Here is a hot steelhead pattern working well right now for steelhead on Oregon’s Grande Ronde River. I hear small sizes like #8 and # 10 are good.
Originated by Randall Kaufmann, the Signal Light pattern features numerous steelhead catching materials and colors. In my opinion, undoubtly the largest trigger is that black marabou wing. Getting that wing to look right can be frustrating to the fly tyer. I’ve decided on a couple little techniques to get that right look to the wing.
Number one is use the prime tips of the marabou plume. Pinch the correct amount of marabou tip together and bind down tight with a couple wraps of thread at the correct spot on the hook.
After the wing is attached the forward excess of the marabou plume must be cut away. To do so easily, and with a quick and close cut, I’ve found that twisting the excess marabou feather into a tight rope and cutting close to the tie down thread wraps with my strongest sissors, will give me little remaining bulk and fuzz in the head area. Any remaining stray fuzzy ends can be sparsely wet and trimmed very close with your quality sissors.
Handling the tie off of the marabou plume wing in this way, allows me to quickly and easily achieve a small, neat head appropriate to the overall look of the fly.