So, what patterns are in this box? Well, we all have our favorite patterns that seem to do well for us & I have a few of those in there. Mostly, though, I keep generic patterns that have worked to catch fish for generations. Looking through my box, here's what I find:
1.) Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear nymph #12 - #16. An ancient pattern that imitates nothing & everything all at the same time.
2.) Bead-Head Caddis Larva #12 - #16. This imitates so many types of caddis that it seems to work anywhere they live.
3.) Soft-Hackle Hare's Ear, #12 - #14. One of my favorite patterns because the soft hackles impart movement to the fly. Plus it seems to work tied with just about any soft feather.
4.) San Juan Worm, various sizes. never underestimate a fishes desire to eat a worm.
5.) Royal Coachman dry (Wulff style), #10 - #16. A big &/or buggy dry fly will sometimes bring trout up from the bottom because it just looks like a good meal. This fly gives a great silhouette on the water.
6.) Adams, #12 - #18. This dry fly covers just about any bug in a pinch. If you don't have a dry that will match the hatch, than this is (I think) your best shot. I think of it as the gold-ribbed hare's ear of dry flies.
7.) Black Woolly Bugger, #6 - #10. If I could only use one fly this would be it. Used consistently it puts more fish on the hook than anything. All types of fish in all conditions anywhere in the world will take this pattern.
8.) Muddler Minnow, #8 - #10. Imitates so many different bait fish that you shouldn't be without it. This is my favorite pattern for night fishing because of the noise the big deer hair head makes cutting through the water.
9.) Brown Woolly Worm, #8 - #10. This pattern looks like a bait fish or even a caterpillar that has fallen into the water. Fishing it in a dead drift or stripping it to impart movement, this pattern is always successful.
10.) Black Popper, #10 - #14. This fly is unsurpassed for bass & panfish. The black color gives a good silhouette on the water Fish this in the right place at the right time & you're going to get a lot of fun action.
11.) Black Ant, #16 - #20. Summertime fishing especially calls for floating an ant pattern under the trees. Fish will sip them all day long. Really, you could go smaller than #20 but my big banana fingers struggle with anything smaller.
12.) Green Weenie, #14. This is a local favorite that has a strange & funny history (any Pittsburgh Pirates fans out there?). This is the one regional fly that will work just about anywhere. If you aren't familiar with this fly, look it up. It's very effective & seems to imitate inch worms & other such creatures although who can really say for sure. Just a pattern I enjoy using.
These are just the patterns that I think will work for me just about anywhere at any time. Of course I have a bunch of other patterns in my boxes & wallets to meet the situations I find along the stream. If you don't have an "anywhere box" you might want to consider putting one together. What would you put in yours?