Most guides will tell you they have certain fly patterns they consider “money bugs.” These come in handy when the chips are down, the fish are picky, and their tip is on the line. This is is my number one money bug– the Autumn Splendor streamer. Created by Tim Heng in Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley 20 years ago, this fly is either ugly enough to scare trout into submission, or juicy enough to make them drool. Either way, they eat it.
Granted, the Woolly Bugger may be the world’s best-loved and most-fished streamer, but the Autumn Splendor has a (rubber) leg up on the old standard. I really like how it oscillates, and displaces water as you strip it along the bank. For optimal results, sweep this fly in front of boulders, and strip it along the banks and through deep current seams. If it doesn’t get down deep enough, add a BB of split shot, (or form some Mojo Mud soft weight) right above the cone. Mix your retrieves… some days trout like fast, long strips, and others they like it slow and choppy. Stick with the cadence that works best on that day.
By the way, because of it’s close-to-crawfish color, this fly can also be deadly effective on largemouth bass, as well as carp.
Here’s a step-by-step guide for tying the Autumn Splendor from master fly tier Charlie Craven, owner of Charlie’s Fly Box in Arvada, Colorado.