customers about whats going on in the world of Puget Sound fishing.  The average fly fishermen gets his information from his guide, or his fly shop.

A guide knows not everyone is going to sign up for a trip.  However,  if you write a working guide an email or give them a call he/she will give you a up to date fishing report.  Most will discuss conservation, fish ID, beach access… Whatever you need.  I write reports for multiple fly fishing clubs in the area and host tying events whenever they ask. Furthermore, I also spend a night every month writing congressmen and WDFW about local issues and concerns about our fishery.  Most guides are advocates of their local fishing community.  Whats good for the masses is usually inline with what’s good for the guide business.

Giving Back 

I can only speak for myself typically, however, I will lump in 3 other guides into this.    For the last few years the Coastal Cutthroat Coalition has been around. I know for a fact David Dietrich, Ben Zander, Brita Fordice, and myself have donated well over $10,000 worth of trips, flies, swag, and time.  We have also informed our clients of their work and the work of Puget Sound Keeper, Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement, Long Live The Kings, and other conservation efforts that they might be interested in participating in. We have also pitched plenty of ideas to Coastal Cutthroat Coalition to help raise more research dollars.

Social Media 

Like it or not, social media has become a big part of our everyday lives as fishermen.

 #KeepEmWet has literally changed the way 1,000s of fishermen handle their fish. Solely because a few fishing guides (Dave McCoy was the first I saw) decided they would lead by example.  Not bad when you consider Tarpon anglers in Florida are doing the same as Steelhead guides in British Columbia now. Guides have a responsibility to protect their lively hood.  Typically this means protecting their respective fishery and environment.

Another program started to protect the environment and spread by guides has been #KickPlastic! We went from a flat of water bottles a week down to 4 a year on our boat.  This was just because of a social media campaign spread by fishing guides. Now almost all of our clients bring reusable water bottles.

The People’s Fish

Running a guide service in Washington has been a dream of mine since I can remember.   We take it very seriously to give back to the communities that support us. We do free casting lessons in the summer at Alderbrook Resort.  Also, we send our clients to the local markets and restaurants in the area to do their shopping. In addition to supporting the local tourism and clubs in raising money to keep a healthy community.  Not to mention we inform people of the gear they might want to buy from their local fly shop… But most of all we fish.

We love fishing Puget Sound. We love sharing it with anyone who will come along or listen to/read our fish stories. I want to know about it if one of our guides are being unprofessional on the water so we can fix the issue.  If it is a guide you don’t know,  I will find out and help mediate the issue.  If there is something you wish guides would consider please email me and we can talk it out. We have a lot to lose living this #GuideLife.

Brita’s Fly Tying Classes

Brita’s Fly Tying Classes:

Brita has a couple of fly tying classes coming up in February!  We don’t do as many of these as we wish we did, so we decided to pick it up a notch.

Fly Tying Class

First, her intermediate saltwater fly tying class will be on February 10th.  This class will cover Chum Fry, Poppers, worms, and baitfish. This will be a 4 hour class from 3-7pm in  the Bremerton/Silverdale area. Call or email for more details.

Fly Tying Class Chum Fry

Also, she will be holding a class on Flat-wing flies on February 24th. This will also be a 4 hour class from 3-7pm in the Bremerton/Silverdale area.  I can not think of anyone more qualified to teach a class on these dynamic, beautiful, and effective flies.  Call or email for more details.

For both of these classes we will supply all materials, instruction, and some refreshments, The cost of the classes will be $150.  Please bring your own vises and basic fly tying tools or let us know so we can supply them. We announced the classes yesterday on social media, and have 3 spots left for Intermediate Fly Tying, and 2 spots left for the Flat Wing Flies.  For all the materials or tools you would like to bring check out The Avid Angler to grab what you need!

Fly Tying Class Flat Wing

Stay tuned for more up coming classes!


Simple Shrimp Step By Step

Simple Shrimp Step By Step

This is a great shrimp pattern that does not take long to tie.  Unless you are shooting video and hit a rough patch in your thread, a squirrel jumps into the frame, you are fighting sneezing, and you don’t grab enough dubbing for your loop.  This pattern is pretty simple, and the Cutthroat love it.  Our previous blog about the importance of fishing shrimp patterns instantly got a lot of feed back, so we thought we would add a step by step.

Tiers Notes:

To get started, this pattern utilizes a couple techniques that are worth pointing out:

  • First, the base of the tail has UV Estaz wrapped a couple of times around the shank.  This technique keeps the tail propped up and eliminates the craft fur from fouling around the bend of the hook.
  • Second, the tail is a blend of different craft furs.  This blending of the craft fur gives a deep 3D look and adds some realism to the fly.
  • Last, I want to point out to those new to tying with EP or Mono eyes is tying them ontop of another material and bending or creasing the mono outwards.  If you tie EP eyes straight to the shank you will never see the eyes.  However, if you tie them overtop of another material, it forces them outwards.  Add a little crease to the tie in spot, and the eyes will stick out to the sides.


Hook- Ahrex NS156 Traditional Shrimp #6

Bead-  Gold fit to hook

Thread- Ultra Thread 70 Orange (old spool from under the dresser)

Simple Shrimp


Prop/Base- UV Estaz White

Tail- Craft Fur Blend- White, Pink, Yellow

Over Wing- Senyo Predator Wrap- Pink

Feelers- White sparkly Sili Legs

Eyes – EP Eyes Amber Small

Shell- Krystal Flash- Rootbeer

Dubbing- Senyo Fusion Dub- Emerald, Ice Dub UV-Shrimp Pink


Quick Step By Step:

1.) Add Bead to the Hook and start thread. Wrap back to bend of hook.

2.) Tie in UV Estaz and wrap 2-3 times tightly to give base to the tail.

3.) Tie in blend of Craft Fur right against the last wrap of Estaz to create your tail.

4.) Tie in Rubber legs. Fold in half and tie in 3/4 towards the tail and the last 1/4 in a loop towards the eye.  Tie in then fold loop forward, secure with a few wraps, cut.

5.)Add over wing of UV Predator wrap over the Craft Fur and Rubber Legs

6.) Tie in EP eyes ontop of the rubberlegs and tail. secure well and then crimp the eyes against the first thread wrap.

7.) Tie in Krystal flash in the middle and fold back towards tail.  We will come back to this at the end.

8.) Make a dubbing loop long enough to wrap to the eye.

9.) Spin up your dubbing blend and wrap to the bead, tie off and trim up.

10.) Fold 3/4 of the krystal flash tightly over the dubbing and tie in right behind the bead.

11.) Whip finish and glue.


Full disclosure, I have no idea what I did to make this video, but the music is obnoxious and it cuts the whip finish out of the video.  The completed fly is at the top of the page.

Shrimp Flies

Shrimp Flies

Brita Shrimp Fly

Brita’s Flatwing Spey

I grew up fishing for Redfish and Sea Trout on the Gulf Coast of Florida.  When we choose to fish with bait we used shrimp bought at McRae’s Bait House at McRae’s Marina.  This gem of a bait shop is in Good Ol’ Homosassa Florida.  It just so happened when we fished shrimp we caught tons of bi-catch. Redfish, snook, snapper, grouper, ladyfish…. You get the point.

When I moved to Bellingham I started fishing on the famed “S” Rivers with a Spey rod.  I was (stupidly) shocked to hear that a popular bait for Steelhead was Shrimp! Turns out, if it swims in saltwater, it eats shrimp.

As I gained a little skill at the vise and a little more knowledge of swinging for steelhead my favorite flies became the General Practitioner variations and other “Shrimpy” Spey Flies.  As most Steelhead flies represented “something moving to gain the fishes attention” I always liked my flies to, in theory, look like food.

Sea Run Cutthroat also are a Anadromous Trout, that spends most of it’s life running the shorelines of Puget Sound and Hood Canal. Furthermore, Sand shrimp spend most of their life in these regions, yet, fly fishermen seldom tie flies that represent these soft tasty morsels.  Sand Shrimp flies are a go to for me in the winter months when the bait fish are a little more scarce and the tides are big.  Also, Sand Shrimp tend to be a great fast current pattern.

No bait source is more overlooked when it comes to Sea Run Cutthroat than the Shrimp.  Shrimp Flies are fun to tie, effective, and extremely underutilized.   As a matter of fact, I would guess that the Delia Squid or the Cone Head Wooly Bugger are both eaten often as shrimp.  I’ve never seen schools of 2″ long squid swimming around. However, I have seen cutthroat throw up mouth fulls of sand shrimp into the net.

Here are some tying tips when it comes to your shrimp flies:

  • Add weight in just behind the eye to get the diving motion.
  • You can make your own shrimp eyes with Loon Thick and some mono
  • Buying EP eyes is way faster than making shrimp eyes with Loon Thick and Mono
  • Less is more with the body. Creating the Illusion of bulk without a bulky body will allow the fly to swim naturally.
  • Cutthroat are not bonefish, don’t tie a fly made to sit on the bottom, our bottoms don’t give flies back.
  • Rubber Legs… Trust me on this one.
  • Ahrex makes a GREAT shrimp hook

Pepper Shrimp Flies

Here are some tips on fishing shrimp flies:

  • Shrimp are not baitfish, Strip-Strip-Pause is a better retrieve.
  • Shrimp get washed into the current, don’t be afraid to swing them or high stick them in the fast tidal rips.
  • Remember the slower retrieve will let your fly sink, when at all possible the floating line helps keep it off the bottom.
  • Cast or drift the flies into the buckets of the creek mouths, thats where these flies really shine.

Epoxy Shrimp Flies