This blog installment comes from Greg Senyo – owner/operator of Steelhead Alley Outfitters and the 2008 Orvis Fly-Tyer of the Year.

Weather patterns along Lake Erie each fall are enough to throw anybody for a loop at times. If you’re like me, you really don’t have the option to reschedule or secure more vacation days to spend on the river. And over the past few years in particular, we’ve seen large amounts of rainfall right smack dab in the middle of the peak steelhead season.

Even though we all wish for consistent precipitation to supply moderate to good flows, it seems like there’s generally no rain with extremely low conditions, or too much rain and a muddy mess.

I for one am fond of the muddy mess. As the rivers begin to stabilize and the clarity improves, I have the ability to fish large, baitfish-imitative patterns to dime-bright fish. This fishing usually takes place 2 to 3 days prior to the reports of fishable levels from the angling public.

So next time it rains and the rivers rise, welcome the change of pace, enjoy the solitude and try your luck with this A.I. fly. You may be surprised with the results.

Recipe: Senyo’s A.I. (Green Goblin Color)

  • Shank: 25mm Flymen Fishing Co. Senyo Steelhead & Salmon Shank (green)
  • Thread: Black 6/0
  • Eyes: Medium bead chain (olive or gold)
  • Wire: Black Flymen Senyo Intruder Wire or 30-pound Berkley FireLine
  • Hot Spot: Orange Estaz
  • Body: Polar chenille (UV Gold)
  • Under wing #1: Lady Amherst center tailfeather (chartreuse)
  • Under wing #2: Flashabou (copper)
  • Over wing #1: Flashabou (gold)
  • Over wing #2: Flashabou (kelly-green)
  • Hackle: Schlappen (brown)
  • Collar: Guinea (chartreuse)
  • Eyes: Jungle cock (optional)

Step 1: Place a 25mm Steelhead Shank from Flymen Fishing Co. in the vise. Attach the thread and close both open loops with several wraps. Cut off a 6-inch piece of black Senyo Intruder Wire and secure it to the shank with several thread wraps. Take the tag ends through the front loop and fold them over the top of the shank. Again tie down securely with several thread wraps. Adding glue for strength is optional.

Step 2: Cut off a section of four connected bead-chain eyes and secure them to the bottom of the shank where both wires from the front loop come together. Wind back to the rear of the shank and tie in a 1-inch piece of orange Estaz. Make a couple wraps toward the front and secure with several thread wraps.

Step 3: Tie in a three-inch piece of UV-gold polar chenille, palmer it toward the rear of the bead chain and secure. Tie in about 12 strands of two-inch-long lady Amherst tailfeather (chartreuese) over the top of the polar chenille.

Step 4: Tie in 12 to 15 strands each of both copper and gold Flashabou. Fold the ends over the top and secure. Try to leave the strands of Flashabou uneven if possible. Tie in 12 strands of kelly-green Flashabou over the top, fold over again and secure.

Step 5: Palmer a five- to seven-inch-long piece of brown schlappen both behind and in front of the bead chain.

Step 6: Palmer a nice collar with a chartreuse Guinea feather. Optional: Add a set of jungle-cock eyes or other substitute eyes. Your A.I. pattern should finish out at around four inches.

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Images courtesy Fishhound.com