Our Man In Canada
November 6th, 2000

Muskie Quest
The Flies!

Chris Marshall

By Chris Marshall
Glen Hales photos

The Flies

Muskie Flies

Muskie are attracted to big, noisy, flashy lures–just take a look at the monstrosities that successful hardware fishers use. Unfortunately, I don't think we'll ever be able to design a fly rod lure which would be as effective. However, we can come close. Those we use are at least six inches long, bulky with hair, glittered with synthetics, and incorporate lots of action. Most of them are tied on heavy wire hooks between 3/0 and 8/0. Partridge has some huge saltwater bait hooks, which are ideal, but, unfortunately, not readily available in North America. The patterns described in this article are all tied on single hooks, but flies tied on two hooks tandem-style can provide extra length, as well as additional chances for hook-up.

Fall 2000 issue

We've tried incorporating rattles in the body, but it doesn't seem to have made much difference. The most effective noisemaker is a flat face, such as that on the Mega-popper, which really stirs things up ripped at top speed through weeds, in the same way a hardware fisher would retrieve a spinnerbait.

Weedguards are indispensable, and it pays to take the time to make them double. Fly fishing for muskie might be far removed in technique and ambiance from fly fishing for Atlantic salmon, but it has one incontrovertible similarity–you have to be prepared to put in countless hours and make countless casts between raising fish.



Hook:  4X long streamer hook, #4/0.

Thread:  Black 6/0.

Tail:  White bucktail.

Body:  White or chenille. Substitute wrapped Mylar for extra durability.

Wing:  Black bucktail, over white bucktail, over blue or pearl Krystal Flash, over white bucktail.

Sides:  Two long grizzly saddle feathers on each side.

Cheeks:  Teal flank feathers.

Hackle:  Black saddle spun right up to the eye.

The black and white combination seems to work best locally, but by all means experiment with a variety of wing colours.

The Jigging Ghost

Jigging Ghost

Hook:  Mustad 34007 or equivalent saltwater hook.

Thread:  Black 6/0.

Tail:  7"-8" white Hairabou mixed with pearl Flashabou and silver Krystal Flash.

Body:  Silver Mylar tubing, flattened and wrapped around the shank.

Wing:  8-10 strands of peacock herl over white bucktail.

Sides:  Teal flank feathers.

Eyes:  Doll eyes (optional).

Other colour combinations: red & white, black & purple.



Hook:  Mustad 34007 or equivalent saltwater hook #3/0 - #5/0.

Thread:  Kevlar.

Tail:  8-10 multi-colour saddle hackles flared out with Flashabou.

Body:  Deer body spun tight and trimmed to shape. The face should be flat and lacquered heavily.

Bunny Leech

Bunny Leech

Hook:  Mustad 34007 or equivalent saltwater hook #3/0.

Thread:  Black 3/0.

Tail:  8-10 multi-colour saddle hackles flared out with Flashabou.

Wing:  Two 8"-10" strips of black rabbit fur–one tied on top of the hook, the other under it. Three to four 6" strands of purple Flashabou tied on top of the upper strand.

Eyes:  Doll's eyes tied just behind the eye.

Weed guards are essential for fishing weedy and snaggy water–double ones are best. ~ Chris Marshall

We thank the Canadian Fly Fisher for re-print permission!

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