Fly tiers will tell you that that there are two types of flies; those that catch fisherman and those that catch fish. If I was pressed for my top ten patterns to get me through the year it would be as follows but in no order.
1/ The Pheasant Tail. Because it’s easy as heck to tie and can represent just about any mayfly and most of your stone flies in a pinch.
2/ The Usual. For the same reasons as the PT minus the stone fly part.
3/ The Wooly Bugger. For a multi-purpose streamer or a large nymph bounced along the bottom, it is a staple.
4/ The Prince Nymph. As well as being rather elegant, it also catches fish. An indispensable trout fly that can be used in just about any conditions.
5/ Clouser Minnow. Easy to tie and versatile for all applications in salt and fresh water.
6/ Partridge and Orange/Green. This is a perfect “tough fish” fly and can make the difference in the chaos of a blanket hatch.
7/ Elk Hair Caddis. Again, easy to tie and versatile. It is so easy to modify this pattern to mimic just about any stage of the emerging caddis and the adult alike.
8/ Zonkers. There is no easier way to make large, aggressive streamers than with rabbit zonker.
9/ Marabou Speys. Pretty, animated, versatile and easy. Oh ya, steelhead love them!
10/ Chernobyl Ants. Easy and versatile, the old stand by for fly contests has been catching bass and trout since the disaster provided the perverted name.