Northwest Fly Tyer

The fly tying pages of Monte Smith

Steelhead Flies

Posted by nwflytyer on January 30, 2009

I love tying steelhead flies.  There is something about knocking out a few patterns, perhaps in a couple of sizes, and watching your fly box or fly book fill up with new temptations for those elusive salmonids.

I recently picked up John Shewey’s Steelhead Flies.  It is a fairly comprehensive treatment of the history and development of steelhead flies on the West Coast.  I have been inspired to tie and try some new patterns after working my way through the book.

I’ve worked through some hairwings: the Polar Shrimp, the rarely seen coloration represented in the Iceberg (blue), an old pattern from the early 1930’s that was originated in Southern Oregon called the Grey Gordon, a few of the old style Skunk, and the Red-Butt Black Bear that is actually an Atlantic Salmon pattern.

I have also been working on some Syd Glasso style Speys:  the Sol Duc Spey is a beautiful fly with the orange body, yellow hackle, black throat, and orange hackle wings.  Here’s a quick shot:

Sol Duc Spey

Sol Duc Spey

This led me to a nice little video clip I found online of Dec Hogan tying his beautiful Glasso-inspired Mahoney.  Of course, I had to try my hand at tying one, too:

The Mahoney

The Mahoney

I like the flat pearl tinsel Dec uses for the rib, and the predominate color of red is appealing to me, and according to Dec, to many Washington state steelhead.

So many great flies to tie.  What’s going to be next?

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