Worm patterns are fantastic for steelhead, and many years ago when I would tie on a four inch pink worm fly, my clients would look at me funny. But times have changed, and after 20 years of guiding for steelhead, my clients, friends, and local anglers now consider the worm fly an essential steelhead fly pattern.
The Worm Fly – The Best Fly For Steelhead
The San Juan Worm: The Steelhead Worm pattern is by far my most productive steelhead fly, and it works under most conditions and in every river I have fished it. Many times, it has even outperformed the top fly known as the egg fly pattern.
My favorite color for steelhead is pink, however, under super clear conditions, I sometimes do better on the natural brown color.
Red has also been an excellent alternative and has caught me a lot of fish when they don’t eat the pink one. Purple has been good too.
My most effective size is 3 to 4 inches, however, 4.5 to 5 inches can also work in faster water and murky water.
You can see in the above picture unlike many worm fly patterns that are tied with the hook in the middle of the fly, I tie my hook at the end of the worm material, and I do this for a very good reason.
Tying the worm fly by the end is better because tying the fly in the middle often causes the fly to fold in half or into a “V” shape under any pulling of the line, which is also known as drag, and in rivers, there is always current and always drag even when dead drifted.
The straight tie version that I use keeps the worm straighter, which gives it a larger profile and also gives it more wiggle action, which results in more steelhead grabbing it.
The best material to use for worm flies that doesn’t fray is Ultra Chenille
The Best Worm Flies For Steelhead Q&A
If you have a comment or question about the best worm flies for steelhead, let us know in the comments section below.