Best Flies for Float Tube Fishing

Ok, you’re heading to the store for the first time and you’re ready to buy your flies. This is what I would recommend to get you started.

If this is too expensive, to save a few dollars you can purchase smaller quantities of each pattern. Once you catch a few nice fish on a Wooly Bugger, your confidence will increase and so will the amount of cash you will be willing to spend on your flies but in the mean time, you should purchase at least one of each fly listed above.

The patterns listed on this page have been responsible for the thousands of fish I have caught and I’ve fished all of them extensively in British Columbia, Alberta, and Washington. The majority of these patterns will also work on most rivers and streams fairly effectively.

Of course fly-fishing and fly tying go hand in hand and you may want to experiment with tying your own flies. Getting started at fly tying is fairly inexpensive and Wooly Buggers call for very little material and are very easy to tie. The satisfaction of fooling a trout with one of your own creations makes fly-fishing that much more enjoyable. Many beginner fly tying books are available on the Internet and at your local tackle shops.


When nothing else will draw a strike, I like to fish this fly at the drop off’s with fast retrieves.

Other times, strikes are induced by casting out the fly on a sinking line and drawing up the tension so you are in contact with the fly, then allowing it to fall to the bottom and wait for the slightest movement. With this process, you really have to pay attention as many strikes come as your fly settles to the bottom and a take can be very soft and go undetected.

Leach patterns are deadly when slightly weighted and fished right off the bottom or just over weed beds at a drop off. Leeches are most active in the evening and are available year round for the trout. They are a staple food source for trout.

Damsel Fly (nymph)

When you begin to see Adult Damsels on the lake in small numbers, a Damselfly nymph pattern fished on a wet line can be lethal for taking large trout. Damselfly nymphs spend their time among the vegetation at the bottom of a shoal or drop-off area and migrate towards the shore and at times in large groups. Chances are, trout will seek the nymphs while this migration is on. On Star Lake I have witnessed this migration first hand and caught an incredible number of good size fish in several hours.

Damselfly nymphs will make their way to shore swimming just under the surface film before exiting the water so using a floating line will also be very productive on the shoal.

Dragon Fly Nymph

Dragonfly nymphs have a two to four year life cycle and are available to trout throughout the year as the nymphs migrate to deeper water in the winter, returning to shallow water in the spring. The large dragonfly nymphs are very aggressive predators and spend most of their time in heavy weed cover around shore or shoal drop-offs.

These nymphs climb around aquatic vegetation actively pursuing prey, which they catch by shooting out their extendible-hinged lower lip at lighting speed. The Dragonfly nymphs crawl onto shore along the shoal bottom, where they hatch into adults. Adults can live anywhere from four to six weeks after emerging and can get up to three or four centimeters long before hatching into an adult.

An excellent fly pattern for early ice off conditions, strip this fly quickly when retrieving or let sit on bottom with very little movement.

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