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7 Easy-to-Tie Flies That Will Catch Fish Anywhere in Canada

Brown & White Bucktail

Brown & White Bucktail

Hook: 4XL streamer, sizes 6 to 12
Tag: Clump of red marabou
Body: Flat silver tinsel ribbed with oval tinsel
Wing: Sparse clumps of bucktail, brown over white
Side Wing: Few strands of clear Krystal Flash (pictured) or Flashabou

Bucktail is one of the most common and useful materials for minnow-imitating streamers. When starting out, expect to end up with bulky, lopsided flies, but learning to work with bucktail is worth a few misfires. For one, bucktails are cheap and plentiful, and they last a long time. More importantly, bucktail looks great in the water because it’s strong but flexible, and slightly buoyant, giving it a breathing-like motion. The only thing a baitfish has that a bucktail lacks is a little sparkle, which is why you add a wisp of synthetic flash.

Fly-tying books offer many traditional bucktail streamers with very specific recipes, frills and flourishes. But I like the way this generic pattern distills the fly to its essence of a shiny body and brown-and-white bucktail wing (it’s also a winner in chartreuse and white, or red and white). In moving water, you can swing the fly downstream or dead-drift it with occasional twitches, making it appear like a wounded, tumbling minnow. I’ve also found bucktails are excellent for fishing the top few feet of the water column in lakes and ponds to fool bass, sunfish, pike, walleye, rainbows and brookies. To my immense surprise, I even once caught a quillback carpsucker on a bucktail.

Scott Gardner

Scott Gardner

Outdoor Canada associate editor and fly-fishing columnist Scott Gardner is happiest when he's on the water fishing (especially from his kayak) or just surrounded by trees, preferably out of cell phone range. Since joining Outdoor Canada in 2010, Scott has won nine National Communication Awards from the Outdoor Writers of Canada for his adventure travel and fly fishing articles, and been nominated for five National Magazine Awards.

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