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Olive Sparrow Nymph
A 'Bird In the Hand' Fly For Any River
Olive Sparrow - A ‘Bird In The Hand’ Fly For Any River

The Olive Sparrow fly is a fly that you can trust to entice strikes by most trout and salmonids in fairly all of the
streams and rivers in Michigan. It is especially productive for steelhead trout in our waters. This fly, first
created and developed by fly tying guru, Jack Gartside, should be given prime storage space in any serious
steelhead fishers fly box.

The ‘sparrow’ is a nymph imitator and should be fished, like most nymphs, right at or near the bottom of the
stream or river. It can be tied on alone or in tandem with an egg or another attractor pattern, with enough
weight to take it down to it’s working depth. In this presentation we feature it in the picture tied as an ‘olive’
colored pattern, but you may and should experiment by tying it in varied colors. Some of the colors that Jack
Gartside suggests are orange, pink, silver, black and gray. The truth is that you might come up with some of
your own color combinations. Just as different colors sometimes work on different days with egg patterns,
the same is probably true with the sparrow. You may also experiment and have success by mixing colors,
such as tying the tail or body in with one color and then tying the hackle in another. Our featured version is
tied without a bead head, but you can add a bead head if you want to. Having a few flies tied with a metal bead
head can help get them to the bottom quicker in swifter waters.

Recipe: Olive Sparrow

Hook: #1530 Daiichi
Thread: 6/0 Black [or match color to your selection] Uni-thread
Body: micro chenille
Tail: pheasant fluff
Hackle: pheasant rump feather
Bead Head:  metal or plastic, optional

Still We Pray For Steelhead….. And We Hope…..

As this article was being planned and written [Nov. 03], the talk around the fly fishing community was abuzz
about this fall’s seemingly great start to the steelhead season. Reports were coming in from all around the
State of greater than usual numbers of steelhead that were migrating up some of our favorite traditional
Michigan steelhead waters. Weir count numbers were indeed very good at weirs, such as the one on the
Little Manistee. Many casters were encouraged by higher numbers of fish being spotted in their favorite
waters. A very wet and fairly mild fall weather pattern has helped to elevate some of the water levels and
sustain flows in some of the rivers, presenting an inviting habitat to steelhead waiting in the Great Lake
waters. Fish that were waiting for a sign that they could begin their fall pilgrimage up the rivers to spawn
evidently took the water levels as a sign to do just that. The weir counts alone were driving many anglers to
try to think up excuses to give their bosses as to why they wouldn’t be able to make it to work in the middle
of the week. If the weather cooperates and we continue to get adequate moisture this could be a banner year
for our steelhead fishery. But keep your fingers crossed, and maybe cross your toes and eyes also. Because
if this winter follows last winter’s lead at all, if the temperatures dive to below zero and stay there for weeks
at a time like they did last year, we might be lucky to find open water to fish. Well here’s to hoping. Time will
tell. I guess we can always go snowmobiling. Not.

And We Pray For Brown Trout….And We Hope….

If you can get out to your favorite river or stream that empties into the Great Lakes, and it is open all year to
fishing, and you have the time to go and fish it, by all means do so. November is usually the start of the brown
trout breeding season for lake run brown trout in many of our State’s rivers. The first week of November
usually is when you first start to see giant spawning browns in the rivers. They come up from their Great Lake
homes, where they spend the rest of the year feeding and getting fat and happy, to spawn in the waters
where they themselves were put forth to life. Lucky is the fly fisher that gets a giant lake run brown to take
his egg or nymph pattern while he patiently drowns his fly for steels. These fish, sometimes reaching thirty
inches in length, fight with a passion. But remember, land these maternity patients as quickly as possible,
handle them carefully, and return them to the water to continue their spawning rituals. If you must, take a
quick picture and keep the fish out of the water as little as is humanly possible. We want their spawn to do
well. It’s tomorrow’s Great Lakes brown trout fishery.
Previously Published in the Michigan Outdoor News

By: Jerry Kunnath
Olive Sparrow Nymph
Olive Sparrow Nymph
Brian Henderson with a nice steelhead trout
Brian Henderson with a nice
Flymart Flyshop client with lake run brown trout
Steve Kunnath with nice winter steelhead trout from Elk Creek Pa.
Lake Run brown trout from Oak Orchard Creek
            in New York
Steve Kunnath with nice winter steelhead from   
                         Elk Creek in Pennsylvania