11 Best Trout Flies to Cover your Fishing Season

// by Matti Härkönen

Last updated on May 21st, 2024.

Every fly fisherman has his own all-star trout flies. He won’t head to the river without those patterns in the box.

Most of these arsenals have been developed over the years by trying countless trout flies on the water. The same goes for me and now I’ll open my box to show you my all-star trout flies. In this guide we’ll cover everything from streamer flies, to stonefly patterns, mayflies, caddies flies and terrestrials.

All-time Favorite Trout Flies

Trout is one of the most exciting species to target on a fly rod. However, there are many ways to do it depending on the conditions and the time of year. In this guide we want to give you an overview of trout flies and which one to choose when. Let’s go.

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Woolly Bugger

Woolly Bugger Streamer: One of the all time best trout flies
Woolly Bugger Streamer: One of the all time best trout flies

If there was only one fly I could use to catch trout it would be this one. And if I could use only one color it would be black. The great thing about the Woolly Bugger is that this pattern catches other fish as well. And often the big ones that tend to eat smaller fish go for the Woolly Bugger. An absolute must in every trout fisherman’s fly box.

Conehead Perch Streamer

The Conehead Perch Streamer is another great option for trout. The conehead gives the streamer a little extra weight which makes it an excellent choice for deeper runs or pools. Big fish love the Conehead Perch Streamer.

Muddler Minnow Trout Streamer

Muddler Minnow Trout Streamer
Muddler Minnow Trout Streamer

The Muddler Minnow Streamer is another trout favorite. It’s not quite clear if they take if for a small baitfish or maybe a small mouse instead. No matter what – big fish love Muddler Minnows. It is lighter than the conehead streamer and can therefore also be fished in shallower areas without getting stuck in the ground.

Stonefly Nymph Pattern

Stonefly Nymph Pattern

Stoneflies are a favorite food source of trout no matter whether as grown insects or as nymphs. Even in river where they are not abundant, this nymph pattern often convinces trout to take. You can fish the stonefly nymph very effectively using the Euro Nymphing technique.

Hare’s Ear Mayfly Nymph

Hare's Ear Nymph
Hare’s Ear Nymph

The Hare’s Ear Nymph is probably one of the most classic mayfly nymph patterns of all time and is a must in every fly box. Some versions are slimmer and some add a few hackles to give it a little more buoyancy.

Beadhead Prince Nymph

Beadhead Prince Nymph

The Beadhead Prince Nymph is another essential nymph fly. It is a great option if you are Euro nymphing and if you are fishing in fast currents. You can play around with different color variations.

Stimulator Trout Flies

Stimulator Fly
Stimulator Fly: Best trout flies guide

The Stimulator can work when nothing else does. It floats exceptionally well on the surface and sometimes seems to provoke a strike out of curiosity. You can try different colors if the first one doesn’t work.

Elk Hair Caddis

Elk Hair Caddis
Elk Hair Caddis

Just like with the Woolly Bugger, the Elk Hair Caddis is my #1 dry fly. I prefer the variant with the olive body. I don’t know why but it has caught me fish when other patterns didn’t work. There is something that fish seem to like about the green belly. You can also try a lighter color version like beige.

Adams Parachute

Parachute Dry Fly
Parachute Fly: One of the best trout flies out there

The Parachute fly is a great addition to any trout fisher’s fly box. The parachute as the name suggests makes the fly float deceivingly in the surface film. It’s almost like a mix of a dry and a wet fly and can work wonders on cautious fish.

Tungsten Nymph

Tungsten Nymph
Tungsten Nymph

Despite its inconspicuous looks, the tungsten nymph is one of the best trout patterns out there. The high density of the tungsten head makes it sinks fast and hence a great choice for deeper pools. Don’t be fooled: often the biggest trout take the smallest flies. Give the tungsten nymph a go and you won’t be disappointed.

Wormy Trout Fly

Wormy Bead Head Trout Fly

Opinions are divided about using worm flies. The fact is, they catch fish. This Wormy Bead Head Trout Fly is a great choice due to its two tails and the beadhead that makes it sink fast.


As you can see from our selection there are many different kind of trout flies that can be successful. It really depends on your personal preferences. Some fly fishermen and women prefer to use dry flies only. Other claim that nothing is as catchy as nymphs. Still others believe that the biggest trout are caught on streamers. And last but not least there are those that think the behemoths of the river will fall for midges.

FAQs: Best Trout Flies

What are the most effective trout flies for beginners to use?

For beginners, it’s best to start with versatile and easy-to-use flies that can attract trout in various conditions. Some effective patterns include the Woolly Bugger (for streamer fishing), the Adams (a versatile dry fly), and the Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear (a reliable nymph). These flies cover different fishing scenarios and are known for their effectiveness in catching trout.

Which trout fly should I use for dry fly fishing?

The Elk Hair Caddis is an excellent choice for dry fly fishing. It’s well-known for its buoyancy and visibility on the water, making it easier for both the angler and trout to spot. It effectively imitates adult caddisflies, which are common on many streams and a favorite food source for trout.

What is the best fly for fishing in fast-moving waters?

In fast-moving waters, nymphs like the Pheasant Tail are highly effective. This fly sinks quickly and mimics the natural prey of trout, such as mayfly nymphs and small aquatic insects. Its naturalistic design and ability to get down into deeper waters where trout often feed make it a go-to choice.

Can you recommend a good all-season fly for trout?

The Parachute Adams is an excellent all-season fly. It’s a dry fly that works well in a variety of water conditions and during different hatches. Its design provides good visibility and a realistic silhouette, making it attractive to trout throughout the year.

What is the best trout fly for clear and shallow water?

For clear and shallow waters, consider using smaller and more subtle flies like the Griffith’s Gnat. This fly is particularly effective when trout are feeding on midges. Its small size and subtle presentation make it less likely to spook wary trout in such conditions.

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