Northwest Fly Tyer

The fly tying pages of Monte Smith

Archive for the ‘Trout Flies’ Category

The Spring Breeze – in Fly Tyer magazine

Posted by nwflytyer on March 22, 2015

From Fly Tyer magazine, Winter 2014.  Sharon E. Wright’s new book on featherwing streamers is profiled, which includes a few of my original streamers.



Sharon has a nice blog at  Check out her book Tying Heritage Featherwing Streamers, available at your favorite fly shop or bookseller.


Posted in Fly Patterns, News, Reference, Streamers, Trout Flies | 1 Comment »

The History and Evolution of the Trout Fly – Part 1 – ReelLinesPress

Posted by nwflytyer on October 5, 2013

Check out the first book from my old friend, Andrew Marshall.

From the intro:

Andrew Marshall’s perseverance for historical accuracy, coupled with his artistic tying talent, have recreated a visual and tactile history of the flies tied and fished by our forefathers. Working from the fifteenth to eighteenth century European and British angling literature, Andrew painstakingly sourced, or creatively substituted, the sometimes quite odd tying materials to create faithful examples of these original fly patterns. From a historical perspective, the book traces the evolution of fly patterns, where they were first documented and how they were passed from author to author, “borrowed” in their own works.

The History and Evolution of the Trout Fly – Part 1 – ReelLinesPress.

Posted in Fly Patterns, News, Tips & Techniques, Trout Flies | 1 Comment »

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.

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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

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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 »


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 »

Streamers 365 | for the streamer fly aficionado

Posted by nwflytyer on June 26, 2011

Streamers 365 | for the streamer fly aficionado.

A lot of great information here…plus only 6 months until the first of 365 streamers will be featured!

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

More Streamer Fun

Posted by nwflytyer on May 30, 2011

Here are two more streamers tied on the Mustad-Chestertown No. 3298 hooks – modified as before – size 8:

Black Ghost

Black Ghost (a classic northeast U.S. pattern)

Hook:  Mustad No 3298, size 8.  Gut eye

Tail:  Yellow hackle fibers

Body:  Black silk, ribbed with flat silver tinsel

Throat:  Yellow hackle fibers

Wing:  Four white hackles

Cheeks:  Jungle cock

Angry Blue

Angry Blue (adaptation of my steelhead fly)

Hook:  Mustad No 3298, size 8.  Gut eye

Tail:  Black hackle fibers

Body:  Blue tinsel, ribbed with small oval copper rib

Throat:  Red schlappen

Wings:  Two royal blue hackles covered with two black hackles, shorter.

Crown:  Black schlappen

Here are the  three streamers in this style that have been posted here on

These sleek streamers are begging to be fished.  I believe I shall accommodate in the very near future!

Posted in Fly Patterns, Flyfishing, Salmon Flies, Trout Flies, Tying Notes | 2 Comments »

Summer’s Fire Streamer

Posted by nwflytyer on May 7, 2011

Here is an original Rangeley style streamer, tied on another of the Mustad-Chestertown 3298 sleek hooks.

Summer's Fire

Summer's Fire

I have modified the hook slightly:  I removed the offset by putting the hook in an old vise and bending it into position.  I then ground the tip slightly to give it a slight taper and make it easier to apply my gut loop.  Perhaps you can spot the difference between an original  and one of my modifieds:

Mustad-Chestertowns No 3298, original and modified

I think these hooks lend themselves very well to featherwing streamer designs, and I plan to tie some for both display and fishing use this season.

Summer’s Fire Recipe:

Tag & Rib:  Flat gold tinsel

Body:  Hot Orange silk

Belly:  Yellow bucktail, white bucktail, short golden pheasant crest.  Orange schlappen fibers as throat

Underwing:  Peacock herl, covered with long golden pheasant crest

Wing:  Two hot orange hackles covered with two black hackles

Shoulder:  Red golden pheasant breast feather

Cheek:  Jungle cock

Front throat:  Black schlappen

Posted in Fly Patterns, Steelhead Flies, Streamers, Trout Flies | 3 Comments »