bull trout fly

BC Bull Trout Fly: The ‘Mister March’

Have you ever found that one fly that you have supreme confidence in? My ‘Mister March’ has a special place in my heart, it’s a simple pattern that I’ve used for bull trout fishing here in BC for at least 15 years. It is really easy to tie, nothing more than a glorified Wooly Bugger, but I’m confident the colour combo is what makes it so effect for BC bull trout fishing.

Below you’ll find instructions on how to tie this fly, as I said it is a quick and simple bull trout fly to tie. I’ve also caught a surprising number of steelhead on this pattern as well, always a nice bonus! It is an absolute go-to in my fly box and one of the flies I have most of my clients fish while guiding. You can lose a few over the course of a day and not worry about whipping up a few that evening. As far as a favourite BC bull trout fly this is mine, so let’s get started….

First off, the materials you’ll need to tie the “Squamish Sculpin” bull trout fly include:

    • Small gold bead head   
    • Mustad long shank stream hook size 4 or 6
    • 140-denier thread (Black or Olive)
    • Laguartun Flat Tinsel (Gold or Copper)
    • Flashabou Tinsel Flash (Olive)
    • Fine Marabou (Light Olive)
    • Schlappen (Olive)

bull trout fly tying

Step #1:  Get all your materials laid out. When tying multiples of the same fly getting a clean work station will all your materials in front of your makes all the difference. The key to this pattern is the colour combination, it works well in all conditions, especially in Spring conditions when rivers are getting some colour to them.

tying a bc bull trout fly

Step #2:  Place your gold bead head onto the hook. A smaller bead head will still get the fly down and is easier to cast. Bigger is not always better and a smaller bead head is a key part to this fly. You can use any colour you’d like but again, the gold has always worked best for me.

best bc bull trout fly

Step #3:  Tie in the marabou tail. The tail should be 3/4 the shank length with a medium clump of material. When you’re tying it to the shank make sure you tie it right up to the bead head. This will give you an even body and will stop the bead head from sliding back down the shank when fished.

fly fishing for bull trout

Step #4:  Tie down your olive Flashabou, maybe 10 strands. They should be the same length as the marabou. I’ve never found it has mattered much what order you tie the marabou or the Flashabou in, all looks the same in the water.

tying bull trout fly

Step #5:  Now you’ll tie in the flat tinsel that will make up the body. This is a skinny looking bull trout fly and I much prefer the Laguartun flat tinsel in either gold or copper for this fly. It gives it a good colouring under the schlappen that you’ll tie in next.

bull trout fly fishing fly

Step #6:  Find yourself a webby piece of olive schlappen. I like the webby fibres over the stiff fibres as it swims with lots more action in the water. Try to use a piece that has even fibres.

best fly for bull trout fishing

Step #7:  Wrap your tinsel to the front of the hook. You should have an even body laid tightly over the marabou from the tail.

bull trout fly fishing in BC

Step #8:  The body is done, tie it of trim the excess tinsel.  Good flat tinsel isn’t cheap, so when I’m trying I try to waste as little as possible. If I’m speed tying I’ll use a length long enough that I know I’ll get 3 or 4 flies out of, that way my waste is way less.

BC bull trout fishing flies

Step #9:  Getting close, we’re just going to palmer the olive hackle now and give this thing some meatiness! If you’re new to fly tying the palmering hackle can be a bit tricky. One tip I like to use is to wet my fingers and to pull the hackle back as I wrap it forward. This will prevent you front wrapping over the hackles. If you’d like to you can use light copper wire to rib the fly. Some fly tiers like to add the rib as it acts as a protectant to the hackle and secures the hackle better to the fly. I’ve never found it to be an issue, rare does the hackle come off this fly if tied properly.

fly fishing for BC bull trout

Step #10:  There we go, all done except we have to tie off the hackle. I’ll take two or three wraps over the hackle with the thread trying to pull it under the bead head and then snip the hackle.  Then I’ll give it another 5 or 6 wraps before whip finishing the fly. I don’t put any glue on the fly. There’s not really anywhere to put glue, all the thread is usually synced under the bead head.

bull trout fly

Step #11:  There you have it. My go-to favourite BC bull trout fly, the ‘Mister March’. Remember to pinch your barbs and know your local fishing regulations. 


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About the Author

Yos Gladstone is the owner operator of Chromer Sport Fishing, a guiding company and booking agency based in British Columbia, Canada. A full-time salmon & steelhead guide, Yos spends 200+ days a year on the water fishing, guiding and hosting trips.

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