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8 Flies for Winter Cutthroat

flies for winter cutthroat
Cody Wegener

When the water turns cold and the cutthroat become finicky, give these flies a try. 

Fly fishing can be a great experience. It can be even greater when you are successful.

Once the salmon run is over and that food source has dried up, cutthroat start to change their diet. I have found that the large, flashy flies I use in the summer become too much for winter cutthroat. This is when I bring out smaller and darker flies to entice a strike out of the fish.

All the flies in this article I tied myself; some are variations of popular flies, while others are just something I thought looked good. I am not very creative when it comes to naming flies, so, as you will see, they usually end up with something obvious and descriptive.

1. The Little Red and Yellow Cutthroat Killer

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  • Hook: Size 4-8 Scud Hook
  • Body: Yellow Dubbing
  • Wing: White Marabou
  • Head: Small Red Bead
  • Thread: Black

2. White-Winged Bugger

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  • Hook: TMC 300 Size 10
  • Tail: Brown Marabou
  • Body: Black Chenille
  • Hackle: Black, Palmered over body
  • Wing: White Bucktail
  • Thread: Tan

3. Beadheaded Purple Guy

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  • Hook: TMC 200 Size 10
  • Body: Purple Sparkle Chenille
  • Hackle: Grizzly, Palmered over body
  • Head: Small Brass Bead
  • Thread: Black

4. Helicopter Bugger

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  • Hook: TMC 300 Size 10
  • Tail: Brown Marabou
  • Body: Black Chenille
  • Hackle: Grizzly, Palmered over body
  • Head: Brass Spinner between two brass beads
  • Thread: Tan

5. Smolt

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  • Hook: TMC 300 Size 10
  • Tail: Silver Mylar Tubing extended from body
  • Body: Silver Mylar Tubing
  • Head: Small Silver Beadchain
  • Thread: White

6. Black ‘n’ Hackle

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  • Hook: TMC 300 Size 12
  • Body: Black Chenille
  • Ribbing: Silver Tinsel
  • Hackle: Grizzly
  • Thread: Black

7. Purple Elk Hair Dry

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  • Hook: TMC 300 size 14-10
  • Body: Purple Sparkle Chenille
  • Hackle: Grizzly, Palmered over body
  • Wing: Natural Elk Hair
  • Thread: Black

8. White and Pheasant

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  • Hook: TMC 300 Size 10
  • Tail: Ringneck Pheasant Tail Fibers
  • Body: White Chenille
  • Hackle: Grizzly
  • Head: Brass Bead

All images courtesy of Cody Wegener

NEXT: 5 REASONS TO PUT SOUTHEAST ALASKA ON YOUR FISHING BUCKET LIST

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8 Flies for Winter Cutthroat