Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Little Sculpin

Little Sculpin tied by Steven Bird

Sculpin (Cottidae) inhabit virtually every trout stream in North America. There are numerous species, though all are similar & easily identified by the proportionately large head & pectoral fins. Sculpin come in shades of olive or brown with darker mottling or bars on the body & speckled on the fins & head. Some species may grow to about six inches long, though most will be shorter than four inches, & there are many species measuring only two inches at maturity. The smaller models seem to be the most plentiful in the streams I fish, & the Little Sculpin pattern featured here is meant to cover those.  It is an easy choice when I want to swing a streamer on unfamiliar water, as it simulates a major food form that larger trout are used to preying on &, for that reason, I’ve found it a good choice on hard-fished water.

Little Sculpin

Colorations vary, the pattern given here is a generic version, but colors can be adjusted to suit specific waters.

Hook: #8-#10 TMC 200R or TMC 2312

Thread: Olive, brown or black

Tailing: In order tied in: small pinch of light tan marabou; small pinch of brown marabou; one olive & one brown partridge hackle, wound as a collar, then pulled back over the tailing & tied down

Rib: Copper wire

Body: Dyed brown or dark olive hare’s mask with guard hairs, wound in a dubbing loop

Hackle: Partridge, one olive & one brown – wind on the entire feather for as much collar as possible

Head: Body dubbing, full, on dubbing loop – & finish

 Flyfish NE Washington with Steven Bird: http://ucflyfishing.blogspot.com       


  1. Hi Steve - I like this Sculpin pattern , great fly . All of the fly's on here are very well thought out and I enjoy the history , tips, and background info you include with each pattern. SHJ is the first site I visit for new fly patterns to tie and I've learned a ton about materials, soft hackles, hooks, fly design and the FUNdamentals of the craft. Thanks ! Your the man .

    Planning to hit the gravel bars south of town soon with the spey rod and my new 11'3'' 6wt LSi Switch rod( used all summer in AK, my favorite!). Going to swing some of these little sculpins , Jack M's natural sculpins, egg patterns, and maybe a Copper Boss or Camp Dog if I can't get their attention with my natural offerings.
    I think I'm dialed in with regards to my Fly line , running line, sink tips , full sinking line etc. rigs . It always seems like a complicated algebra equation when I think about it. What I've concluded is I should use the fastest sink rate line for my sink tips and intermediate sink rate line for the full sinking line. The full sinking line will get the fly deeper and present the fly better than a sink tip but is harder to cast/lift off the water and much harder/impossible to mend.
    When using the Spey rod , use a Skagit head and fast sinking sink tip 14' - 20' long for Spey casting. On the Cabelers 6wt , an intermediate full sinking line or 25' of fast sink line with #30 mono running line ( Might use the Beulah 7/8 for this rig or do you think the 6wt could handle it?) for two hand overhead casting . Ok enough of that, my head hurts. Saul

  2. Hey Saul! Homey! If you're still around in early April, I'll join you down at the Sheep Sheds.

    I like my LSi 6wt too. Used it for everything last summer. Sure, you might like it rigged with the shooting head set-up & mono running line. Keep it around 185 grains (7wt AFTMA) & no problem. The Rio Outbound Short Head, fast-sink with intermediate-sink running line, works good for me.