In many cases, fly fishing with squirmy wormies is more effective than fishing the claimed more natural counterpart of imitating hatching insects like blue-winged olives or some nymph.
Some fly anglers sneer at the thought of using a worm fly pattern to fool some fish. But, aquatic worms are a completely natural part of the ecosystem and are a common source of food throughout the year. These species of worms are found subsurface within the mud and clay banks of the streams.
Tactics With Worms
Worm flies are ideal post rainfall or snowmelt runoff. Engorged streams with increasingly fast currents will dig into the mucky banks and churn up the burrowed in worms. Trout feast on worms out of a natural reflex to eat what looks familiar or they mistake the shape and color for an extremely large midge larva. Either way, that’s good news for us and fish worms when worms are on the menu.
Luckily, worm flies are simple to fish. Dead drift them nice and slow deep through seams and runs like any other nymphs. Even if you’re into Euro or Czech nymphing worm flies can be easily added to your fly rigs as an anchor or dropper fly.
Look behind big boulders or structure in the water that slows down the flow well downstream. You don’t always have to fish the edges of structure to find fish. Even fishing below a large obstruction 30 feet behind will prove to be effective. Trout will feed downstream of these structures because even a marginally decrease in the flow will help trout conserve energy.
Squirmy Wormy flies are bulky and get hung up in the water column as they sink.
This prevents you from quickly dropping your flies right in front of the fish’s face. For this reason, it’s best to tie them with beads, pair squirmy wormy flies with heavily weighted nymphs, and or add some split shots. Overall, add enough weight to your worm flies to drop them to the streambed.
Some Streams Don’t Allow Them
You have to be careful with squirmy wormy flies. They are considered to be artificial flies, but because the primary material of the pattern is of soft rubber plastic the fly has caused some streams and competition to ban them from use. Even without fishing them, having some squirmy wormy flies in your fly box at a banned stream could land you with a penalty. Double check your local waters’ regulations and see if squirmy wormy flies are allowed.
The soft rubber plastic material squirmy wormy flies use is incredibly easy to tear and gash. In a way, it’s lack of durability is the price that’s paid for an extremely productive attractor fly. After all of our years of fishing squirmy wormies, we’ve found that heat is its number one enemy. The best way to make your squirmy wormy flies last longer is to keep them cool.
Best Color Squirmy Wormy Flies
Many streams feature a species of bright pink aquatic worms. While not all streams have these bright species, the color is still a near-accurate presentation and a great attractor pattern.
A vast majority of water worms have visible blood within their body. This red blood shows through their clear skin and the colors shown through as a discolored red.
Many aquatic worms have a transparent skin and the red insides show through.
Probably the most realistic color available that is the closest imitation to the real worm.
Purple is more of an attractor color. In certain streams, purple seems to out perform for whatever reason.