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Egg Flies

Sucker Spawn, Egg Fly Fishing Patterns

No food source available in streams and rivers offers more nutrition for less effort than fish eggs, or spawn. Not only trout but also migrating salmon and steelhead are all partial to eggs – particularly to those of the sucker family. Finding out when different fish species make a ‘run’ (migrate to spawn) in your local waterways and learning to fish the appropriate egg fly patterns can pay real dividends.

New anglers: please DO NOT try to catch (or even disturb) fish while they are spawning. They are making the next generation and should be left well alone. Move downstream and look for other fish feeding on their eggs.

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Why do Steelhead and Salmon Eat Eggs?

Both steelhead and salmon go through physical changes once they enter rivers and streams to spawn and do not need to eat – especially salmon, who are making a one-way trip. Having built up fat reserves at sea, they are primarily focused on getting to their spawning grounds. Nevertheless, both can be tempted with egg flies, perhaps because taking a bite at an easy meal that doesn’t need chasing requires so little energy. Trout have no such considerations, and will be found downstream from spawning suckers, steelhead and salmon at the right time of year gobbling up the seasonal bounty.

Sucker Spawn and other Egg Fly Colors

Whether they are laid by sucker, salmon, steelhead, or trout, most eggs are bright yellow, or orange, or pinkish red when laid. Generally they turn either milky white or a translucent yellow/white over time. Colorful patterns obviously work best during a seasonal run, but the lighter or white patterns can also be effective after heavy rain or a thaw, because both developing and decomposing eggs can be dislodged and washed away. Real eggs are neutrally buoyant, and most experienced anglers advise little or no weight so long as your chosen fly does not sit on the surface.

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