by Tim Flagler

Jeff Blood’s Blood Dot Egg has become nearly synonymous with Great Lakes steelhead and brown trout fishing. Developed by Jeff in the early 1980’s, it’s often used in combination with another one of Jeff’s fabulous patterns, the White Death. The White Death is really just a super simple white Zonker that does a remarkable job of imitating Emerald Shiners, which are particularly abundant in the Great Lakes. Here, however, let’s talk about just the Blood Dot Egg.

Although fairly easy to tie, there are some tricks that will help you to produce consistent-looking Blood Dots over a range of sizes and color combinations. The fly consists entirely of two colors of yarn and there are a number of like yarns that will work. It’s hard to argue with the original – Glo Bugs Yarn from the Bug Shop in Anderson, California or the very similar Egg Yarn from Wapsi. Both are available in a tremendous variety of eggy and yokey-looking colors. From here on out, let’s say that the yoke and the blood dot of an egg are the same thing. In the past, I’ve used EP Trigger Point fibers, McFly Foam and, recently, Fulling Mill’s Ultra Yarn. All work well but I keep on going back to the more original yarns.

The outside of the egg or the albumen is generally a lighter color, while the blood dot is typically a contrasting, often darker color. It seems like every Great Lakes angler has a favorite combination or multiple combinations. I lean toward paler or more washed-out looking color combinations.

Blood Dot Egg

Detailed instructions for tying Jeff Blood’s Blood Dot Egg. This is part of a series of Tim Flagler’s collaboration with Fly Tyer Magazine. Check out his article about the fly in the Spring 2024 issue of Fly Tyer Magazine. Recipe: Hook: Scud/emerger hook (here a Lightning Strike SE3), size 14.

Hook: Scud/emerger hook (here a Lightning Strike SE3), size 14.
Thread: Cream color UTC 140 Denier.
Egg Yarn #1: Cream
Egg Yarn Blood Dot/Yoke: Roe

The secret of the Blood Dot Egg is how sparse it actually is. Because of this sparseness, it readily soaks up water, giving it a natural-looking translucency that other egg imitations simply don’t have. The manner in which the yarn is folded also helps with translucency and gives the pattern a somewhat spherical shape, similar to a natural egg.

Another wonderful thing about the Blood Dot Egg is that it can be tied in a wide range of sizes without a whole lot of difficulty. A size 10 looks good and, at certain times, particularly towards dark, can be very effective. Even a size 20 isn’t too tough to tie as long as you keep it sparse. 

These days there appear to be more and more weighted egg patterns, I tie and use some of them myself. But, I feel weightless patterns like the Blood Dot Egg do a much better job of imitating how natural eggs move in the water, as both are all but neutrally buoyant. There have been times when I’ve seen trout and steelhead clearly reject weighted patterns, yet readily take unweighted ones.

Anyone who fishes with egg patterns for steelhead in the Great Lakes knows the size and color of the eggs fish want can change in an instant, so carrying a range of colors and sizes as well as changing flies often can be paramount to success.