The Shad Intruder is a fly that presents a remarkably fishy profile to the fish with a minimum of materials, just like the steelhead fly that it is named after. That means it looks good, and is easy to cast. Now it might be a stretch to call this fly an Intruder as this is a much smaller and sparse fly compared to the fly used to target steelhead, but the profile is reminiscent of the real thing. The Shad Intruder at its essence is really just a double soft hackle fly, but let’s face it, “Shad Intruder” just sounds better. 🙂
All kidding aside, using two soft hackles on the Shad Intruder really creates a three dimensional profile of a minnow when viewed from the sides, top, or bottom. When viewed from the back, I think it looks remarkably like a small shrimp, which is never a bad thing when targeting shad. The soft hackle barbs add a lot of action to the fly, even when at rest. While even a gentle current brings the fly to life, a strip-strip-pause brings all kinds of action. I love soft hackle flies anyway, but I really do believe they are under utilized when targeting shad. I will say that I have had a lot of success with them when the fish seem finicky and unwilling to take a super bright colored fly. Blue bird days in shallow water are great conditions to try this fly, but I have fished them deep on grey days when the shad would not take my standard offerings and had good success as well. Do yourself a favor, always keep a couple of Soft Hackle Shad Flies and Shad Intruders in your fly box. Doing so has kept the skunk off of me on more than one occasion!
Note: I typically tie this fly with either pink tinsel and dubbing, or orange tinsel and dubbing, but leave the tail hackle white and the main hackle natural. Orange is my favorite color in this pattern, with pink being the alternate.
The Shad Intruder Fly Pattern:
Hook: Size 8, 2x Long
Thread: 8/0 Dark Brown Uni-Thread
Rear Collar: Pink Dubbing
Tail: One or Two Wraps of Short White Soft Hackle
Body: Pink Tinsel
Ribbing: Medium Oval Tinsel
Front Collar: Pink Dubbing
Hackle: One or Two Wraps of Speckled Hen Soft Hackle (length to the bend of the hook)
Eyes: Bead Chain