Troubled Child by Joe de Leronde

Troubled Child

(named after my oldest daughter whom is…can be….umm…a bit of a wild kid…hah).

This, I suppose, at its core is a Hare’s Ear….but with so many different materials, it is ‘out there’ for sure. This pattern has great movement from the legs, enough natural buggy-ness to catch that ‘edge’ but enough flash in the reds/oranges as well as in the dubbing itself to work as an attractor pattern as well. This one, is great for aggressive takes and while I use it under an indicator, the strikes are STRIKES!…there is typically no ‘sipping’ with Troubled Child.

Thread: black
Hook: standard nymph, size 8 (steelhead)
Tail: 2 hot orange barred silly legs
Abdomen: black hare’s ear dubbing mixed with a pinch of black ice dub ribbed with a single strand of red flash-a-bou. Ratio of the abdomen mix is about 5-6:1 natural to ice (more natural than dub)
Thorax and collar: black hare’s ear dubbing mixed with black ice dub. Ratio here is closer to 3-4:1 natural to ice. Hot orange barred silly legs; 4 per side.
Wing Case: this is a bit more involved than ‘just’ pulling a single material wing case. The under-wing is a strip of red thin skin with about 7-10 strands of bright red flash-a-bou as over-wing. I then put a drop or so of UV cured epoxy to create the ‘candy-coat’.
Head: Hot orange bead…typically 3/32. 2 hot orange barred silly legs serve as antennae.

General instructions: This is a fun pattern to tie and look at but it does take a bit of skill to work through as well as it uses a range of materials.


I tie on the front antennae before putting on the bead making sure to tie the antennae pretty tightly so the bead can be pushed over the tie-in. After the bead, I like to wrap about 7-10 turns of medium lead (poor man’s tungsten) right behind the bead…basically, the length of what the thorax will be. This helps to hold the bead as well as build up the thorax of the fly. When I tie the tail (also silly legs), I try to make sure there is a good split between the 2 as opposed ‘just’ being straight.

As for tying with the dubbing, I pretty much always use a dubbing tool except for right behind the bead. With that, right after tying down the wing-case, I like to finish my nymphs with a tiny pinch of the same dubbing as the thorax for a collar right behind the bead. I like the look and it also adds to the ‘buggy-ness’ of the fly, I think. I also like to tie the thorax pretty bulky and after finishing/tying off the fly, I use my bobbin to pluck out legs and basically ‘fluff up’ the bug.

For the thorax legs….for me this is always a bit of a challenge to get right. I like…strive to have both separation between the front pair and back pair…but also have the legs flay out from each other (I’m picky that way….hah). I have tried different techniques for this and can find plusses and minuses for every way I have tried. Basically, anything that gets the separation…is the key.

For the wing case…..the thin skin/flash-a-bou combo with the UV finish….is deadly looking as well as producing a very durable fly. With the UV cure…there is a candy-like quality that catches light and probably works as a good attractant.

I like this pattern in the spring when the runs are on. Best fished, for me, under a suspension system (indicator). Ironically, this is a specific target fly as I can-not remember any ‘by-catch’ of any other species (like pesky smallmouth bass) but the steelhead I am targeting.

St Clair Steel April 26 13

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