A winter and spring fly
I know this is an extremely popular fly, but I had a ton of success with the Rainbow Warrior this winter and early spring. It seems to work well for me in the darker water of freestone streams in MA, and I often tie them in sizes 20 or smaller.
In many cases, I don’t have even have all the materials to tie a by-the-book warrior, so I’ll just use what I have. I find that it works just as well with different materials. I used to be so concerned about having all the proper materials, but these days I work with whatever I have on hand until I can get to my local fly shop.
Here’s an example of the “Rainbow Warrior” I recently tied a few of with the recipe below. I find that the fire orange thread really shines through the opal tinsel and serves as a good attraction for feeding trout.
Hook: Size 22 with silver/gold bead
Thread: 8/0 Fire Orange
Body: Mirage Opal Tinsel
Collar: Peacock Dub
That’s it! I’ve never tried one larger than a #20 hook, but I supposed they’d work just as well on certain streams.