Egg Juan Kenobi Creator

6 Mar

It was a cold and rainy fall day on one of my favorite steelhead tributaries in southwest Michigan. The river was high and the color of tea with cream, conditions that deter many anglers but have given me some of my best fishing days. I positioned myself in the tailout of a favorite run with an Eggi Juan Kenobi (EJK) and an indicator. The EJK was my new creation that combines two of fly fishing’s best nymph patterns—an egg imitation and an aquatic worm imitation.

The indicator bolted upstream and disappeared. A beautiful hen steelhead came cart-wheeling out of the turbid water. I could see a hint of my fly in the corner of her mouth as she thrashed. That turned out to be a tremendous morning of angling, and from that point on, I realized that Eggi Juan would be a go-to pattern under such conditions.

I have since fished Eggi Juan with great success in the rivers and streams of the Great Lakes, Southeast, and American West for steelhead, trout, carp, smallmouth buffalo, panfish, and smallmouth bass. The trout in the Southeast especially love pink and red Eggi Juans.

Egg and worm patterns sometimes get a bad rap because the patterns are based on baits of bait fisherman. But they are also aquatic food sources and fly anglers should utilize patterns that represent these just as they do with mayfly, midge, caddis, and beetle patterns. Aquatic worms inhabit most waterways, especially those with silt bottoms. During times of high water, catastrophic drift exposes many worms to lurking fish. It is at this time that a worm pattern fished along the bottom in a soft seam can be most deadly.

Eggs are also found in rivers and streams throughout most of the year. They are dropped on beds by the females and fertilized by the males of each species. Eggs contain many of the basic nutrients for sustaining life: fats, protein and carbohydrates. During the spawn, many eggs are washed from the reads by the current, and waiting fish suck them in. Egg patterns can work particularly well during these times.

I came up with the EJK one late night. I realized San Juan Worms and egg patterns have caught more trout and steelhead than any other patterns in existence. Why not combine both of these killers into one fly?

EJK is my go-to pattern year-round, no matter what the conditions: low, clear water to rushing torrents. Trout, particularly big trout, eat the EJK with regularity, even when nothing else fools them. The largest, most aggressive fish in the run are typically the first to hit the EJK. I’ve seen it time and time again. On one fishing trip I saw a large rainbow milling around in a run with a few other fish. Any time the other fish got into her zone she chased them off. I tossed fly after fly at the huge fish for an hour and she never showed interest. All the patterns I cast to her were imitations of aquatic foods in this river. She had a PhD in fly and angler awareness and the closest I was going to get to her was 2 to 3 rod lengths away. On a last ditch try, I threw a pink EJK. As soon as it hit the water, she turned and moved nearly 10 feet to eat it. WOW! That was one of the coolest things I’d ever seen.

One of the most effective areas to fish the EJK is in the foam lines at the head, gut, and tailout of the runs and pools. These are often areas where some larger fish set up due to the food funneling to them, the lack of effort required to stage, and the cover provided.

I typically fish a two-fly rig with EJK as the top fly and 24-30 inches away is a small nymph like a Hetero-genius nymph or Sili Skin Caddis. Whether you prefer fishing with an indicator or using the high-stick method, this is an ideal set-up because the bright colored EJK can often be used as an indicator in itself, as sometimes it acts as an attractor, which gets the fish’s attention before they sip in the nymph.

If you’re looking for a new fly pattern for difficult trout and steelhead, discover what fly fishers all over the country have learned and try an Eggi Juan Kenobi.

Dave Hise is an Orvis-Endorsed fly fishing guide, Orvis contract fly tier, and owner of Casters Fly Shop, an Orvis platinum dealer.

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