Often people come in the shop asking "what's the hot fly" right now for Smallmouth Bass? It can be a tough question to answer since the answer can depend on different times of the day, the cloud cover, have we had rain (or not), etc…. as well as fishing pressure. However, there are a few patterns that I can honestly say have produced under all sorts of conditions and in waters all across the state. One in particular is the Clouser Darter.
I was introduced to this pattern by Bob Clouser when the usual Chartreuse and White Clouser Deep minnow stop producing in various waters around central Indiana after the big fish kill in '99 on the West Fork of the White River. Calling up Clousers Fly shop, Bob and I started talking about the waters I was fishing and what I was using. In the course of the conversation he mentioned a "new" fly, the Clouser Darter, they were developing and having good luck with. So I had him send me a half dozen.
I took the Darter out to Sugar creek and lost count of the number of fish after a hundred (and I wasn't really keeping great track anyway). Chubs, smallmouth, largemouth, rockbass, bluegill and suckers all loved this fly. Since then I have fished this fly on many other streams across the Midwest, Canada and even a tan version in Mexico catching bonefish! But over the years the purple and olive is a staple on any outing.
Look for a step-by-step tutorial on this fly in the coming weeks.