Monday, February 16, 2015

Variations of a Classic

The Al's Rat...

I found myself stream side gearing up for something I had not done in a very long time, fly fish for trout on my home waters. I happened to be on one of the lesser known limestone streams of my youth  that flows through the middle of one of the largest cities in Pennsylvania. It is and has been home to a thriving population of wild brown trout despite the bad hand they've been dealt over the years. After catching a few wild browns, I saw a beauty of rainbow hiding in some slack water along the roots of a willow. The micro pheasant tail that caught my browns, was steadfastly refused by the big bow. Just like in the old days, I reached for my midge box and picked out a classic Lehigh Valley pattern. An Al's Rat. I sight fished the pattern downstream to the 18" inch fish and picked him up on my first cast. The Al's Rat might be the most simplistic fly pattern I have ever used while simultaneously being the most productive. Over the years, I have fished the original and a few variations of it successfully everywhere I have gone. It is a pattern that should be in every fly box, especially on streams where midges are a predominant food source.