15 Best Flies for Cutthroat Trout (These Flies Work!)
The cutthroat trout are known for their unpredictable behavior and exciting appearance. I first encountered them in Wyoming's Bighorn Mountains. Regardless of their size, these fish fought hard and were on my flies for a long time.
1. BLACK WOOLLY BUGGER- SIZE 6
The Black Woolly Bugger is a great choice if you're looking for a consistent fly for Cutthroat. It works well and is nothing glamorous. The fish will love it even though it's not glamorous.
Since cutthroat prefer a bit of flash, you should have something tied into the tail of your bugger. If the black doesn't work, try a white or olive option. These will either work in pools, eddies, or riffles.
2. PALE MORNING DUN- SIZE 14
The Pale Morning Dun is one of the most productive dry flies I've ever used. Whether you're fishing for Cutthroat in Idaho or Yellowstone, you're going to find these to be effective. They work well in slower moving water and are a mayfly that can hatch all across the country.
These are larger dry flies that are easy to see, making them ideal for areas such as pools and Eddies. You can use a dry-dropper rig or solo. The best way to catch fish with this option is to wait until you see a rise.
3. ELK HAIR CADDIS- SIZE 16
The Elk Hair Caddis is another good dry fly option due to how the temperatures warm up in the spring and summer. These are typically smaller and will most likely be used by yourself. The caddis hatch during the mornings and evenings.
Before you start fishing, it's important to determine if caddis are in the area you're planning on using. You can find these sizes ranging from 16 to 24. If the fish aren't biting them, you should switch up the size of the fly before you start casting it. Compared to other flies, the Elk Hair Caddis are not as flashy, but they are known to do the trick.
4. ROYAL WULFF- SIZE 10
If you're looking for a fly that will get the fish to come to the surface, then the Royal Wulff is a great choice. This is a flashy and bright fly that will attract lazy fish. It's also great for casting in areas where you're not sure if the fish are biting. Royal Wulff patterns are ideal for all types of water. If you're fishing moderate chop, this fly will still give you a chance to catch fish.
These are easy to fish and will work well in pools, seams, and riffles. If you don't see a rise, these will still work for you. You can learn more about reading a river and catching fish with this guide.
5. HIPPIE STOMPER- SIZE 12
Another great lure is the Hippie Stomper, which is made of foam and is ideal for casting in pools and seams. It's easy to see and will attract fish. Most anglers use this during the stonefly or salmonfly hatch season. While it's not an exact representation, this fly will still fool the fish. The true living of this pattern occurs during the late summer.
The Stomper is a beautiful and versatile fly that will work well in any area where cutthroat are biting. During the hatch, these fish will often eat anything that they can find. This fly can be found in all black or with hints of green or orange.
6. TUNGSTEN FLASH PRINCE- SIZE 14
The Flash Prince 14 is a combination of realistic and flashy, and it's a great choice for those who are looking for a little bit of action. Prince nymphs are also known to attract fish. The colors of the flash prince are red, gold, and green, which make them stand out in clear and muddy water.
The beadhead works well in the water column where cutthroat spend most of their time feeding. Most anglers cast it below an indicator and then bounce it along the bottom. If you're able to get deep enough, you should use the Flash Prince. In addition to being a great choice, the combination of the flash prince and a large foam dry fly will also work well.
7. THE MUDDLER MINNOW- SIZE 6
Don Gapen designed the Muddler Minnow in the 1930s, which was intended to imitate a bullhead baitfish. It quickly became a popular choice for trout anglers using coldwater streams.
If you're in areas where there are high populations of sculpin, then the Muddler Minnow will work well. You can also try dead drifting or swinging this fly through some of the deeper water in order to find a big cuthead.
I prefer to use streamers when it comes to catching Cutthroat. They are my favorite flies due to how aggressive they are when they hit them.
When using a streamer, make sure that you don't forget about the hard strips that are near your feet. These are the ones that will keep the fish chasing. In this article, we'll talk about how to use floating fly lines to catch cutthroat.
8. GRAY GHOST- SIZE 6
One of the most important flies that you should have in your boxes when it comes to catching cutthroat is the Gray Ghost. This fly is a minnow-based imitation that can look like a variety of prey, such as a leech. Some anglers use this fly without the beadhead to keep it in the water column.
The non-beadhead version of the Magpie is also a great choice if you're looking for a different type of action. This fly will look great when you're giving it action. Cutthroat will also chase their prey away from hiding places. You can also drift this fly through large rocks and trees in order to find their hiding spots.
9. PHEASANT TAIL NYMPH- SIZE 18
The early season is when cutthroat are most likely to be focused on the Blue Winged Olives. This fly is a perfect representation of this type of fishing. After the warm weather has arrived, the fish are beginning to feed. You can start drifting these early mornings or around an hour before the hatch begins.
Casting these flies below a dry-dropper or an indicator will allow you to keep them in the water column for a long time. The best fly in the industry is the Pheasant Tail. If you're not getting the results that you're hoping for, try switching up your sizes.
10. CHUBBY CHERNOBYL
The mention of the Chubby Chernobyl gets a lot of excited fly anglers. These imitation insects can be successful all summer long, but they become more popular with Cutthroat when terrestrials arrive in July. The combination of the ants, beetles, and hoppers in this fly can make it one of the most versatile dry flies on the market. Even if the terrestrial flies aren't as effective, you'll still be surprised by the bites that you can get on it in June.
A good size fathead with a flash is also a good choice if you want to attract Cutthroat. This fly will be in areas near heavy grasses and reeds. Since most terrestrial flies tend to fall off these types of vegetation, the fish will wait for them.
Since Cutthroat like dry flies, they will often hit them with reckless abandon. This is why it's important to keep in mind that you should always fish for them during the hatch.
11. STIMULATOR- SIZE 12
The Stimulator is a great choice if you're uncertain about what to throw. Although it wasn't designed to imitate anything, most anglers use it during salmon or stonefly hatch periods. The deep red and larger size of this fly can be very effective at representing these patterns.
Even if you're not seeing any rises, this fly can be used whenever you're looking for a fish. Since Cutthroat are more likely to eat a brightly colored fly, you might be surprised by what you find. Conduct some fishing in an area with a strong fishy feel.
12. CREEK CRAWLER- SIZE 4
If you're fishing for cutthroat trout in a smaller creek, you might also be able to find crayfish. The Creek Crawler is a great imitation of the crayfish that you'll most likely find in this area. Since it's big and heavy, you won't have to worry about it moving too low in the water column. If you're fishing in fast moving water, you might as well let it bounce around on the bottom.
The rubber legs and realistic eyes of this fly make it a great choice for various types of crayfish.
13. SAN JUAN WORM
The San Juan worm is a great choice for those who are looking for a versatile fly that can be used on a nymph rig. Since it's a great imitation of a worm, you might as well let it float behind you. This fly can be used in streams, lakes, and rivers. Unfortunately, many anglers forget to consider using a worm pattern when it comes to fishing.
If you're planning on using this fly, make sure to attach a split shot to it to get it down in the water column. Doing so will allow the fish to find it and eat it.
GUIDE TIP: On your dry dropper rigs, make sure you give yourself at least 12-18 inches of room between flies.
14. SLUMP BUSTER- SIZE 8
Another popular fly among trout anglers is the Slumpbuster. If you're not sure that big fish will eat massive streamers, this is a great choice for smaller sizes. Depending on the type of lure you choose, there's a good chance that the fish will still be attracted to the flash.
15. COPPER JOHN BARR’S- SIZE 15
The Copper John patterns are great for all types of cutthroat. They can be used during spring and fall hatch periods. You can also use these patterns during stonefly or mayfly hatch.