The Pass Lake Special is an old soul with fuzzy origins. Claim for its genesis comes from Labrador, Washington and the most popular from Wisconsin. There are many lakes scattered around the US and Canada which bear the moniker Pass Lake, but the commonly assumed namesake is the Pass Lake located near Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. The fly’s origins date back to the 1930’s. As is often the case with fly patterns, its roots are hard to pin down. This version of the origin story states that Reverend E. Stubenvoll (Clintonville, WI) had tied the fly for this Ontario lake in order to pursue the lakes large brook trout.
Okay, with that out of the way, the fly is long-lived and as many flies in this category, many variations of the pattern are spawned over the years as the fly passes from angler to angler. Tails can be either mallard or golden pheasant tippet. Bodies are either black chenille or peacock herl. The wing can tie tied in an assortment of colors and the head can be changed with thread choice or black or red. Basically, the only thing that stays static is the hackle.
Pass Lake Special Fly Recipe
Hook: Mustad S82-3906B #08-16 or 2xl nymph
Thread: Black 8/0 (70d)
Body: Black chenille
Collar: Coachman brown hen hackle
Wing: Calf tail