OSTRICH HURL SOWBUG [GRAY OLIVE]
One of the most important insects on many trout streams across the country is the Aquatic Sowbug [Isopoda], especially in spring creeks. There are four families of Aquatic Sowbugs in North America, and the most common and thus the most important one to the angler is Asellidae. The American Sowbug, Asellus communis, is by far the most common of this group, and is found in spring creeks across North America. These little creatures live in weed beds, cressbeds, under rocks, and in the leaf detritus on the stream bottom. They are, for the most part, omnivore-detritvores, and are always out foraging for food making them readily available for trout.
Sowbugs are strongly flattened and usually measure from 5 to 20 mm in length when mature. They have two sets of antennae and seven sets of legs. They varied in color from gray to olive/gray and tan. Sowbug imitations are an excellent choice when fishing spring creek waters that are unfamiliar to the angler, and when there is no other visible feeding activity.
During those times when there are no major hatches the aquatic sowbug can become one of the staples in the diet of the trout. The following sowbug pattern is simple and easy to tie, yet it is very effective.
I fish this imitation both with and without a strike indicator depending on the conditions. The best presentation method is to fish the imitation dead-drift with an occasional twitch.
- Hook: Tiemco 2487 or 2457 Size: 14-20
- Thread: Olive 8/0 or color to match body
- Shellback: 4 to 8 strands of Olive Krystal Flash
- Rib: Fine Copper Wire or Monofilament
- Underbody: Shaped Pontoon Style, with two strips of Lead Fuse or Copper Wire tied on each side of the hook shank. The weight should be covered with tying thread.
- Body: Natural Light Gray Ostrich Hurl, 3 to 5 fibers, tied in by the tips, twisted with a length of tying thread and wrapped forward. Pull the Shellback material over the top, wrap the ribbing forward and tie off. This completes the pattern.
NOTE: The body should have a nice full appearance. Use Ostrich Hurl that has long filaments for best results.
Originally published in The Angler's Journal, June 1994. Used with permission.
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