Chubby Chernobyl Fly Step-by-Step

Chubby Chernobyl Fly Step-by-Step:

An extension of last week’s Chernobyl Ant, this week’s pattern, the Chubby Chernobyl, seems to tightrope the line between attractor pattern and strike indicator.  In no way reminiscent of any naturally occurring insect, the Chubby Chernobyl is large, highly buoyant and, for whatever reason, irresistible to western Trout.  A mainstay in many anglers’ fly boxes, the pattern is also incredibly easy to track in the water, the result of tandem Para Post wings extending from the foam body’s tie down points.

An effective solo dry pattern, the Chubby Chernobyl is at its best when buoying heavy tungsten bead head nymphs as part of a Hopper-Dropper rig.

3x Long All-Purpose (#6-10) 140 Denier (colored to match) Materials Ice Dub (Color of Choice)
Materials Foam (2-mm or 3-mm; Color of Choice)Materials Para Post or Antron (White)Materials Round Rubber Legs (Barred; White)
Materials Krystal Flash (Colored to match)

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Chubby Chernobyl Fly Step-by-Step Tying Instructions:

(Mobile Viewers: Click images to enlarge or rotate phone to landscape)

Tips and Tricks

  1. Color Selection – Capable of imitating either a grasshopper or large stonefly, this pattern is often at its best when matching the hatch.  Tie it in tans, greens or yellows to match your local hoppers.  Or downsize in drab tones to match your local stonefly hatch.  The above said, don’t overlook some brighter, “unnatural” color combos for those days without a hatch.  As with its predecessor, the Chernobyl Ant, this pattern is still an attractor pattern at heart and capable of triggering vicious strikes without looking like anything in particular.
  2. Straight Lines – This may be redundant after the Chernobyl Ant post, but it bears repeating. If you’re like me, cutting straight lines free hand may not be a strength.  My lines end up noticeably uneven or have a distinct taper in width from one end to the other.  While not the end of the world, there is an easy way to prevent this: Pick up a paper cutter from your local craft/hobby supply store.  Though designed for paper, these cutters can easily handle 2-mm and even 3-mm foam.  Just line up your foam to the desired width and chop.  In under a minute, you can turn a sheet of craft foam into strips of material in your desired width.  Just cut to length, and you’re ready to tie.
  3. A Better Hopper-Dropper – As I began putting together the current series of foam fly posts in early June, I stumbled across a great post from Lance Kittel of Pesca Vida.  Instead of tying his dropper directly to the bend of the hook, Lance has begun incorporating a small eye pin into the construction of the fly.  The resulting small loop extending beyond the bend of the hook allows for the easy attachment of droppers while keeping the hook gap clear.  Check out his Trailer Hitch Chubby here.

Proof of Concept

As effective in warmwater as it is in cold, the Chubby Chernobyl has proven itself in a number of situations over the years.  One such moment came during a visit to RMNP in the summer of 2019.  We had finally escaped the crowds at the Bear Lake trailhead and found ourselves scouting one last stretch of stream before calling it a day.  With thunderstorms building in the distance, we had only a few minutes to tally one last fish.

Grass overhanging the banks, I tied on a small, tan Chubby Chernobyl and began to work the edges.  Sure enough, a brown exploded on the fly a few casts later, allowing me to tally one last fish before the rain pushed us off the water.

Tight Line!


Species Caught on the Chubby Chernobyl to Date:
  1. Brown Trout
  2. Spotted Bass
  3. Bluegill
  4. Longear Sunfish

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