I believe at it’s core fly fishing should be fun and waking flies certainly fit that definition. Of course fly fishing is certainly not as fun as drinking oneself to oblivion at 1030 am on a Tuesday, but waking flies for trout is still pretty fun. Here’s my spin on the ubiquitous foam and elk waking fly, named so because of how many cutthroat have fallen victim to it. It wakes very well even in rougher water, is easy to tie, a good fly to tie up on shitty days in February, when after 14 trips without a grab, the romance of the winter steelhead has waned and when one tends to fantasize about warm days, floating lines and aggressive fish. I find that 4-6 wt (250-385 gr.) switch rods are perfect for fishing and casting these bushy types of flies, especially for trout. Swing or strip and repeat as necessary for trout or surprise summer steelhead. I post this up, because it’s a fun fly to fish not because of my ego about my fly tying ability, take it for what it’s worth.
*I apologize if this is exactly the same as someones “copyrighted” pattern, I came by it honestly*
Hook: Tiemco 200R size 6-8
Thread: Kevlar, gel spun or other strong thread
Tail: small pinch of elk or moose (same as wing)
Body: caddis green, orange, black or ginger dubbing
Head/wing: A decent bunch of elk (natural or black) or moose (stiffer is better) tied in on top of the hook about a quarter of the way back from the eye. I wrap a heavy thread both around and under the front of the forward lip( this lifts the lip up a bit for better waking. It takes quite a bit of thread pressure and a lot of wraps to keep this wing perched on top of the fly, hence the requirement for a strong thread. This is the most difficult part, I usually superglue the thread binding the wing and then use superglue when the fly is finished to make sure the wing doesn’t spin.
The wing length is equalish to the tip of the tail. Once the wing is secured, I tie in a small wedge shaped piece of 3mm foam to flatten the forward facing hair, then trim in a fan shape ahead of the hook eye. This forward fan shaped lip allows this fly the wake in rougher water fairly well, especially if you use stiffer fibres. Ill also sometimes tie in a smaller piece of orange or other bright coloured foam on top of the first piece of foam for visibility.
Legs: *Optional* Barred or white medium round rubber legs or whatever you like (cutthroat just love wiggly rubber legs) tied in at the same tie in point as the wing, one piece on each side.
This fly casts fairly well, does not require floatant and is usually inspires vicious strikes, especially when stripped back through seams and sea run trouty water.