Last updated on October 9th, 2023.
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When it comes to fly fishing for sea trout, having the best flies in your arsenal is crucial for success.
In this article, we will delve into the best flies for sea trout and provide valuable insights on how and where to effectively use them.
Table of Contents:
Introduction to Flies for Sea Trout
Sea trout can be found in both coastal waters and rivers, so it’s important to understand which type of fly will work best for each environment. Streamers are a great choice when targeting sea trout in coastal waters as they imitate baitfish that these fish feed on. These flies are usually larger than other types of flies, making them easy targets for hungry sea trout. Sand eel or tobis imitations are some of the evergreens, just as shrimp patterns since these coastal trout love to feed on them. Sometimes even dry flies work when you see fish actively feeding on the surface. You need a flat surface and little wind to be able to spot the rising fish, but if you do, these moments can be unforgettable.
The other type of flies that’s often used in sea trout fishing, particularly in the colder winter months, are flashy flies that don’t necessarily imitate a real piece of food on the trout’s menu but rather aim at enticing a strike due to their flashy build. A good example for this kind of fly is the very popular Juletraeet pattern, which basically translates to “christmas tree”.
In rivers – generally speaking – nymphs also work well. Especially during times when there isn’t much surface activity from insects. Terrestrials such as ants and beetles can also be effective if there is enough vegetation around the waterway where you’re fishing. And of course streamers are always worth a try in rivers as well since all types of trout love these big protein rich snacks. In this article our focus is going to be on coastal patterns.
7 Best Sea Trout Flies with a Proven Track Record
Now that you’ve got an idea of what pattern can work well for sea trout, let’s dive deeper into some of my favorite sea trout patterns. Of course the term “best” is relative in this case since other sea trout fly fishermen would argue that another pattern would need to make the selection of the best flies for sea trout. Regardless, from my experience, the following 7 flies for sea trout will increase your chances of catching fish on a regular basis.
Pattegrisen is one of the most popular shrimp patterns for sea trout fishing. It was first developed by Danish angler, Claus Eriksen, and has since become one of the most popular flies for catching coastal silver. The pattern consists of an orange body with white wings and a long tail that plays in the water. There are also other color variants that work well such as a more subtle pinkish grey version (pictured above).
Pattegrisen is best used when targeting large sea trout that are feeding on smaller baitfish or shrimp. The nocturnal activity of the fish can be taken advantage of by using Pattegrisen, as its luminous colour makes it highly visible in low light conditions. This makes it easier for fish to spot the fly in low light conditions. Additionally, this pattern works well in fast moving water as it can easily be seen against the current.
The Pattegrisen Grey boasts an incredibly realistic appearance, with a grey and white color pattern that mimics the look of a natural shrimp. Its intricate design with delicate legs and antennae creates enticing movement in the water, luring in a wide range of species including sea trout, bass, and other saltwater game fish.
The Polar Magnus is another great sea trout fly pattern that works particularly well in winter months. Its silhouette gives it a great movement under water and its flashy pink color has an additional effect on hungry sea trout. The eyes also play an important role since they make the Polar Magnus look even more like a real piece of bait.
Polar Magnus flies are best suited for use during low light conditions such as early morning or late evening hours when sea trout tend to feed actively. They can also be effective in stained water where their bright colors stand out against murky backgrounds, making them easier for fish to spot from afar. Additionally, they are well-suited for use in faster currents where their slightly heavier heads help keep them down a little more.
Try varying your retrieve speed depending on the current – slower retrieves work better in calmer waters while faster ones can entice strikes from aggressive sea trout actively looking for food. Polar Magnus is a great choice for sea trout fishing, as its vibrant colors and lifelike movements make it an attractive target.
From my experience, Juletraeet is one of best flies for sea trout if you’re fishing in the colder winter months. At this time of the year the food sources for the roaming silver hunters are often scarce. Another aspect to consider are the very low water temperatures that result in the sea trout being less active and having to intelligently use their energy on easy meals. That’s when the Juletraeet shines due to its flashy appearance.
Sea trout, which have excellent eyes, can easily spot the Juletraeet from afar. Hence, if you’re planning to go our for sea trout during the cold months of the year, make sure you have a few flies of this pattern in your fly box. Just like the Pattegrisen, this pattern can be fished in different color variations. If you’re looking for a flashy appearance choose a brighter colored one such as pink. If you’re looking for something a little more subtle, consider going for a grey or beige variant. And don’t forget to play around with your retrieve speed if you’re fishing in colder waters. A switchup here can often entice a strike that didn’t happen before.
Can there be a top trout fly list without a Wooly Bugger? I don’t think so. This classic streamer pattern is an all time favorite trout fly. And it works great for sea trout as well. I’ve found the brown version of the bugger (pictured above) to work great in coastal waters – that might be because colorwise it comes close to a sandworm which are often high on the trout’s menu.
Good thing about the Wooly Bugger is the fact that this pattern not only works great when the worms are swarming but also, thanks to its bushy silhouette, fishes well during low light conditions and when the skies are a little cloudy since it’s highly visible against the sky from the fish’s perspective. Here again, play around with the size and coloring of the pattern to see what works best. I am also a big fan of a very fast retrieve when it comes to the Wooly Bugger. Again and again I’ve found that especially big trout are often enticed to take such a fast stripped fly.
The Sandeel is a popular pattern for fly fishing sea trout in coastal waters. It imitates the small baitfish that are often found in these areas, making it an effective lure for catching large fish. The Sandeel, often also referred to as Tobis in the nordics, has a few key features that make it stand out from other patterns. The unique, slim shape, which mimics the slender profile of sand eels or other small baitfish is an evergreen in sea trout fishing.
The Sandeel also works great for other coastal predators such as striped or European bass. Timingwise it’s always worth giving the Sandeel a try but particularly the spring and early summer months, when these small baitfish tend to congregate and move closer to the shores, are a great time to try this baitfish pattern. You will find different variations of this pattern with a longer tail and bigger or smaller eyes. Here again, it’s worth trying a few different ones until you find the Sandeel pattern that works best for you in the region you’re fishing.
Overall, if you’re looking for an effective way to target big sea trout then look no further than tying on a Sandeel! With its realistic design combined with flashy accents that draw attention even in murky waters – there’s no doubt why this classic pattern continues to remain one anglers go-to choice year after year!
Here’s another saltwater classic originally developed by fly fishing legend Lefty Kreh: Lefty’s Deceiver. This streamer pattern comes in many color variations, but for sea trout in particular I’m a big fan of the black version. The little flashy fibres create extra attention when reflecting the sunlight in the water.
From my experience the black variant is a great choice when fishing at night or when it’s really cloudy. Don’t be surprised if another predator such as a bass falls for this pattern. Like I said before, I’ve you’re out in the colder months of the year, a little more flashy color such as orange or pink can be a great variant for this pattern. If the herring are moving in closer to the shore, it’s also worth giving the blue/white variant a try. Oftentimes big sea trout hunt for these baitfish.
The Kobberbassen might not look spectacular but it’s proven time and time again how effective it can be. One of the reasons for the Kobberbassen’s popularity is the fact that it imitates an abundant food source for sea trout: a small crustacean that populates the seaweed meadows that often stretch along the baltic coasts and that sea trout love to room looking for prey.
As with most of the best sea trout flies, the retrieve of the Kobberbassen is crucial. Depending on the conditions you can also play around with the length and size of your tippet and of course the size of the fly. Sometimes going from a #6 to a #8 can make a big difference in the success you’ll have. That is often due to the real life size of the crustacean matching the one you’re fishing.
FAQs in Relation to Best Flies for Sea Trout
What size flies for sea trout?
Sea trout typically prefer small flies, usually ranging in size from #6 to #12. The exact size of fly needed depends on the type and color of baitfish that sea trout are feeding on at any given time. In general, darker colored flies such as black or olive work best during low light conditions while lighter colors like white or yellow can be used when there is more sunlight. Additionally, it is important to consider water clarity when selecting a fly for sea trout fishing; clearer waters require smaller and less visible patterns than murkier ones.
What flies are good for sea run brown trout?
Fly fishing for sea run brown trout requires the use of flies that imitate the baitfish they feed on. Some good choices include Wooly Buggers, Clouser Minnows, and Deceivers. Streamers such as Muddler Minnows and Zonkers are also effective in imitating small fish. When tying your own flies or purchasing them from a store, be sure to select colors that match the natural environment you’ll be fishing in. Lastly, don’t forget to vary your presentation – different speeds and retrieves can make all the difference when it comes to catching these elusive fish.
What are the best flies for coastal cutthroat?
The best flies for coastal cutthroat are typically small streamers and nymphs, such as the Wooly Bugger, Pheasant Tail Nymph, Prince Nymph or Zebra Midge. When targeting these fish during summer months in shallow water, a dry fly like an Elk Hair Caddis can be effective. For deeper water in cooler temperatures, larger baitfish patterns work well. Experimenting with different sizes and colors of each pattern is key to finding success when fishing for coastal cutthroat trout.
Why you Should Carry Different Patterns in Your Sea Trout Box
The 7 best flies for sea trout we just shared with you are essential to have in fly box if you’re looking to land a big one. Having the ideal selection of these patterns can make your fishing expedition successful and rewarding. Whether it’s Pattegrisen, Polar Magnus or Juletraet the colder months, or baitfish imitations such as the sandeel or Lefty’s deceiver for the summer months, these patterns are sure to bring you more fish. Last but not least, these patterns are only as good as your fishing technique. So first and foremost focus on proper casting and mix up your retrieve speed. This can often make a (big) difference. As always, happy fishing and tight lines.
Leonard Schoenberger and his team spend plenty of days out fishing. Their goal is to test and review products for you so you can make a solid purchase decision and improve your fly fishing game. We always express our honest opinions, never get paid for reviews and are proud of our editorial independence.
All product images courtesy of Guideline Fly Fishing.