Healthy populations of small fresh water shrimp inhabit many of the Interior lakes of Western Canada. The wise fly fisherman carries several shrimp (scud) patterns in a variety of sizes and colours because this fly will often produce results when everything else fails! In fact, I have found the pattern to be so effective that I often try to obtain a sample of lake bottom weeds to check for shrimp size and colour. Green is the most common colour but I have seen shrimp in shades of gray, blue-gray, brown, beige and at certain times of the year, females may be carrying egg sacs showing a hint of orange. Another bonus of a lake containing shrimp is that usually the trout taste is far superior to that of fish feeding on leech or snails! This month, we will examine a favorite pattern of mine, the shellback shrimp.
I start by cutting thin strips of thin plastic, both green and clear, about 1/8 inch wide and as long as the hook shank. I like to use the green strips when using green hues for the body and clear when using others colours. To make the fly illustrated above, select enough green seal hair to form a medium body, place it in your dubbing loop, twist and then wrap forward hook bend to hook eye forming a slight cigar shaped body. As you wrap forward, push the hairs ends toward the hook bend. Next select a pre cut plastic strip and attach at the hook bend. The rib is formed by wrapping your invisible or green tying thread forward to the hook eye where you will tie off. If you are making a pattern with silver wire ribbing, you must attach the wire to the hook shank before starting on the body dubbing.
In most lakes, the shrimp size is often smaller than what you may expect. Fish the pattern with a sink tip or sinking line just above the weed beds with short, quick jerks in your retrieve between frequent pauses for best results.
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