How To Fish Stillwaters

August 18th, 2003

Stillwaters, lakes, ponds and reservoirs are the most underutilized fisheries in the North America. Why? Because the average fly fisher doesn't know how to fish them, or where to start. Stay tuned, you too can master stillwaters! ~ LadyFisher

Sheep Creek Special
(a.k.a. The Biggs Fly)

By Marv Taylor, Garden City, ID

The pattern in the photograph below is of the original Sheep Creek as provided me in the spring of 1970 by its originator, George Biggs. During the past four or five years, I have changed the pattern by placing the wing underneath as a beard, and by adding a very short wing stub of mallard flank.

Sheep Creel Special (a.k.a. The Biggs Fly)

    Hook:  Mustad 9672 (or 3XL equivalent), 6 - 16, weighted or unweighted.

    Thread:  Black 6/0, prewaxed.

    Tail:  Brown or brown furnace saddle or neck hackle, 3 wraps, flared.

    Body:  Dark-olive (peacock) chenille (or peacock herls), sizes medium to extra small. Depending on hook size.

    Wing:  Mallard flank fibers, 15 or 20, bunched to reach just short of the tail.

    Head:  Dark-olive 6/0 Flymaster (the color is best with Denville's Flymaster) on unweighted. Black on weighted.

I like it tied this way because it tends to hide the hook point (at least in my mind). I like the wing stub, especially on smaller sizes, because it adds that bit of white I think we need on sizes 12 through 16 (for midge pupas).

Since I first began promoting this pattern, in my newspaper columns, books, and magazine column (in the original FLY TYER magazine), I have received more feedback on this pattern than all of the rest of the flies I've written about put together. I believe the Sheep Creek, Stayner Ducktail, and Blonde Stayner are three of the best stillwater fly patterns ever tied.

I tie a number of variations. I change the body with: Peacock herls, Black & burnt orange chenille, Black & tan chenille, Dark olive & gold (yellow) chenille, Pheasant-tail fibers, Canadian brown mohair, and black chenille. During the past two or three years, the black variation has been my number two Sheep Creek. I use black hackle for the tail and the standard natural mallard flank wing. I often use woodduck dyed mallard flank on some of the brownish colored patterns. ~ Marv

About Marv

Marv Taylor's books, Float-Tubing The West, The Successful Angler's Journal, More Fragments of the Puzzle, (Volume I) and More Fragments of the Puzzle, (Volume II) are all available from Marv. You can reach Marv by email at or by phone: 208-322-5760.

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