Western still water anglers know the value of fishing shrimp or scud imitations. Many lakes have an abundance of these small darting crustaceans and because they are present throughout the year, are likely the most important food source for trout. In fact, the deep pink colour of rainbow trout flesh can be attributed to a healthy diet of these organisms. An added bonus to the fly fisherman is that when trout feed predominately on shrimp, you can almost always be sure of excellent sweet tasting fish, completely devoid of the oft times muddy taste when rainbows have been feeding on snails or leech.
Shrimp colour is largely a product of their environment. I have seen shrimp in shades of orange, brown, gray, and blue but the most common colour is green. The shade of green seems to depend on the underwater vegetation colour as this is the most common hiding place for shrimp. I always check the weed beds when first fishing a new lake, both to see if shrimp are in the weeds and if so, to carefully note their colour. Even if no shrimp are present in weeds near shore, I will try a shrimp imitation that matches the colour of the weeds as they could be in deeper water at that particular time of year. We will now look at one of the shrimp imitation classics, the Werner Shrimp, originally credited to a Vancouver fly tier, Mary Stewart and made famous by an avid Interior still water fisherman, Werner Schmid.
The original fly was started by tying in a clump of deer hair at the hook bend with the tips facing back or away from the hook eye but the fly can also be tied by attaching the deer hair root ends at the hook eye. Let's tie this fly by the original method, therefore cinch your deer hair clump at the hook bend, tips facing backward. At this spot, also attach an olive feather, tip first to the hook shank. Now form a dubbing loop with green seal hair and wind forward to the hook eye to form the underside of the body. Then wind or palmer the olive feather forward to the hook eye and tie off, ensuring that the fibres face slightly back towards the hook bend. Next select most of the deer hair and fold it over the body, cinching it down at the hook eye. The deer hair strands that are left form the tail of the fly. The final step is to trim any hackle fibres that stick upward, tie off, cement and you have finished the Werner Shrimp!
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