Almost all flies in your fly box will catch trout at some point but some flies are just better than others. Most fly fishers carry a large amount of flies and probably only ever use around 5 to 10 patterns ever. In my case I have had great success with the flies shown below. Each fly can be tied with different variations to the body, thorax, ribbing or even feather colour. Each of these flies has helped me catch plenty fish at one time or another. I highly recommend having these in your fly box.
Shuttlecock buzzers represent the transformation of a midge pupa as it exits it's pupa body and changes into an adult fly. They often struggle to break through the surface film and become easy prey to hungry trout. At this stage of the life cycle they are commonly known as emergers.
When the trout are on emerging buzzers there's no better sport to be had than catching on a CDC. Used as a single fly in the surface film, shuttlecocks can be deadly either fished static or with a slight tweak every now and again to induce a take from a nearby cruising trout.
Most colours work well but black and hairs ear seem to be most successful even taking fish when there's not much rising. The 0.3mm - 0.5mm elastic body allows a lot of scope for variation using different coloured thread for the under-body and different coloured permanent markers to colour the elastic. The same type of patterns can also be tied as suspender buzzers.
Suspender buzzers imitate a buzzer (midge) pupa as it rises to the surface ready to transform into a fully fledged adult midge and are fished on a floating line in the top few inches of water. All the flies shown here can also be tied as CDC shuttlecocks.
Suspender buzzers incorporate an ethafoam cylinder head. They don't quite sit on the surface film but float slightly under it. They can be fished as a single fly or as a team of 2 - 3 flies. They are often cast out and allowed to drift round in the current, either with a slight bow in the line or with a slow figure of eight retrieve to keep in touch with the flies.
Takes are generally very positive and are characterised by the line straightening out as the trout swims off with the fly. You'll most likely see the rise as the trout takes your buzzer.
Dry flies are adult flies which have either hatched from the water, flies returning to lay their eggs or flies blown onto the water from surrounding vegetation. Typical dry flies are Midges, Olives, Mayflies, Sedges, etc with terrestrials being things like Daddy Longlegs, Hawthorns, Flying Ants, Beetles and Hoppers.
Dries are fished on the surface with a floating line. It's important to dunk your fly in a good quality floatant and allow to dry before casting. Degreasing the last foot or so of the cast can prevent the cast from sitting on the surface where, from the trouts perspective, it can appear like a piece of string attached to your fly.
Always keep an eye on your fly as takes can be fast and require quick reflexes for the strike. Check out Ian's Flies for more dry fly patterns and inspiration.
Often frowned upon by fly fishing purists Fabs and Blobs can catch fish when nothing else works. Fabs have a buoyant foam tail whereas blobs don't but they're basically the same fly. Fabs can be fished on a sinking or a floating line.
The washing line method incorporates a floating line with a fab on the point of a team of flies. It floats and keeps the other flies in the top few inches of water. When fished with a sinking line and a short 1-2 foot leader, the buoyant fab will be pulled downwards as you retrieve. If you pause the Fab floats back up so it tends to move in a up/down zig zag motion.
They come in a large range of bright colours, often fluorescent and are tied using Fritz material. Try different colours until you find what the trout want. I'm of the opinion that trout take them out of sheer aggression but they definitely catch fish.
When tying beadheads the beads used are usually a lot smaller than the flies shown here but I had a load of beads and decided to try an experiment. All the flies shown here have caught fish but with varying degrees of success.
I made these for 2 reasons. Firstly to get a team of flies down fast and secondly to have them act as an attractor. The beads are quite heavy so you don't have to wait long before your flies are deep in the water. Great for getting the flies down when fishing a floating line. The longer the leader the deeper they go. They also work well to straighten out the leader when casting, especially if your casting into a wind.
On reflection, if I make these again I'll definitely use smaller beads. I think that often when a trout takes one of these, the bead is impeding the hook point to an extent, resulting in some missed hook holds.