Emerald Shiner - the steelhead nemesis
The Emerald Shiner
This simple looking little tube fly has proved over the last few years to be a very consistent producer of both bass and steelhead with the occasional walleye thrown in for good measure.
I use #12 Gamakatsu 21 Doubles for a very light wire solution and set them points up so I can bounce the fly off of the rocky grand River bottom. These tiny doubles get a very good purchase and seldom let go.
This hook is also a good choice in steelhead season when we're trying to avoid bass. It isn't the best bass hook choice so if we're not setting the hook, the bass usually don't hook themselves or get off of the easily if we don't apply pressure and the hook has not been set. If we're after bass, then a bigger hook is a good idea.
The design of the fly lets it dig down a little bit, so it works very well off of long, thin fluorocarbon leaders. I find that the aluminum tubes provides the best compromise between sink rate and liveliness. The wing can be stacked or left unstacked. The unstacked wing looks better in the water, but its length can produce tail tugs. The stacked wing, being shorter, tends to look stiff, but the fish miss the hook less.
One of the best things -- this fly elicits some very violent strikes so if the those crashing takes jiggles your jollies, try it. One fish hit so hard (and amazingly failed to find the hook) that it bent the tube. The fly also encourages second and third strikes when the fish fails to hook up on the first try. Some of them really do want to eat it.
Just remember to keep it extremely sparse. The fashion today is to produce Dolly Parton steelhead flies. This one should be modelled after Twiggy. (You young folks - Google her.)