Spring fly fishing offers wonderful catches for fly anglers to catch trout coming out of their winter lethargicness. As the water begins to warm all sorts of aquatic insects begin to hatch, and with it, a rush of fish activity. It can be hard to select out of the hundreds of patterns available commercially the seasoned flies that truly do work above all else.

Everyone has there favorite fly patterns and here are 15 that we rely on to constantly catch fish for us.

Dry Flies

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Adams Parachute

Adams Parachute is one of the most versatile dry fly patterns available. Its muted colors and silhouette allow it to imitate a vast variety of insects such as caddis, mayflies, midges, and even some stoneflies. All of this makes it such a great fly to have for spring.

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Blue-Winged Olive Parachute

Blue-Winged Olives are a staple diet for trout in the spring. Nearly every day in the mid-afternoon you will see scattered to full-blown BWO hatches. We prefer the parachute style of the blue-winged olive because it can imitate emergers, duns, and spinners.

Elk Hair Caddis

Elk Hair fly patterns imitate the bread and butter of a trout’s diet, caddis. As one of the greatest patterns ever created, even the most selective trout can’t resist. Overall, its insect profile and ability to float high gives the Elk Hair fly credibility as a go-to pattern for nearly every serious angler.

BWO GT Adult

The hallmark of early season hatches is the BWO. Some guides even say winter isn’t over until they see their first solid BWO hatch. Since it’s a fairly thin-bodied fly, the parachute adds a nice touch to help anglers see it out there in the current. A tip for some extra visibility is to paint the parachute post with a red or pink sharpie so it stands out even more!

Caught from a freestone stream in Eastern Pennsylvania on a Tungsten Missile Nymph. We drifted our dropper nymph rig through the seam of a deep run.

Nymphs and Wet Flies

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Squirmy Wormy

Many say that using Squirmy Wormies is cheating, but aquatic worms are totally natural and are a select part of a trout’s diet. Squirmy Wormies offer the best of both worlds, they get down and know how to wiggle. Many anglers use this fly as their first and last resort. Add it as a dropper or your lead fly.

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The WD40 Emerger mimics helpless emerging insects leaving their shucks. Trout find it an easy meal to pick up and eat these stranded treats. We place this unweighted nymph close to the top of our nymphing rigs so that they stay in the upper water columns. Couple this with the Blue Winged Olive Parachute and Blue Winged Olive for a macho selection.

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Tungsten Missile Nymph

This flashy blue-winged olive baetis nymph pattern is one of our absolute favorites. Deep pools with fast currents require nymphs like this one with a slim profile and a heavy bead to dive fast to the bottom. Fish tend to hang close to the bottom because of the slow current that is found there. So, we use the Tungsten Missile nymph to penetrate these feeding zones quickly and provide an excellent presentation.

Flashback Hare’s Ear Nymph

Hare’s Ear Nymphs are just as effective in stillwater as they are in streams and rivers. Their dull colors and general buggy appearance makes it easy to imitate mayfly nymphs, caddis pupae, midge larvae, etc.

Mercury Baetis

Mercury Baetis nymphs are a light pattern used to drift near the surface when trout are ignoring dry flies and are focusing on emerging nymphs just below. The sparkle bead adds just enough flash and imitates the gases that build up within the emerging nymphs’ shucks, which helps them ascend to the surface.

Dusty’s Olive Pearl Soft Hackle

We love to include this olive pattern into our nymphing rigs on days when blue-winged olives duns are apparent on the surface. Trout will often ignore these freshly hatched BWO duns on top and target the freely drifting nymphs below.

Zebra Midge

A large portion of a trout’s diet is always going to consist of midge larva, which makes Zebra Midges a must. Fish this high in the water column or near the bottom of your multi-fly rig. We typically have this pattern in the middle right above a big and heavy stonefly pattern.

Pat’s Rubber Legs

Countless times it has proven in streams with large populations of stoneflies the Pat’s Rubber Legs nymph is an irresistible pattern to trout. This stonefly pattern does have a tough time diving down to the bottom because of its large profile, so we like to add some extra weight to our line with split shot or heavily weighted nymphs.


Conehead Woolly Bugger

When the rain comes or the snow melts, and trout streams are gushing with more water than they can handle, throw this streamer with confidence. During high water conditions, trout will push towards the banks, so an effective technique can be fishing the conehead bugger from the middle of the river back towards the shore.

Lunchable Minnow

The Lunchable minnow imitates all sorts of minnows and baitfish that you may find in the water, which makes it a fantastic and effective fly pattern to have. This is one pattern that will not disappoint. The Lunchable streamer is great for spring runoff and is perfect for bouncing around large boulders and tight spaces fish congregate.

Shafer’s Ella’s Beast

“This fly can mimic leeches and small bait fish. This is a big fish fly. Some of the biggest fish we have stuck over the years have been on this fly! I will fish this on a streamer rig, usually a two streamer rig. I love fishing this one under an indicator as a point fly or as the bottom fly in a three fly rig. This is another great swinging fly when placed under the indicator. I’ll also add some strips with a pause for some outstanding takes. Ella’s Beast also does very well in still waters.” ~ Joe Shafer

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