Fly-tying corner

Surface Muddler

Published Sep 25, 2013 at 05:00AM

It arcs across the top or just beneath it, a bulge on the water. There is something about that sculpin-shaped profile that brings aggressive trout and steelhead up to the surface. This fly, the Surface Muddler, is a steelheader’s take on a traditional pattern that can provoke predatory trout in any stream, wherever trout are found. And what are steelhead anyway, but big trout?

Fish it quartering downstream. Cast, mend, swing, take two steps down and do it again. When you start again at the top of the run, chug the fly with a quick 2-inch strip.

Tie this pattern with blue or purple thread on a No. 4-8 dry-fly steelhead hook. For the body, use oval silver tinsel. Tie in blue or purple Krystal Flash for the underwing. For the overwing, use unclipped blue or purple bucktail. Build up the head with deer hair and trim to finish.

—Gary Lewis