Written by: Dave Brown, Dave Brown Outfitters
Leeches are an important food source for all things “fishy,” and most fly fishers have a go-to leech imitation that they know will produce. My favorite leech pattern has always been a very basic Mohair Leech because it’s simple to tie and fishes well. Until recently, I had no reason to change.
You can fish leech patterns on both rivers and lakes effectively using a variety of methods. You can hang a leech below a strike indicator and dead-drift it like a nymph; trail a leech pattern behind a larger streamer, stripping them back; or fish a couple leeches in a tandem rig to see which color or pattern works best. A popular method on Alberta’s Bow River is to tie a “light” leech pattern and drop it off the bend of a big foam stonefly or grasshopper Pattern.
Leech patterns are versatile,effective, and impressionistic,meaning your quarry might be eating them for a number of reasons on top of looking like leeches.
The Simi Seal Leech
My fishing clients from Arizona always raved about the Simi Seal Leech, and they would fish them with excellent results. But for whatever reason, I did not completely embrace this pattern, even after moving to Arizona. The Mohair Leech seemed to work fine, so I just never bothered tying the Simi Seal Leech until this year. It turns out that John Rohmer’s creation is even easier and faster to tie and is also just as effective as my old “go to”! All you need is some Simi Seal Dubbing; throw a bead on a hook, add the dubbing, and you are set.
Tied in a variety of colors, the pattern imitates a wide variety of fish foods. I’ve been using black, brown, tan, and white to represent leeches, baitfish, crayfish, and the nymphs of damselflies, dragonflies, and stoneflies. I tie Simi Seal Leeches on a 3X- or 4X-long nymph or streamer hook, in sizes 8 and 10. You can watch the fly’s inventor tie the pattern below.
Dave Brown owns and operates Dave Brown Outfitters on the Bow River in Alberta, Canada. He also guides bird hunters in Arizona and Saskatchewan. Check out his Trip Planning Blog. If you want to tie your own, click Here to get Simi Seal Dubbing.