Other Common Names: Three-spine stickleback
Scientific Name: genus Gasterosteus

Sticklebacks are a forage fish for bigger trout, and are worth imitating. Standard fly patterns are hard to find, so you'll probably need to tie your own (see the sidebar) or rely on a Woolly Bugger , yellow-green Zonker , or similar streamer. Be sure to capture the deep-bellied appearance of the natural fish.

Use a count-down-and-retrieve presentation, retrieving in little jerks. Sticklebacks are not fast swimmers and tend to be still much of them. They are most active in the afternoon.

Because sticklebacks are only locally important, they are not included in Westfly's standard database; however, a local shop might have a recommendation. Also, see the sidebar for an article about sticklebacks.


COLOR: Pale olive with darker back and dark vertical bands on the sides; red tints near gills. Breeding males develop bright red bellies.

OTHER CHARACTERISTICS: Dorsal and pelvic spines; large eyes