Northwest Fly Tyer

The fly tying pages of Monte Smith

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    • Liggett Special Bucktail
      I first saw this fly pattern years ago while reading an article on GlobalFlyFisher written by Mike Martinek. Mike stated that he preferred to fish the Liggett Special over the Mickey Finn and claimed it as one of his all-time favorite bucktails. The bucktail was named for one Mr. Liggett, a Hathaway Shirt Co foreman. ...Continue reading
    • Martinek, Warner and Leight Flies on Auction
      This is another post for those of you hunting for some new streamers for your collection. We found a few nice specimens from Mike Martinek, Jim Warner, and Larry Leight. Larry Leight Streamer Flies Larry Leight West Trout Brook You can check out the rest of the streamers he has on offer here – Larry ...Continue reading
    • Marabou Smelt (Dick Stewart) Tied by Darren MacEachern
      The Marabou Smelt is a fly pattern created by author Dick Stewart. This pattern can be found on page 107 of Trolling Flies for Trout & Salmon authored by Dick Stewart and Bob Leeman. The Marabou smelt is a baitfish imitation that has been effective for Maine’s landlocked salmon and trout species. Tie this ...Continue reading
    • Carrie Stevens Gray Ghost, Allcock Hooks and More
      It’s been quite a long time since I’ve posted any Ebay auctions on the site, but there are some notable items up for bids this week. Friend of the site and streamer contributor Ken Craigue Jr. is selling a few of his collectable items including an original Carrie Stevens Gray Ghost (originating from Don Palmer’s ...Continue reading
    • Ryan Houston tied Carrie Stevens’ Gray Ghost
      Tied by: Ryan Houston Originated by: Carrie Stevens Hook: #2 8xl Gaelic Supreme Mike Martinek Rangeley Steamer Thread: White Tag: Flat silver tinsel Body: Orange floss / silk Ribbing: Fine flat silver tinsel Belly: 6 strands of peacock herl followed by a small bunch of white bucktail Throat: Golden pheasant crest (white schlappen) Underwing: A ...Continue re […]
    • Alaska Mary Ann Bucktail
      It is the official fly of the Alaska Flyfishers and has a storied past. I used a few hooks from my Mustad 9575 collection for this video. The hook is a similar style to the Mustad 3665A but has a looped down eye which makes for a nice spot to secure a hair wing. #98:2013 ...Continue reading

The Doc Spratley Spey

Posted by nwflytyer on January 15, 2017

One of my favorite stillwater patterns is the old Doc Spratley. Introduced to me in British Columbia some years ago, it is one of the very best searching patterns to be found on B.C. lakes.  Black, green and red are the popular body colors, and you can’t walk in a shop in the province without finding a bunch of Sprats. In larger sizes, it’s fished for steelhead.  

Tying some Green Butt Skunk Speys recently (similar body construction), I decided to tie a couple of the “Spey” versions of my old B.C.favorite:

General Recipe:

Hook:  Partridge 10/1 , #1 (as pictured)

Tag (optional):  Flat silver tinsel

Tail:  Guinea, real, or grizzly hackle fibers 

Rib:  Silver tinsel

Body:  Fluorescent green floss (optional) followed by black seal’s fur or similar 

Hackle:  Black (omitted on trout version)

Throat/Collar:  Guinea, teal, or grizzly hackle

Wing:  Ringneck pheasant tail fibers

Head:  Peacock herl

A peacock butt is a nice variation, and a few strands of peacock herl added to the wing can add a little color. 

Try ’em in trout sizes for your next northwest lake outing and fancy things up a bit if you want to swing one for steelhead. Enjoy!


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The Purple Haze

Posted by nwflytyer on January 8, 2017

Yes, I have joined the Tribe @ Postfly. Been having fun tying the monthly pattern…

December’s fly was a nifty little emerger pattern called the Purple Haze, not to be confused with the erstwhile Montana region dry fly of the same name.

Collecting my dozen creations…

The Purple Haze (Postfly version)

Hook: Light wire scud, #16-22

Thread: Black

Shuck: A couple of strands salmon pink or off red Krystal Flash

Abdomen: Blue Flashabou ribbed with a strand of black Flashabou

Thorax: UV Purple Ice Dub

Hackle: Grizzly

I wonder what’s inside this time?

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Classic Hook Guide

Posted by nwflytyer on November 26, 2015

When reading some of the classic works of the salmon fly authors, one will run into the Phillips scale (popular in Blacker’s time, for example). How do those sizes equate with modern sizes… what the heck size is a #7?! 

Fear no more. Here are the equivalencies from Farlow’s Hook Guide with the modern scale, the Phillips scale, and the length of hook following (do not include the eye when measuring hook length):

7/0   –   #1  (2 1/2″)

6/0   –   #2  (2 1/4″)

5/0   –   #3   (2″)

4/0   –   #4   (1 7/8″)

3/0   –   #5   (1 3/4″)

2/0   –   #6   (1 5/8″)

1/0   –   #7   (1 1/2″)

1 1/2 –   #8   (1 3/8″)

1   –   #9   (1 1/4″)

2   –   BB   (1 1/8″)

3   –   B   (1″)

4   –   CC   (15/16″)

5   –   C   (7/8″)

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Today’s Claret Brown or in Praise of the Mustad-Chestertown Model 3298 Hook

Posted by nwflytyer on November 8, 2015

For those who know me or have followed this blog for some time, my latest version of the Claret Brown will come as no surprise:


The Latest Claret Brown

Yes, my love of this crazy, sleek hook continues. This is a size 6, and I’ve taken the sneck out of the bend. I also grind the tips to make them more receptive to a gut eye.

I’ve varied the pattern in a few ways: embossed silver tinsel rib, added the jungle cock sides, and made a fur head. I like wool/fur heads of some of the old classics, and I had planned to use orange on this a la the Dallas fly, but settled on black.

The hackle is schlappen, stripped on one side, and the wings are true cinnamon turkey. 

And here’s an orange head version. Somebody please stop me…

Previous Spey Plate flies that I worked up a Mustad-Chestertown version for my collection include The Pitcroy Fancy and the Dallas Fly:


Pitcroy Fancy


Dallas Fly

More fun on the Chestertown:


Double White-Wing Alkroyd


Featherwing streamers


Posted in Fly Patterns, Salmon Flies, Streamers, Tying Notes, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

The Stunner

Posted by nwflytyer on November 7, 2015

I’ve been wanting to tie this one for awhile and finally got to it this morning. It’s from Tolfrey’s classic Jones’ Guide to Norway. (1848) Here is the recipe (listed as Tolfrey did):

The Stunner

Tail: Golden Pheasant topping

Tip: Silver twist and Crimson silk

Body: Pale blue, yellow, claret, and dark blue Pig’s wool at the shoulder

Legs: Claret hackle 

Throat: Guinea-hen and blue hackle

Ribbed: Gold tinsel and silver twist

Wing: Two golden pheasant tippets, a little bustard and two golden toppings over all

Horns: Blue macaw

Head: Yellow mohair

Posted in Fly Patterns, Salmon Flies | 3 Comments »

The Claret Brown – Spey Plate Tying Fun

Posted by nwflytyer on November 2, 2015

I’ve been working on a few flies for my Spey Plate ’16 contribution. I usually tie multiple versions with material variations,  different hook sizes/styles, and perhaps a different tying method or two, and this year is no different. First, let’s re-state Kelson’s recipe with the note that in Salmon Flies, he mentioned using Crowned Pigeon as the body hackle (instead of heron):

The Claret Brown 
​Tail: ​A few fibers of yellow Macaw
Body: ​Three turns of orange Pig’s wool, followed by claret-brown Pig’s wool
Ribs: ​Silver tinsel
Hackle: ​Grey Heron from center
Throat: ​Gallina
Wings: ​Two strips of plain cinnamon Turkey and a topping
Horns:​ Red macaw

Source: ​‘Land and Water’ Salmon Flies, 1896-1902, George M. Kelson
Fly #1 using cinnamon speckled turkey for the wings and adding jungle cock for dramatic effect…

Fly #1


Fly #2 tied on a ~1/0 std wet fly hook. A true quick ‘n’ dirty fishing fly…

Fly #2


Fly #3 using Kori bustard for the wing and crowned pigeon for the hackle.

Fly #3

None of the heads are presentation quality yet.  How many more to tie? I’ll post them here…


Posted in Fly Patterns, Salmon Flies, Spey Flies, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Spey Plate 2016 Fly

Posted by nwflytyer on November 1, 2015

The fly for the 2016 Spey Plate has been selected, and the contributions are beginning to pour in. Stay tuned for pictures of the excellent individual efforts.

After much consideration of possible flies both ancient and modern, I have selected the Claret Brown listed in Kelson’s ‘Land & Water’ series. Here is the recipe, as listed by Kelson:


The Claret Brown 

​Tail: ​A few fibers of yellow Macaw

Body: ​Three turns of orange Pig’s wool, followed by claret-brown Pig’s wool

Ribs: ​Silver tinsel

Hackle: ​Grey Heron from center

Throat: ​Gallina

Wings: ​Two strips of plain cinnamon Turkey and a topping

Horns:​Red macaw

Source: ​‘Land and Water’ Salmon Flies, 1896-1902, George M. Kelson

Kelson noted that on the Spey, the local dressers varied the pattern by eliminating the topping, a variation with which he happened to disagree. Furthermore, he sometimes added jungle cock for ‘sides.’

Posted in Fly Patterns, Salmon Flies, Spey Flies | Leave a Comment »

The Crane

Posted by nwflytyer on November 1, 2015

An old Irish pattern, as per Francis Francis.

Tip: Silver thread and orange floss

Tail: A very long slice of bright yellow swan   *subbed dyed goose*

Butt: Red crewel 

Body: Bright medium blue floss

Rib: Silver tinsel

Hackle: A blue heron hackle all the way up   *subbed crowned pigeon*

Shoulder: Gallina

Wings: Two long jungle cock feathers with a cuckoo dun hackle over   *subbed light grizzly variant saddle feather for cuckoo*

Head: Red crewel



Posted in Fly Patterns, Salmon Flies, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

The Black and Teal

Posted by nwflytyer on November 1, 2015

Tag: Silver wire and gold floss

Tail: A topping

Butt: Black chenille

Body: 1/3 orange floss, the rest black seal’s fur

Rib: Broad silver tinsel

Hackle: Black cock’s over black body

Throat: Gallina

Wings: Two long and two shorter jungle fowl, teal or pintail (two whole feathers), topping over

Head: Gold twist

Pattern per Sir Herbert Maxwell, mid 1800’s

Posted in Fly Patterns, Salmon Flies | Leave a Comment »

Spey Plate 2015 – The Flies

Posted by nwflytyer on March 22, 2015

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Posted in Salmon Flies, Spey Flies | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »