Marabou Leech

Created by Hal Jansen


Most stillwaters have leeches, but very few north American species are blood suckers. They are naturally nocturnal, so trout don't see very many during the daytime. But when a fish spots one, it is usually interested, because a leech represents a good meal.

The head and/or front half (only) of the fly should weighted. A beadhead is optional. When retrieved, this gives the fly an up-and-down undulation that mimics the way real leeches swim. The marabou waves in the water and contributes nicely to the overall effect.


Good color choices: red, bugundy, purple, black, brown, dark olive.

How to Fish

In lakes, use the count-down-and-retrieve or slow retrieve presentations. Vary the retrieve until you find what works best at the moment: slow and steady, fast, strip-and-pause, or quick, short two-inch strips. Also, the wind drift tactic works well in lakes.

When pursued, leeches put the pedal to the metal and move pretty fast. For this reason, some anglers always retrieve their leeches fast, in the belief that a trout will see it speeding along and figure another trout is after it--thus inducing a strike response ("eat all the food you can before another fish gets it" seems to be a trout motto). There are times when this works, and times when it just spooks all the fish.

HOOK: TMC 300, sizes 4-8


TAIL: Black marabou

BODY: Black thread

WING: Black marabou. Tie a bunch of marabou in the middle, then another bunch near the head. Some tyers like to add a few strands of Krystal Flash, Flashabou, or some similar material to give the fly just a bit of flash.