Wednesday, December 1, 2010

GL Deceiver - Perch Pattern for Lake Michigan Trout and Salmon

Hook: TMC 811S 2-2/0
Thread: GSP Olive or White
Tail: 4 Schlappan Feathers - 2 on either side of the hook, flash optional
Body: Buck tail
Eyes: 3D eyes
Epoxy coating over the head and eyes optional

The Story

Fly fishermen without cars in Chicago have limited options. However, the options that are available can produce some serious fish. Depending on the time of year fishing from shore can yeild king salmon, coho salmon, steelhead, lake trout, smallmouth bass, or big seeforellen and german brown trout (my favorite). Not to mention huge carp and freshwater drum as well as northern pike on occasion. Truth be told, this is not a numbers fishery. You need to put your time in and be tuned into the weather and water temperatures. Nevertheless, even the over-prepared fishermen will be humbled while fly fishing Chicago's lake front. However, if you time your trip right the fishing can be outstanding. I've had banner days fishing for smallmouth in the spring, catching bass over 20". Also, I've had solid days fishing for brown trout and steelhead. Watching a big seeforellen chase down your streamer will make up for the many fish less hours and dirty looks.

The Fly

This fly is a variation of the classic lefty's deceiver.  The pictured fly is a perch pattern.  Other successful patterns include fire tiger, chartreuse over white, brown/olive over yellow, brown/olive over white, and black over purple.  I first saw this pattern while hunting big browns with guide Jeff Boks on the AuSable river in Michigan.  However, I believe this deceiver variant was developed by Eli Berant of Great Lakes Fly in Michigan.

The key to this fly is its auditory footprint and profile, which is made by building up the buck tail body.  The large body accomplishes two things.  First, the large body pushes water, which helps fish track the fly in low light or dirty water conditions.  Second, the large body diverts water and causes the schlappen tail to swim vigorously.  I've found that the action of the fly is directly related to the size of the body.

1.  Body

To accomplish this you must tie the buck tail body in three to four sections with a clump of buck tail tied in on the top and bottom of the hook.  Begin by tying the first buck tail section at the base of the tail and proceed forward to the eye of the hook.  If you want a dense fly, then leave little space between the sections.  I prefer to leave about four to six thread wraps between the sections.  That sequence strikes the best balance between cast-ability and water displacement.  When you tie in the buck tail clump you must crank down on it almost like deer hair (but without spinning).  By cranking down on the buck tail you splay the buck tail up and out to the sides creating a three dimensional fly.  Repeat this step with each section both top and bottom.

2.  Tail

In spite of my organization, remember to tie the tail in first.  The tail is tied in in the traditional deceiver style.  I prefer to tie the feathers with the concave sides facing inward.  I believe this causes a greater s-swim but experimentation is what fly tying is all about.  Another tip: I like to throw some epoxy on the head of the fly.  I did this mostly because errant casts in harbors cause flies to hit cement - not good.  Epoxy-free flies didn't last very long.  Also, this is a big fly that attracts big fish, which have equally matched teeth and attitude.  I had a three foot king salmon demolish a fly which lacked some epoxy coating. Enjoy.

Tight Lines.


  1. Thanks Blake. It takes some time to tie but it looks great in the water and produces fish. I think you'll like my December 3rd post, which is an articulated version.