Monday, February 6, 2012

The Best Fly? Choices, Choices, Choices!

 "You ought to know that there are twelve kinds of artificial flies, made flies, to angle with upon the top of the water." - Sir Issac Walton 

I only wish that were true.

How do you choose the best fly from all the varieties and sub-varieties of wet flies, dry flies, streamers et al. The possibilities are almost endless. Given the fact that the most successful flies are those that most closely imitate the trout's or salmon's food choices,  then the choice of best fly should be less confusing. However there are so many flies that have been tied and/or created by amazingly skilled craftsmen as to become almost works of art. In this case does functionality take a back seat to artistic approach? I guess it all depends... In my mind if it's pretty and catches fish then you've got a winner. As for myself, I can barely tie a simple beaded headed nymph, let alone a beautiful multi layered streamer like my friend Brk Trt over at
Small Stream Reflections

But I digress...

I guess that if I had to choose the best overall fly for my skill level I would go with the following:

This is probably my least confident selection as I really like dry fly fishing the best but a bead headed nymph or caddis, as my research seems to yield, are way up on the scale of popularity. Then there is the Parmachene Belle. Is it a popular choice out there in the fly fishing hinterlands? I don't know. But besides having a great name, it's origin can be traced back to Maine waters.


Here's one I like a lot, the Adams and it seems to be considered a universal fly. I use its different varieties a lot and consequently have left a lot of them hung up in tree branches. And yes the Elk Hair Caddis is right up there too. However some caddis flies are wet flies as well..I'm so confused....


Being from Maine how could I not choose the Grey Ghost. I love being out early in the morning dragging one of these behind my boat hoping for a landlocked salmon to strike. Yes trolling with a Grey is fly fishing too. I know a lot of fly fishermen would vehemently disagree. So be it. But even I have been known to cast a few of these into a stream or two.

By the way, the bottom two images I'm using have been taken from one of my father's "Family Circle's Guide To Trout Flies" published in 1954. I can remember well him sitting at his fly tying vise with this publication at his side and I feel very fortunate to have it even if it seems a bit dated.

So I guess the only good answer to the question of  "Best Fly" is which ever fly is catching trout or salmon at any given moment.

All I know for sure it that there's a lot to this fly fishing thing and hopefully I can learn a little more this coming spring


  1. Great choices my friend.

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  2. Lots of choices out there for sure...Thanks for commenting Brk Trt