Scuds, crustaceans known as Amphipods, are on a trout’s menu year-round—especially in many tailwaters, spring creeks, and stillwaters. Trout love them because scuds are usually plentiful, easy to catch, and they have high nutritional value. There are almost 100 species of scuds in North America, but they all have the same basic shape, with prominent legs and a curved shell back. Mostly what changes from water to water are color and size, so it’s always a good idea to collect some naturals to match. In the winter months, try fishing larger scuds, sizes 12 and 14, through slower-moving sections of river where fish may be holding. The takes can be quite subtle, so be ready to set the hook lightly at the slightest hesitation in the fly line or indicator. Try both fishing the fly on a dead-drift and giving it bursts of very short strips.
In this video, Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions offers his version of a simple scud pattern, which uses a dubbing that mixes Antron and Australian possum. As usual, Tim shows a couple of neat tricks to make the fly look cleaner and buggier at the same time.
Simple Scud from Tightline Productions on Vimeo.
Hook: Standard emerger hook (here a Dai-Riki 125), sizes 12-18.
Thread: Light olive, 70 denier or 8/0.
Antennae: Smoky olive Sow Scud dubbing.
Rib: Gold Ultra Wire, small.
Back: Tan and Black Fly Speck Thin Skin.
Body and Legs: Smoky olive Sow Scud dubbing.
Head: Tying thread.
Adhesive: Head cement.
Note: Tie this pattern in different color combinations to match
the scuds in your streams. Tan and gray are good choices.