Even though the weather conditions can be harsh on the Salmon River and other Lake Ontario tributaries, it shouldn’t keep you off the stream for winter steelhead or brown trout. These are a few of my recommendations for Salmon River flies, (straight out of the guide box) that seem to bump a fish or two during those tough conditions. When you do hook up, you’ll go from being numb to feeling like you’re on fire!

Brown Trout are fall spawners and spawn through late-Nov. Any bump in the water level (currently holding at 1100 cfs. over the last 2weeks plus) will wash some Salmon Eggs from their beds. These two factors will indicate an egg bite. Smaller egg patterns are effective this time of year, generally #12s. Certainly many are fishing larger egg patterns, especially Sucker Spawn Patterns.

Mc Fly Foam Egg

Mc Fly Foam yarn hit market in the 90’s & tying nice, round eggs has been easier ever. It’s available in huge array of colors & anglers can mix or incorporate dots easily for a custom combo.

Recipe:  (Oregon Cheese with a Red dot)
Hook: TMC 105 #10-14 or Scud Hook
Thread: 8/0 – color to match main yarn color
Yarn: McFly Foam – Oregon Cheese & Dark Red

I tend to use McFly Foam as opposed to Egg Yarn as I think the foam absorbs water quicker. Eggs are slightly denser than water meaning fish see them “ON THE BOTTOM”! Those beautiful round Glo Bugs we have been buying for all these years are just “TOO DENSE”, don’t readily absorb water & will not bounce the bottom like a real egg. In any event, tie ALL egg patterns on the sparse side.

Glow Bug

Fly is an easy tie. Variation on the good old micro-spawn simply called veiled spawn.  You need micro yarn, 6/0 thread & glow bug yarn or veiling material.  Try Oregon Cheese with Tetra Yellow veil. Unbelievable translucent in water & is great when things are getting low & clear. This has become my “GO-TOO” egg as it looks like the real deal when wet.

Salmon River is a “buggy” river, full of nymphs!!! Nutrients from Salmon carcasses and the minimum flows are two reasons for this! If they ain’t on eggs go to a small stone Fly! Salmon River Stones are slender. I usually start with a #8 but as the water temps drop I go to smaller sizes, often fishing #12s in Jan/Feb. I generally tie my stones in black with a red glass bead at the head. As a general rule I use less flash materials as water temps drop. Stones are available to Trout all year round.


Hook: Tiemco 2302 #8-14 weighted
Thread: Black 6/0
Tail: Black Goose/Turkey Biots
Rib: Fine Copper Wire
Body: Black dub or yarn
Wingcase: Cooper Krystal Flash
Thorax: Peacock Herl

A simple and slender stone that works! I tie it as above with the cooper colored wingcase for low light conditions and with a black raffia wingcase and a red glass bead for the head for sunny conditions. Check out the stone flies on the snowy banks of the river any time there is a slight warming trend. Note how slender they are!

Pheasant Tail

Hook: TMC5262, #8-14.
Thread: Black 8/0 or 6/0
Tail: Pheasant tail fibers
Body: Black dub or yarn
Hackle: Black or grizzly hackle
Head: Red or copper bead

Another very simple tie and an easy fly to tie up in quantities.  I also tie this pattern in brown and olive!

See you on the River!

“Rock” Rockwell, USA Ret.

Zero Limit Adventures

NYS Licensed Guide 

Douglaston Salmon Run Approved Guide & River Walker