Fly Fishing Edmonton

Your Stillwater Information Site

Stillwater Fly Patterns

Some of my favorite stillwater fly patterns along with tying recipe and pic. Some patterns also include step-by-step instructions.

Redd October

Click the pic for step by step
Tying instructions

Because of the incredible response from the trout to one of my other midge patterns (the X-mas Chronie), I came up with a bloodworm pattern based on the red holographic butt section of that pattern. The trout's response to my pattern was simply unbelievable.  I've never had as much success with any other fly before or since.  I had a name contest on the Northern Lights Fly Tyers and Fishers message board and the winning name was the Redd October.  (Thanks to 'Rainbow' for the name.)  The best way to fish this fly is with a strike indicator and enough leader to set the fly one to two feet off any bottom structure.

HOOK: Size #12 - #6 Dry Fly 94833 Mustad
THREAD: Black 8/O.
RIB: Fine Gold Wire.
BODY: Small Red Holographic Tinsel 
BEAD: Gold 3/32" 

Doc's Black Thread Midge

This is my favorite midge pupa pattern.  I came up with my own version of the thread midge in the summer of 2006 after a day fishing deep for lunker rainbows at Star Lake. Black chironomids were emerging and I was doing well until I ran out of black colored patterns. When I got home I went to tie up a dozen but I found out I had used up all of the black material I was using for the body so instead I just used black 8/O thread. When I went back to Star the next day, the fishing was even better than the day before so I've been successfully tying and fishing the pattern with thread as the body material ever since.

Hook: Mustad C-49S sizes #18 - #8
Thread: Black 8/O
Head: Black Bead size 3/32
Body: Black 8/O thread
(other colors can be used)
Rib: Fine gold wire
Thorax: Peacock Hurl
Gills: Stillwater Solutions Midge Gill (white yarn)
The shine on the fly is from applying Sally Hansen's Hard As Nails.

X-Mas Chronie

Click the pic for step by step
tying instructions

This fly is my own recipe converted from the well-known Illuminator chironomid, which is very popular in B.C.  Over the last four or five years, chironomids have become very popular in Alberta due to their effectiveness, especially in May and early June.  I first saw Brian Chan tying with a red butt section on his patterns using red or burgundy thread.  I tie this pattern on a #10, 12 or 14 C49S caddis curved hook but it can be tied any size from a #8 to a # 24.  I've had outstanding success with this pattern on every stillwater fishery I've wet a line and I'm sure you will too.

HOOK: Sizes 8 to 24 C49S Mustad
THREAD: Black 
RIB: Fine gold wire.
BODY: Red holographic tinsel and green holographic tinsel
THORAX: Peacock herl.
HEAD: Silver bead. 

GILLS:  White calf tail or Stillwater Solutions 'Midge Gill' (optional).

The Star Scud

Click the pic for  step-by-step
tying instructions

A great scud pattern with sparkle attractor qualities.  I invented this pattern in the summer of 2005 after seeing the shallow waters of Star lake littered with thousands of tan colored scuds.

HOOK: Sizes 12 to 16 C49S Mustad

WEIGHT: Lead wire

RIB: Fine gold wire.
BODY: H&H Rainbow sow scud dubbing
SHELL BACK: Stillwater Solutions  calibaetis midge flex 1/8"

Water Docman

I invented this fly in the fall of 2004 for the Boatman migration on Muir Lake.  This is a floating fly and can be successfully fished two ways.  With a nine-foot leader and fast sinking line, cast the fly out and wait for your line to sink.  Once your fly has been pulled under the surface film by your sinking line start your retrieve.  This will pull the fly straight down to imitate a diving Water Boatman ready to lay its eggs.  This method works extremely well with the older sinking line that forms a belly in it as the fly will also rise straight up on your retrieve simulating a Water Boatman rising to the surface for air.  The other method requires floating line.  Look for rings on the surface where trout are rising to Water Boatman, then cast into the ring.  You should get a hit immediately, if not give it some movement.  Some days you will need fast movement, some days slow.  Don't be afraid to experiment.

HOOK: Dry sizes 10 to 14
THREAD: Black 
BODY: Tan nymph skin
SHELL:  Brown sheet foam

LEGS: Super stretch floss

Doc Spratley

This fly is very versatile and one of my all time favorites. It can be used to represent most of the major species of insects. Tie it small and sparse to represent chironomids, large and fat for leeches, nymphs or even minnows. You can experiment with the body colour; olive, red, green, brown, black or sage.

HOOK: 1x, 2x or 3x long. Sizes 6 to 12
TAIL: Grizzly hackle fibers or guinea fowl.
RIB: Flat or oval silver or gold tinsel.
BODY: Black wool, dubbing, floss or chenille.
LEGS: Grizzly fibers or guinea fowl tied back
along sides and bottom of fly.
WING: Ringneck pheasant tail.
HEAD: Peacock herl.

Royal Coachman (Dry)

My all time favorite pothole lake dry fly. It's a great attractor fly and works good on all types of water but works very well in still and slow water.

HOOK: Standard dry fly #12-#18.
THREAD: Black 6/0 or 8/0.
TAIL: Golden pheasant tippet.
BODY: Peacock herl, red floss, peacock herl.
HACKLE: Dark brown.
WING: White mallard feather sections, upright and divided.

Woolly Bugger

This fly is one of the best action flies around. The action comes from stripping your line as the marabou thins then fluffs giving a swimming appearance. Try this pattern in black, brown, green and sage. In the spring I find the black Crystal Bugger works incredibly well.

HOOK: 3XL, #2-10.
THREAD: Black 6/0.
TAIL: Black marabou with pearl Krystalflash.
BODY: Olive chenille, .
HACKLE: Palmered black saddle hackle.

Bead/Cone Bunny Leach

This is a simple leech imitation with added weight to get it down deep and fast. Just as deadly as the Wooly Bugger and works incredible when trolling in a float tube.

HOOK: Mustad 9672 #6-12.
THREAD: Black 6/0.
RIB: Optional: Gold wire.
UNDERBODY: Optional: Lead-free round wire.
BODY: Chenille or peacock.
WING: Rabbit zonker strip.
HEAD: Bead or cone.

Crimp barb, add the bead or cone and place hook in vice. Wrap thread back to bend of hook. Tie in rabbit strip, making sure you separate the hairs on the strip so you just tie down on the skin. Pull the strip back and tie in the chenille. Wrap the chenille forward and tie off just behind bead or cone. Pull the remaining strip forward and tie down behind cone, remembering to tie only on the skin. Whip finish and cement.


Probably the most popular dry fly in North America. It was originally tied to represent a flying caddis. The mottled grizzly and brown hackles represent the whirring wings of the natural caddis adult attempting to fly from the water. A first choice fly in a variety of sizes when trout are being less selective.

HOOK: Standard dry fly #12-#20.
THREAD: Black 6/0 or 8/0.
TAIL: Grizzly and brown hackle fibers, mixed.
BODY: Muskrat fur dubbing.
HACKLE: Grizzly and brown.
WING: Hen grizzly hackle tips.

Elk Hair Caddis

This fly is almost as popular as the Adams. A lot of anglers "go to" fly when the fish aren't biting.  I like to let this fly lie on top of the water and twitch it ever so lightly. I find that as far as movement with the E.H.C., less is more. Try it in olive, tan, gray or Black.

HOOK: Standard dry fly or Bigeye dry fly #10-#18.
THREAD: Brown 6/0 or 8/0.
BODY: Dubbed fur to match color of pattern.
RIBBING: Fine copper or gold wire.
WING: Light elk hair tied on top of the hook allowing some fibers to extend along sides. The wing butts should extend forward to form head.
HACKLE: Brown, gray, or black, palmered over body.

Hare's Ear Nymph

This fly is quite possibly one of the finest nymphs around. It works great on cloudy early season days when you can't seem to get the trout's attention. This fly is useful anywhere slow water is present.

HOOK: TMC 3761 or Mustad 3906B, #10-#14
THREAD: Black 6/0.
TAIL: Hare's mask guard hairs or brown hen hackle fibers.
RIB: Fine gold tinsel.
ABDOMEN: Natural hare's ear dubbing.
THORAX: Natural hare's ear dubbing.
WINGCASE: Mottled turkey quill.

Dave's Hopper

This is my favorite Hopper pattern and probably one of the most popular Grasshopper fly patterns around.
I use this pattern from around the end of July to late September. When fishing this fly, I like to make 3 or 4 quick short strips, then let it sit for about 10 seconds and repeat. You can catch some real lunkers with this fly during Hopper season.

HOOK: #08-#12, 3X long nymph/streamer.
THREAD: Yellow 6/0.
BODY: Cream yarn.
TAIL: Red deer hair with cream yarn folded over the top
RIBBING: Brown hackle palmered though body, trimmed short.
WING: Underwing of yellow deer hair, overwing of mottled turkey quill.
LEGS: Trimmed and knotted stems from yellow grizzly hackle.
HEAD: Deer hair spun and trimmed into square shape. Tips are left untrimmed on top of the back of the head to form a collar.

Bead Head Prince Nymph

The prince nymph is a searching pattern. It is a great pattern to use when fishing new waters or when you are unsure what the trout are eating. In still or moving waters, the Prince Nymph is always a good fly to start with.

Try stripping this pattern with rapid jerks in still waters and lakes. Small split shot can be added to achieve more depth. This pattern is also available without a bead head.


: Lead wire
Hook: Standard nymph hook #10-#16
Thread: Black 6/0 or 8/0
Head: Brass Bead
Tail: Brown Goose fibers(biots)
Body: Peacock Herl
Ribbing: Fine gold tinsel
Hackle: Brown
Wing: White Goose Fibers(biots)