Rock worms that rock.

simple or complex, you decide

It was COLD that morning.  This is the type of cold that makes even the most hard core of fishers reconsider how tough they are.  I dragged myself out of bed and started my way up to the Green River just below Flaming Gorge Reservoir in Utah.  The Green River is noted for it's phenomenal midge fishing in the winter months, and I couldn't wait to try out some of my new patterns that I had tied in sizes 24 through 32.  I met up with Charlie Card about 8:00 am, but this time we weren't going to take the boat, we decided to stake out risers on foot that day.  As we searched and searched, we soon realized that sub-surface was the way that the wily trout would be coming to hand.  I was going through one of those elitist stages I think, and I remember not being too excited about having to nymph through that nasty cold weather.  

We split up, and I quickly began to get schooled even though I was presenting all of my A-Team patterns - tied with all of the latest and greatest materials.  Surely these fish HAD to know that my flies were cutting edge, and eating them was the cool thing to do...  I was scoring a big ol' goose egg, so I decided to head back downstream to see how Charlie was doing.  As soon as I turned the corner, I saw him fighting a fish, and then another one, and so on...  You get the picture?  I finally made it up to him and asked him what these fish could possibly be eating, and his reply was one that taught me a big lesson.  He said "green."  Upon more prodding, I found out that Charlie had been fishing a #14 midge pupa pattern.  I asked why on earth he would fish such a behemoth bug in the cold of winter, and his reply was pretty simple.  He said something to the effect that there are many many green colored bugs in the river, and it's a good chance that the thing they are keying on is green.  Scuds, caddis, midge pupae, baetis, jalapeno cheetos, etc. The green meal items were diverse, and that's what why he had been fishing them for years.

This is very similar to the bug Charlie was fishing.  Simple biot body with a wire rib

I quickly resolved to test this theory out so I tied on a #10 peeping caddis (cased caddis) and proceeded to pick up two fish in about ten casts.  I was very grateful that Charlie shared that little tidbit, and it spurred many other conversations about subsurface bugs.  Since that day, I have always had a lot of "green" stuff in my boxes, but none so important as the green gnarly rock worms that I sometimes accidentally hook while nymphing with other patterns.  When I do that it's like getting slapped in the back of the head so as to say "HEY DUMMY... pay attention."  The patterns you see below are all fairly representative, and the good ol' rock worm can be as simple or complex as you like.  They all catch fish.

~ Cheech

I won't go into detail about specific recipes for these flies.  They should be very simple and can be tied out of a wide array of materials.

Bigger hook, and dyed peacock herl for the abdomen

Dyed peacock herl for the abdomen, and ostrich herl for the thorax.  CCG Hydro  for goodness.

Ostrich herl over dubbing for the abdomen, and some tiny black rubber legs at the head.

Synthetic dubbing for abdomen, and black AZ synthetic in a dubbing loop for the thorax.  Olive bead.

Very simple.  Two colors of dubbing.  Boom, done.

Micro chenille for the abdomen, and AZ synthetic for the thorax.

Synthetic dubbing for abdomen, and black AZ synthetic in a dubbing loop for the thorax.  Olive bead.  Faint  hot spot.
Rock Roller on a swimming hook (Curtis' pattern)