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> > Egg Patterns right or wrong??

JesseNovember 20th, 2010, 5:52 pm
Posts: 378
Ive been fly fishing for many years now and never have i once casted an egg patten... Before i started my dad and me use to use real salmon eggs in tailwaters in the southeast, but once i adapted fly fishing, never again. I thought of casting eggs as almost a cheat, maybe powerbait if you will. Lately however my ideas are changing and im wanting to tie eggs. I feel during this time if year its a main source, well i know its a main source for scavaging browns, but still i havent tried. I was just wondering what your ideas were on the egg throwing method and if it seems viable or not? And am i wrong for never having an interest in using them??
Most of us fish our whole lives..not knowing its not the fish that we are after.
Jmd123November 20th, 2010, 6:56 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2536
Jesse, get yourself some Glo-Bug yarn - comes in an entire rainbow of colors and includes instructions on tying egg patterns with it. I have taken a few trout on them while (unsuccessfully) fishing for steelhead, the only time of the year I use egg patterns. Others here will probably have more experience with them but this tidbit of info will get you started.

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
TaxonNovember 20th, 2010, 8:38 pm
Site Editor
Plano, TX

Posts: 1337
And am i wrong for never having an interest in using them??


No, you are neither wrong nor right. However, if you were fly fishing in Alaska, and steadfastly refusing to use egg patterns, I suspect you might be considered somewhat obtuse. LOL
Best regards,
Roger Rohrbeck
SlateDrake9November 21st, 2010, 5:41 am
Potter County, PA

Posts: 144
Go for it. I fish sucker spawn patterns when the suckers are up many streams with great results. I typically don't fish them when there is not an egg "hatch" but I don't see any problems with doing so. No different than fishing a Royal Coachman, Green Weenie, Mickey Finn, or any other attractor type pattern.

I've got some friends that fish a globug 12 months a year and catch a lot of trout on them. I've also got some friends that think it is not fly fishing to do so. Makes for an interesting conversation, especially after one of the pro-egg guys hammers the fish and the non-egg guys don't do so well.

Using beads is different story, no matter what part of the world you're in.
Fishing with bait is like swearing in church.
-- Slate Drake
PaulRobertsNovember 21st, 2010, 6:29 am

Posts: 1776
I certainly understand the issue. It depends a lot on where you hail from too. For years seeing snaggers with sponge or fake eggs as decoys for the wardens turned my stomach. Then seeing a stream packed with anglers and snaggers all with a glowing ball on their lines associated egg flies with that zoo mentality. But..I got over it. For really good reasons.

Eggs are a hatch matcher all winter long, and not just on the Great Lakes tribs and Alaska. Trout dump millions of eggs every fall and spring in every stream in the country. Then, spates roll them up into the drift and they settle in quiet areas to be gleaned. Eggs are trout food. I have found them in trout stomachs all winter, but esp in late fall and mid spring -depending on trout species. The sucker spawn SlateDrake mentions is a later spring deal but every trout stream has them.

Brown eggs are yellow-ish to pale orange-ish, brookies orange-ish, and ‘bows pink-orange-ish, suckers pale yellow-ish or yellow-greenish. But…you can use enhanced colors effectively –chartreuse works really well for browns. Bows seem to like pinks.

For stream trout I've gone to those tiny “pom-poms” you can buy in craft stores for next to nothing. I use the yellow and pink ones. With a sewing needle I introduce matching color tying thread in the pom-poms center and then lash this to the hook shank. Some supporting wraps under the egg will keep it on top of the shank so it doesn’t roll down into the gap and cause hooking problems. Do not use those super short shank “egg hooks” , esp up-eye ones –they can cause consistent hooking problems. Lotsa hooks work.

I use Glo-Bug yarn too –for bigger egg flies –like for steelhead, etc... If you use it, tie them small for stream trout and trim the yarn below to keep the gap open.

You can invent your own as well –any bright hued material –marabou, yarns, dubbing, etc… Doesn’t matter; trout will recognize them.The brighter the better often, esp if there's any color to the water.

A pom-pom egg fly that duped a small stream brown over a 1000miles from the nearest Great Lake:

JesseNovember 21st, 2010, 9:02 am
Posts: 378
So far so good mates keep the info coming. Im getting good perspectives that i haven't really thought to consider yet..
Most of us fish our whole lives..not knowing its not the fish that we are after.
FalsiflyNovember 21st, 2010, 10:34 am
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 660
It was fast approaching the noon hour, and all effort to this point was of no avail. I began frantically searching the deepest recesses of my mind, trying to coerce from memory that perfect combination of imitation and presentation, that would pique the pea brained Pisces to pick-up. It was then, while I was going through one of my many fly boxes, I think for the second time, that I noticed an old salmon egg imitation, buried at the bottom of a mass of tangled flies. I hadn’t seen it in years. Many years ago, as a neophyte, I had used this despicable thing. It was on a private stretch of the Frying Pan from which I had wretched a twenty-seven inch Rainbow, my biggest fish to date. When I say “wretched” what I mean to say is; can you imagine catching the fish of a lifetime on a salmon egg imitation? It kind of takes the wind out of your sail doesn’t it? Well anyway, I thought I’d eliminated all trace of this incriminating evidence long ago. My worst fear was that one of my fishing buddies would spot this in my box; I may as well have been carrying a jar of the real stuff. Surely I would have been shunned, if not down right banished, by my fellow elitists.
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
Jmd123November 21st, 2010, 1:31 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2536
IMHO, imitating an egg on a fly rod is no different than imitating anything else on a fly rod. If it's something that trout (and other fish, for those of you that mainly fish for other species as I do these days) eat, why not? No different than "matching the hatch", especially if they are available in abundance like a big thick hatch of mayflies or caddisflies. If you can cast it on a fly rod, and especially if you can make your own, go for it! That's my story and I'm sticking to it...


P.S. Jesse, just tie one on the front of a Woolly Bugger and call it an Egg-Sucking Leech!
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
JesseNovember 22nd, 2010, 9:44 am
Posts: 378
hahaha Jonathon don't worry that idea has been running through my head for a long time now, and i know how effective those particular flies can be! And yes that is kind of the feeling ive been getting; its a main and natural food source to these fish (trout and others) and i don't see the problem in it anymore. Now i just have to the avoid all of the people ive picked on for using them ha, and hide my boxes from them of course...
Most of us fish our whole lives..not knowing its not the fish that we are after.
Jmd123November 22nd, 2010, 11:31 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2536
Tell them they're not EGGS, but rather, trout gumdrops...

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
MotroutNovember 22nd, 2010, 5:19 pm
Posts: 319
Would you feel better if you called them "fetal emergers" :)

I will fish egg patterns, but it's not my favorite way to fish. But let's be honest-they work, and I'm more than happy to resort to them if its necessary. I caught on nice wild rainbow on a peach colored egg just yesterday.

It's possible to catch fish on eggs all year long too. I don't know why a fish will eat an egg pattern in, say, July, when they haven't seen one for months, but it's surprising how often they will. I'd never go fishing without some in my box.
"I don't know what fly fishing teaches us, but I think it's something we need to know."-John Gierach
EricdNovember 22nd, 2010, 6:22 pm
Mpls, MN

Posts: 113
Thank you Jesse for bringing up this topic. Fishing the Fall Steelhead run this year on the Brule in Northern Wisconsin was the first time I decided not to use an egg pattern at all. I caught only small resident rainbows. I like to stay away from them to challenge my still learning ass for some reason and I don't know why really. It might be as simple as that I like bugs better than eggs. It's aesthetic as much as principle.

RleePNovember 23rd, 2010, 6:59 am
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
I don't fish egg patterns these days.

I lost them all to snags or broke them off in fish...:)

Seriously, I don't see a thing wrong, unethical, tantamount to cheating, or beneath some higher plane the sport calls us to maintain, about the practice of fishing egg flies.

So much of how we see this matter is a logical extension of how we individually define what this sport is to us. As such, nobody's conclusion is more right or wrong. Its only the way we happen see it.

Now, if you want to talk about whether it is ethical to fish pink or orange scuds, that's an entirely different matter. To do so is clearly not ethical. They look too much like eggs. The only exception I'll make to this is if I stand on one leg and hold my mouth in a "O" shape when casting. Then, its OK for me to fish pink or orange scuds.

Go ye and find your own special path...:)
OldredbarnNovember 23rd, 2010, 8:52 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
I stand on one leg and hold my mouth in a "O" shape when casting

I knew they were holding back something during my early casting instruction...If I would of been taught this technique from the beginning I'd be a "River God" by now...:)

Does it matter which leg? Just asking...Maybe right leg if you are casting down and across, left leg if you are fishing it upstream...Maybe I have that backwards???

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
RleePNovember 23rd, 2010, 10:30 am
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
>Does it matter which leg? Just asking...Maybe right leg if you are casting down and across, left leg if you are fishing it upstream...Maybe I have that backwards???


You can't learn the answer to this question until you have your palms read.

Believe me, I've tried...:)

In the meantime, so long as we are discussing on-stream body positioning, here's how to get in trouble with your significant other if she (or he, for that matter) is less experienced than you at the sport:

Never, and I mean never, catch fish while sitting down on a log and waiting for your plodding Other to catch up with you on the upstream march. I did this once on Tumalo Creek outside Bend, OR. Tumalo just froths with little bows and brookies, few of which exceed 8" inches. Its a good place to take a beginner. So, when Petunia and I were on our honeymoon out there in 97, after a completely fruitless day on the Upper Deschutes, I took her over to Tumalo so she could at least catch some fish. She's a plunker and a fadiddler by nature (every day, I give up a prayer of thanks that she isn't an EMT. There'd be bodies everywhere) and I'm a scampering, beady-eyed frenetic predator who chews up miles of creek at a time.

So, I got 100 yards or so ahead of her and decided to sit on a streamside log and wait for her to catch up. While I'm sitting there, I'm flipping my Ausable Wulff over and over to drift along a sunken branch and I'm vaulting out these 5" bows one after another. She's just below me now, retrieving her fly from yet another chunk of streamside juniper floatsam. She looks up at me and I'm flipping yet another dinky bow out of the drink and back over my head (I have a pretty savage strike reflex). Yawn, just another day at the office..

She snapped and charged me... "Arrrrrgh!!", yelled her Iberian/Celtic temper and she ran up to me and started kicking water on me until my shirt was completely soaked.

And this was on our honeymoon..

So, fish on whichever leg you want (based on your palm reading, of course), just don't catch fish in front of your wife while sitting down.
OldredbarnNovember 23rd, 2010, 12:25 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600

That's a great story! You are lucky she didn't just flat out drown your behind...:)I might have...

My first marriage was a short affair that made it just a couple days past three years. She had attended an all girls catholic junior high/high school filled with intelligent highly independent...dare I say spoiled little females. What was left of the white, mostly Irish, politicos that ran the city of Detroit up to Coleman A Young sent their daughters there instead of an inter-city school.

Some of these girls got together in the summer and hiked up into Canada to the Algonquin Provincial Park and canoed and camped and hoped to run into boys to their hearts content...Remember that this was the late 60's/early 70's and they were everywhere with scarves wrapped around their in-need-of-a-wash hair with backpacks and blue jeans and signs "Toronto or Bust" etc.

Well...Fast forward to the Pine River in northern Michigan and the lovely canoe trip of the newlyweds...We had done the honeymoon in Quebec City and had slipped away for a long weekend in good old Michigan during the first summer of our marriage...She nearly demanded that she and not me should be in the rear of the canoe since I was just a green city-boy from Detroit of all places and she, post Algonquin, was Hiawatha the mistress of all things foresty.

I was a skinny hippie kid in those days and spent most of the trip sitting up on the bow of the canoe with my feet dangling in the cool stream and not taking the whole thing serious enough for Sargent Preston in the rear of the canoe.

Just over thirty years later I found a batch of very old photos that belonged to her of her great aunt and grandmother and her parents etc. It was in an old box of mine and since I had discovered, through the grapevine, that her parents had passed I struggled with what I should do with them...

After a great deal of angst I hunted down her address and sent them to her. On top of the pile of older photos I placed one from the above mentioned canoe trip...I took it from the front of the canoe after basically being a smart ass all day and making fun of her paddling skills. She's sitting in the back, paddle across her lap, and she's giving me the finger...Oops! Maybe I went just a little too far! I attached a post-it that said, "What made them think it wouldn't last!?"


"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
RleePNovember 23rd, 2010, 2:12 pm
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
Good Stuff~~!

I have an Algonquin Park story for you. Maybe tomorrow, if I'm done cleaning house and making ready to sacrifice the bird. My wife teaches grad school locally and we're having a half dozen of the students up who don't have anywhere to go for the holiday. One's from Korea, another from Turkey (believe it ot not..) and a couple from an exotic place called the Bay Area.

So, I gotta get ready.

But we used to do Algonquin a lot. Mostly back in the days when you could still take a small outboard in there. That really dates me..:)
WbranchNovember 23rd, 2010, 6:14 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2724
If you ever want to fish for steelhead and don't use egg flies your success will be far less than guys using them. I don't care to fish them when fishing for regular stream/river trout but have no qualms using them for lake run steelhead.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
RleePNovember 24th, 2010, 6:47 am
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
>>If you ever want to fish for steelhead and don't use egg flies your success will be far less than guys using them.>>

I always found that to be water-temperature dependent. If you have 40 degree water, these fish will chase a moving fly and you can do just as well with a bugger or egg-sucking leech stripped and twitched as you can with an egg fly or sucker spawn or whatever. So long as you find the right moving fly. These fish are not very bright even as fish go, but they are very moody and changeable.

If you have 38 degree water, they won't chase a moving fly and egg flies/dead drifts (and all the variations thereof) become pretty much the only game in town. It's like every fish comes with a piece of paper specifying that these are rules of the game and they are not permitted to take a moving fly unless the water is 40.

This, at least, was my experience over the 15 or so years I fished them 2-3 days a week on the PA tribs up through about 2000, when I left the area. It may be that everything is different now with all the additional guys and all the additional fish. But it was a pretty hard and fast rule back then.
JesseNovember 24th, 2010, 7:35 am
Posts: 378
God now is all that i can think about is how many bone chilling, can barely move my legs, iceicles on my beard days ive spent out on the water praying to catch one fish. All those times i could have increased my chances i feel with eggs.. Thats fly fishing ha :)
Most of us fish our whole lives..not knowing its not the fish that we are after.

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