I have been fly fishing for over forty years now and have over the years discovered that some of my saltwater fly fishing flies work well in fresh water and that some of my freshwater flies work well in saltwater. The more fly fishing I do the more I come to realize that both saltwater fish and freshwater have a lot in common.
I have caught trout, bass and pan fish on what are traditionally considered saltwater fishing flies. There are several different saltwater fly patterns that I use to catch freshwater fish. The Clouser’s minnow and Lefty’s deceiver minnows are a great choice when bass fishing and in the smaller sizes large pan fish. I have come to believe that both of these flies simulate small minnows that are prevalent in all environments where we fish. It is the color choice that is most important, and that choice will be dictated by the clarity of the water and the color of the natural minnows that exist where you are fishing. One of my favorite saltwater flies for large pan fish is the bonefish special tied in a little smaller size. I have also caught large crappie bass using Crazy Charlie flies in yellow and chartreuse colors, and try red, yellow or pink Crazy Charlie flies for large pan fish. In cloudy water on a sunny day try a kryatal Flash Charlie for pan fish and a Kryatal flash for bass and crappie.
You can also catch saltwater species of fish with what are traditionally considered bass flies. In a previous article I chronicle a trip to the N.C. coast when the fishing was unbelievable and I exhausted all of my saltwater flies. I resorted to bass flies and continued to catch fish. I have caught saltwater trout, bluefish, tarpon, redfish and more with flies that are supposed to be for bass fishing. For tarpon, stripers, snook and bluefish try Rabbit Strip Divers, Mega Divers, Zonker and Bass Buggers. If you are after sea trout or redfish you might want to try Woolly Buggers in either a chartreuse or olive color. Again, I think color is most important and I recommend you stick to chartreuse, yellow or olive for redfish and trout. For stripers, and bluefish and tarpon just about any color with some flash will work.
If you fish saltwater and freshwater I would suggest that you take a large variety of you flies with you and do not be afraid to experiment. You will be surprised at what you catch and learn.
Thanks and good fishing