Multi-Species Fly-Fishing

The Top 5 Flies to Have in Your Fly Box on your next fly fishing adventure to Ontario.

1. Black Woolly Bugger


As any multi-species fly angler can attest, a Woolly Bugger is probably one of the most versatile flies to have in your box. It’s a hot meal ticket for some very sought-after species, such as Smallmouth Bass, Trout, Northern Pike, and even larger panfish! A Black Woolly Bugger takes this a step further, with black being an excellent imitation for leeches, dark-coloured crayfish, and even certain baitfish. Using this dark shade is ideal for overcast conditions or in muddy or tannin-stained waters. Woolly Buggers are excellent as they can be fished in every part of the water column, depending on your fly line, the water temperature, time of year and/or the species you’re targeting. Whether you’re swinging your Woolly Bugger like a streamer, stream fishing it like a nymph, or even using it under a strike indicator, there’s no doubt that you’ll find success with this epically versatile fly.

2. Scotty’s McFly


This fly is truly one of my favourites. The Scotty’s McFly was created by Scott Currie of the town of Massey, located in the Algoma region of Northern Ontario! This is an epic smelt pattern imitation perfect for targeting Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike, and even landlocked Salmon! Use this streamer with a sink tip, intermediate, or even full sinking fly line to explore every part of the water column.

3. Murdich Minnow


Another excellent smelt imitation, the Murdich Minnow is an excellent streamer to have in your multi-species arsenal. While this fly was originally designed to target stripers on the East Coast, it’s become a fan-favourite of fly anglers everywhere when targeting species such as Smallmouth Bass, Brown Trout, Northern Pike, and even Walleye. Due to the smaller, simpler profile of this baitfish imitation, it works best in clearer water, or when fish are busting bait balls. While this fly can absolutely be effective in most areas of the water column with an intermediate line, I always find the most success when using a floating line. When matched with the floating line, the weight of the fly itself allows it to sit just below the surface of the water- optimal for active, hungry fish.

4. Game Changer


The Game Changer is an excellent fly to use when targeting more predatory species such as Musky and Northern Pike, however, I’ve had success with this pattern when angling for Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass, large Brown Trout, and even Musky! One of the features that make this fly so uniquely versatile is the realistic, articulated movement provided by a series of joints along the shaft! Another plus, these flies are tied with fully synthetic material, which in turn results in the fly becoming less waterlogged, making them incredibly easy to cast. Often designed as a smelt or perch imitation, the Game Changer performs well using virtually any setup, in any environment. Whether you’re fishing light rods and floating line in a river or a full sinking line in your local lake, the Gamer Changer is sure to produce.

5. White Zonker


Another epic streamer fly, the White Zonker is the perfect choice when stream fishing for Trout, in lakes and rivers for both Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass and can even be successful when targeting Salmon and Steelhead. One of the more classic multi-species flies, a White Zonker aims to imitate a variety of baitfish and is an excellent attractor pattern thanks to exaggerated movement in the tail and its shiny, reflective underbelly. This pattern works best in water between two and six feet deep; varying your retrieve and twitching your rod tip to imitate a wounded baitfish is sure to get a reaction.

About Jenna McKeown

Jenna McKeown has loved fishing since she was a young girl. Now as a young adult attending university, she has learned the basics of fly fishing. Like all good anglers, she welcomes instruction and education on all aspects of fly fishing and fish. She hopes to inspire other young girls and women to learn more about fly fishing and the great outdoors. Currently Jenna is attending university to become a teacher focused on one day instructing primary grade students in French. Jenna is a passionate singer, songwriter and guitarist. She produces much of the music used in The New Fly Fisher.

Recommended Articles

Top 5 Flies for Smallmouth Bass

The inside scoop on bass flies from the hosts of The New Fly Fisher.

Whitefish Lake Walleye

An epic walleye fishing adventure in Superior Country.

Spring Perch Fishing

Use These Tips on Your Next Ontario Fishing Trip

Ontario Brook Trout

Fish these 10 sweet spots.

Lake of the Woods

10 Facts You Didn't Know

5 Places to Shore Fish

Fish’n Canada shows you where to go shore fishing in Ontario.

Top 5 Musky Destinations in Ontario

The Musky Hunter shows you where to land the best musky in Ontario waters.

Five Brook Trout Flies

What flies to bring when fishing for brook trout.

Terrestrial Flies for Brook Trout

These fish feed like crazy and look for opportunities for a big protein meal.

5 Deadliest Fishing Lures

Use these lures when ice fishing for lake trout in Northern Ontario.

Top 10 Ice Fishing Lakes

Every kind of fish and experience—Ontario ice fishing is some of the best in the world.

Summer Fishing Patterns for Multi-Species

Bob Izumi discusses tips for different species and how to catch them when summer temperatures soar.

Year Round Fishing in Ontario

Who Says You Can’t Fish All Year in Ontario?

Top 5 Baits for Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass

What baits do you use to target bass? Find out why these 5 are the best!

Eating Northern Pike

The Best Recipe to Cook This Fish

Troutfly Lake Outpost

Everything You Need to Know about Your Trip to Troutfly

Lake Nipigon Adventure

Fishing for Lake Trout, Walleye & Pike

Stalking Prehistoric Long Nose Gar

Hosts Angelo Viola and Pete Bowman took to the waters with the objective of 100% sight fishing.

Smallmouth Bass Destinations

From rivers to lakes, smallmouth bass are found throughout Ontario.

Become a World-class Fishing Guide

Misconceptions, behind-the-scenes intel, and key tips from a professional guide.