7 Must have Sowbug Patterns

7 Must have Sowbug Patterns

April 10, 2017 2:52 pm Published by 3 Comments

7 Must Have Sowbug Fly Patterns

In tailwater rivers and spring creeks crustaceans such as sowbugs provide a consistent source of protein throughout the year. On famous tailwater rivers such as the Bighorn and Missouri Rivers in Montana you will find anglers taking fish on these patterns every day of the year. Not only are these patterns highly effective, but they are all reasonably easy to tie.

Standard Ray Charles Grey CropRay Charles – The Ray Charles created on the Bighorn River, is a staple sowbug imitation that produces for anglers everyday of the year. Simple to tie and durable, the Ray Charles should be found in every tailwater fly box. Can be tied with or without soft hackle. Effective colors – grey, tan and pink.




Petes Carpet Bug Grey CropPete’s Carpet Bug – This is one of the most effective dubbed bodied sowbugs. The dark back imitates the natural insect very well. Effective in sizes 12 – 18.




Eddie Vedder Tan CropUV Eddie Vedder
–  Incorporating uv dubbing into the body, along with ostrich herl, the UV Eddie Vedder offers trout a new age variation on the Ray Charles. The thin skin back adds to this patterns realism as well. Our favorite colors are tan and pink.




Hot Bead Soft Hackle Ray Charles Grey CropFirebead Ray Charles Soft Hackle – Anglers are not quite exactly sure why trout take firebead sowbug patterns so readily throughout the year. Maybe as an egg in the spring? Possibly the orange bead is an attractive color to the trout? Who really knows. The bottom line is that firebead patterns produce. Size 14 – 18.




Killer Bug Pink CropKiller Bug – A modern twist of Frank Sawyer’s Killer Bug, this pattern has become a favorite pattern of Bighorn River trout and beyond. The body of this fly gets darker when wet and becomes even better looking in the water. Tied with or without soft hackle. Most effective size 14 and 16.




Pink Crush CropPink Crush – This fly is simple to tie and highly effective. The pink lucent tungsten bead catches the eye of the trout and gets this sowbug pattern down quickly. Size 14 – 18




Soft Hackle Sow Bug CropPink Soft Hackle Sowbug
– This simple pattern tied with either pink or tan dubbing for the body, along with dun hen neck for a collar has been terrorizing trout on the Bighorn for years. We fish this pattern with or without a firebead. Size 14 – 18.

Categorised in:

This post was written by Bighornangler


  • Myself, my brother and a friend were delighted to be the guest at Bighorn Angler while this report was being written. I can say for a fact that 3 of flies that are on this report, the pink crush, the eddie vedder and Ray Charles in gray, were the bomb dignity! I personally had 2 days that I put at least 20 fish to the net. During our stay I am delighted to report that our rooms, meals and the staff at the Bighorn Angler were outstanding!!! Thank you for assisting my brother with his anchor on his drift boat, your expertise was appreciated.

  • Ron Young says:

    Can you provide the recipe to tie the Pink Crush ( incl hook sizes and type) ??
    Thanks Much,
    Ron Young
    Gallatin Gateway, MT

    • Pete Shanafelt says:

      Hi Ron,
      The Pink Crush is tied just like a regular soft hackle but the body is a wrapped ‘mini sparkle diamond braid.’ In Pink or Tan. The bead is a light pink lucent bead from MFC or Hareline. Bead size should be 3/32, hook size 14-18.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.