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Are Intruders really worth the effort?

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A friend called a couple of weeks ago and told me she was going steelhead fishing in Oregon in February and wanted to tie her own flies and wanted me to teach her how. I was told she needed Intruders 3" to 4" long, both tube and clipped shank with stingers.

 

Well, I've never tied an Intruder so I did some research and tied up a couple of practice flies so I will know what she needs to learn. After finishing them I thought these flies must really be great because the time and materials required for one fly seemed awfully excessive. I subscibe to the Lefty Kreh philosophy of fly tying, it shouldn't take more than two minutes to tie a fly. I fish in Florida and North Carolina most of the time I never spend more than a couple of minutes on any fly that I use.

 

So here's the big question for all you steelheaders, are Intruders worth the effort? Do they really catch more fish or are they just the most recent fad?

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I have recently tied some but haven't fished them yet. Doing my reading it seems some venues respond to small flies and intruders don't seem to make any difference. But in the venues where bigger flies work, the intruders seem to produce a very aggressive response.

When you look at the invention of the intruder and it certainly isn't a recent fad, it was to produce a fly that created lots of movement but cut through the water easily to sink down to the fish. Now we have moved on a lot in sink tips, spey casting, skagit lines etc and I am sure other flies will be just as effective. But for a floating line with a sink tip and a fly that is not weighing a ton, the intruder still takes some beating for big profile and low weight.

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Troutbum, you've been around a long time & likely already know the answer. I've never fished for Steelhead, and likely never will, but have fished Intruders. Stream SM bass seem to like them very much. I'm not sure they're necessarily any better than simpler flies, but have had days that they've produced better than buggers or other patterns commonly used for SM. IMO, that's not a definitive answer, as there are many fly patterns that take more time to tie than others, that seem to work very well, sometimes.

 

I also much prefer flies that do not consume much time or materials to tie, but still tie some that do. It's inevitable if we delve into other types of flies that we might not normally tie, especially with the proliferation of materials we have today.

 

It's highly likely, that your friend got a recommendation to tie & use those, so that's why she has the interest. Could very well be that something simpler would work as well, but it's not probable you'll convince her of that. In my searching around, as I'm always looking for new things to play with, I've noticed that there is some variance in how Intruders are tied, or at least with the amounts & types of materials used. I've seen some that utilized both ostrich or rhea herl & hackle tips, while others only contained herl. Some seem to be influenced by "classic" styling, while others are more basic. Perhaps, as with classic feather wing Salmon flies versus hair wings, they'll be reduced to a point that they're still productive, but simpler. Only a guess on my part however.

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I think the intruder would work.i also think a spawning purple would work just fine.that being said,there are many patterns

one might want to take with them while fishing for steelhead in oregon.on the north umpqua river you could take one fly

and have success all day long.i think also steelhead arent as picky and if you use a certain pattern eventually you will

intice one to strike.on the rogue,i like to use differant nymph patterns,and egg patterns.there is a reason why traditional steelhead flies

are used for fishing for steelhead,because they work.if you have confidance in a pattern and spend time using it,eventually you will

have success.(about tube flies im not much of a fan for them )just my random thaughts on the subject......................

have a great day

Randy

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COSkiesOutfitters channel on Youtube has the easiest intruder I've seen.

 

Personnally I use:

Size 1 salmon hook.

Cortland toothy critter steel leader material (10- 20 #) to attach the stinger (fleet farm)

Eagle Claw L1 needlepoint octopus short shank (L1BU-2) size 2 54 pieces for less than $5 at fleet farm.

I picked up a feather duster made with ostrich feathers at Wal-mart for about 5-6 dollars with a lot of usable feathers.

Senyo's laser dub or craft fur for the head.

Yes, they take a while to make, but they give a big profile, lots of movement and they are easy to cast unlike flies made with rabbit strips.

another fly that have the same advantages would be the Conga by Charlie Craven (it's on youtube)

. You can also check the blog at www. caddisflyshop.com they have a list of steelhead patterns and videos for most of them. Hope this helps.

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Wow, incredible question and i know some waters where if you didn't have a big phat intruder you may as well be casting an empty tippet.

 

Every steelhead i have ever caught, be it west coast or great lakes has been on a great big murder sized intruder....If it doesn't scare the crap out of the steelhead you are not doing your job.

 

Have witnessed some incredibly aggressive behavior from steelhead towards a large fly, alas it is all dependent on your waters, i mainly fish west coast summer run and spring run fish (both coasts).

 

In my experience on great lakes fall and winter fish they want midgety eggs and crap i am ashamed of casting on a fly rod, but come spring they will kill the bejeebez out of an intruder. I also fish every year some secret Heber River tribs on Vancouver Island for summer runs, and what u want is a fast sinking pattern that is meaty, or some massive ugly buggy nymph.

 

Then again i have fished some skeena tribs for steelies and what they want is meat. Go to Copper river without an intruder and you may as well have forgotten your rod.

 

Remember this as it is what i have found, salmon like the tiny stuff, and steelhead want the beast sized ugly stuff.

 

I have no idea about Oregon or seasonal flies...There is however a LOT to understand, which not many if ANY understand unless they have fished a specific beat or water.

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Just to add one more interesting observation from Campbell River, home of legendary Author Roderick Haig Brown. So i have been there every year since moving to Canada and have snorkeled it during June/ July and August for fish counts and observation. Now there are bazillions of pink salmon hell bent on killing flies smaller than a 3/0 (ish), now look down the bottom near structure. There are A LOAD of steelies, so how are ya gonna get past the murdering pinkies? Simple put on something they do not want, a big long meaty intruder.

 

So fish that intruder for at least two hrs, tell me what happens ;) I think you might be surprised, and i think you might land some wild ocean run steelies.

 

If it wasn't for intruders, i would be fishing a bright pink techno wog on the surface and skating it. Absolutely indispensable, i get people on the west coast demanding these things, heavy eyes for 30ft holes, smaller ones for tailouts.

 

I am so sold, then again pinkies will crush them too, i was lucky enough to snorkel during a period of a guy fishing them and noticed big male pinks really wanted to mow them down, *sigh* there goes my putting intruders on a throne of steelhead.

 

Once again entirely water dependent! Find the EXACT specs people need!

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Thanks everyone for your input. I guess I'm just old fashioned, to me a beautiful steelhead fly is something along the lines of a Skykomish Sunrise. Aesthetically and technically I'm not attracted to Intruders in any way, but if they catch fish, I'll concede to utility.

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