By T. Gordon
If when fly fishing for steelhead you notice that the fish don’t want to take traditional flies, then it is time to play dirty and switch to an egg fly. Fish egg flies have been around for a long time, and although looked down upon by the most traditional fly fishermen, they do work. Often times steelhead will prefer an egg fly over a nymph.
There are multiple egg fly patterns out there, but most can be covered with the three shown below.
“Eggs Over Easy”
Other than the hook and thread, this fly requires only one fly tying material: egg yarn. My choice is glow bug yarn, but it can also be tied with other fibres like antron and wool. A red, orange or yellow marker can be used to paint a blood spot. The colour of the eggs can be of your preference, although my favorite choice is the yellow-orange that resembles the naturals more closely, specially since I prefer to fish this fly in clear water.
This single egg pattern can be a bit of a challenge to tie, as the egg yarn can spin on the hook shank and easily loose its shape. You can see how nice this egg looks out of the water, but its real advantage is when it gets wet, as the water in the yarn gives it a very natural look. If you ever wondered what steelhead and salmon want for a nice meal, I am sure the answer will be “eggs over easy”.
Instructions to tie can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cD4F0oHjV94
The Bead Head Egg
The bead head egg is basically a “puff-ball” with a bead. Generally this fly is tied using a copper or tungsten golden bead, but I prefer to use a glass yellow-orange bead, which in my opinion gives it a more attractive appearance.
The materials for this fly are few: a wide gap hook, a glass bead (preferably yellow or orange), egg fly yarn (Mcfly foam is a good brand to try), thread. I prefer hot orange thread just because it show through the glass bead. Avoid using black thread. There are two important tricks when tying this pattern: first, keep the thread turns narrowly and on top of each other. Second, cut the yarn close to the hook, this will allow it to expand into a nice round pompom and hide the hook and the thread. The farther away from the hook the yarn is cut, the bigger the puff ball will be.
There are a few videos on Youtube showing how to tie this fly. Here is the link to one of them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYgerfRornI
In Ontario rivers and creeks you can easily see white suckers spawning in early spring, and during this time, brookies, rainbows and browns would feed on their eggs. This fact, gives much importance to sucker egg flies.
There are multiple patterns out there but all of them are characterized by having smaller eggs that form a clump. This can be imitated by tying a number of small egg yarn loops on a hook. The egg yarn has to be of small diameter and the thread preferable should be white, red, orange or yellow. This can be a very forgiving pattern to tie, since it represents a clump of eggs, which allows for mistakes to be easily hidden. Hook size and colour of the yarn can also vary depending on your choice. I have tied this pattern using crystal chenille, wool and egg yarn.
Link to tying video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNFaPf8StEk