Mark’s Favorite SoCal Stream Flies

My favorite dry flies for Southern California float high, are highly visible, especially for those without good eyesight, or beginners learning to track these “floating” flies. These flies represent a multitude of aquatic and terrestrial food sources (caddis, stoneflies, alderflies, grasshoppers, crickets, moths, beetles, ants…). These trout must be opportunistic to survive, thus the patterns I present cover the large spectrum of their food choices. 

I often drop a bead head nymph below the dry fly (usually with a heavier tungsten bead) so I need the dry fly to float very well with the nymph weighing on it below. Of note, I like tungsten beads for dropper nymphs, as tungsten is a dense weight that sinks the nymph quickly, keeping it straight below the dry, key for detecting subtle takes by trout.

DRY FLIES  (# size)

#14, 16, 18 Stimulator – royal, crystal flash, yellow, or foam orange/black belly, tied with longer bleached elk wing with some crystal flash strands tied in. I also count on dyed orange calf wing layered over the bleached elk hair wing for those without the best eye sight or beginners learning to track these dry flies. Color accents laid on top of the bleached elk wing make these flies so easy to see!  My go to dry fly is the Stimulator in size #16!

# 14, 16, 18 Royal or Adams Wulff 

#14, 16, 18, 20 Parachute Adams w/ longer hot pink post.

#14, 16, 18, 20 Elk Hair Caddis w/ bleached extra long elk hair, thick hackle and olive or brown body 

#14, 16, 18 Parachute Caddis w/ extra long chartreuse, white or bright pink post

#12, #14 Schroeder’s Parachute Hopper w/ extra long chartreuse, white or bright pink post 

#12, #14 Streambank Hopper

#12, #14 Madame X


    Royal Stimulator     Royal Wulff     Elk Hair Caddis

   Parachute Hopper    Parachute Adams    Streambank Hopper  

   Parachute Caddis

NYMPHS  (# size)

#16, 18 pheasant tail (non-bead, gold bead, or tungsten bead w/ or without flashback)

#14, 16, 18 Gold Ribbed Hares Ear (non-bead, gold bead, tungsten bead w/ or without flashback)

#14, 16, 18 Prince Nymph (non-bead, gold bead, tungsten bead w/ or without flashback)

#14,16 caddis larvae and pupae (e.g. bead head Z Wing Caddis w/ flash back, & heavy weighted Czech nymphs)

#12, 14, 16, 18 Bead head biot poxyback stonefly nymph

#16, 18  gold bead or tungsten bead head copper johns in red, blue or copper

#16, 18 brassies

#16, 18, 20 zebra midges with copper or silver tungsten beads and bead head rainbow warriors 

San Juan worms – red, orange, pink in various sizes without bead, and with tungsten bead (especially used with high off- color water conditions). For higher, off color water use bright, larger flies like these worms with heavy tungsten bead.


 Bead Head Gold Ribbed Hares Ear  Z Wing Caddis     San Juan Worms     Bead Head Rainbow  Warrior     Pheasant Tail     Brassie     Copper John    Zebra Midge



#10, 12 heavy weighted (tungsten head and heavy lead wrapped body) multi dubbed leeches in blacks, purples, olives usually stripped fast. My favorite Southern California Fly Fishing streamer! Fish will really move far to chase it.