Behind the Fly

Behind The Fly - RIO's Ghostbuster Shrimp

Patrick Kilby December 21, 2022

RIO's Ghostbuster Shrimp was created to be the bridge between the human world and the mysterious underwater realm that steelhead inhabit. It's got just the right combination of materials to provoke a strike. Its mix of realism, wiggle, and flash combine to make a pattern like no other on the market. No proton pack required to capture these specters of the coast. Remember, don’t cross the streams, it would be bad!

About Patrick:

I'm Patrick Kilby (RIO Fly Designer) and I am a passionate steelhead angler. I love tying and designing steelhead flies. 

Designing the Ghostbuster Shrimp:

It's no secret that anadromous fish like to eat shrimp. I've eaten shrimp and they're certainly tasty. When I set out to design this fly I was looking for the following elements:

  • A large fly that didn't inhibit casting on a spey rod
  • An upright stinger hook combined with dumbells to prevent snagging
  • Simulated claws (an element not commonly used on commercial patterns)
  • A shining shellback that's both imitative and attractive

A memorable experience fishing the fly?

In 2022, a group of RIO employees were fishing the fabled Dean River in BC. The water shed is known for what may possibly be the strongest strain of steelhead anywhere in world. Upon their return, I was informed that RIO's Ghostbuster Shrimp was the top producing fly, bringing several steelhead to the net. They had one tied to a spey rod the entire week, without losing it, or needing to replace it. This is super impressive for a fly being dragged along the bottom of a river for the entire week, while enduring several grabs.       


 Favorite water type to fish it in?

You can fish this fly in waters that are "steelhead green," to clear in color. If the water is green I prefer the darker orange/red version. If it's clear water I'll grab the light pink fly. 

What river or water body was this developed for?

I prefer fishing it in rivers that drain directly to saltwater, though some guides have had success swinging it in the Great Lakes region.

What techniques do you recommend for this fly?

I tie this on with a non-slip mono loop to allow for maximum wiggle while swinging. I fish it on a 4' to 6' leader with at least 16 pound test tied to a sink type that matches the river. Generally I'm using a 10 or 15 foot tip of T-8 up to T-14 depending on the water speed and depth. My preferred rod is 13' to 13'6" spey set up.

Another trick I use when pulling a new fly out of the box is to brush mud from along the bank all over the fly, and then rinse it in the river. This helps to "break it in" so it's not holding air bubbles, and sinks immediately.

Anything else you'd like to share?

Steelhead are sometimes nicknamed "ghosts" due to their ability to hide and only be seen by some. The name of this fly came out of that idea. "The Ghostbuster" helps you break the code and find where the fish are hiding.