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Fly Patterns
How Do You Like Your Eggs?

 

Veiled Crystal Egg

Hook:  Mustad CO68 or C67S #10-#12
Thread:  8/0 Color to Compliment Crystal Egg
Body: Crystal Egg Ball
Veil:  White Sparkle Yarn
Bead:  Gold or Coloured Bead to Match Crystal Egg Ball

Tying Note:  Vary the bead and Crystal Egg color as you see fit.

Experienced drift fishers who ply B.C.’s rivers and streams in search of winter steelhead understand the value of eggs.  Either natural roe or coloured yarn fashioned to represent roe.  Fly fishers also know the value of eggs, as a result an omelette of egg patterns and materials are readily available.  This is true not only for west coast fly fishers but those who chase migratory salmon and trout in the great lakes region.  Steelhead are not the only game fish with a taste for eggs.  Annual salmon and steelhead migrations attract other opportunistic predators as well including cutthroat trout, rainbow trout and Dolly Varden char.  Egg patterns are also valuable on systems with no anadromous returns.  Many course fish species such as suckers, pike minnows and whitefish spawn in large numbers providing trout and char a protein rich conveyer belt of eggs.

Today there are a myriad of egg patterns available and nearly as many materials to construct them from.  Most selections are based upon personal preference and the selection materials in your local fly shop. 

Chenille wound in a ball configuration around the hook was one of the first egg materials.  The Iliamna Pinkie is a traditional Alaskan favourite that works as well today as it did years ago.  Crystal Chenille also makes interesting egg patterns.  Some blend Crystal Chenille with other materials providing an element of flash that compliments and contrasts more sombre materials. 

Probably the most popular egg material is yarn, specifically Glo-Bug yarn or McFlyfoam.  These yarns offer excellent translucency mimicking the consistency of natural eggs.  Theses materials are readily available, easy to work with and come in a kaleidoscope of colors.  Colors can be mixed with ease.   The popular Clown Egg features multiple colors providing fish with a variety of choice.

Blood Spot Glo-Bug

Hook:  Mustad CO68 or C67S #10-#14
Thread: 6/0 Color to Compliment Body
Body:  Egg Yarn or McFly Foam
Blood Spot: Darker Contrasting Color of Egg Yarn or McFly Foam

Glo-Bug style patterns are simple to tie.  You can populate a fly box in no time.  A good thing, as egg patterns need to be drifted and tumbled amongst the bottom rubble and debris.  An environment that consumes flies at a feverish pace.  To tie a Glo-Bug begin with the tying thread hanging at the mid point on the shank.  Depending on the egg size trim two or three 1-inch lengths of yarn.  Double and pinch the yarn around the tying thread.   Slide the doubled yarn into position on top of the shank.  Release the pinch and place firm thread wraps one on top of each other using a tight, tighter, tightest philosophy to compress and secure the strands.  Use strong thread, minimum of 6/0 depending upon the manufacturer.  Most egg tyers use heavyweight thread, either 3/0, gel spun or Kevlar.  Pull and raise the yarn.  Place additional thread wraps directly behind and in front of the yarn to lock it in place.  Whip finish and remove the thread.   Gather the strands.  Use a sharp pair of scissors and trim the yarn to within half the hook gape using a rounded cutting motion from front to back.  Massage the fibres to form an egg shaped ball.  If your egg is not perfectly round not to worry.  When it comes to egg shape fish are geometrically challenged.  Glo-Bug yarns are hard on scissors.  If possible pick up a pair of heavy duty curved fly tying scissors.  Blood dot or spotted eggs are easily formed by stacking a thin darker strand on top of two lighter strands. 

Sucker Spawn

Hook:  Mustad CO68 or C67S #10-#14
Thread: 6/0 Color to Compliment Body
Tail: Pearlescent Crystal Flash (4 Strands)
Body:  Egg Yarn, McFly Foam, or Angora Yarn

Egg yarns can also be tied onto the shank in a series of humps.  In the Great Lakes regions these ‘Sucker Spawn’ patterns are everywhere and work well.  As with Glo-Bug’s spawn patterns are simple to tie.  Cover the shank with tying thread along with a short sparse Crystal Flash tail.  Tie in a loop of yarn at the rear of hook so it extends just past the bend.  Form a second loop and create a second hump that is slightly shorter than the tail.  Continue forming series of humps covering the shank.  Typically the third hump is larger than the second, the fourth hump is about the same and the final humps are smaller.  The end result is pattern with an unobstructed gape and a half round series of humps on the top side of the hook.  Synthetic braid materials such as Frostbite or Poly Braid can also be substituted for the yarn creating the ‘Crystal Meth’ series of patterns.

Crystal Meth

Hook:  Mustad CO68 or C67S #10-#14
Thread: 6/0 Color to Compliment Body
Body:  Poly Braid or Frostbite

Egg yarn patterns are buoyant and require assistance to drag them down such as lead wire under bodies, cones, beads or dumbbell eyes.  On the short shank curved scud pupa hooks many egg tiers favour dumbbell eyes and lead under bodies because the fly drifts inverted.  Reducing fly mortality through reduced hang-ups.  I prefer un-weighted yarn eggs, using split shot placed 12-14 inches above the fly.  Split shot provides a level of flexibility allowing a degree of adjustment to my presentation for different depths and flow rates.

Crystal Egg Balls have to be the simplest egg material available.  These pompom balls feature flecks of crystal designed to flicker and attract fish.  As with egg yarn, Crystal Eggs are available in a myriad sizes and colors.  Stab an egg ball onto the shank.  Form a thread base, whip finish and coat the thread wraps with super glue.  Push the egg into position on the shank.  Bingo, egg pattern complete.  Make sure the egg ball does not block the gape.  Use larger hook sizes to be safe.

Crystal Eggs are so simple I find it hard to resist the urge to complicate them.  I often add a small metal bead and veil of white Glo-Bug yarn or Sparkle Yarn to suggest a skein or to provide a translucent halo or glow.   Veils are popular additions to yarn egg patterns too.  At times they do make a difference.

For those who enjoy an element of sculpture, hot glue eggs are for you.  Place a hook in a pair of haemostats.  Using a hot glue gun apply a drop of molten glue to the shank.  Twist and rotate the hook so the glue flows into a round egg shape.  Cool the finished ‘fly’ in a cup of cold water.  As with Crystal Eggs, avoid obscuring the hook gape.  With practice multiple drops can added to create cluster flies.  Cool each drop before adding additional drops.   Glass beads can also be incorporated by forming the glue egg around the bead.  Glass beads also make simple interesting egg patterns by themselves. 

No matter the material, there is a match the hatch element to egg patterns.  It is important to consider the size and color of the natural eggs you are aiming to match.  Each species, salmonid or coarse fish, produce eggs of varying sizes and colors.  Many believe all drifting eggs are naturally bright.  They are not.  Soon after an egg is exposed to water it becomes creamy and opaque.  The longer the exposure the more washed out the egg becomes.   On rivers and steams that experience volumes of angler pressure matching the dull washed out color of a specific species can be critical to success.  Water clarity and levels also has an effect.  Generally smaller, dull patterns work best in low clear conditions.  When water levels are high and off colour, larger brighter ‘attractor’ colors such as hot orange, hot pink or chartreuse are recommended.  Attractor eggs are also worth considering in competitive situations where multiple fish may be vying for your egg pattern. 

Tying Instructions For The Veiled Beadhead Crystal Egg

1) De-barb the hook.  Slide a tapered metal bead onto the shank, narrow end facing the hook eye.  Stab and slide a Crystal Egg Ball onto the hook.  Place the hook into the vise.  Attach the tying thread behind the metal bead and cover the hook shank to the point of the hook.  Return the tying thread so it hangs behind the bead.

2) Apply a dab of super glue to the thread wraps.  Push the Crystal Egg Ball forward over the coated thread wraps so it just touches the rear of the bead. 

3) Double a 1-inch strand of Sparkle Yarn around the tying thread and secure in place behind the bead on top of the shank.  Fold both ends back over the Crystal Egg Ball.  Secure in place with two additional wraps.

4) Repeat this process securing three additional strands of Sparkle Yarnalong each side and the belly of the fly.  Massage and spread the Sparkle Yarn strands around the Crystal Egg.

5) Apply a coating of super glue to the tying thread.  Wind the coated thread behind the bead to further secure the Sparkle Yarn strands.  Whip finish and remove the tying thread.

6) Using a Velcro brush or dubbing needle comb the Midge Gill strands so they envelope the Crystal Egg forming a veil.  Trim the Sparkle Yarn strands even with the bend of the hook.


 

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