9 must-have summer bass flies (including some you’ve never heard of)


Photo: Umpqua


Traditional trout flies don’t do much other than drift like an insect caught in the current. In slow water, most look about as edible as a paper clip. Invented in the 1970s, the Dahlberg Diver was designed to actually move. More than that, it’s the first—and arguably still the best—diving fly. At rest, it floats. When it’s tugged sharply, however, the flared collar of deer hair drives it underwater, where it wiggles crazily as the buoyant body fights against the downward thrust. Then between tugs, it floats back up. Basically, it’s a diving jerkbait for the fly rod, as lethal and versatile as a plastic-lipped hard bait. The Diver is excellent in both lakes and slower rivers, including deeper water over structure or weeds.

There’s a lot going on with this fly, but if you take it step by step, none of the individual parts are difficult to tie. You can also leave out some of the tail elements to slim it down, or substitute in synthetic materials to make it slinkier or flashier. Just be mindful when trimming the spun deer hair into the collar shape, since it’s easy to take off too much.


  • Hook: Wide-gap, sizes 2 to 6
  • Tail: 4 saddle hackles, around a large tuft of marabou
  • Flash (optional): Flashabou over tail
  • Skirt: Palmered saddle or hen hackle
  • Head: Spun deer hair, trimmed to shape
  • Weedguard (optional): 20-pound mono