Finding the right fly is super essential if you are a keen angler. It doesn't matter whether you're just starting out or whether you want to bring home a monster trout, this guide will tell you what flies will be successful in the month of May.
From lightning bugs to muddy buddies and double bunnies, here you will find out the best flies you should be taking on your next fishing trip. We'll also help you understand the difference between them to make an educated decision.
The Best Fly Fishing Flies for Trout in May
- Lightning bug
- Flash Back Hare’s Ear
- Holy Grail
- Prince Nymph
- Copper John
- Barr Emerger
- RS2 Emerger
- Hot Wing Caddis
- Elk Hair Caddis
- Parachute Adams
- Muddy Buddy
- Bow River Bugger
- Matuka Sculpin
- Muddler Minnow
- Dubble Bunny
If you don't go fishing with the right fly, then you'll never end up scoring a prized trout. It's as simple as that. The problem that most fishermen experience is that there are hundreds of flies out there to choose from, and sometimes it can be difficult to tell them apart.
If you want to make things easier for yourself, this guide will break down all of the options for you to make an educated and informed decision the next time you decide to head out fly fishing in the month of May.
Of course, the time of year you go fishing at will also impact the fly you use, so it's vital that you take the time to explore the available options. If you do this in advance, then there's no reason at all why you shouldn't be able to come out on top. Take a look below to find out more about the best fly fishing flies for trout.
In this guide, we’ll cover: Nymphs, Dry Flies Emergers & Streamers
15 Best Trout Flies for May
If you want to go fly fishing, then the first thing you'll do is spend some time assembling your kit. If you were to do a quick search, you'd probably see a vast range of flies available. Every single one of them will come with their individual specifications. If up until now, you have been picking and choosing one based on how well you did with it last time, then you could be making a monumental mistake.
The fish you are trying to catch will have different preferences depending on the time of year, the time of day, and the current. If you want to get the best result out of your fishing experience, you must take the time to create a diverse kit that can suit every condition you may be going up against. Only then can you become the best fisherman you can be.
Nymph Trout Flies for May
1. Lightning bug
First up, the lightning bug. This fly comes with a curved hook, and this helps to give the fly a very natural look. It flashes different colors as it reflects the water's surface, and this helps to make it irresistible to trout. The lighting bug fly is a fantastic nymph if you are trying to lure fish but no luck. The great thing about this is that it imitates many natural nymphs that are commonly found in the same areas as trout, and it'll give you a very high success rate overall.
2. Flashback Hare's Ear
The flashback hare's ear works very well, all year-round. Not just in May. Even if you don't see any signs of fish, this fly will help you to encourage the trout to strike. This represents almost all of the nymphs commonly found in a trout's diet, and no fisherman's kit is complete without at least a few of these. The flashback hare's ear fly often comes with many different variations, meaning that you can easily find one that reflects the fish you are trying to catch. It also means you can switch it up during the day, so it's never been easier to customize your fishing experience.
3. Holy Grail
The holy grail trout fly is one of the most successful flies on the market. It's also one of the most versatile nymphs if you want something that will have a high attraction rate, regardless of the water you're fishing in. It's able to bring fish right to your net in a vast range of conditions, and it's very buggy as well. This means that it can imitate any nymph that the trout may find tasty. You can let it tumble over itself in riffles, or you can try it in a deep-water feeding channel. Either way, you are bound to achieve remarkable results.
4. Prince Nymph
The prince nymph is quite easily ranked as being one of the best fishing nymphs of all time. It's ranked just as high as the flashback hare's ear, and it's got a defined profile. It's unmistakable, and fish tend to take it with a considerable amount of enthusiasm. It's typically used in faster waters, and it can be used as a stonefly imitation too. These nymphs are very attractive, and they can draw a strike from just about anywhere. It can be used in warm water, and the color profile helps it to draw fish in.
5. Copper John
The Copper John is a nymph which is excellent at catching fish. John Barr invented this in 1993, and it's a fantastic fly if you want to catch both trout and grayling. It's ideal for use in deep or faster water, and it's a great addition to your existing setup. The fly can attract fish in still water as well as in rivers. The fact that it can do this comes down to its weight profile.
The copper wire is twisted around the hook shank, which helps the fly maintain a uniform weight profile. You can also get the fly to the depths of the water, where the fish may be. This is especially the case earlier in the season, depending on where you are, as the fish will tend to linger around the bottom.
Dry Fly and Emergers Trout Flies for May
6. Barr Emerger
Barr Emerger is very high on a lot of people's favorite flies. It is a very simple concoction and includes feathers and dubbing. The patterns, however, make this a fantastic fly. The idea behind the pattern is to try and imitate an adult insect creeping out of the shuck. The fly can go just about anywhere, but it is meant to be fished just below the surface. The color variations also match in with the hatches that you will see regularly. Just make sure that you use the right color according to the time of year you fish at.
7. RS2 Emerger
This fly is essential for anyone who wants to take their fishing experience to that next level. It's an essential tail water pattern, and it's excellent at getting trout to bite. That being said, you shouldn't treat this one as being a traditional emerger. You should fish it as if it was a nymph if you want to get the best results. Present it at a holding level for the fish underwater, and you'll soon have them biting in no time.
8. Hot Wing Caddis
The Hot Wing Caddis is an improvement on the famous Elk Hair Caddis fly. The main difference is that Hot Wing Caddisflies are a lot more visible thanks to the bright color on the wings. This is a modern twist that can be tricky to use, but you'll at least have no trouble spotting your fly, thanks to its high visibility. This is what attracts many trout and ultimately why it's such a great fly for both beginners and experts alike.
9. Elk Hair Caddis
The elk hair fly was designed by the one and only Al Troth in the 1950s. It was designed to imitate the wing shape of the adult caddis. This is the key to making sure that the total water disturbance mimics the scurrying adult caddis. Trout watch out for this movement when they are feeding, so if you want to make sure that you are attracting as many fish as possible, then this is one that you should have in your kit. It's very versatile, and it will usually draw a strike in hardly any time at all.
10. Parachute Adams
The Adams is quite possibly one of the most popular flies in the US. It's got some excellent results, and the parachute version is a very successful addition. This fly can represent a vast number of different insects, and it's a good standby option for you to have if you don't feel as though the fish are biting what you have in your box.
Streamer Patterns for Trout for May
11. Muddy Buddy
The muddy buddy is a fantastic choice when it comes to fly fishing. This fly will not let you down at all. The pattern is known for having incredible movement, and it has a great deal of versatility. Not only is this a great trout fly, but it can also be fished in a vast range of warmer waters. If you want to make sure that you are catching as many trout as possible, this is a fantastic choice.
12. Bow River Bugger
There is a good reason why so many people choose to buy this fly. It's because they are very light, surprisingly easy to cast, and they have an excellent level of action when they are under the water. There are many copies of this fly available on the market, but nothing quite compares to this one. If you want a fly that won't let you down, then this is the one that you should be looking at.
13. Matuka Sculpin
The use of a big feather as a wing and tail is a masterstroke. When it is pulled through the water, it wiggles. This helps to convince the fish that the fly is alive. The fly represents minnows, but the suggestive pattern is something that not many trout can resist. They were introduced to the USA and then the world in 1975. They have been tied in just about every color you can think of, so if you want something versatile, then you should certainly be looking at this one.
14. Muddler Minnow
The muddler minnow is designed to imitate a sculpin. It's a baitfish that is endemic to a vast range of habitats. If you have not yet thought of this one, then you should. Trout can't resist it, and if you are going fishing in May, you won't want to miss out on having this one in your tackle box. It's got a lot of versatility, and it's frequently rated as being one of the best flies around.
15. Double Bunny
The Double Bunny was created by Scott Sanchez. The creation was brought to life in the '90s, and it was a ground-breaking invention at the time. The pattern proved to be so great that it really did help to rocket the potential of flies at the time.
How to Choose the Best Fly for Trout Fishing
Any keen fisherman will tell you how important it is to choose the right fly for your fishing experience. If you want to make sure that you make the right choice, you need to take into account your fishing conditions and the weather. If you want some help making the right decision, then the only thing you need to do is take a look below.
What does a Trout Feed On?
When trout is in freshwater, they will generally feed on various invertebrates. They can also feed on other fish and insects that may be flying close to the surface of the water. They have a high dietary reliance on insects, including nymphs, adults, pupae, and larvae, so when you are choosing your fly pattern, it's beneficial for you to try and take into account the fact that they are going to be more drawn to things like nymphs over other types of bait.
What Location Should I Fish Trout?
Trout are usually found in cooler waters. This can range from 50 degrees to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. They can be found in clear streams and even lakes too. That being said, you should keep in mind that the species also have many anadromous strains. Young trout are distributed heavily throughout northern Asia, the America's, and Europe.
Do Fishermen Need Lots of Flies?
As a fisherman, you may be wondering why you need a lot of different flies. This is understandable, but there's a very good reason. You don't always know what the water will be like until you arrive at the lake or river. On top of this, you don't know what offerings will be present in terms aquatic life.
One of the best ways of matching the hatch, is to follow our guides and pre-packed fly boxes for optimal success!
It doesn't matter whether you are just starting with fly fishing or whether you are very experienced. You have to make sure that you are using the right lure at the right time for the right fish. If you do this, you will soon find that you can get way more bites and make your fishing experience way more successful.
Before you set off in the morning, make sure that your fly box contains at least 5 of the above flies. If you can do this, you will find the right one for your needs in any given situation. As you gain more experience, you will make sure that you get the best result out of your fishing experience.
You may also find that you can make sure that you learn about the fish and what flies they go for. If you need help, then make sure that you take into account the weather conditions for the day and the temperature.
About the Author
Matthew Bernhardt, a third-generation Coloradan, grew up at the forefront of the state’s fly-fishing revolution, enjoying time on the water, side by side with experienced guides and lifelong anglers.
By combining his passion for fly-fishing with input from other experienced fly-fishers and guides and his fine arts degree from Colorado State University, Matthew spent five years carefully developing the Drifthook Fly Fishing System, built to help every angler catch more trout.
When he’s not spending time with his wonderful family, you’ll find him out on the water catching MONSTER trout, and he anxiously looks forward to the day when his kids are old enough to join him there.