There was a time when highly detailed quill winged attractor patterns served a trout fly tradition as rich as the anadromous side of things, & those flies worked well on pre-spawn trout – & that is the baby in the proverbial bathwater, I think, the fact that those flies worked very well at certain times of the year. Yet the development of attractor flies for trout fishing has been mainly truncated since the late 1950’s, as the imitative wave rolled in to sweep away the old wetfly patterns of Ray Bergman & those who came before us. Sadly, in the process, it even became tacitly understood (in some circles) that the imitative approach was somehow morally superior to other methods, & that served to diminish an artful branch of our sport, & a useful, fun approach as well, as any steelheader can tell you.
There is a lot of room for good lures in our trout fly boxes, as the purpose for them will exist as long as there are trout. And designs meant to be swung (as opposed to dangled under a bobber) will always fill a sporty niche.
Fortunately, savvy, creative anglers serve to show us new directions to take the classic concepts. Hairwing attractors are finding popularity among those who like to fish flies that do not resemble jigs, & we are seeing designs from both East & West that are simply exquisite. Along with hairwings, the wingless, low water spider designs popular for sea-run cutthroat & skinny water steelhead, provide a killing model for trout lure designs. Anywhere trout will strike a tiny spoon or spinner, they will find a swung & stripped fancy spider irresistible. The elegant LW spider might fill the bill when a larger streamer is just too much.
Hook: #8-#10 TMC 200R or salmon/steelhead style hook
Thread: black UNI 8/0
Body: copper tag, green tinsel; blue tinsel; peacock herl
Hackle: golden plover
Flyfish NE Washington with Steven Bird: http://ucflyfishing.blogspot.com