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Scientific Names: genus Cottus

Common Names: Sculpin, bullhead


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SIZE: 75-150 mm (3 to 6 in), typical

COLOR: Brown, olive-brown; mottled

OTHER CHARACTERISTICS: Large head and pectoral fins; flattened appearance; species for both freshwater and saltwater.


About Sculpins

Sculpins live in rivers and lakes, as well as in saltwater. They favor rocky areas, and more than once I've come up with sculpins when seining the river nymphs. Although they can live in lakes, they do well in fast currents if they can stay near the bottom.

Most sculpins are three to six inches long, so they are a choice meal for a large fish. Fishing a sculpin imitation is a good way to come up with that trophy you've been looking for. That's why fly tyers have spent a lot of time developing good patterns. You can present the fly with a retrieve or with a wet-fly swing (in a river).

Articles About Sculpins

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Sculpins Sculpins are small fish that trout relish. Late winter and early spring are good times to cast a sculpin pattern Rick Hafele and Dave Hughes


Nymph. (photo © 2006 Arlen Thomason. Used by permission.)

Matching Sculpins

Only standard fly patterns are shown. Click here for all matching flies in the database.







Muddler, Woolhead Sculpin, Zonker, Clouser Minnow

2-8/Browns, olives

Count-down-and-retrieve, Slow retrieve, Wind drift, Deep swing

Lakes; rivers over gravel and cobble, undercut banks

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