4 Worm Patterns I Always Carry In My Fly Box

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A wild brown trout chose to dine on squirmy wormy. Photo By: Louis Cahill

Worm Fly Patterns That Consistently Catch Fish

It’s no secret worm patterns are super consistent most of the year for catching both stocked and wild trout. They work especially well for stocked fish, after a big rain, and during the spring, winter, and fall seasons. I’ve had days when the only thing I could get trout to eat was a san juan worm. There’s a bunch of haters out there that will not fish them, claiming it’s the next closest thing to fishing a real earthworm, but look in their fly box and I bet you’ll find a few. I on the other hand, have no problem fishing worm patterns, because they do a great job of keeping my clients rods bent, which in turn, pays my bills. To top it all off, worm patterns are among the cheapest and easiest fly patterns for me to tie. I can rip out about a dozen in less than ten minutes, for about $2.50 worth of materials. Choosing to put worm patterns in your fishing line-up, will almost certainly put more fish in your net. Below are four worm patterns I always keep in my fly box.

Click on Photos For Larger Views

Fly Patterns Left to Right: Chamois Worm, Fl. Pink Flash San Juan Worm, Squirmy Wormy, Delektable Soft-Hackle Worm

The Chamois “Shammy” Worm

Yes, you read the name right, this fly is made out of a car drying chamois. For $10-14 you can buy one and tie about 100+ chamois worms with it. This pattern can be deadly after a fresh rain, when earthworms have been washed from the banks into the stream. Once the chamois material gets wet, it looks just like a live worm. I tie them in all sizes, but for my larger versions I often will tie a monofilament loop off the bend of the hook to keep the chamois material from fouling and wrapping around the hook. Most of the time you won’t find the chamios worm in fly bins at the fly shop. That means to some degree, there will be less anglers fishing this pattern. That can pay off when all you need to catch fish, is to show the trout a little something different.

Flourescent Pink “Flash” San Juan Worm

This attractor worm pattern fished in the standard ultra-chenille and micro-chenille size are fish catching machines. The added piece of flashabou or krystal flash gives it a little more pop and attraction than the plain jane version. If the standard size isn’t working, try tying on the micro-chenille version, sometimes that’s all it takes. I usually carry this pattern in fire red as well, and I’ll tie it a little shorter in Fluorescent green when the inch worms are out in the summer.

Squirmy Wormy

The good folks at Spirit River, manufactures and sells this life-life stretchy tying material perfectly suited for worm patterns. Just like the life-life action the car chamois provides, the squirmy wormy material equally fools fish into thinking your fly is alive with is incredible movement in the water. With a wide variety of colors options, you can tie up a nice stash of squirmy’s that will work in different conditions.

Delektable Soft-Hackle Worm

This buggy looking worm created by Riverborn Fly Company, has caught loads of fish for me over the years. It’s really durable, has a unique profile, and the bead gets the fly down fast. It’s a go to pattern for me when fish are being picky. I stock this pattern it in the standard and micro size in red, brown, pink, and orange.

I hope this post has persuaded a few of you to stock more worm patterns in your fly box. There has to be something said for the effectiveness of these patterns, when I consistently find them being fished by all my peers. I’ve traveled coast to coast and I’ve yet to find a location where a worm pattern won’t catch fish. That’s bank you can count on.

Keep it Reel,

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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19 thoughts on “4 Worm Patterns I Always Carry In My Fly Box

  1. Never a shortage of disrespect on the Internet. Would you say that to Kent’s face? I doubt it.

    Thanks a bunch Kent! I personally had never seen this article and am genuinely glad it was shared. And I miss the days when you were more responsive in the commentary. Have a wonderful day. You deserve it.

  2. I agree that there is a time and place for a good worm pattern. I just started euro nymphing and caught my first fish on a squirmy wormy tied on a jig hook and with a tungsten bead to get the fly down deeper quickly.

  3. I do a lot of catch and release for wild fish. My experience is that trout take live worms really deep into their mouth or even down their throat making it really hard to remove the hook without mortaly injuring the fish.

    In your experience with these worms, are the fish taking them deep into their throats like the live bait? Or are they getting caught more on the lip?

  4. I swear, a read san juan with a red D-rib body and an orange head is an absolute killer in Montana. I can literally take it to any waterway and catch fish

  5. The worm is one of those fall back flies that when nothing is working, you can bet that some variety of these flies will, along with egg patterns. Bacon and eggs!

    A lot of guys in CO us a fly called the Pig Sticker, which is used as a depth charge fly with heavy weight tied in, and rides with the barb of the hook up for less snags on the bottom. Great fly but can foul a lot of fish as well unfortunately.

    I’ve also seen worms tied with just a rubber leg as the worm body. I don’t think they are is lifelike, but as long as it looks wormy I think it will work.

    Fear the worm!

  6. Man worms are the sh*t when searching patterns. I now carry about 30 or so rock worms in the fly box. Maybe 6 different sizes and colors, nothing over a 12. Just flex floss strands and maybe some flash. One package of floss would never run out if you just to tied that pattern with it. On the Shoshone it’s my “got to grab a fish before the car/ take out! ” fly.

  7. Agree on all counts, Kent. Good job.

    Worm patterns are great for teaching beginning fly tiers, who can tie these and fish them with success. Sometimes it takes some easy paths to get someone hooked on tying.

  8. @John…

    there was no disrespect meant whatsoever… It was an article that was in fact posted previously on this very site. And yes I would say it to Kent and Louis directly if I knew them personally. If they read the comments they will see this very post.

    I frequent this site nearly every day and believe something new would be a better option instead of rehashing old articles.

    • It is no secret that Kent has ‘formally’ left Gink and Gasoline but I have not made a big deal of it either. I will continue to repost one of his articles each week because they are awesome and so many readers have not enjoyed them. Kent plans to start writing on a limited basis as soon as his new work schedule allows. Kent is my brother in arms and will always be part of G&G. I’m sure you all understand.

  9. Pingback: Worm Dunking | The Black Gnats

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