The green woollybugger that we previously tied is one of my favorite trout flies but a similar fly, the woolly worm, is also one of my favorite steelhead flies! As December rolls around and as all true fishermen desparately try to avoid the commercial hype of Christmas for as long as possible, thoughts of steelhead come to mind. Strong, bright silver fish begin entering the lower mainland rivers such as the Vedder and the more northerly streams such as the Kalum and Bulkley are well into their steelhead season.
A few years ago when I lived in Prince George, I drove out to the Bulkley for a late fall steelhead fishing trip. I had the good fortune to meet a local angler from Houston, Art Dyksdra, who on that day, was the only other fisherman in the vicinity. He kindly offered to take me and my small dog, Pepper, out in his 14 foot aluminum boat in order to reach several pools that were inaccessable by direct wading. I gladly accepted his offer and furthermore, he fly fished the water through each pool that we tried after me! He was using a black woolly worm on a sink tip line. I did not land a single fish that day even though I had first crack at the holding water but Art, following me, landed and released 3 beautiful steelhead! From that day on, I have been a fan of the black steelhead woolly worm which we will examine in this month's fly tying article.
For fast water, wind in a few turns of lead near the hook eye. I usually have both weighted and unweighted woolly worms in my flybox! After attaching your tying thread to the hook shank, tie in a short tail, no more than 1/4 inch, of radiant pink yarn although you can experiment with many different colors. Then secure a short fibered grizzly hackle, tip first, at the tail. Before wrapping the hackle forward, attach a piece of medium black chenille to the hook shank and tightly wind it forward to the hook eye and half hitch it in place there. The final step is to carefully wrap the grizzly hackle forward to the hook eye and tie off. If you use invisible thread as your tying material, it is possible to wind the invisible thread back and forth through the hackle to make the fly hackle much more durable to the rigours of casting and fish strikes! A turn or two of peacock herl at the head is optional to complete this very effective steelhead fly.
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