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Pats Rubber Leg Fly – One Of The Best Flies

The Pats Rubber Leg is one of the best trout nymphs around. It fools trout in rivers all around the world, and every fly angler should consider having some in their fly box. I have a whole fly box dedicated just to Pats. I have caught so many nice trout on this fly, that I now have absolute confidence in it.

Particularly in the American west, trout rivers have an abundance of stoneflies – which are available to trout year round in nymph form. Trout are very used to eating them, and they are a larger food source that packs lots of calories.

The Pats Rubber Leg has gained popularity over the years, and is now one of (if not the most) popular stonefly patterns. It is quite a simple fly, but it imitates a stonefly nymph perfectly. The wiggly legs and the variegated body makes it hard for trout to resist.

This article will cover the benefits of the Pats, and why we fish them so often. If you’re new to trout fishing, this is a fly that you must have! Whether you’re on the east coast, west coast or anywhere in between – trout love the Pats.

Basically, Every Trout River Has Stone Flies

Since stoneflies are found in most trout streams, fly anglers need good patterns that will imitate stones. Stoneflies are one of the main food sources for trout, which gives anglers an easy way to target them. By fishing a stonefly pattern, you are presenting to a trout what they are already used to eating.

Different rivers will have different colors and sizes of stoneflies. They may be a lighter, tan color. Or they may be much darker – blacks and browns. Olive stonefly nymphs are also found in trout streams as well. The Pats Rubberleg comes in all of these colors – and anglers may find that one color works better in their local water.

For me personally in Colorado, I find that the black/brown variations work best. Most of our stonefly nymphs are quite dark, and trout are used to that. The black/coffee color in the photo above is my go-to pattern.

Pats Are A Big Meal

Many river insects are smaller and offer less calories to a trout. Midges and mayflies are a daily food source for trout, but they don’t offer the calories that a stonefly nymph does. When a Pats Rubber Leg is drifting downstream, trout will take notice since its a larger food source. A lot of the time, they can’t resist it.

By fishing a Pats Rubber Leg, you are offering trout a large meal that they don’t have to chase down. Simply dead drift it through your favorite run and see what happens – the results can be incredible! Some of my best trout have been on this fly.

With this being said, I will often downsize my Pats in lower water scenarios – especially in the wintertime. When the water is clear and the trout are spooky – a smaller pats (size #14) can work wonders. During the summer months, I will fish them in sizes #8, #10 and #12. If the water is really high and dirty, you can even fish a large #4 or #6 Pats.

Trout Are Used To Seeing Them

Trout are no stranger to stonefly nymphs, and they see them floating down the river all day. When you throw a Pats on your nymph rig, trout see it as just another stonefly. This makes for easy bites and can provide some great nymph fishing.

On some days, the Pats bite is so good that I will fish two of them. When trout are on the stoneflies, it is worth it to fish a double Pats rig.

So when you head to the river, rest assured that all the trout are used to seeing stoneflies. They love them and they eat them.

Pats Get Down Fast

The underbody of the Pats is wrapped with lead wire. Some folks prefer to use lead free wire – as it is less toxic. Either way, these wire wraps allow the pats to sink quickly into the trouts zone. So don’t be fooled, just because there is no bead head – doesn’t mean this fly isn’t heavy. It will get to the bottom of fast runs very quickly.

Depending on your needs, you can tie them with less or more wire. If your local rivers are fast and deep, I would recommend using more wire. If they’re more shallow, use less wire. You can also play around with wire diameter to get the perfect weight. Any wire from .010 to .030 can work, it just depends on preferences.

Sometimes I will buy my Pats because they can be annoying to tie. In this case, it is hard to know exactly how much wire is underneath, so you’ll just have to fish it to find out. Although most fly manufacturers tie the Pats, I have found that Solitude Fly Co. makes the best ones (in my opinion). They are tied with perfect colors, and they are nice and slim. If you can find a fly shop with Solitude Pats Rubber Legs, get some!

Pats Are Realistic

Although this fly is quite simple: wire wraps, chenille and legs – it imitates a stonefly nymph very well. There are super realistic stonefly patterns on the market, but they often don’t work as well as the Pats Rubber Leg. In the case of the Pats, “imitative” is better than realistic. It has all the characteristics of a stonefly nymph without being too complicated. Most anglers will find that the Pats is the best all around imitation – it just works better than other patterns.

Although other stonefly patterns come and go, the Pats sticks around year after year. You can find them in most fly shops throughout America. Fly anglers stock up on them every season because they are tried and true. For your next fly fishing trip, don’t leave home without this fly – and make sure your buddies have some as well. You don’t want to run out!