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JP's Trout Snack
JP's Trout Snack
Jeff Pierce aka Dr. Fish

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JP's Trout Snack

The Trout Snack a great fly for trout. I started tying this fly to imitate trout and salmon fry. I live on a great brown trout stream that has good natural reproduction. I also lived on a very good spring creek where brown trout flourished along with a good population of brook trout and some rainbows. One day I was watching a couple very small trout fly chasing midges as they hatched in some very shallow water. Suddenly, a very large brown trout came charging out of some weeds and ate both of the fry. It was the largest trout (resident fish) I had ever seen in my local waters. I knew one thing, I wanted to catch that fish. That night I began experimenting at my tying bench. I wanted to come up with a good imitation of a trout fry. After some trial and error I came up with the Trout Snack. Two weeks later I was back fishing that same stretch of water and was having some success with the fly. I walked down to the next pool and laid out a 40 foot cast with my 3WT, placing the fly right up against the opposite bank near some blow down. With two quick strips that huge brown blasted up through some weeds and engulfed my fly. I was way under gunned with my little 6.5 ft 3WT. 25 minutes later after going into my backing twice I landed the largest resident (non-migratory ie. Great Lakes) brown trout I had ever seen. That fish is still the largest resident fish I have taken to date. Another gentleman assisted me with landing the fish and measuring it. It was a stocky 26 inch brown trout that must have weighed around 7lbs. The fish was quickly admired and then released.

Since that memorable experience (I was 15 at the time) I have taken several more large trout on the Trout Snack as well as some impressive steelhead and Lake Ontario Brown Trout. Fish it like you would any streamer. It also does a pretty good job of imitating a sculpin and has been a good smallmouth fly for me as well.


Materials

Hook:  R74 (Mustad Signature Series Hook) size 2, 4 or 6 Substitute's - 80400BLN, 79580, 9672.

Thread:  8/0 dark brown.

Tail:  Wood Duck Flank - 2.

Body:  (in order of attachment)
Partridge SLF Master Class Cinnamon Brown.
Bucktail dark brown/olive.
Starling breast feathers w/ white tips - 2.
Grizzly hackle - 2.
Gills:  Islantic Sheep, Red.

Eyes:  2mm prismatic stick on eyes.

Tying Steps:

Step 1: Place the R74 in the vise and begin wrapping the thread on the shank from the eye back to the bend. Next get two same sized Wood Duck flank feathers. Align them with each other so that the feathers are cupped inward. Secure them at the bend to form the tail.

Step 2: Form a dubbing loop using a cinnamon brown dubbing.

Step 3: Wrap the dubbing forming a streamlined body. Be sure to leave enough space to tie in the deer hair and finish off the head.

Step 4: Attach the dark brown/olive bucktail so that the hair extended to the end of the tail.

Step 5: Get two starling breast feathers with white tips. The feathers need to be the appropriate size as to resemble the pectoral fins. Use some head cement to make the feathers more durable. Once the feathers are dried, secure one on each side angled downward at about 30 degrees. Be sure to secure them so that the tips of the feathers are curved outward.

Step 6: Get two same sized grizzly hackles. Trim them to size so that the feather will run from the head to just forward of the tail. Once the feathers are trimmed to size coat each feather lightly with head cement for added durability. Once dry, secure one feather to each side so that the feather is curved inward.

Step 7: (Optional) Add a small patch of the red sheep on either side for gills.

Step 8: Attach two 2mm eyes and give the head a coating of glossy head cement.

Step 9: Dampen in your local waters and enjoy the day.

Fishing Suggestions:

JP's Trout Snack is not the prettiest fly you've ever seen, but it is very effective. One point I want to make is to be sure not to skip the step where you attach the eyes. I am a firm believer that eyes are essential on a baitfish pattern. Having gotten my college BS in Biology/Fisheries Science I have spend quite a lot of time observing and studying fish. There are numerous species out there that have false eye spots, generally on their tail. This is so that a predator may mistakingly attack the fishes tail, thus allowing the prey a chance to escape. Mother Nature does everything for a reason. Natural selection culls out the inferior so that only the strong survive. Fish have these eyespots for a reason so take note and use that to your advantage. Obviously, in stained or cloudy water, this is less important, but in clear water, eye's on your bait patterns can really make the difference. Just something to keep in mind.

One other quick item of note is the use of red for the gills. If fish are hungry they will feed. That's pretty basic stuff, nothing earth shattering in that statement. But, when a fish is not hungry or in a negative feed pattern, a little red can make the difference. A fish may not be looking for a meal, but if an easy meal presents itself rarely will it be refused. Fishing the gin clear waters off Key West we witnessed just this scenario. There were King Mackerel, False Albacore and Blackfin Tuna around the boat, but they just were not showing much interest in the live pilchards that we were pitching off the back of the boat. But, if you took one and gave it a squeeze or thumped it against the boat before tossing it overboard the fish would attack it immediately.

Another good example presented itself this past October while fishing in Amazonia. We were fishing for Peacock Bass and gave the fly rods (and our arms) a rest. I was casting a floating Rapala into a group of fish. If I just reeled the lure in the fish showed no interest. However, if I reeled it in slowly with a very erratic retrieve the fish ganged up on it, often resulting in two fished hooked on the same lure. Although the fish were not actively feeding, they could not resist an easy meal. Adding gills to a baitfish pattern adds to its realism and also gives the perception that the fish may be injured and thus trigger a strike response. I urge you to pay close attention to what is going on around you. Keen observation can produce some very effective techniques and memorable days. ~ Jeff Pierce

About Jeff Pierce:

Jeff Pierce, AKA Dr. Fish, is the North American Sales Coordinator for O. Mustad & Son (USA), Inc and Partridge of Redditch. He is the Captain of Team Mustad USA and is a diehard angler and fly tier. He has traveled from Buffalo to Borneo in search of finned quarry to grapple with. For more of his innovative flies check out the bottom of the Mustad Sponsor page!

For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying and Intermediate Fly Tying.


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