|McGinnis Extra Stout|
McGinnis Extra Stout: Sure to Cause a Froth
Tier, outfitting manager, and guide for Grizzly Hackle in Missoula Montana, Matt McGinnis has fished Montana waters all his life. A self-proclaimed “streamer junkie,” Matt is always looking for a new streamer pattern with which to catch more trout. The McGinnis Extra Stout has proven to be the most productive pattern he’s ever invented, and is one of the most effective streamers in the Missoula area rivers, period. I caught up with McGinnis in Missoula the day after he did a cast and blast for mallards and fall browns.
Orvis News: How did you come to make the fly?
Matt McGinnis: I’d always had success with the colors, brown and gold, separately, especially with streamers. I had fished a lot of buggers like that in brown or yellow but I was not excited about their body, just chenille wrapped around the shank. A good friend had tied an old leech pattern that alternated certain colors and I liked that. So I got the idea to incorporate the style of body that used angora and Brite Blend dubbing with a bit of Krystal Flash in there, and alternated the yellow and brown colors. Nothing in nature is just one solid color and I think that helps. And that little bit of flash and that gold color remind me of scales reflecting light. It gives off a certain sparkle and flash that I like. And the fish do too, it seems.
Orvis News: Did you have luck with it right away then?
Matt McGinnis: I first tied The McGinnis Extra Stout for a staff fishing day on the Bitterroot River, our own one-fly staff competition that’s all about having fun. Nothing serious. The fish destroyed it. They smashed it.
Orvis News: Did you have a particular imitation in mind? A crawfish or leech or anything?
Matt McGinnis: No. I don’t get caught up too much in whether a fly imitates something too specific in nature, particularly a streamer. I think it resembles a lot of natural things. It can look like a crayfish, or a small brown trout or sculpin, or a leech. The tail behaves like a leech, straightening and contracting. A lot of things. But not just one. Just like a lot of streamers. And that may be what makes it so successful. That and the color and the way the angora and dubbing work in the water the way chenille doesn’t. It has more movement in the body. If it looks like any one thing I would say The McGinnis Extra Stout looks like “food!” And the gold, the way it flashes, that seems to set them off.
Orvis News: For what sort of fish and conditions do you find it works best?
Matt McGinnis: The McGinnis Extra Stout works all around. I tied it primarily for spring and fall fishing. It works very well in stained water in the spring or after a hard rain. When other streamers have not worked. But I use it in any water conditions. It’s working very well right now in the very clear low water of autumn. We don’t often fish streamers with clients in mid summer, but when we have, it’s worked for them as well.
Orvis News: Does any particular trout take to it more than others?
Matt McGinnis: No, which is good. It’s the best all-around fly I’ve tied. I’ve caught bows, browns, cuts, and even brook trout on it. They all seem to like The McGinnis Extra Stout.
Orvis News: What techniques have you learned for fishing it that increases success?
Matt McGinnis: Well. The McGinnis Extra Stout works well using the typical techniques of down and across and letting it swing, stripping it back, deep or shallow. No actual specific technique. But, again, it works using all those ways. I use floating and sink tip line both. It depends on conditions. If the water is stained I tend to go with floating line so I can fish it a little better on top where the water is a bit clearer. The brass cone head helps get it down a bit even with the floating line. In the clear water, I will run it down through deep runs with a sink tip. That slams them too. I’ve never had better luck on any other streamer across the board.
-By Eric Rickstad, editor-in-chief, The Orvis News.