How to Choose Your Egg Fly! – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
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How to Choose Your Egg Fly!

Brown Trout continue to spawn in the rivers and streams around Bozeman well into December. As aquatic insect activity slows down with cold water temperatures heading into winter, egg patterns become more and more effective. One of the most common questions we hear in our Bozeman fly shop this time of year is “what’s your favorite color egg?”

That’s a tough one for the longtime fly-angler because most of us don’t want to admit that we are keenly aware of the effectiveness of different egg colors, based on years of trial and error! However, it is a fair question that calls for an answer that would be described best as “specifically vague.” It’s hard to get passionate about egg colors, but there is a reason for offering so many choices in our fly bins!

Early in the spawning season, I prefer to fish pink or orange flies that are small and would not typically considered as egg patterns. Sowbug or Scud patterns with a firebead in a size 14 or 16 are my go to lead flies while nymphing the Madison River in October and March. These bugs look like small eggs, yet still have a “buggy” look to them and seem to pick up the opportunistic fish.

As more fish start to show up on spawning redds, traditional egg patterns become more effective in my experience. Fish become more selective look for eggs, rather than insects once spawning season really gets going. I fish mostly glo-bug patterns in a size 10, in either orange or cheese color around the peak spawning times. There are a lot of choices that work well during this period that work well and oftentimes the best color is the one that you feel best about!

Later in the spawn, let’s say December for Brown Trout and May for Rainbow Trout, I go Pink and Chartreuse colored flies. A Chartreuse egg works surprisingly good in the mornings on the Madison River late into the spawning season, oftentimes when other colors don’t produce any results. Pink is typically effective throughout the day and is my preferred fly color in April and May on most of the rivers around Bozeman where I suspect spawning activity to be taking place.

It is important to watch for spawning areas – don’t walk through them and avoid fishing directly over spawning fish! Give those fish a break and work on the ones downstream or out in the heavier runs.

We stock dozens of different egg patterns in our Bozeman fly shop and the best color is always the one you like! There is some “method to the madness” at times when it comes to picking the best color and experimentation is the way to figure it out. Grab a few different patterns and colors the next time you head out to fly fish around Bozeman and see which ones work best for you, chances are that it will be different the next time!