salmon fly tying

they’re beautiful to behold and you’ll experience a sense of accomplishment when you at last succeed. if you are new to tying classic patterns, i strongly suggest that you first master making simple wet-fly wings before attempting the larger and more difficult married wings. i’ve chosen the leadwing coachman to get you going for a couple of reasons. then, move on to the other simple wet flies featured in this article. wing: mallard wing quills. here is a photo of a left turkey slip (in the center) married to two narrower slips clipped from a left amherst pheasant tail feather (on the top and bottom).




also remember to use slips cut from the left side of the feather for making left married wings, and slips from the right side for right wings. this advanced technique requires practice, but once you get the hang of it, any other type of fly tying will seem like child’s play. this is mother nature’s way of keeping the fibers of a bird’s feather together; we simply use it to mix strips of different feathers together to create colorful and attractive wings for flies. the center of the wing is a piece of turkey tail and the two slips on the top and bottom are from an amherst pheasant tail feather. there should be no crossed or short fibers in the slip. and there is one more important thing you must remember: a slip cut from the left side of a feather will not marry to one cut from the right side. for this article i’ve selected a fly from francis francis’s (yes, that’s really his name) book from the mid-1800’s, a book on angling.

michael radencich traces the evolution of the classic salmon fly, with more than 200 years of lithography and literature to pore over with more than 200 years of history behind it and still evolving, the development of the classic salmon fly is a truly fascinating subject. is this the first hand-coloured plate of salmon flies ever published? of all the rare books containing hand-coloured plates, those with the brothers’ engravings were the most accurate by far in my opinion but that is not to denigrate the fine engravings in other books, especially william blacker’s art of fly making (1855), which contains 22 engravings – 18 of which are coloured – delineating the salmon and trout fly patterns he extols.

an interesting example of a book containing stylistic chromolitho plates of the classic salmon fly is fraser sandeman’s by hook and by crook (1894). starting on page 273, roosevelt presents a long list of canadian classic salmon fly recipes but, alas, unaccompanied by etchings of the flies. modern tyers produce new and, in many cases, highly artistic salmon flies meant to catch the eye rather than the fish.

place a large wet-fly hook, such as size 10 to 6, in the vise. start the thread on the hook; leave a small space behind the eye and wrap to the end of the shank i’ve found tying the “blacker 15” flies to be some of the most challenging due to the vagueness of some of the pattern recipe descriptions, yet tag: silver tinsel. tail: a topping and indian crow. butt: black herl. body: in two equal halves – first half, golden yellow floss butted with black herl, and, .

another well known classic salmon fly. most salmon fishers can point out a doctor fly when they see one but there’s so many variations today that i think it’s scan orvis’ collection of videos on fly-tying steelhead and salmon flies. videos and patterns show you how to tie a variety of salmon and steelhead flies. victorian salmon flies are tied according to recipes that are up to 150 years old and call for some of the rarest feathers in the world., .

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