Northwest Fly Tyer

The fly tying pages of Monte Smith

Archive for the ‘Fly Patterns’ Category

Tying Jassids

Posted by nwflytyer on September 18, 2012

Just a cool little fly.  These are size 18 – 22

Jassids #18-22

Made famous by Vince Marinaro in  A Modern Dry Fly Code.

The pattern:

Body:   Black tying thread

Hackle:  Black or ginger, clipped top and bottom

Wing:  Small jungle cock nail



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

Foam Back Cricket

Posted by nwflytyer on August 26, 2012

Altering the color scheme of the DF Hopper, and using rectangles of foam rather than round discs, here is the Foam Back Cricket.  Check out this nice article from Field & Stream on fishing Crickets and Hoppers

Foam Back Cricket

Foam Back Cricket_Underside View

Posted in Fly Patterns, Flyfishing, Trout Flies | Leave a Comment »

The Air Head

Posted by nwflytyer on July 15, 2012

Here is another fun fly from the creative mind of Gary LaFontaine.

The Air Head

The Air Head is an attractor pattern.  Utilizing clear packing foam, it is a bright fly; in fact, sometimes perhaps a little too bright.  I have seen it pull trout from a good distance only to suffer a last second refusal.  The way to combat this problem is to simply drop a small nymph or emerger 18″ behind the Air Head.  The Air Head now becomes a hooked strike indicator.

Why carry the Air Head?

1. It is a strong attractor

2. It floats like a cork and can easily suspend a trailing fly.

3. It is easy to tie

4. Bonus:  panfish love this fly!  Try it on a standard size 16 or tie it on a light wire scud hook in sizes 12-14.


The recipe:

Hook:  Dry fly #8-18

Body:  Fine fur dubbing, color of choice (original was mink in various colors)

Wing:  Deer hair extending just beyond hook bend (again, color can vary)

Head:  Bullet head of clear packing foam creating foam spikes that cover the wing and extend beneath the shank.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted in Fly Patterns, Reference, Tips & Techniques, Trout Flies, Tying Notes | 2 Comments »

Gary LaFontaine’s Diving Caddis

Posted by nwflytyer on July 1, 2012

This is one of my favorite LaFontaine patterns.  It is truly a “go-to” fly for me and many others.  Why?  It is an excellent crossover pattern that can be fished – lake or stream – throughout the water column.  On a wet fly hook, it sinks nicely.  On a light wire hook, it can be fished in the film.

It is a simple wet fly with a clump of soft hackle feather fibers as a down wing, covered with strands of clear antron.  The antron – in both body dubbing and wing – is the magic material.  It is designed to imitate “plastron respiration.”  Plastron Respiration: the female insect takes an air bubble with her when diving underwater during egg-laying activity to allow her to breathe.

The Diving Caddis imitates the female egg-laying stage of the caddis fly.  The air bubble trapped by the antron allows this fly to be used as an emerger as well, so it is crossover pattern often used when an Emergent Sparkle Pupa would be in order.  It can be greased and fished on top, too.   It is a solid all-around pattern when caddis are about.

Cross reference to LaFontaine class pattern notes Click Here

Let’s tie one.  This is the Brown/Bright Green version:

Hook:  Daiichi 1550 (wet fly), sizes 8-20 (this is a #12)

Thread: Tan 8/0

Rib (optional):  Stripped hackle quill or doubled thread

Body:  Apple Green antron “Touch Dubbing” dabbed on heavily waxed thread

Wing:  Grouse feather fibers

Top:  Clear Antron

Hackle:  Two turns low-grade brown hackle

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Attach thread and wrap to rear of hook.  Take a sticky dubbing wax and run it over the thread, trying to cover all sides.  Be careful to avoid clumps of wax.

Take a bit of your antron dubbing and dab it along the thread.  Fibers will stick to the heavily waxed thread.  Do not touch or roll the dubbing with your fingers; you want to wrap it just as it is.

Note:  Touch Dubbing was a term coined by Gary that is simply a mixture of antron fibers and similar colored fur.  You can find the pre-mixed dubbing at some fly shops and through Gary’s old company, The Book Mailer.  You can make your own by cutting antron ‘sparkle yarn’ into 1/4″ lengths, adding a similar amount of rabbit fur, and blending the mixture in a coffee grinder.

This is what your dubbing thread should look like as you get set to wrap the body.  Note the sparseness.

Wrap forward to complete the body.

For brown soft hackle fibers, I have selected a grouse body feather.  I will pull a few fibers from either side and roll them into a clump that I can add to the top of the hook.

The wing has been attached (length just beyond hook bend) and awaits the application of a few strands of clear antron.

This is a package of clear antron.  It is also sold under the “Hi-Vis” label.  Do not use spooled antron, as it does not possess the same properties.

The antron, slightly longer than the grouse fibers, completes the wing.

The hackle is a low-grade dry fly hackle to be wrapped a couple of times at the front.  It is not supposed to make the fly float, so do not over apply.

I have attached the hackle by the tip on the far side.

Two turns of hackle are made and then the thread is used to force the fibers back over the fly.

The completed Diving Caddis

A Brown & Tan Diving Caddis

Copyright 2012 – Monte Smith

Posted in Fly Patterns, Flyfishing, Tips & Techniques, Trout Flies, Tying Notes | 1 Comment »

Rogan’s Fancy

Posted by nwflytyer on April 22, 2012

Rogan's Fancy

Rogan’s Fancy

Pattern recipe as per E.J. Malone

Tag: oval silver and orange floss

Tail: G.P. crest and tippets

Butt: black Ostrich

Body: 1/3 orange floss, 1/3 orange Seal’s fur, 1/3 claret Seal’s fur

Rib: broad flat gold and medium oval silver tinsel

Hackle: dark claret

Throat: Blue Jay

Wing: G.P. tippets, G.P. tail, Married strips of red, white, blue, and green Swan, Pintail, Bronze Mallard over

Sides: Jungle Fowl

Cheeks: Kingfisher


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

Another Pitcroy Fancy

Posted by nwflytyer on April 22, 2012

I cannot quit tying the Pitcroy Fancy.  I had this pattern in mind for this hook awhile ago, and I finally tied it.  This one tied on a No. 8 Chestertown…

Pitcroy Fancy - Chestertown No. 8 hook

I’ve been playing with some new features on some photo editing software.  This is the result of applying the “1960’s” finish to the photo.  I thought it gave it a pretty neat look…

Pitcroy Fancy

Posted in Fly Patterns, Salmon Flies | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »


Posted by nwflytyer on March 14, 2012


Oh, this is good!  There are many patterns here, complete with pictures and recipes.  Dries, wets, tube flies, etc.

I am especially intrigued with the Classic Salmon Flies section at the bottom of the page.  The flies of Blacker, Francis Francis, Kelson, etc al.  Photos, recipes, wow!

Take a look and bookmark this site!


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

Stormy Morn Steelhead Dee

Posted by nwflytyer on January 22, 2012

Stormy Morn

This is a Dee style fly designed for steelhead fishing and is a dressing re-visited from years past.  I’ve tweaked the recipe slightly, but the general color, components, and design remain the same.

I used to tie this with marabou hackle, but found that it was a little heavy for my liking.  It would sometimes mat and ruin the look of the fly when swimming through the water.  I used to set the wings higher, but I have since gone to a lower-set and sleeker design for many of my steelhead flies.  Here’s the recipe for this version:

Hook:  TMC 202SP, #1/0

Tag:  Silver oval tinsel

Tail:  Golden pheasant crest veiled with a few fibers of white guinea dyed light blue

Butt:  Black ostrich herl

Rib:  Gold oval tinsel

Rear 1/3 Body:  Flat silver tinsel

Front Body:  Blend of purple and claret fur (seal, angora, etc)

Hackle:  Purple schlappen – stripped on one side – wound from the fur.

Throat:  White guinea dyed light blue and a blue-phase peacock feather

Wings:  Strips of Amherst pheasant

Cheeks:  Jungle cock, drooping (optional)

Here is another recent fly, sans jungle cock, tied on one of the beautiful new Dave McNeese Blue Heron Spey hooks (2.25″):

tied on a Blue Heron Spey Hook - 2.25"

Here is one of the original Stormy Morns:

Stormy Morn - original version

Pair of Stormy Morns ready to go for a swim

Posted in Fly Patterns, Spey Flies, Steelhead Flies, Tying Notes | 2 Comments »

Classic Streamer Class Notes

Posted by nwflytyer on January 1, 2012

These are notes compiled when taking a streamer tying class from the late Harry Gross in February 2003.  I have added these to the Tying Notes page and can be found by following the link below.   

-Classic Streamer Class Notes « Northwest Fly Tyer.

Perhaps there will be some items here for the streamer tyer that will prove helpful.

Posted in Fly Patterns, Reference, Streamers, Tips & Techniques, Tying Notes | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Copper McFinn

Posted by nwflytyer on January 1, 2012

Copper McFinn - dressed by Monte Smith

Copper McFinn Recipe

Hook:  Mike Martinek 8XL, #1

Rib:  Red wire

Body:  Flat copper tinsel

Belly:  Red fox squirrel tail

Underwing:  Peacock herls covered with long golden pheasant crest

Wing:  Two yellow hackles flanked with two slightly shorter red hackles

Shoulder:  Silver pheasant

Cheek:  Jungle cock

Throat:  Dyed red golden pheasant crest

Topping:  Dyed red golden pheasant crest

Inspired by the famous Mickey Finn streamer.

Posted in Fly Patterns, Streamers, Tying Notes | 4 Comments »