Northwest Fly Tyer

The fly tying pages of Monte Smith

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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 | 2 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 »

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 »