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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15 thoughts on “4 Worm Patterns I Always Carry In My Fly Box

    • I remember tearing up some brown trout on that fly and my buddy saying “I can’t believe your catching fish on that cheap piece of shit”. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better.

  1. Boys, I am a big believer in worm patterns. Dave Hise came out with the Squirmy Worm, and it is tied pretty much like a standard San Juan Worm on a caddis pupa style hook with a bead. What you have pictured is a Vladi Squirm, my personal preference.. Are you guys bending that hook yourself?

    • Jason,

      I call any worms with that stretchy material squirmy worms, that’s all. The one we feature is just a fancy version and weighted with lead wraps at the rear 1/2 of the hook to have the worm drift in the vertical position. I use a size 8 hook from MFC (away from tying desk so don’t know model #). No we do not bend the hook, it works much better to use the hooks that are already bent that way from the hook manufacturer.

      Worms work great, I respect Dave Hise and Thank you for your comment.


  2. Howdy guys, with all this rain, this post perked my interest. Specifically, can you elaborate on “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” ?


  3. fab flies, going to try similar flies in salt water next summer,
    i think they will be hot stuff !
    has any body tried them in salt water ?

  4. They work great in stillwater, Can use 1 or 2 at a time or 1 with an attractor above or below the worm. I use an indicator with enough tippet to drag on bottom very slowly.
    Have caught many in 4 & 5 lb range on these April through October.

  5. Recipes? I realize there’s not a lot to these patterns, but some suggested hook manufactures, hook model numbers, and sizes would be helpful. Thanks!

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