Monday, January 10, 2011

Bighorn river special III: Scud recipe

Well, I'm on a roll so why not add one more key fly to my Bighorn river go-to fly recipes.  This one is probably fly numero uno.  I have probably hooked more fish on the Bighorn river using this pattern than any other.  I was going to say more than all other patterns combined, but let's not go crazy.

For those of you unacquainted with aquatic insects, a scud looks a lot like a pill bug I think.  Just like a stonefly nymph looks a lot like an earwig.  Here's what a scud looks like:

Anyway, here's the instructions and recipe for tying scuds.
Scud hook (14-18, curved) 
thread to match the color you are going for (orange, pink, cream, olive, etc.)
Dubbing of the color your are going for (fine or coarse)
Lead wire (optional)
silver or copper wire
clear or pearl tinsel (or cut up some plastic packaging, like hook bags, into thin strips)

There are quite a few ways to tie these.  You can make them with bead heads, weighted or unweighted, with or without antennae or a tail, and in many colors all revolving around light colored cream.  Here is my simplistic method.

Start with a curved scud hook.  Add 5-8 wraps of lead wire somewhere near the center of the hook if you want your scud to be weighted.  The problem with doing this is you really need a way to mark your scuds as weighted or unweighted when you're done.  I haven't done this so I have a mystery mix.  Oh well.

Clip the lead wire ends and tie on your thread starting from the front of the hook all the way to the back and halfway down the bend.

Now add in a length of pearl or clear tinsel and some copper or silver wire.  I use long sections and keep using them for many flies.  They should both be protruding out the back end of the fly.  After tying those on, Dub up the thread fairly heavily, I have seen these done with coarse and fine dubbing.  I prefer fine...because that's all I have currently.

Dub your way up to the front of the fly and make it nice and fat.

Then pull the tinsel forward right along the top of the fly.  Tie it off.  Now wind the wire to secure the tinsel and segment the body.  Tie it off too and clip both.

Whip finish, and glue and you're almost done now, but not quite.  Flip the fly over and grab some sort of needle-like tool.

You want to make some fake legs under the fat body and the shell on top.  To do so, simply tease the dubbing away from the hook between each wrap of the wire.  When you're done it should look like this:

And now you will catch fish on the Bighorn river in Montana.


  1. Hey Tim, nice place you got here. I stopped by at the suggestion of Clif over at Lunker Hunt. I like your scud tie and will give it a try here in Colorado.

  2. Cofisher: if you happen back here, where are you located and where do you fish? I just moved from Boulder where I fished pretty heavily for 6 years.