Smallmouth Fly Patterns

 Yuppy ScumDSC04647

Hook:    TMC 8089 sz 2-10 or any other wide gap bass hook

Legs (back):  Rabbit Strips (pull fur off strips except the very end for toes)

Body:  Frizzle Chenille XL, and two strips of 3mm foam ( 1/4″ to 1″ depending on size of fly)

Legs (front):  3-4 rubber legs tied in an overhand knot, secured on the side of the hook and trimmed

Weedguard (optional):  30-50 lb monofilament

Smallmouth love frogs and I love throwing frogs to them.  This pattern has an excellent profile and moves like a frog.What I like about this fly is the legs sit low in the water along with the rest of the fly.  It also makes a nice popping sound when pulled through the water.  This fly is great thrown against the bank and either dead drifted, popped or pulled under to simulate a swimming frog.  It is an easy fly and fairly inexpensive fly to tie so feel free to throw them up on the land and have them hop in the water.  You will be pleasantly surprised to find out what happens.

Shannon’s StreamerDSC04043

Hook:    TMC 8089 sz 4-10 or any other wide gap bass hook

Tail:  Marabou blood quill with chenille or estaz wrapped around the marabou quill and feathers

Body: Chenille or estaz

Color: Prismacolor pen or sharpies

Eyes:  Stick on eyes secured with glue.

This is a great little lightweight streamer that can imitate a host of small minnows.  Sometimes in the low, clear water days of late summer downsizing your fly can be beneficial.  This fly can be fished on its own or trailed behind a popper.  Another quick and easy tie once you get the hang of wrapping the chenille around the marabou and getting your proportions down.  Give them a try, all white or grey/white are proven to work but don’t be afraid to try out other color combinations that might work better on the waters that you fish.

Sex Dungeon

Hook:  Gamakatzu B10S size 2 (front hook) size 4 (rear hook)

Tail:  Marabou and krystal flash

Body: Polar chenille and schlappen, rubber legs

Eyes: Medium dumbell eyes

Head: Spun deer hair

Articulated flies using two hooks can be extremely effective at hooking fish.  Kelly Galloup’s Sex Dungeon is a great example of this type of fly.  It is extremely effective at catching fish.  It can be fished it all sorts of water and has a desirable jigging action due to its weighted eyes.  As far as tying if you can tie a woolly bugger you have all the skill to tie most of this fly.  I use 65 lb Power-Pro for my connection between the two hooks.  Unlike poppers, when I spin the deer hair for the heads of these flies I don’t pack the deer hair very tight.  The deer hair head is meant to push water not to float the fly.  While some commercial patterns may trim the heads very low, I prefer to keep the heads fairly large on my flies.  I prefer the action it adds to the fly.  I also like to wind polar chenille with schlappen for the body.  This adds a subtle flash to the fly while adding the great movement of the schlappen.  Adding rubber legs just adds the general bugginess and effectiveness of this fly.  Tie these in a wide range of colors and hang on tight.  When fish hit these flies they tend to hit them hard,  A great fly for the entire season from pre-spawn to the cool water days of Autumn.

Bad Hair Day

Hook: Gamakatsu B10S Size 4-1/0

Thread: 140-210 denier thread

Tail: Extra Select Craft Fur

Body:  Extra Select Craft Fur and flash

Head:  Senyo’s Laser Dub

This is a great intermediate sinking fly created by Dave Pinczkowski originally for steelhead fishing.  The use of craft fur makes this fly to have a lot of motion in the water without moving the fly a lot.  A recipe for a great smallmouth fly.  This fly last year put more fish to hand than any other fly I used.  White, fire tiger, and olive were all great color combinations.  

See-Through Baitfish

Hook: Gamakatsu B10S size 6

Thread: 140 Denier

Tail:  Two dry fly hackles: Trimmed and glued together

Underbody: Dubbing, usually white and red or orange and red

Overbody:  Senyos laser dub

Eyes: Any small glue on eyes

This fly is a great imitation of small minnows and fry.  It has a great profile in the water and has a very realistic movement in the water.  Sometimes when the water is low and clear a subtle fly such as the see-through minnow can be just the ticket.  Learning how to make the tail is the hardest process.  You want to splay the feather out and put one small drop of glue where the tail forks.  Trimming the tail to the right taper and dimensions takes a little practice but is easier than it looks.  This fly is also a good one for anyone that wants to learn how to make a dubbing loop.  After dubbing the under body simply make a dubbing loop of the Senyos laser dub, tease out with a dubbing brush and wrap the head allowing the fibers to cover most of the length of the body.  A great little fly that big fish love.



Zoo CougarDSC04644

Hook: 2x-3x long streamer hook Size 2-6

Thread: 6/0 or 210 denier thread

Tail:  Blood quill marabou and flash

Body: Medium estaz

Overwing: Calf-tail/bucktail and a mallard/woodduck flank feather

Head: Spun deer hair collar and head shaped with a scissors and/or razor

If you haven’t learned to spin and shape deer hair this is the fly to learn that technique.  The Zoo Cougar is an excellent fly for finding aggressive fish off of the banks.  The deer hair head offers lift to the fly which causes an erratic movement that fish love.  I fish this fly on an intermediate or full sinking line to get it below the surface.  This fly works for a wide variety of species and I would not be out on the water without one in my fly box.  When tying these don’t worry about packing the hair super tight like you would for a deer hair popper.  The white and grey version pictured above is a great color but olive, black and yellow are also very productive colors. 


Hook:  Gamakatsu B10S size 2-6

Thread:  6/0 or 140 denier thread

Eyes:  Medium sized dumbbell eyes tied on top of hook shank

Tail:  Rootbeer Krynkleflash and 4 segments of pine squirrel zonker

Body:  UV Polar Chenille and rubber legsDSC04228

The Crazi-Craw is a pattern designed by Pat Ehlers out of the Fly Fisher’s in Milwaukee,WI.  It has been a very effective pattern for searching deeper parts of the river or swung through rocky riffles.  The method for tying the squirrel zonkers takes a little getting used to but is not difficult once you get the hang of it.  I really like the UV Polar Chenille in this fly.  It offers a really buggy look, sheds water readily during back casts and contains a lot of subtle flash that seems to drive smallmouth wild.  A great, easy fly to tie. 


Clouser Minnow


Hook:  2-10 2x-3x long streamer hook

Eyes:  Red dumbell eyes tied on top of hook shank

Wing:  Varied colors (olive/white, brown/white, chartreuse/white etc.), also add some flash with Krystal Flash or Flashabou if so desired.  Don’t overdo the bucktail, less is definitely more when tying this fly. 

The Clouser Minnow is a good choice of fly year round.  Depending on the different color variations used it can imitate a wide variety of things that swim under the water.    Works great as a prospecting fly, especially in deeper water situations to dredge the bottom.  The method of tying the weighted dumbbell eyes on top of the hook shank is very beneficial because it lets the fly ride over and between rocks and logs with less chances of snagging.  In the early spring during pre-spawn fishing when a person needs to fish slow and near the bottom, this fly is hard to beat.

 Deer-Hair Popper027

Hook:  TMC 8089 sz 2-10 or any other wide gap bass hook

Thread:  Kevlar thread

Tail:  Couple saddle hackles for legs  or marabou, add flash (optional)

Body:  Spun and stacked deer hair, rubber legs can be added

Eyes:  Stick on eyes secured with glue.

 The deer hair  popper is a great fly for the summertime.  They can be time consuming and messy to tie but  each popper is unique in how you make it.  A good technique is to cast it near shore or structure and slowly pop the fly.  If the fish are being finicky don’t pop too much and just move the popper slightly.  Yellow, chartreuse, black, orange and white are always good colors to carry with you.


 Alaskabou RabbitDSC02530 (2)

Hook:  TMC 8089 sz 2-10 or any other wide gap bass hook

Thread: Uni 210 in color to match fly.

Tail.  Rabbit strip

Body:  Tip tied marabou palmered forward the length of the body.

Add a couple rubber legs toward the front third of the hook shank

Eyes:  Stick on eyes secured with glue.

This fly can be fished in several different ways.  You can throw it on a floating line and fish it just under the surface, or it can be fished on a sinking line to go for fish that aren’t willing to rise to the fly.  During tying you can add dumbbell eyes to fish it deep with a floating line and jig the fly off the bottom.  The Alaskabou Rabbit has a lot of natural motion in the water which seems to attract fish.  In the early summer it really shines when fished near undercut banks and near structure.  The green and yellow version is pictured but don’t be afraid to experiment with color.  White and grey produce a lot of fish along with all black.  


 Woolly Clouser DSC03993

Hook:   2-10 2x-3x long streamer hook.  I like using a downturned eye hook.

Thread:  Uni 210 in color to match fly.

Eyes:  Red dumbbell eyes tied on top of the hook

Tail:  Marabou (brown, brown with orange, olive, olive with yellow are all good color combinations) add flash to match

Body:  Krystal chenille and two schlappen feathers tied on by the hook bend and palmered to the front of the hook.

Add rubber legs behind hook eye before palmering body materialsGE DIGITAL CAMERA

The Woolly Clouser was born out of the necessity to have a crayfish pattern that wasn’t as prone to snagging on rocks and debris.  I prefer to tie the dumbbell eyes on top of the hook shank so the fly rides hook up letting it bounce off the bottom and not get caught up, at least a little less often.  It is meant to be a quick and easy tie because frankly, use lose some of these flies if you are fishing them where they need to be.  This pattern is meant to go to the bottom quickly to get in the fish’s strike zone and remain there.  Sometimes if the fish aren’t willing to come up to eat, you have to go down and get them.  I like tying this pattern on a downturned eye hook because when it is riding in the water with the dumbbell eyes, the hook eye is facing slightly upward  which gives a very good jigging action.  Fish it like a crayfish moves. They like to crawl and scurry along the bottom with short bursts of acceleration from their tails.  The big fish in summer, especially during bright sunny days are going to avoid the shallows so sometimes you need a good fly to go after them.  Tie some of these up and try them yourself.