by Matt O'Neal of Savage Flies: Find him on his YouTube channel at Savage Flies
Have you ever wondered why so many winter steelhead patterns feature orange or red components? One common theory is that during these fall and winter runs, the fish are conditioned to feed on the eggs, which almost always feature some shade of red/orange or even pinks. While a classic steelhead fly with an orange throat or red tail will look nothing like an egg, it may simply be that these colors are triggers and the fish don’t necessarily key on it, but will strike aggressively out of instinct. Either way, experience and many years of trial and error by generations of fly fishermen have proven one thing-- these colors work.
And as the fall steelhead season is in full swing in lots of the country, this month’s pattern will give you one more easy-to-tie pattern that could be worthy of a row in your fly box.
The Golden Demon Steelhead Fly
The history of the Golden Demon is not entirely certain but I wouldn’t consider it a forgotten fly. It’s turned up in several books over the years and many anglers will have heard of it and plenty will have tied and fished it. It’s not at all a difficult pattern and contains no particularly rare materials. Granted, some of the originals were tied with brown bear hair for the wing, but a red squirrel tail is an excellent substitute (and a bit easier to stack).