How to Pick the Perfect Two-Fly Trout Rig

Photo by Brian Grossenbacher

Two-fly rigs allow anglers to present double the meal options to discerning trout. The best fly pairings, however, are no given. Trout streams and trout feeding behavior are dynamic. What works in the morning can just as easily strike out in the afternoon. Check your watch, and try these three killer combinations when the time is right.

Morning
Tie a No. 6 weighted stonefly nymph to a 3X leader. Next, add 2 feet of 4X tippet to the bend in the nymph hook, and finish with a trailing No. 12 caddis pupa. Drift this combination below a strike indicator behind rocks and in eddies where natural nymphs are stirring. A large and small offering gives trout options prior to any hatch activity starting. Choose a stonefly in black or brown, as dark colors show better contrast in low light.

Midday
As the sun gets higher, trout switch to surface feeding and eat both live bugs and dead mayflies that have fallen back to the water after mating. An easy way to present both options is to fish a No. 10 Irresistible with a No. 18 Adams a foot in tow. Clip the hackle off the bottom of the Adams so it sits flat in the film like a dead mayfly spinner. The bulky Irresistible not only draws strikes, but it helps you keep track of the location of the tiny Adams during the drift.

Illustration by Pete Sucheski

Evening
Low light brings big trout out of hiding. They may be interested in eating bugs, or they may attack the smaller trout still sipping on the surface. To fool these toads, strip a No. 6 yellow Marabou Muddler with a No. 12 Leadwing Coachman bringing up the rear by 14 inches. The streamer will move plenty of water to get a meat eater's attention, and the large wet fly will imitate drowned aquatic insects that require less work to eat than snapping live bugs off the top.