Shrimpton Steelhead Fly
The Shrimpton was born from me wanting a smaller "intruderish" style fly for fishing in the winter and spring. I felt that the large heavy intruders I had been tying were often difficult for my clients to cast and fish. Also, a slightly smaller fly that still had a good profile and lots of movement might be a little more desirable to steelhead in clearer water. The first time I saw the fly swimming in the current of a favorite coastal river, I remember saying to my buddy Mike, "Hey come check this out, it looks like a little prawn or something." He came over to see, and agreed. The eyes towards the rear of the fly and the barring on the wing made it look very shrimpy and alive!
That day we started calling it the Shrimpton and the name stuck. Since then, it has been a go-to confidence-fly anytime I'm guiding or fishing with a sink tip. The fly is easy to cast because of its size and lightweight design, yet it still has enough of a profile to be seen in high dirty water and elicit an aggressive strike.
I like to fish the pink one when the river is up and green, or I think there are ocean fresh fish around. I turn to the red one later in the season or when the river is low and clear, especially on a bright sunny day. Although originally designed for winter steelheading, the Shrimpton has become a great sink tip fly while fishing for summer steelhead. I like to rig the fly with a size 2 octopus hook hanging just out of the back of the tube, but it can also be rigged with a straight eye hook sucked just up into the junction tubing. Nick Rowell
Pink or Red? Both colors are proven. The dyed grizzly saddle hackle gives both of the Shrimpton colors a darker mottled dorsal stripe that are exhibited by both prawns and squid. Nothing new there. Many successful steelhead and salmon flies have incorporated this color scheme. What makes the Shrimpton unique is the way it swims. The stiff collar of pheasant tippet fibers near the tail of the fly acts like a drogue that stabilizes the fly in the current and slows the swing. This drogue (or drag) lifts the rear of the fly so that it rides level and makes it a more vulnerable by making it more predictable, an easier target for the fish. Pink is a popular color everywhere steelhead are close to saltwater. Red in a constant go-to theme on bright days. MB
Shrimpton Steelhead Steelhead/Salmon fly; not to be confused with the famous super model, Jean Shrimpton. We would never use pictures of sexy women to entice you to our site (or would we). We all much prefer pictures of bright shiny fish.
Owner and operator of Anadromous Anglers, Nick Rowell has spent the past ten years guiding on Oregon rivers. Nick is a native Oregonian with deep roots fishing the Northwest. He graduated from Oregon State with a degree in fisheries and biology. His guiding background includes both fly out and jet boat lodges in Alaska, multi day camping float trips on the Lower Deschutes River in Oregon, and over a decade on the Clackamas and other Western Oregon rivers. In 2012 Nick created Anadromous Anglers, and continues to deliver the highest level of guiding and instruction in the industry. Nick is on the Beulah Fly Rods and Loon Outdoors pro staff, a Montana Fly Company signature tier, ambassador for Pro Sport Fisher Tube fly Systems, and Simms product tester.