On the Lower Owens River, I like to fish the small patterns upstream, then switch to a full-sink or sink-tip line and fish Buggers and Streamers down and across, as I work back towards the truck. On occasion, I will do just the opposite…it depends on the flows, weather and a desire to “try something different”…What follows are some new big guys that Ally and I will be tossing in a couple of weeks…that water holds some truly large fish that will come to larger flies using the “dip-and-strip”, bank walking or sometimes, that”down and across”…

Ready to be served…


HOOK: TMC 5263, #4 – #10

THREAD: Danville 6/0, Black – for abdomen, then UTC Ultra 70 Denier for head (lays flatter and coat with Hard As Hull -twice)

TAG: Claret Hackle Fibers (may also be used for a throat)

ABDOMEN: Silver Tinsel (undercoat thread abdomen with Zap-A-Gap for durability)

BOTTOM WING: Select Marabou Plumes, Black

TOP WING: Select Marabou Plumes, White

OVER WINGS: Peacock Herl, 4-6 strands dependent on hook size

This is a pattern I have been using for over 30 years…because it works…

In the appropriate sizes, ALL of these patterns will take fish in the above  – East Walker River…


HOOK: TMC 5263, #4 – #10

THREAD: Abdomen to head – Danville 6/0, White…then, UTC Ultra 70 Denier, Black for the head (2 coats of Hard As Hull)

TAG: Claret hackle fibers

ABDOMEN: White floss

RIB: Silver Tinsel, #12 or larger

BOTTOM WING: Select Marabou Plumes, Black

TOP WING: Select Marabou Plumes, Yellow

OVER WINGS: Peacock Herl, 4-6 strands dependent on hook size
A second version, of the first pattern, that has taken many Fall Browns for me on the Lower Owens River…

Some streamer “strippin’ water”, on the Lower Owens, at sunset…


HOOK: Daiichi 2220, #6 – #10

THREAD: Danville 6/0, #47, Tobacco Brown

WEIGHT: 0.015 or 0.020 Lead or Lead Sub. – coat with Zap-A-Gap… number of wraps are ‘yer call…

CONE: Wapsi 3/16″ (Small) Gold or Copper

TAIL: Select Marabou Plume. Golden Brown

ABDOMEN: Tinsel Chenille, Medium, Copper/Brown Pearl – Wapsi

LATERAL LINE: 1 strand each side, Crystal Mirror Flash – Cascade Crest Tools

GILLS: Arizona Simi-Seal, # .15, Red

WING: UV 2 Dos-Jail Rabbit Sculpin Strip – Spirit River

HACKLE: Speckled Hen Saddle feather, .23 Brown – Nature’s Spirit

I have taken some very large Browns Trout in Eastern Sierra rivers and lakes using this Brown color scheme…it works on rivers like the Madison in Montana as well…


HOOK: Mustad R75-79580, #4 – #10

THREAD: Danville 6/0, Black

WEIGHT: 16 – 20 Wraps 0.020 Lead or Lead Sub. Wire – coat with Zap-A-Gap

TAIL: Select Marabou Plumes, Black

ABDOMEN: Petite Estaz, Black

LATERAL LINES: 1 strand each side, Krystal Flash, UV Pearl

WING: Rabbit Strip, Fl. Yellow/Chartreuse

GILLS: Arizona Simi-Seal, # .15, Red

HACKLE: UV 2 Grizzly Soft Hackle, Brown – Spirit River

CONE: Wapsi, Medium, Black – or sized to hook

Chartreuse, a color that has a distinct appeal to Brown Trout on the Owens River…and, a lot of other places too…

Michael “punches it” – over to the foam line…


HOOK: Daiichi 2220, #6 -#10

THREAD: Danville 6/0, Olive

WEIGHT: 18 – 20 wraps 0.15 Lead or Lead Sub. – coat with Zap-A-Gap

TAIL: Black Select Marabou Fibers – 2 strands Mirage Flashabou, Opal/Copper, 1 strand Black Holographic Flashabou – each side of tail

RIB: Medium Copper Wire

ABDOMEN: J.Fair Medium Olive Seal Sub Dubbing ( picked out after completion of fly )

HACKLE: Ewing Hackle Bugger Pack, Black/Olive

HOT SPOT: Datum Glo-Brite, # 3, Red

CONE: Black Wapsi, sized to hook
I have been using this pattern, Olive with a Black tail and variations on this theme, on both the Owens River and East Walker River, for a very long time…They work well in the Fall and Spring…

A Brown on the Lower Owens that took a bugger…

Michael, stripping a streamer with a SCOTT “G”, 10′, 5wt. on the Wild Trout Section of the Lower Owens River….one of my all time favorite rods…

SOFTIE SEAL BUGGER (Purple/Burgundy)…Rickards/Variant …

HOOK: Daiichi 2220, #6 – #10

THREAD: Danville 6/0, Black

WEIGHT: 16 -20 Wraps 0.20 Wire – Lead or Lead Sub. – Zap-A-Gap to hook after covering with thread

TAIL: Select Marabou Plume Fibers, Purple

FLASH: one strand each side, length of tail – Purple Haze Holographic Flash Fiber, Pearl Fire Fly

RIB: Medium Copper Wire

ABDOMEN: #.14 Purple Arizona Simi Seal – pick out with a dubbing needle after completing fly

HACKLE: Whiting Bugger Grizzly Dyed Burgundy – use the webby part of an additional feather, tied soft hackle style, behind the head

A variation of Denny Rickard’s Seal Bugger which I have used successfully, in a wide variety of colors, on just about every river and lake I have visited…these, for me, are a must have pattern in my boxes…

Let it not be said that I only tie small stuff...these are patterns that consistently produce Browns and Rainbows on the Lower Owens River…

Michael gettin’ ready to toss some streamers on a cold November morning on the Lower Owens River…

COLE BUGGER (BLACK)…Jeff Cole/Variant…

HOOK: TMC 5263, #6 – #10

THREAD: Danville 6/0, Black

WEIGHT: 12 -16 Wraps of 0.20 or 0,15 Lead or Non-Toxic wire

TAIL: Shad Gray Marabou, Silver Badger Hackle, Grizzly Krystal Flash – Black/White

ABDOMEN: Dyed Iridescent Peacock Eye, Black – Spirit River – 5-6 Strands

HACKLE: Whiting Bugger Pack feather, Grizzly dyed Pale Yellow

Jeff Cole of San Diego designed this pattern for use on the Upper Owens River at the Alpers River Ranch, just above this place -> ( now like the Arcularius Ranch – long gone). Ray Bergman, in his book “Trout”, describes using a clipped Royal Coachman streamer,  dropped over the undercut bank, on a long fly rod, as a very successful method employed by Frank Arcularius on the family ranch. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Arcularius on the East Walker River, back in the early 80’s and fishing with him on the ranch after that meeting… Other variations of this pattern may be found HERE…  

HARE’S EAR – SEAL DUB AGGRAVATOR- Olive/Brown…Andy Burk/Variant…

HOOK: TMC 200R, #4 -#14

THREAD: Danville 6/0, Olive

TAIL: Marabou, Sculpin Olive

TAG: Krystal Flash, UV Pearl – 5-8 wraps around bend of hook, coated with Hard As Hull

ABDOMEN:  DarK Olive/ Brown Hare’s Ear – Hareline #39

RIB: Krystal Flash, UV Pearl

LEGS: Mini Legs (Silicone), Barred Olive – Cascade Crest

THORAX: Medium Olive Seal Dubbing – Jay Fair

WING CASE: Mottled Oak, Thin Skin, Olive

BEAD: Black Tungsten, sized to hook

I first started tying and using this pattern, by Andy Burk, back in 2003, on a trip with Michael to the West Walker River. I have  caught Trout on the Madison, Stillwater and Boulder Rivers with this fly. It has also produced on every tail water I fish in the Eastern Sierras. HERE are some variations – the peacock one is a must. Charlie Craven ties another version HERE

Michael ponders which Bugger to select on the Lower “O”…


HOOK: TMC 5263, #6-#10

THREAD: Danville 6/o White to gills – then, Danville 6/0, Black

TAIL: Select Black Marabou

ABDOMEN: Petite Estaz Pearl – Spirit River

WING: Black Barred Rabbit Strip, White – Hareline

GILLS/THORAX: Arizona Simi Seal, #.15, Red

HACKLE: Soft Hackle Hen Saddle Patch Feather, Black – Wapsi

CONE: Small, Black – Wapsi

A take-off on a Black and White Marabou Streamer pattern that has been hammering East Side Trout since before I was born…

Michael does the “down and across”…just downstream of this location I had a really large Brown run me into my backing one beautiful Fall day…

OWENS UV 2 Bunny Stripper…

HOOK: Daiichi 2220, #8 – #10

THREAD: Danville  6/0, Black

CONE: Wapsi 3/16′, Small, Gold

ABDOMEN: Petite Estaz, Pearl Olive, Spirit River – coat abdomen with Super Glue or Zap-A- Gap before wrapping

WEIGHT: 5-6 Turns .020 Lead Wire or Lead Sub. – pushed into Cone

WING: UV 2 Rabbit Strip – Olive

GILLS-(THORAX): Arizona Simi Seal, #.15, Red

HACKLE: Schlappen Hackle, Burnt Orange, Jay Fair
Something in Bunny for the Owens River system…. in colors that always work…





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