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Question? Which 3 flys?

At the behest of JoeW I gave some thought to this....ummmm...predicament. Somewhat similar to the "imitator/attractor" thread. Don't know that I can improve upon his suggestions so here's the gist of it.

You're on an extended trip for largemouth/smallie fishing and upon arrival discover that you've left your fly box(es) on the deep freezer in your garage, (that's where mine would be!). You have 3 flys stuck in your hat or on the sheepskin on your fly vest. Which 3 do you hope are there?

Ok, let's do the same scenario for trout. Which 3 flys do you hope you have with you?

This should differ quite a bit from one region to the next. I know for trout mine would differ considerably from the Rockies to the mid-west to the Southern Appalachians to the Northeast. For simplicity let's hold it to your home region.

For me here in the Missouri Ozarks, for bass, I would hope for a #8, 2X, weighted olive woolly bugger, a brown and orange #8 Clouser and a #8 Muddler Minnow.

Trout, a #16 EHC, a #10 or 12 olive wooly bugger style fly of my revision and a....whew....now what? I'm gonna woos out here and say either a #16 Adams or a # 12 Hares Ear nymph.

What say you?


Hi Sharp! Glad you made the post!

Trout: I'm in Western NY, but grew up fishing for trout down in PA. For trout in these streams (I already had my mind made up!) I would go with 1) a black Wooly Worm, slightly weighted, #8 2xl 2) a #10 Irresistible (great attractor dry fly!), and 3) A white/pearl marabou w/bead-chain eyes streamer #6 of my own design- I call them "boo flies".

With those three, I'd be confident of taking a few anytime, any where, and regardless of any prevailing hatch. Without any specific bugs to imitate, these are the three I go to 90% of the time. If one of those three don't take some, ain't nothing going to take some!

And like you, I'm a fan of an Adams (but I tie it with a yellow body) and a nice nymph is good, but I'd go with a Prince or Pheasant Tail. But I'd have to stick with my above three... if I had to! LOL!

Bass? That's a bit easier! 1) deer hair bug, probably natural color 2) a BIG Boo fly (as above- I really like marabou obviously!) and 3) a BIG Black Wooly Bugger. Pretty similar to my trout selection above eh? Well, if it works, why try something different.

Someone ought to run a contest where each contestant is limited to three flies- THAT would be interesting! Blind folded, destination unknown until they get there! Hey, are we talking new "reality show" here? I claim royalties for the idea. Have fun. Best---- JoeW
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Interesting choices Joe! I was expecting to see some differences in choices and you didn't disappoint! I take it black is predominant in your area? Olive appears to hold sway here in the Ozarks, at least from my observations.

I do fish the Adams Irristible quite a bit and it's a good producer on our waters, especially in the smaller sizes. I like it a lot!!! For one thing, I didn't think of it. Another is, for me at least, the EHC generally outfishes it on our waters.

Many years ago I had an old, grizzled fly fisherman who had fished all over the world, to include Christmas Island for bonefish, tell me, "Vic, there isn't a fish in the world that can't be caught on an olive wooly bugger". I expect he's long gone to those perfect fishing spots above, but I never forgot what he said.....and from my one country experience, I believe him!!!!


I always liked these "Suppose you..." threads! This one needs some input from your fly guys. Basically- if you left all your fly boxes at home, what THREE flies would you hope were stuck on your hat band if going for trout, and another THREE if going for Bass.

Looks like we're getting more and more fly fishermen here- what say you? Bdest---- JoeWshrug

bass or bass?

I can only answer for bass as I don't do trout.
#1. Enrico Puglisi Pinfish
#2. Enrico Puglisi Peanutbutter
#3. Rainey's Bubblehead Popper in blue scale finish

All of these are saltwater flies that feature 1/0 hooks and are natural immitators of bluegill (#1) and shad. My two cents

For sunfish;
#1. A yellow and tan foam cricket, #6
#2. A red wet fly, #10
#3. Any tan/brown/olive wet fly, #10
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Nrver fly fished for bass so I would have no idea Iat best guess I would have to go with a clouser only because it looks like a bait fish other than that I dom't know.

As for trout I have three old favorites No 1 the wolly bugger # 12 or 14 no 2 would be a phesant tail nymph and no 3 would be a griffiths nat


for bass no 1 a popper of any color(i just love whatching a bass take top water) no 2 a black or olive wooly bugger no 3 a clouser
for trout no 1 a bead head haresear no2 mosquito #10 or 12 no 3 grey adams


Ok here is my best answer.
trout would be as follows
1# like pretty much every one a bead head wooly bugger in olive or black size 8 or 10.
2# zebra midge in a #18
3# pheasant tail #14 or 16

Here is the catch though. I would switch that up if possible in spring or early summer with a dry BWO in a #16 or 18

Bass is a bit tougher since i have not fly fished for bass but I will give it a shot.

Olive wooly bugger
clouser minnow
foam hopper.

John T.

Gold Member
ok here's my try for bass
1 mid size popper any color
2 a grass hopper of any pattern
3 a wooly leach ( black )

for trout
1 yellow body adams
2 henryville special
3 picket pin ( tied in a bead head style )
John T., a Picket Pin? Now that's just too cool. I've never tied or fished one. Works pretty good for you, eh?
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John T.

Gold Member
That is my number one go to wet fly for trout. and i also use it in the ice fishing season as a droper rig. i put a bead head on mine to give it a little somthing . it is an awsome fly for bluegills in the winter
For Trout:
1. Bead Head Pheasant tail size 14
2. Muddler minnow size 10
3. Grey fox dry size 12

For Bass:
1. White/chartruese clouser
2. Beadhead Black bunny leech
3. White Popper

Cody TCF

New member
Top 3 flies for trout.

1 white bugger
2 head head hares ear
3 elk hair caddis

Top 4 flies for bass.

1 any popper
2 black bugger red head
3 cray fish

solitario lupo

For trout,
A size 10 tan and turkey feather fly I tie, orange or a pearl crystel meth, egg color blood dot.

For bass
I havent tried to fly fish for bass but when I do, it would be a brown wooly bugger, clouser minnow, and a crayfish pattern.