Stocked Trout Fly

May 3, 2010 by  

Stocked trout are known as the eat-anything additions to their foster flows, and they probably aren’t as sharp as their more naturally occurring cousins. However, they can still be a challenge and are definitely a lot of fun as the angling season gets going. While many trout anglers prefer using spinners to cover water and provoke reaction strikes from these fish, lightweight jigs may be a more effective lure in triggering quality bites. I’ve found a pattern that will help you catch stocked trout and probably a few of their wiser contemporaries.

Trout Fly Materials
1/64-Ounce Gold Jig, No Collar
6/0 Black Thread
Black Marabou
Black Medium Chenille
Black Saddle Hackle

The Camden Crunch is my nickname for this buzz cut jig version of the woolly bugger and just like its parent pattern it can be tied in many variations. The lure takes its title from the state park in southwestern Minnesota where I have used it on the Redwood River with great success for brown trout. Based on its lineage, my guess is that it would work well on any trout stream or bluegill pond. The pattern couldn’t be simpler, unless you removed the hackle, which you can do, but then there’d be no crunch, and what fun would that be?

Secure the jig in your vise with the hook eye pointed down. Start your thread at the head of the jig and form a thread base on the hook. Tie in a pinch of marabou on top of the hook shank, forming half of the tail. Keep the tail short – no longer than three-quarters of the jig’s length – to prevent short strikes on the marabou. I trimmed the tails on my first set of these patterns while streamside after I missed half a dozen strikes and that made all the difference. Rotate the jig in your vise and tie another pinch of marabou on the bottom of the hook equal in size and length to the first portion to finish off the tail. (Figure 1.)
Rotate the vise so the jig is back in the starting position. At the base of the tail, tie in a saddle hackle feather, with the curvature facing the hook bend. Then tie in the stripped end of a three-inch strand of medium chenille to the hook shank in front of it. Advance your thread to the base of the jig head and let it hang. (Figure 2.) Palmer the chenille forward, keeping each wrap tight to the one before it. Tie the chenille down as close to the jig head as possible and trim the excess. (Figure 3.)

Next, using hackle pliers, wrap the hackle forward over the chenille. When you reach the jig head, secure the hackle with your thread. Make a few more thread wraps, further securing the materials to the hook; whip finish and trim the thread. (Figure 4.) Apply a drop of head cement to the tie-in area behind the jig head.
Finally, trim the hackles around the jig’s body so they are about one hook gap in length. (Figure 5.) This gives the fly a leggy appearance, like a crunchy bug of some sort, such as a dragonfly nymph. One morning, I landed over 15 trout on a single Camden Crunch. By the end of the outing, the thread had given way, the hackles had been stripped and the chenille was unwinding from the hook shank.

While black has been my go-to color on any given day, I’ve also caught a good number of trout on a crawfish pattern tied with pheasant rump marabou and brown hackle over rust-colored chenille. Olive hackle over olive crystal chenille has also worked well. (Figure 6.) The Camden Crunch can be presented in an across-and-downstream fashion with ultralight tackle and shouldn’t be fished on line over four-pound test, unless you tie it on a heavier jig head. Remember, the lighter the jig, the lighter the line needs to be for a good cast and presentation. The 1/64-ounce jig head is light enough to allow the lure to pull double duty on the fly rod as a streamer too.

Stocked or wild stream trout, bluegills and crappies in your area should take well to this easily customizable jig, so give it a try and feel free to experiment with colors and add in various bells and whistles like sili legs, krystal flash or body wire for extra effect. You’ll find it to be a potent pattern that should bring a few more fish to hand…in our outdoors.

For more great patterns, tips and stories, log on to www.nicksimonson.com, follow Our Outdoors on Twitter @OurOutdoors, or become a fan of Our Outdoors by Nick Simonson on Facebook.


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