fly fishing brown trout

 The  Scientific Fly Fishing Site For Brown Trout 


Brown Trout Flies
Eugene P. Macri Jr.
Aquatic and Environmental Scientist

Brown trout fly patterns are too numerous to mention. Because brown trout are often so selective to flies in their local environment one might think that no patterns could be used just about everywhere but that's far from the truth. Below are my patterns that I use everywhere for brown trout and find them to work East, Midwest or West. One of the reasons that these flies work everywhere is because similar type streams for example spring creeks have similar insects etc. We are often refer to these as ecotypes or ecological equivalents. Also, certain attractor type patterns seem to work everywhere also. So here's my brown trout fly box which I would never be without wherever brown trout are found.

Gene Macri's Brown Trout Fly Box

Streamer Patterns:

  • Black Ghost Streamer is one of the deadliest streamers for brown trout especially for hatchery browns. Size 8-14
  • Wooly Buggers: I like them in all black; black and olive; white; chartreuse and black and white. You can also use them with bead heads for extra depth. Sizes 6-14
  • Ed Shenk's Sculpin: Still one of the finest flies for brown trout anywhere in the world. Sizes 6-14
  • Matukas: I like them in black and silver; black and blue; black and red. Sizes 6-14
  • Streamers: I like them in yellow; black; white; mickey finn; Mix them up with some silver bodies and some gold tinsel. Sizes: 6-14
  • Leech Streamers: Black; brown; and grey-black. Sizes 4-8

Wet Fly Patterns:

  • Brown Hackle Peacock: An old pattern that is a killer everywhere; add a little copper wire. Sizes 8-18
  • Grey Hackle Yellow: Another old pattern that works well sizes 8-18
  • Grey Hackle Green: Works great for many caddis patterns too. Sizes 8-18
  • Royal Coachman: Yes, it still works even on the hardest fished waters. A great dropper patterns. Sizes 8-16
  • Cowdung: Yes it works! Sizes 10-16
  • Hare's Ear Wet Gold Ribbed. Still one of the best overall patterns anywhere. Sizes 8-18
  • Dark Cahill Wet: This pattern works for a number of flies: sizes 10-18
  • Black Gnat: This pattern is under utilized; works great for many dark early season hatches. Sizes 8-16


  • Muskrat Nymph: A great early season fly. Sizes 8-14
  • Hare's Ear Nymph G.R. All around favorite. Sizes 6-18
  • Sulfur Nymph: This fly inhabits most trout streams. Size 12-18
  • Sawyer Nymph: A great overall imitation of Blue Winged Olive nymph. Sizes: 14-20
  • Prince Nymph: A great pattern that can imitate anything from a caddis to a streamer depending upon the size and variation. Sizes:8-16 Bead heads also.
  • Green Caddis Larva: This nymph tied with various materials works well because the Hydropsyche and Rycophilia caddis larvae are found in most trout streams. Size: 8-16 Bead Heads also
  • Emergers: Light, Dark and Medium. Work for a variety of caddis flies. Sizes-8-18. Bead Heads also
  • Mayfly emerger: Brown; Tan; Olive Brown. Sulfur These general color emerger patterns are actually all you need on most streams. Sizes: 10-18

Soft Hackles:

  • Grizzly Green: Works for a ton of different caddis. Sizes: 10-16
  • Brown Partridge Green: Great overall pattern Sizes 10-18
  • Brown Partridge Orange: A good attractor Pattern Sizes: 1-18
  • Sulfur Tan: Great for most of the Sulfur Mayflies: Sizes 12-18
  • Brown and Grey Partridge Medium Brown Body: Sizes 12 18

Dry Flies:

  • Adams in All Variations Including Spent Wings: Sizes 12-22.  A great all around fly for suggestion and attraction.
  • Sulfur Dun: The most widely distributed mayfly. I use standard and no hackle patterns. Size 12-20
  • Brown Bivisible: Works well on many freestone streams; Sizes: 10-18
  • Grizzly Bivisible: One of the best attractor-suggestion patterns. Sizes 10-24
  • Ginger Bivisible: A great pattern for jumping caddis Sizes: 8-22
  • Royal Coachman Fan Wing: Yes, they still work and even on the hardest fished spring creeks.  I like sizes 8-22
  • Stimulator: A great attractor.  Sizes 6-20
  • Blue Winged Olive Dun; Works well for Olives and similar patterns in both traditional and no hackle. Sizes 12-24
  • Hendrickson and Red Quill. These two patterns still work for lots of early season mayflies. Tie them traditionally and no hackle. Sizes: 12-18