10.) Cravens Juju Baetis The Parachute Adams (keep reading to learn more about this one!) of the nymph world, this jack-of-all-trades nymph can imitate multiple life cycles of insect. Whether fished under a dry as an emerger or at the bottom of a brace nymph rig, the Jujubaetis should accompany you wherever trout live in the state of Pennsylvania.
9.) Flashtail Mini Egg Pound for pound nothing has more protein in a trout's diet than fish eggs. In the constant caloric battle that exists in waterways, you can be sure that if fish (any fish) are spawning, trout will be keying in on eggs. Bonus points for the Flashtail Mini Egg because it is also an extremely productive steelhead pattern!
8.) Gray Ray Charles I'll admit, this is a niche fly pattern for certain parts of Pennsylvania. I wouldn't carry this with me on many mountain brookie streams (or many freestone streams for that matter) but when it comes time to fish the spring and limestone streams you better believe there are multiple rows of Ray Charles in my scud box.
7.) Thin Mint A semi variation of the ever popular Woolly Bugger, this streamer drives trout crazy! Unique and flashy enough (shoutout to the flash in the tail) to be interesting but subdued enough to not freak fish out, the Thin Mint (the fly AND the cookie) is a staple in my trout box regardless of where I go in the Commonwealth.
6.) Rainbow Warrior If you have ever visited Pennsylvania from March-May and then again in October and November, then you know how much precipitation we can get! The trout streams often run heavy and off-color for a majority of that time, so you need flies that catch the fish's attention. Look no further than the Rainbow Warrior for all your flash needs.
5.) Parachute Adams This one's an historic selection whose roots go back about as far as fly fishing in America. What does it imitate? Nothing in particular, but that doesn't really matter because it catches fish! This pattern can be small enough to mimic tricos and big enough to trail some subsurface flies behind. Versatility is the name of the game here!
4.) Chubby Chernobyl I'll be honest there are probably more productive flies that could fit here, but hear me out. Does this fly catch fish? Yes. Is this fly easier to see than almost any other fly ever? A RESOUNDING yes! Throwing dries is really fun, so throwing a dry the size of a baby bird is the creme de la creme. For that reason alone at the number 4 spot we have the Chubby Chernobyl.
3.) CDC Pheasant Tail CDC is an excellent material on most flies, and it REALLY adds something special to the pheasant tail. I'm a big fan of putting a newer twist on old school flies and that is no different here. I've found that the CDC applied in varying amounts pushes a little extra water to give the fly that lifelike look without being too clumsy. This is also a pattern that should be in your carp and steelhead boxes as well!
2.) Squirmy Worm I was tempted to put this number 1, but didn't want the elitists in the crowd to show up with pitchforks and torches. The Squirmy Worm (particularly in hot pink) drives trout BANANAS. I can go to the most technical fisheries in the toughest conditions and confidently tie on this fly knowing it will catch fish. The movement of the legs and color work in tandem to tantalize even the snobbiest of trout into submission.
1.) King Prince Nymph A pattern known by all, with a minor twist...or bend, as it were. The small curve on the shank of the hook does something to this historic pattern that trout find irresistible. It's one of my favorite flies for the technical spring creeks in central PA. The curved hook makes the pattern more realistic without losing the integrity and effectiveness of the Prince pattern which makes it the deadliest fly in the arsenal!