Step-by-step instructions on how to tie two realistic, simple patterns that fool trout looking for a protein-packed meal.
[by Baron Zahuranec]
SOMETIMES THE SIMPLEST, MOST PRODUCTIVE FLIES are not the first ones out of our fly box. As fly anglers, we’re typically looking to solve some great fishing quandary or match the hatch, which is a shame because that means we’re likely overlooking one of the most abundant meals in the water. Quite simply, eggs and worms are the ‘bacon and eggs’ of a trout’s diet, especially when fish are looking for high-protein meals.
What’s even better is egg and worm flies are simple, quick ties. They don’t require the nimble fingers or delicate precision of a well-hackled size 18 blue-winged olive parachute pattern, and the materials don’t cost an arm and a leg.
Two flies I’ve created for just such occasions are the Wonder Worm and Egg Salad. These two fly-box mainstays represent food sources trout encounter more often than most anglers think.
Worms are an easy and welcome meal during spring runoff or after a heavy rain, and while there are many different species of aquatic worms, most fishermen are accustomed to what they impaled on a hook when they were 10 years old, wiggling red worms plucked from flower beds. Because high water is often stained, you can often get away with fishing a pattern that’s a little larger and brighter—they’re easier for fish to spot in murky water and why the Wonder Worm has a bright pink “hot spot.”
Egg flies are great to tie on when fish are spawning, which often coincides with the same high-water periods mentioned above. Not all the eggs deposited by a female fish find protection in a gravel redd; the current sends many downstream where they’re an easy meal for other fish. Dry, the Egg Salad pattern doesn’t look much like an egg, but when it’s wet, the yarn fibers melt together into a convincing, translucent egg shape.
THE WONDER WORM
The Wonder Worm is a segmented, shimmering trout magnet. It isn’t long and supple like a San Juan Worm tied with chenille. Instead, it uses Hareline’s UV Chewee Skin to give it a short, stubby, chunky look of its own.
I screened water for a couple seasons during high-water events and eventually came to realize there are more worm-like creatures in the flow than I initially thought. Turn over rocks in the riffles to see what kinds of worms are in your local waters. You should notice not all of them are shaped or colored like traditional garden worms.
The chunky Wonder Worm pattern has a realistic, life-like profile and the fluorescent underbody shows through the Chewee Skin and gives it somewhat of a translucent effect. Because most fish can see different wavelengths of light, using UV materials can give flies a distinct glow that trout can see under the water’s surface, helping the pattern stand out from naturals.
Depending on the hook size, I’ll usually use a 1/8”-wide strip of Chewee Skin. Using a thinner piece makes the material too weak to wrap around the hook. For added insurance, add a small dab of Super Glue to the hook shank before you start wrapping to help keep the Chewee Skin in place. Keep each wrap of skin tight over the previous and be sure each wrap slightly overlaps the one before it. Pink and orange are my favorite colors, but tan, rust and brown also make great worm imitations.
If you find you want to make a stronger pattern, rib the fly with mono. Since the skin is somewhat brittle it starts to come apart after a trout’s fine teeth scar the fly. The mono does a good job of holding the fly together and keeping it fishable for more than just a few trout. It also helps accentuate the segmentation along the length of the pattern.
HOOK: TMC 400T or similar, sizes 8 to 12.
WEIGHT: 10 to 12 wraps of .020 lead-free wire.
THREAD: Fire Orange Uni-Thread, 8/0.
HOT SPOT: Florescent Pink unwaxed Uni-Thread, 8/0.
BODY: 1/8” thick strip of pink, orange, cream or glow-in-the-dark UV Chewee Skin.