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Top 5 Wet flies for Brook Trout

Mark with a beauty brook trout fly fishing in Ontario. • Credit: Mark Melnyk
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Top 5 Wet flies for Brook Trout

Prominent Fly Fishers describe their Favourite fly when fishing for brook trout in Ontario.

There is little denying that when brook trout were created, the inventor must have been feeling pretty fantastic. The level of artistry, camouflage, colour within colour is utterly astounding. One could say brook trout are arguably the most beautiful freshwater fish that swims. However, that’s just their skin. When brook trout were created, that same inventor must have been wronged by someone big-time, because underneath the gorgeous exterior of these magnificent gamefish lies a brutally sadistic, angry, violent animal.


Fishing brook trout is a pleasure, and many anglers travel the world in pursuit of catching and releasing these fish. Ontario has wild, pristine, and untouched populations of brook trout that are accessible and are considered what brook trout dreams are made of, meaning Ontario grows them BIG!

brook trout2

We asked a few prominent personalities in the fishing industry what their favorite wet flies are when fishing in Ontario for brook trout. Here is what they said.

1. Zoo Cougar

zoo cougar

"My favorite fly up there was the Zoo Cougar in Tan of deer hair for the wet fly/streamer. I just loved it, especially in that super fast water for skimming and skating, but then with a sink tip I was also able to let it hang and dangle near logs and current edges. I had no idea how to use when I arrived, and by the time I left I was addicted to fishing with it."  

Hansi Johnson – Professional Outdoor Photographer

2. Slumpbusters


“In addition to hitting common dry flies, Ontario's brook trout are also willing to hit subsurface streamers. In short stretch of river between a pair of productive pike and walleye lakes in northwest Ontario a couple summers back, I had really good luck with size 6 Slumpbusters in a brownish-red, or "root beer" color—I think these flies imitated small baitfish, including baby walleye and maybe even baby pike.”

Chris Hunt – Digital Director, Trout Unlimited

3. muddler minnows


"If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I love throwing traditional flies for big Ontario brook trout, however, I still LOVE the opportunity to see a trout eat a fly. That’s why I’ll fish big muddler minnows on a floating line and will add gel floatant to the bug. This allows the fly to sit just under the surface of the water, still visible to the angler. The voracious attacks of big trout are addictive; each and every one should be witnessed in my opinion."

Mark Melnyk – Host of The New Fly Fisher Show

4.Scotty’s McFly


"Traditionally tied as a smallmouth bass fly in Ontario’s north, the Scotty’s McFly is a deadly pattern for brook trout as well. Either swung or stripped the sparseness of the streamer coupled with the flash of the main body is brook trout candy! They go crazy for them."

Colin McKeown – Host of The New Fly Fisher Show

5. Wooly Bugger

wooly bugger

"There are few, if any flies that consistently perform quite like your basic black wooly bugger. These flies emulate many different protein sources in the water such as leeches, baitfish, or crawfish depending on how you fish it. My go-to brook trout wet fly is your basic black wooly bugger."

Tom Rosenbauer – Host of The Orvis Guide to Fly Fishing

Brook trout in Ontario are literally world class. They are big, boorish and incredibly aggressive on fly. Keep in mind, the brook trout IGFA world record still stands from the Nipigon River over 100 years ago weighing 14.5 lbs. These sub surface flies are so productive, they just might be responsible for beating that record right here in Ontario.

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