Big Trout Only and Maple Syrup

This pair of flies is from Alvin Theriault ( of Staceyville, ME. Most fly fishers have heard of the Maple Syrup, it’s an elegantly simple imitation of a Hexagenia Limbata mayfly nymph and has a well deserved reputation. If you find yourself on a pond with a silt or muddy bottom then this should be the first fly on your rod.

The second fly is a real sleeper. Literally. This was a secret fly in the Millinocket area in the 1960’s. Apparently some cagey but successful fly fishermen used this fly in the fall to pull very large trout out of the spring holes, especially in the Katahdin area. Alvin doesn’t know the originator’s name but as the story goes, whoever it was stopped tying them and the fly gradually disappeared from use. In 2000, someone found a half dozen that had been misplaced and brought them to Alvin to duplicate. Alvin had to arrange with Danville for the peacock color chenille in the right size to be produced again. The fly is successful all season he gets a lot of orders for it. Alvin feels it represents a dragonfly or a crayfish. Since the fly was not named, Alvin calls it the Big Trout Only.

Recipe for the Maple Syrup
Thread – Black
Hook –Size 10, 6x long
Tail – Yellow calf tail, sparse
Body – Size 2 (medium) beige Danville Rayon chenille, two wraps

Recipe for the Big Trout OnlyThread – Black
Hook – Size 6, 6x long
Body – Size 3 (large) Peacock Danville Rayon chenille, two wraps

Tying these flies is simple, but there are some rules. First, you can change the suggested sizes and colors if you want, but the recipes above seem to be the best producers. Second, you may be tempted to use only one wrap of chenille. Resist that temptation – both flies call for two wraps of chenille. Tie in at the eye, wind back and then wind forward over your first wrap. That’s two layers and anything less just doesn’t work as well. Third, the tail on the Maple Syrup should be sparse. Using too much material is the most common mistake fly tiers make. And lastly, the chenille on the Big Trout Only is wrapped back into the bend of the hook and then wrapped forward to the eye. If you only wrap it back to the point of the hook shank where the bend starts, some trout will spit it out. If you wrap the body a bit down into the bend of the hook, you’ll get better hookups.

Both flies should be fished slow and deep. You can tie a weighted version by wrapping heavy wire on the hook shank if you like. There is also a bead head version of the Maple Syrup that works well. If you decide to try this you should note that the bead will only fit on TMC 300 or Mustad Lightning Strike hooks. While I’ve never tried it, there are reports that the Maple Syrup will fish well as an ice fishing jig. And Alvin says that the Big Trout Only is being trolled in Aroostook County by people who keep ordering more flies.
Don’t let the simplicity of these two flies fool you. They catch fish.

About PuckerbrushFlies

Fly fishing father
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3 Responses to Big Trout Only and Maple Syrup

  1. SwittersB says:

    Over and over, those too simple patterns + good presentation still work.

  2. Stan Williams says:

    Two wraps of chenille???? I want to see someone tie a 6x with two wraps of chenille. That must be a misprint.

    • I agree, I hadn’t seen that before either. There’s no misprint, two wraps, tightly wound. This is both for the bulk and so that a large trout doesn’t feel the hook shank and spit it out. Hugh

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