How to tie the Hedgehog Fly pattern

I laid my eyes on a Hedgehog fly pattern for the first time about 3 years ago.  At first I was not sure if I was supposed to think it was a small mouse pattern or a very large stonefly pattern.  Your interpretation of this fly could vary whether you look at it from the top or bottom, but fish look at it from the bottom.  The underside perspective of this fly gives the impression of a large winged bug.  Either way it looked interesting, versatile, and looked like it ought to float through any kind of water you put it in.  I bought a couple and stuck them in my flybox thinking I might try to skate one for steelhead or use it during the spring salmonfly hatch.

Minam Motel

That fall I did try skating it a few times in September.  During a low water float with my wife on the Grande Ronde I decided to tie it on at camp and skate it through some smooth water that might hold a steelhead.  It was a lovely fall day on the Grande Ronde and as usual for a low water float, we had the 40 miles of roadless canyon to ourselves.

The smooth water was interrupted by several boils made from big boulders under the surface and I made sure to skate my fly through these spots a few extra times.  As I approached the bottom end of the run I thought I was getting out of the good steelhead water, but decided to fish a little further.  It was a nice day and a pleasant way to spend my time whether I was rising any fish or not and then BAM! a big fish pounced on my Hedgehog.  I had been casting and stepping pretty rhythmically in this slower water and was a bit shaken with the explosion.  My adrenaline pumped hard as I fought the fish, but the fight got too easy too quickly and I realized I probably had a northern pikeminnow on rather than a surface rising steelhead.  This happened to me a couple other times that evening and I have to admit it was kind of fun.  It would have been more fun had those been steelhead.

I also began using the big, unsinkable Hedgehog fly pattern as my go-to searching attractor while we floated down the Grande Ronde River.  Fish attack it often and it works great to float a nymph under.  Over the past couple of years I have fished the fly extensively from the Grande Ronde up into the headwaters of the Minam River and found it to work well almost everywhere in eastern Oregon.  So tie a few up or come down to Minam and buy a couple from our little riverside fly shop and put them to use catching some fish.

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