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N. Shore Steelhead/ Salmon Flies


mitch

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I went to the N. Shore for the first time last spring and this year I would like to use my flyrod. Does anyone have any fly recommendations?

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Hey Mitch, you can find a lot of info in the duluth forum but I guess i can probally save you some time and help you out right here. First off, flyfishing for lake run fish on the north shore is probally much different than the fly-fishing you are used to. My go to presentation is a yarn-fly with some lead about a foot up. All i do is snell a hook and place two peices of yarn in your loop and trim. Once the water becomes low and clear i will switch to bug patterns like the superior x legs, stoneflys, pheasant tails, and small wooly buggers. there are many many patterns that will catch steelhead those are just a start. many people think that to catch a steelhead on a fly you need to be throwing something big and ugly, but the flies i use are the same size of slightly bigger than the flies i throw at stream trout. I don't know what size your current fly rod is but you are going to want at least a 6 wt rod. (although i prefer a 7 or 8) Fly fishing the north shore consists of short casts and bouncing the bottom with lots of snags, don't get frusterated, even the best steelheaders lose lots of flies up here. If you need any more help feel free to e-mail me at [email protected] and keep an eye on the duluth forum, i'll be posting a north shore steelhead "how to" to help fishermen like yourself.

good luck this spring

ps is your avatar located on a certain breakwall not to far north of me? nice coho!

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Mitch - Egg patterns are the most commonly used flies. In the fly shop they are known as glow bugs. If you want to dress up your tippet with a little more exciting fly try throwing in some stoneflies and egg sucking leeches.

You will need some weight to get down to the fish in the fast-flowing rivers up here. Weighted flies are one option, but I prefer to put split shot on my tippet since that causes fewer snags than weighted flies. Another advantage to weighting your line is that you can adjust the amount of lead to fit the conditions.

Good luck!

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Thanks for the info. I check the Duluth forum regularly and I see a lot of your posts. My fly rod is a 7 wt. it's a little big for the fish around my area so I figured it should pick on something its own size. I have a few woolly buggers and pheasant tails so I will start looking around for the others. I don't quite understand the yarn flies. Do you just tie a couple bright colored pieces of yarn to a hook? How much yarn?

Yes the pic is from Two Harbors. I must have gotten lucky because it sounds like you have to pay your dues to catch anything. I had another follow that was a lot bigger. I'm guessing it was a laker or something else.

Thanks for the help

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if tying a yarn fly sounds a bit too complicated, like tie flyer said, a egg pattern (or glo bug) can be purchased at any fly shop or gander mtn type store and accomplish basically the same thing. however if you want to learn how to tie a yarn fly you could probally do a search and find somewhere with pics to show you how. basically all you do is snell a hook, put a couple of half inch peices of yarn through the loop your snell creates and trim the yarn into a small ball. i prefer this method since i lose a lot of flies to the rocky bottoms of north shore steams and it is a lot quicker to snell a hook then it is to tie an egg pattern behind the vice. either way will work.

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You said you use the same flies for steelhead as regular trout only bigger. How much bigger, a size or two? I'm just going through my stuff to see what I need to get.

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I also am fairly new to loopers and am trying to get ready for when they head up the rivers. What exactly is a superior x legs? I've been trying to find a picture, but I can't. Is it similar to a madam x?

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depending on what fly i'm throwing i will use flies anywhere from a size 8 to a size 16 also depending on how active the fish are and what the water level and clarity is like (clear slow water = smaller flies). as for the superior x legs legs pattern, it looks similar to a hare's ear or a PT with two rubber legs crossing under the wing case. i have seen them tied in a few different styles and i know people have their own preferences in which one they like better. I have the pattern around here somewhere and i will post it whenever i find it. if you aren't into tying your own flies, any fly shop near lake superior will surely have a few and will be more than happy to help you out.

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This is how I tie the X-Legs. Lots of variations on a theme but this one is simple and effective. It is one of 8 or so patterns that I fish regularly for steelhead and loopers.

Hook - TMC 5262, 6-12

Thread - 6/0, brown

Tail - Grizzly Marabou, brown

Wire - Copper wire, medium

Abdomen - Brown SLF

Thorax - Brown SLF

Legs - Sili-Legs, Brown

Wingcase - None

Bead - Optional - 1/8, Gold

1 - Slide bead onto hook (tapered side back).

2 - Tie in marabou so tail starts at bend in hook and extends distance equal to hook gap.

3 - Tie in copper wire at base of tail.

4 - Spin SLF onto thread in a tight, long bunch.

5 - Wrap onto hook to 1/3 behind hook eye.

6 - Wrap copper wire forward to 1/3 behind eye, cut and tie off.

7 - Spin SLF onto thread in a loose, short bunch.

8 - Wrap onto hook to build back half of thorax.

9 - Tie in legs on both sides.

10 - Dub between front and rear legs on each side to give some separation.

11 - Dub in front of front leg and up to bead.

12 - Tie off.

Best fished with a dead drift so the legs can float free and wiggle around. Tie it with long legs and then trim them on the stream to the length you want, typically just short of the bend in the hook. Check the fly now and then to make sure the legs are clear from the hook and sticking out to the side.

Lota Lota...

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Thanks for providing the recipe, LL. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the folks at the Superior Fly Angler developed this fly. It's listed as such in the book Trout Flies of the East . There's another thread going about the value of local fly shops. I think this is further evidence of that value.

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It was not developed by the SFA guys but WAS developed for the Superior watershed by a very well known local fisherman (who shall remain anonymous on this board unless he wants to introduce himself). The guys at SFA can either get you the supplies to tie the fly or fill your box with the finished product though. It wouldn't be a bad idea to pick up a finished bug as a model and then the supplies to tie them up.

Lota Lota...

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