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Spokane Trout Spey Fly Rigs

Sean Visintainer - 07/16/18

Trout Spey Fly Patters

Double your fun

Summer on the Spokane River is a great time to swing flies on trout spey outfits. Caddis hatches continue all summer and the year round presence of crayfish, stonefly nymphs, and a few mayflies will keep the trout active for swung flies.

Summer on the Spokane also means tricky wading. As the river levels drop many mid-river slots, riffles, and buckets start to appear offering up new locations to the wade angler. That means reaching further distances with our flies is a must to cover more water effectively. And since wading on the Spokane is difficult we often don't wade deeper than our knees and typically we find a dry rock to stand on, covering the water from there.

Cue the trout spey outfits. The trout spey set ups allow us to efficiently swing mid-river slots while not having to wade deep, if at all. They also allow us to fish along brushy banks where back cast room is limited.

I find that during the summer my trout spey fly combos usually combine two flies of varying style and are not as heavily weighted as flies I'd fish in the late fall or winter months. Summer levels are low and it can be hard to tell water depth so I feel that the lighter combos will keep you from getting hung up and the trout will definitely move to the fly even if it is not smack dab on their nose. These fish will hunt. They will chase down a meal. Meals are not as readily available to them as they are in rivers like the Madison, Missouri, etc.They love a swung fly.

The first fly is going to be some sort of bugger, leech, or crayfish style of fly and the trailer fly will be a soft hackle or caddis pupa variation. During summer levels I like 2x or 3x to my lead fly (the bigger fly) and then about 16" of 4x to my soft hackle or caddis pupa. I never run smaller than 4x on my trout spey rigs, 5x is risky business on the Spokane with strong currents and powerful fish. On the Spokane River my go-to trout spey rods are 3wt and 4wts.

How do you fish these on your trout spey rigs? The simplest form is to swing them. Cast slightly downstream, mend once to slow down the swing, let the current swing the bugs back towards the bank. The other method is to swing them but add a short strip. I usually find a 2" short, quick strip works best. Throw a slight pause in after a 2-3 strips... strip, strip, strip, pause, strip, strip, pause... and so forth. Mix it up. Don't get stuck in a rut. If something isn't working, do something else.

These are certainly not the ONLY trout spey flies you can use, just a couple examples. I would run any of these as a combo. One of the bigger streamers, with one of the soft hackles or pupa 16" trailed behind it.

The first four flies on the top row are Zirdle Bugs. A combo of a Pat's Rubber Leg Stone and a Zonker. Excellent fly. Can imitate leeches, crayfish, baitfish, or stonefly nymphs depending the color / size.

The next two on the row are Galloup's Warbird. A simple bugger pattern with rubber legs. Simple works. Old school works. The legs give the bugger an extra bit of "bugginess". Same deal as the Zirdle Bug, imitates a variety of things trout feed on.

Last fly on the right on the top row. Tungsten Thin Mint (also known as the Twin Lake Special, or simply a beadhead bugger). An overlooked fly on the rivers since it appears to be more lake oriented.

Bottom row: Peacock Soft Hackle, Spectre Soft Hackle (olive or tan, olive pictured), Red Ass Soft Hackle, Soft Hackle Copper John (red pictured, good attractor softie), Trip Saver (hare's ear), Bjorn's Baddest Caddis (crushes), Bead Head Caddis Pupa. All winners.