Chicago Leech - The Best Wet Fly I Ever Fished.
These were the words of Carl Richards, a trout/ saltwater fishing guru from Rockford, Michigan. Richards was the author of numerous fly fishing books and videos, most co-authored with guru, Doug Swisher. Richards wrote these words in Trout South, the newsletter of Trout Unlimited in the Southeastern states.
I was given one of these flies to use by Muskegon River guide John Krause one summer over ten years ago. My fishing partner, retired lawyer Dan Lever, and I proceeded to catch fifty trout, two days in a row with my biggest a dandy six pound brown, my largest fly caught trout. It made the cover of a Michigan fishing magazine. I had 1400 flies with me in my boat bag and I would not use any other fly on that trip.
Since that time I’ve learned it also works great for bluegills especially and bass. On another trip on Lake Geneva, I caught a number of largemouths that all had tiny black leeches attached to the inside of their mouths. Former Shabbona Sportsmen’s Club President Rich McElligot has had good luck on Lake Shabbona bluegills and bass with the Chicago Leech. Another friend called me a number of times about good trout catches in Southwestern Wisconsin on this fly.
Guide John Krause, was the co-author with Carl Richard, of two books: Hatches of the Muskegon River and Tailwaters of Southern Appalachia. John Krause taught the fly to me on a day when it was too cold for me to steelhead fish the Muskegon with him.
Here’s how John Krause taught me to tie the Chicago Leech:
Hook: Size 6 (bass/steelhead) or 10 (bluegill/trout) 3X long, Tiemco 5263 or similar.
Thread: Size 6/0, black, to match body color.
Tail: Short tuft of black Marabou or Mohair.
Flash: Short piece of Dark Purple Flashabou, length of tail on each side of tail.
Body: Black Uni-Mohair.
Wing: Black Uni-Mohair, one or two sparse clumps teased out of body.
Head: Purple Cyclops bead or small black lead or tungsten bead.
Legs: Black Uni-Mohair, a few sparse strands teased out of body.
Black leeches work best but olive brown with gold and white bodies with silver or gold work.
Note: The goal is to tie a very sparse, thin bodied fly. It should not look fat like a wooly bugger.
Contributed by NIFT member Harry Blessing.