Fly Tying: Trevor Covich's Guide Fly Pattern

Every steelheader has a theory on fly choice. Some carry dozens in their fly boxes and switch from one to another during the course of a day. Others stick to a single pattern they’ve had suc-cess with, knowing that—sooner or later—a fish will take that fly. Trevor Covich takes a slightly different approach—often he fishes a singular pattern, but he’ll switch from one color to another depending on water conditions and a particular “feel” for the day.

Covich is a guide on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula and from December through mid-April he’s on the water nearly every day. That means he sees rivers on the rise, on the drop, completely blown out with uprooted trees floating downstream, and even gin clear. His standard steelhead pattern—what he simply calls a “Guide Fly”—offers a great profile, lots of movement, and a bright “eggish” looking ball that is readily visible to a fish holding downstream. That egg serves two purposes—it’s a beacon in a variety of water conditions and it acts as a base for the shoulder of the fly. He ties this fly in many color combinations and sizes. Big and gaudy for dis-colored and high water. Subtler and smaller for low and clear water. Play around with this pattern and you’re sure to get results.

Want to book a coastal steelhead trip with Covich? Contact him at




Hook: Size 2 OPST Swing Hook

Shank: 20 mm OPST Shank (or these)

Thread: 210 white

Wire Connection: 65-pound Power Pro

Eyes: Small lead black

Underbody: Hareline pearl diamond braid

Shoulder Base: UV enhanced glow bug yarn

Shoulder/Wing: Pearl anadromous brush, orange amherst drab, OPST pink drab, OPST orange grizzly saddle hackle tips, OPST fuchsia marabou, OPST pink/purple flashabou

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Greg Thomas grew up splitting time between southeast Alaska and Seattle, Washington . . . and never moved away from the Pacific Northwest. He lives in Missoula, Montana with his two daughters and serves as Editor-in-Chief of North 40’s creative department. Thomas has penned five books on fly fishing, including Fly Fisher’s Guide to Washington and Fly Fisher’s Bible Montana. His byline appears in regional and national publications, including the New York Times, Forbes, Outside, and Field & Stream. He has no trouble admitting that he’s a steelhead addict and loves pursuing these fish with two-hand rods wherever they swim.
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