Tried and true stillwater fly
I have written about going to new places and perusing shops in search of the local fly pattern that everyone was using, so I guess I'll share the Utah version of the local "legend" fly pattern. The origination of this pattern varies based on who you ask, and most people will tell you that it was developed by Byron Gunderson (co-owner of Fish Tech in Salt Lake City). I had the opportunity to work at Fish Tech for several months while I was in between jobs in 2010 and when I asked Byron about the Crystal Killer, he promptly told me that it was his wife Deette who developed the fly. Regardless of who tied it first, it's a bona-fide trout slayer. (another plug for Fish Tech... If you are ever in SLC, you need to check it out. It's not your typical fly shop because they cater to all types of fishing, but they have an insane amount of tying materials.)
It's a spinoff of arguably the world's most effective fly - the wooly bugger, but how does this fly work so well if the main difference is the absence of the free flowing marabou tail? That's a question I would hear a lot but the answer is simple - "Just because it does." That, and Byron has been fishing it for about 100 years (He's probably like 115 or something like that). Substituting a half pound of pheasant tail fibers for marabou seems a bit odd, but it works so well that I found myself adding this tail to simi seal leeches, bling leeches, etc. Also, because of the copious amounts of pheasant tail that are used in this pattern, it's good to either start pheasant hunting, or find someone who does. The colors can be varied quite a bit with the fly by just changing the chenille or pheasant tail color. The most popular colors are red, purple, olive, and peacock.
Big thanks to Byron and Deette for developing this Utah classic!
Hook: Allen S402 #4-10
Thread: MFC 3/0 - Black
Tail: Pheasant tail fibers
Ribbing: UTC wire - copper brown SM
Body: MFC Lucent Chenille Small - purple, peacock, red, brown, olive
Hackle: Whiting Eurosaddle - Brown