This has been a fun ranking to put together. Certainly some flies work better on other waters and at different times of the year. I formed this rating based on the following criteria.
1. Fly effectiveness on various waters and at different times of the year
2. How often I find myself tying the particular fly on my line
3. Durability, floatation, weight, overall performance and appearance
#1Umpqua's Flashback Pheasant Tail: (to include: beaded, no bead, clear bead)
There is not a river in Colorado where a pheasant tail won't work, or a time of the year where it will not work. Though not a difficult fly to tie, Umpqua ties this fly far better than any other fly manufacture--especially in the smaller sizes.
#2: Beadhead Prince Nymph
A first choice on all free stones. Has always produced, and will always produce
#3: Soft Hackle Pheasant Tail
Through the earl spring, summer the Soft Hackle PT has become my most productive fly as a dropper under a dry fly. The movement, silhouette, and "bugginess" off this fly make it irresistable to Colorado trout on free stones, tailwaters, and still water. It can be fished as a caddis emerger, BWO emerger, PMD emerger, and green drake emerger. I fish this fly in natural, red, black and olive size #10-18.
#4: Crystal bugger
The crytal bugger is the most productive streamer I have used in Colorado. Black is always my first choice, but I find myself tying on the whole color spectrum at some point in the year. Great for stillwater, bass, carp, stripped, or even dead drifted under an indicator.
This is a no brainer and an easy top ten. Many different styles available, and has been a top producing fly on tailwaters for quite sometime.
#6: Craven's Jujubee Midge
It's very rare that a midge pattern can come around and be completely innovative from anything ever tied like it. The use of superhair to create a perfectly flush and segmented body was made possible only by fly tying master Charlie Craven. The flouro-fiber wing case has just enough flash to wink at fish while maintaining proportions. This is by far the best midge pattern. I fish it in virtually ever color available with excellent results.
#7: Mercer's Epoxy Back Golden Stone
The single most productive golden stone nymph in Colorado. The wide size variety makes it productive on numerous waters under numerous conditions.
#8: Amy's Ant
Amy's Ant is the hopper to replace all hoppers. After using Amy's Ant for the few summers, I find no reason to ever tie on another hopper pattern. Floats all day, very durable, catches fish, and can hang a bit of weight underneath.
#9: Krystal Simulator
An improvement on the original stimulator, the Krystal variety seams to catch light and trigger lunging strikes from colorado trout. It can be fished as a caddis, stonefly, and terrestrial.
#10: Dennis' Para Wulff
Jack Dennis cracks the top ten again with this fly. The para Wulff is a far imporvement of the long trusted Para Adams. The difference is the versatility of the wulff style fly and the balance on the water. This is my first choice dry to cover about any kind of mayfly that could possibly hatch in Colorado. This fly in purple is unreal!
The Best of the Rest
#11: San Juan Worm
#14: X2 Caddis
#15: Clouser Minnow
#16: BH Twenty Incher
#17: Barr's Slump Buster
#18: Poly-wing Spinner (rusty, trico, etc)
#19: Brown Killer Mayfly
#21: Pearl and Elk Caddis
#22: Fly Formerly Known as Prince
#23: Barr's Pure Midge
#24: Barr's Graphic Caddis
#25: Griffith's Gnat