By Nick Simonson
Whether fishing for trout making their spring sprint up tiny coldwater streams or going after those species that get stocked in any number of rivers and lakes around the region, having some sort of spawn imitator in a fly box is important. Here are three simple recipes that make for some egg imitations that are as flashy as those real ones that are going to get dipped in cups full of Paas dye in the coming weeks.
Hook: Curved Egg, 2X Strong, Size 12-8
Thread: 6/0 to match
Body: McFly Foam
How a simple material turns from stringy mess into a perfect pom-pom defies explanation, but it sure produces some great looking egg flies. McFly Foam is inexpensive and is available in multi-color packs for under five dollars, meaning one can tie dozens of eggs in a variety of colors for what five of them would cost in an online fly shop.
Anchor the thread on the hook shank and build a small base. Select a length of McFly Foam and separate it into halves or thirds and surround the hook shank with it. Secure the material to the hook with a wrap over it, clinching tight on the pull down, and on the way back up. Make another wrap exactly on top of the first wrap, and then a third wrap on top of that one.
Lift the foam out of the way and advance the thread toward the bend of the hook making two tight wraps under the material, as close to the tie-in point as possible. Then move the thread back in front of the material and make two or three wraps. Whip finish and tie off.
With the thumb and forefinger, grasp the McFly Foam and pull up, making sure all the material is pulled up from the shank. Keep tension on the material while holding the scissors in the other hand. Trim the McFly Foam while still applying upward pressure. The higher the cut on the foam, the bigger the egg will be, if cut closer to the hook, it will be smaller in diameter, so adjust to the size of the hook. Many Glo Bugs use a 90/10 color mix, with the lesser color acting as a yolk or blood spot to add some realism.
Use some split shot to sink the glo bug down, or fish it on a leader of fluorocarbon with a slinky weight ahead of it to keep it in the strike zone on fast moving spring trout rivers.
Hook: Curved Nymph Size 12-8
Thread: 6/0 color to match
Body: Medium Estaz in pink, orange and chartreuse
Tail: 10 strands of Krystal Flash.
Weight: 6 wraps of lead wire
This simple pattern looks like a shooting star and adds some sparkle to the standard egg presentation. Start by wrapping the lead wire in the center of the hook, then secure the lead with a few wraps of thread. Advance the thread to one hook-eye length behind the lead wraps. Here you can tie in a Krystal Flash tail, about one hook-shank in length. Next, tie down a three-inch length of estaz material at the back end of the lead wraps and advance your thread to the front of the lead wraps.
Cover the lead wraps with the estaz material, forming a round profile by wrapping back over the center a couple times. Once the egg reaches a round proportion, tie off the estaz near the front of the hook, whip finish and trim. Add a small bit of head cement. The weight will get the fly down in the column, and the flash should trigger strikes in all egg-seeking fish.
Hook: Scud hook, 2X Strong, Size 12-8
Thread: Red 6/0
Body: Medium pink chenille
Weight: 6 wraps of lead wire
Named for the renowned Alaskan lake that is as famous for its trout and salmon fishery as it is for the monster that is believed to live beneath its surface; the Iliamna Pinky is a simple egg pattern that has been proven on big steelhead. While it may not necessarily look like an egg, it is hard to deny this fly a spot in any egg box, and it’s a great attractor for recently stocked trout in small lakes which are used to pellet feed.
Start by securing the six lead wraps to the shank with the thread. Upon reaching the back of the lead wraps, tie in a three-inch strand of pink chenille. Vary the colors to cover the whole spectrum, but pink is a must-have.
Wrap the chenille forward with an edge-to-edge palmering that covers the lead wraps entirely. Make one final turn of the chenille in front of the lead wraps and secure it. Trim the chenille and tie a small thread head in front of the body. Whip finish and cement, and the Pinky is complete.
Fast, fun and easy to tie, these eggs work for those traveling to find hard-running trout on the Great Lakes tributaries and for anglers closer to home targeting spring trout in pits, lakes and ponds after ice out. Each one is as good of a find as Peter Cottontail’s stash of eggs come Easter, and probably better!
Featured Photo: The author with a Lake Superior steelhead caught on a yellow-and-orange glo bug egg fly. Simonson Photo.