Northwest Fly Tyer

The fly tying pages of Monte Smith

Spey Plate 2015 – The Delfur Fancy

Posted by nwflytyer on March 22, 2015

In September 2014 I invited some tyers to participate in the 2015 Spey Plate, an annual project that I donate to the Oregon Council of the IFFF at the NW Fly Tying & Fishing Expo.

For this year’s display, I have selected a rather obscure Spey fly – The Delfur Fancy. John Ashley Cooper, in his 1980 book The Great Salmon Rivers of Scotland, documented the history of this lovely pattern. Invented in the late Victorian era, it was named after one of the most prolific beats on the Spey. It was one of the first built-wing fancy patterns to appear there, battling for supremacy against the traditional somber patterns. The following recipe was confirmed by Cooper in the article cited below:

Tag:  Silver tinsel

Tail:  Golden pheasant topping and Indian Crow, no butt

Body: First third lemon yellow wool, followed by black wool

Ribs:  Flat silver tinsel, round gold, and silver tinsel tied in the opposite direction

Hackle:  Gray and black heron

Throat:  Golden pheasant red breast feather

Wing:   Two golden pheasant tippets (back-to-back), in center married yellow swan, mottled turkey, red swan, Amherst pheasant tail (at top)

Cheeks:  Jungle cock

Topping:  Golden pheasant topping over all

Source: “The Delfur Fancy,” Jurgen Preylowski, The American Fly Fisher (Fall 1997)

The Delfur Fancy appeared in early 20th century tackle catalogs such as Farlow’s in 1908 and 1912 and Garden’s in 1917. I have included a couple of pictures in the attachment, which seem to show a fly slightly different from the previous recipe. Here is another pattern, again supposedly attributed to Cooper:

Tag:  Silver twist and yellow floss

Tail:  Golden pheasant topping and Indian Crow

Butt:  Black ostrich herl

Body:  First third yellow floss, rest black floss

Hackle:  Gray heron over front third

Ribs: Broad silver with two fine oval silver tinsels (1 counter wound)

Throat:  Brown Spey cock (or red golden pheasant rump)

Wings:  Tippets with married yellow, red, white, red swan, teal; topping over

Cheeks:  Jungle cock

Spey Plate_Delfur Fancy (11)_edited

Spey Plate_Delfur Fancy (5)

Posted in Salmon Flies, Spey Flies | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

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 Miss Megan Boyd

Posted by nwflytyer on November 2, 2014

Need to finish lacquering the heads…but here are a couple versions of my interepretation of the Jimmy Younger pattern honoring the late Megan Boyd.

Megan Boyds

Here is the recipe:

Tag:  Fine oval silver tinsel and dark royal blue blue silk

Tail:  Golden pheasant crest and blue hackle tip

Butt:  Black ostrich herl

Ribbing:  Medium oval silver tinsel

Body:  1/3 yellow seal’s fur, 2/3 blue

Hackle:  Royal blue cock hackle over blue seal’s fur

Throat:  Dyed blue guinea

Wing:  Golden pheasant tippets, back-to-back; married strips of yellow and blue goose, bustard; bronze mallard

Cheeks:  Jungle cock

Topping:  Golden pheasant crest



Posted in Fly Patterns, Salmon Flies, Tying Notes | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

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 »

Spey Plate | Northwest Fly Tyer and Fly Fishing Expo

Posted by nwflytyer on January 21, 2013

Spey Plate | Northwest Fly Tyer and Fly Fishing Expo.

A little something I wrote for the NW Fly Tyer Expo website on the Spey Plate with pictures of a few flies I tied for the occasion.  Which one is going to make the final cut?  And will it compare to all the great flies that have been contributed?

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

Save The Dates…

Posted by nwflytyer on January 20, 2013

Classes, Demos, Vendors, Casting Ponds, Tyers, Authors, Photographers,and much more!


Posted in News | Leave a 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 »