Fly of the Month: Pat's Rubber Legs
Stonefly imitations are a staple in every angler's box and the Pat’s Rubber Legs is a go-to flythroughout the year but especially early in the spring and summer time months here in Salmon, Idaho. The Pat’s is an original pattern developed by eastern Idaho fly fishing guide, Pat Bennett. Pat found that the stonefly nymphs in the Henry’s Fork area seemed more brown than black in color which led to the brown chenille for the body. Olive legs were one of the innovations of the fly where he used super floss opposed to elastic rubber. Today’s patterns come in a variety of colors and often have either elastic or floss legs. This nymph has been given a few nicknames, such as the “turd,” all of which poke at its lack of complexity in form. Experienced fly tiers come to learn that some of the simplest imitations can be some of the deadliest when catching fish. Here at the Salmon River Fly Box the Pat’s is the first fly to come out of the box when setting up a nymph rig. A primary reason for us to pick the Pat’s because of the versatility of adding weight to your rig. Whether you buy them inside the shop or tie them yourself, Pat’s typically come with weight built into the fly. This is achieved by lead wraps on the hook shank and/or tungsten beads. Weight is critical for achieving fly depth and the Pat’s is a great fly to customize due to its tying simplicity which allows tiers to easily fine tune their flies down to the individual lead wrap. Pat’s rubber legs can be tied with a full-shank body or with an extended body with a jig hook that adds a slight variation of fly style. Changing the size of chenille will adjust the profile of the fly which can help match the size of the stoneflies in your river. Beginner and seasoned tiers can quickly add and replenish these flies to their boxes while still having creative freedom. With some Pat’s in your box there are a couple things to keep in mind especially now with flows on the rise.
Fishing in the spring can be a bit of a struggle here on the Salmon River. Flows are up and the visibility is shaky at best. Don’t let these facts discourage you, the Pat’s is here to help. Stonefly nymphs mobilize during the high flows either by choice or merely because they are being displaced by the turbulent flows. They get trapped in the current and fall out into feeding lanes where fish are waiting. Advantages of fishing a Pat’s is that the profile is large, the color is dark, and the legs show extra movement on the fly. These are all great features when trying to get a fish’s attention in early season water conditions. A large form helps the fish spot the fly, the dark colors silhouette the fly when light struggles to penetrate the water column, and the wriggling movement from the legs can trigger a strike from a feeding fish. Pat’s is a formula for success when catching all our species of fish so keep faith and fish it well.
Thank you for keeping up with the Salmon River Fly Box and the shop’s recommended fly
profile! As parting advice we would like you to keep in mind to experiment with depth, fly size,
and a couple of colors if fish aren't producing out of the areas you expect them to feeding.There
is a ton of great fishing to be had right now so come visit us on main street in Salmon and talk to
us in the shop or online for ideas, gear, and fly tying materials.
Hook: Kumoto K-200 Size 6-12
Thread: 6/0 Uni-Thread - Black
Bead: Plummeting Tungsten Bead
Body: Variegated Chenille Medium - Black/Brown
Legs: Flex Floss - Black