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Rs2 Fly Pattern – A “Must Have” Fly!

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If you’re a fly fisher in Colorado, you have definitely heard of the Rs2 fly, and you probably have some in your fly box. However, this fly has also gotten super popular all over America (and the world).

The Rs2 is an awesome mayfly pattern that works most days of the year. It can be sunken as a nymph, fished in the film, or even on the surface as a dry fly.

The Rs2 was created by Rim Chung, who is a veteran fly angler. Since the Rs2’s creation, he has become extremely well known and respected in the fly fishing community.

Rs2’s really excel on technical fisheries where the trout are picky. These are often pressured tailwaters where the trout see lots of anglers. Specifically the South Platte in Colorado – which is one of the most pressured rivers I have ever encountered. Trout are still fooled by the Rs2 everyday, and it never stops working.

This article will cover the Rs2 fly, and why it works so well. If you’re new to this fly, it’s definitely worth tying or buying a few. Once you see how well they work, it can level up your fly fishing game.

The Rs2 Is A Perfect Mayfly

With the split tails, thin body, and small wing – the Rs2 is a perfect mayfly imitation. It is most often used to imitate Baetis (Blue Winged Olive) nymphs, but it can be used for other mayflies as well. In black variations, it can work really well as a Trico emerger.

Most of the time, micro fibbets are used for the tails. These are translucent, and shine really well in the water. The Rs2 is usually tied with longer tails, which imitates an emerging mayfly.

Many Color Options Of The Rs2

There are many options for colors on this fly. The most common ones being black, olive and grey (dun). Having these 3 colors will get anglers by in lots of situations. I like to have an assortment of these colors in different sizes – #18, #20, #22. You can certainly go smaller (#24’s and #26’s) but there is rarely a reason to unless the trout are being super picky.

Since the body of the Rs2 is just dubbing, it is easy to play around with colors for quite cheap. Trying different olives and greys can be a good way to experiment. Sometimes trout will key in on a certain olive hue or grey hue, especially on tailwaters.

A popular variation is the sparkle wing Rs2. These utilize flash braid for the wing, which can work quite well in dirty water. With flash braid, trout will see the fly more easily – which can be a huge plus. However, in low and clear water, trout can shy away from the sparkle wing as it doesn’t look very realistic. For this reason, sparkle wing Rs2’s can be good and bad, depending on river conditions.

Multiple Ways To Fish The Rs2

There are 3 main ways to fish this fly. First, you can fish it as a nymph with some splitshot. Drowning the Rs2 is very productive, and most of the time this is how I fish it. I will even tie some of my Rs2’s with a bead head for this reason. A subsurface Rs2 is a very effective way to fish tailwaters and freestone rivers.

Second, you can fish the Rs2 in the surface film. No splitshot or weight is used, just dead drift it in the surface film. This can be extremely effective when there’s a hatch occurring, and will put lots of trout in the net. Since it can be hard to detect a take with this method, I will trail the Rs2 off a bigger dry fly. The bigger dry works as a good indicator.

Third, you can add floatant to the Rs2 and fish it as a dry fly. This is similar to the surface film method, but the fly will be on top of the waters surface. This can be deadly on pressured rivers where trout are feeding on small flies. It is often the difference between getting skunked and not getting skunked.

Fooling Picky Trout With The Rs2

In Colorado, we have some tailwaters (dam release rivers) where the trout are very “educated”. They aren’t smart, per se, but they definitely choose what they eat wisely. For this reason, fly anglers have to use flies that are small and realistic.

For these tailwater fisheries, anglers must have an assortment of midges and mayflies that fool trout. The Rs2 is right up there with the best tailwater mayflies to use. Even on the pickiest fisheries: Fryingpan river, Taylor river, etc. The Rs2 will catch trout when other flies will simply not work. For these fisheries, anglers are often fishing the smallest Rs2’s possible. Think sizes #22, #24 and even #26.

A Guides Favorite

Guides all over the USA utilize the Rs2 on a regular basis. They fool trout very easily, and can help clients catch fish. I don’t know a single guide without some Rs2’s in their guide boxes – some will have a dedicated fly box just for this fly.

It is also really easy to tie the Rs2, so guides can stock up without having to buy them. Once you prep your materials, you can whip out several dozen Rs2’s relatively quickly. Since it doesn’t take long to tie this fly, anglers aren’t too concerned when they break them off. Rs2’s are easily replaceable.