The Ultimate Chubby

As summer approaches, weekend warriors get excited about some of the best dry-fly fishing of the season. With salmonflies, goldenstones, yellow sallies, PMDs, caddis, drakes, tricos, and terrestrials on the plate during the months of June through August, it’s no wonder fish start looking up.

I came up with the Ultimate Chubby by rolling different goldenstone and grasshopper patterns into one. It doesn’t require floatant, will support up to a size 8 beadhead, and you can see it from a mile away. The Ultimate Chubby is one of my favorite hopper patterns, but I fish it from mid-June through August because it also works well as a goldenstone imitation.

Step 1: The first step is to punch out the foam body pieces. This fly requires three different-colored foam sheets and a Beavertail Body Cutter from Hareline. You’ll need White and Insect Brown in 4mm and Golden Yellow in 2mm. Purchase a body cutter if you don’t have one, because you don’t want to be trying to get the uniform look with scissors, plus it’s a lot quicker. Punch out one chunk of each color.

Step 2: Attach the pieces by running a small trail of Zap-a-Gap along the length of the flat foam pieces. Start by attaching the brown to the white, and then the yellow to the white, making a little sandwich. Now you can add your eyes with a dab of Zap-a-Gap on each side of the head.

Step 3: Color on the dots with a black Sharpie. I like to draw three to five on the rear of the fly on both the top and bottom layers of foam, three in the middle, and then a few on the bottom. This is optional but gives you a bit of extra confidence when you’re fishing it.

Step 4: Set aside the premade body and load your hook into the vise. Secure your thread onto the hook, leaving a quarter of the front hook bare behind the eye.

Step 5: With your thread hanging one-quarter of the hook shank behind the eye, tie in two strands of peacock hurl, leaving it hanging out the front. Wrap your thread back along the hook, leaving one-quarter of the rear of the hook bare and then wrap the peacock hurl back to your thread. Tie off and trim.

Step 6: Fasten the foam body to the hook by setting the foam against the hook with the brown on top and yellow on the bottom. Your first tie-in point is at the first segment in the foam. Make several semiloose thread wraps over the foam, then compress the foam and make two tight wraps. Compress the foam against the hook when tying it in so as not to cut the foam with the pressure, but rather to bind it down.

Step 7: Add the rubber legs onto the first segment. I like to use two or three pieces of Spanflex on each side; each piece should be slightly longer than the length of the hook for the rear segment. Once the rubber legs are secure, tie in a small section of polypro yarn at the top. This will be the parachute that allows you to spot the fly from a mile away.

Step 8: Instead of whip-finishing off the thread here, dub a small amount of the antron dubbing onto your thread. Make a few wraps over the foam, add a small drop of Zap-a-Gap onto the dubbing on your thread, and wind it on top of the existing dubbing. Once the two strands of dubbing and Zap-a-Gap come into contact with one another, they bond. Now it’s ok to trim your thread.

Step 9: For the next segment, simply repeat steps six through eight and you are done. You now have a little friend to take fishing with you.

This fly is best fished as a hopper pattern during the heat of the summer when the hoppers are going.. It flutters across the surface and creates quite a commotion that entices fish, just like this fly. When I’m fishing this fly I often give it a good twitch or even pull it underneath the surface only to have it pop back up and get slammed by a big brown trout. The bottom line is there is no wrong way to fish a Chubby. So tie up a few and give ‘em a try.

  • Hook: Dai Riki 280 Sizes 6-10
  • Thread: Danville Flymaster Plus White or Tan
  • Underbody: Peacock Herl
  • Body: Rainey’s Cross Link Sheet Foam Golden Yellow (2MM) White & Insect Brown (4MM)
  • Legs: Spanflex Dark Ginger or Brown & White
  • Wing: White Polypro Yarn
  • Eyes: Hologram Dome Eyes
  • Dubbing: Antron Dubbing Goldenstone
  • Other Required Materials: Zap-A-Gap, Black Sharpie & Beavertail Body Cutter

Bozeman native Kris Kumlien is the former manager of Montana Troutfitters (587-4707).