The Karl Malone trout spey fly is a fly I designed and developed and has been the number one trout Spey swing streamer for me over the past few years. Looking for a simple and lightweight streamer tied with only a few materials, the Karl Malone went through a handful of versions and material changes before I settled on this final iteration. I tie this fly on first whenever I am throwing a two-hander for trout, and the situation calls for a streamer…even before the classic wooly bugger. Be it on the Animas, San Juan, Rio Grande, Gunnison, or larger rivers in Wyoming and Montana, it’s worth having a bunch of these in a variety of weights, colors, and flash amounts for whatever conditions (or baitfish) are around.
So why the name “Karl Malone”. Because I have a life goal of designing a family of trout spey flies named after the entire 1992 Olympic Barcelona dream team. Karl Malone came first because his nickname was ‘The Mailman’ because the mailman always delivers.
It is a simple pattern with only a few materials that can all be substituted for similar materials. The point of this fly is to be lightweight and sleek to cast, but bulk up in profile and movement when swinging in the current. Perfect to cast on a 2 or 3 weight spey rod, but can be thrown and swung on your favorite 5 weight single-hand rod. I like to think of this as a minimalist trout intruder (though it looks very little like an intruder), with a wing influenced by the style of east coast hollow flies.
I tend to match the head dubbing to the top wing color, with a second underwing color using Arctic Fox tail. The first color is the head and top wing, the second color is the underwing, my favorite color combos are Olive/Pink, Olive/White, Brown/Yellow, and Black/Purple. However, experiment with any of your favorite colors, or try a solid color scheme such as Olive, Black, White, or Black.
If you tie a few of these up, let me know what you think!