Salmon Fly Tie Along

Unknownflyman

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Hey Guys,

I will soon be attempting tying my own classic salmon flies, Ive never done married wings, or some of the procedures needed for these flies, Ive been collecting materials for years for good salmon and steelhead flies, I read a few things in books and I watched a video, that's about it.

Every year I take a few things that have been rolling around in my mind that I`m not really great at and say, "I'm expanding my horizons and growing as a fly tier and fly fisher!" This year what I'm working on is midge dry flies for trout, tying and fishing them, you may have seen my other threads and for some reason this year, its married wing salmon and steelhead flies, I don't know why, but its stuck in my craw and I have a desire to start, sometimes it doesn't make much sense but the trip must be taken. I do wish to fish these flies for late spring steelhead, when the water firms up and possibly summer salmon and for sure fall run fish salmon, lake run browns, brook and steelhead, classic fly season is fall around here.

I dont know if anyone ties and fishes these flies anymore, it doesn't seem like many do and the materials are hard to find, but I`m doing it. Something is pushing me to tie and fish these flies and it's been building for a long time.

I`m not tying these flies on giant hooks, just hooks appropriate for salmon and steelhead in my waters, they will be small, functional and hopefully fish catchers.

If you want to tie along that's cool, but even with many years of fly tying experience, Ive never done this so it could be interesting, I could just tie one and say what do you think? but it's likely I'll miss something and not learn anything just my screwed up way of doing it. I never learn much talking to myself and there is no one tying classic salmon flies in Minnesota and even if they were no way to meet, maybe by zoom. I have one contact in Sweden that flies and fishes salmon flies exclusively and no I dont have Davie McPhail on speed dial. Just maybe someone knows what they are doing out there, if not cool, it will be just me talking to myself and there will be another thread on tying a fly. Maybe just maybe I could end up with a decent fly at the end of this or complete disaster, Let's roll the dice, shall we?

What will be the first? Thinking on a couple patterns.
 

tcorfey

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Sounds cool Steve, those sure are pretty flies. I am currently on a tube fly bender myself and recently exploring micro tubes and and adding holes for hitch style fishing for summer steelhead. Keep us up to date on your creations!
 

flytie09

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I think this is an excellent idea. I’d have to learn along the way with you. Tying full dress or even mixed wing Atlantic Salmon flies is kinda the pinnacle in fly tying in my opinion. It’s very daunting not having a mentor.

I’m working my way up to mixed wings myself..... and I’m 3 years into it. The stuff I tie is fish worthy.... but I’m a long ways away from being a Master at it. There are so many steps along the way to be good at.

Materials is another big obstacle and many say is 50% of tying a good quality fly. I have many materials but many don’t pass the mustard as far as quality to marry properly. Yeah I have dyed goose shoulder but swan, golden pheasant tail, Bustard, Lady Amherst and quality turkey is tough to find and is expensive. It’s one of the reasons I’ve opted against full dress Atlantic Salmon flies. It's why a kid robbed the British Natural History museum to pay for a golden flute (true story by the way). There are easier patterns and less expensive materials..... but even these add up. It’s a rabbit hole I’m not sure I’ll ever go down.

As far as patterns I have a bunch of books and reference material I can share with you as far as patterns and step-by-steps I can share via email.
Id say some simple bronze mallard Spey flies are a good start. Can’t go wrong with the Lady Caroline or some of the simpler patterns I post on here.

Learning to set simple single slip turkey and goose shoulder wings is another essential skill. Marty Howard has some great step-by-step tutorials for these online. Once you have this down with setting wings.....the marrying piece is simple with the right materials. Examples of these would be Dee style flies like a Dunt or Aykroyd.

Then there are complex wings with underwings, wings, sides, and toppings.......these get real tricky. An simpler example would be an Orange Parson or Durham Ranger.

I'd also be willing to send you some materials to experiment with. I've got more than I'll ever use in my lifetime.

So if you need some help along the way.... I’m more than willing or even learn along the way with you.

Some good reading material...


Let me know how I can help.
 

Ard

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I can't promise that I'll join in but I did participate about ten years back in the same venture. I don't know if you found the old one Steve but if not have a look and see how Alan led that one, it worked out well.
 

flytie09

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I've been reading and watching some Youtube videos. After watching them...I think I've been setting my strip wings upside down all along. I've been using left hand slips on the far side and right hand slips on the near side to match the curvature. I'm understanding this is all wrong and will be chopping all of my flies up when I get home. Only took me 3 years to figure this out.

I've been looking for dyed white turkey tail like McPhail uses in his video but it's impossible to find. There is some stuff on Ebay but it looks rough. I'm going to try some with dyed goose shoulder. I might have to try my hand at dying.......oh the messes we will make.
 
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Unknownflyman

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I've been reading and watching some Youtube videos. After watching them...I think I've been setting my strip wings upside down all along. I've been using left hand slips on the far side and right hand slips on the near side to match the curvature. I'm understanding this is all wrong and will be chopping all of my flies up when I get home. Only took me 3 years to figure this out.

I've been looking for dyed white turkey tail like McPhail uses in his video but it's impossible to find. There is some stuff on Ebay but it looks rough. I'm going to try some with dyed goose shoulder. I might have to try my hand at dying.......oh the messes we will make.
My early attempts at married wing and bronze mallard wings were laughable at best, but I didnt do enough homework and did it my screwed up way. complete disaster, and went sort of like, well- I like hair wings anyway. :D

Ive got sources PM me- because kinda like the cree, throw it out there and its gone.

:unsure:

I have white tipped turkey-
Kingfisher -
Goose shoulder-
Indian Crow-
Various matched turkey-
I went with Argus instead of golden pheasant - golden Pheasant is cheap and horrible to work with.

Heres what I think I need yet -
Berlin Wool- sourced
Seal dub-sourced
Matched Amherst tail- sourced
Macaw tail- sourced
Cotinga- sourced but too expensive, I'm subbing kingfisher.

The dub I have doesn't have that look
Wool works good on many flies
Amherst, good all around wing I think.
 

dennyk

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Good for you Steve! The intricate tying of classic salmon flies has always intrigued me. It is truly an amazing art! I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with. I drool over Mike's flies, his re-creations of classics would take me a week to just try to replicate them. Have fun man!

Denny
 

flytie09

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That’s quite a list. I’ve got everything minus the dyed turkey, quality LA and Argus. The problem is I’m kinda broke at the moment.

I picked up an entire gp tail and some gp subs because I agree it is next to impossible to marry.

Perhaps we could swap a few things. I’ll shoot you a PM of stuff I have for trade. Even for a snippet of stuff here and there to practice with.
 

Ard

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Looks like I have most of the ingredients or acceptable substitutes .

That business of putting wing sets on upside down is easy to do Mike.

Sent Steve a message yesterday recommending he pick up a bottle of Feather Tough which I posted about a while back. It does not make a married wing too stiff and remains flexible although it will be a great aid in keeping the different material strips married while handling during tying them onto the hook.
 

Unknownflyman

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Well, I looked at a number of different flies, patterns old and newer adaptions, they all look tough and I've found many disagreements on what the actual patterns really were back then.

One is the silver doctor, not obscure, but a fishy fly that will catch fish here along with the blue doctor, brown trout like blue doctors in hairwing, I know this first hand. but maybe those full dressers are too complex for me I dont know.

After looking at materials new and old in my fly tying library I consulted some old texts down in the vault, one book of fishing from Parsons 1962 has artistic plates of flies for reference but in the salmon section most of the salmon flies were converted to hairwing patterns it looks many were already transformed into easier to tie patterns back then.

Ard did sent me a picture of a silver doctor but it had horns and no blue underwing but a blue tail, an adaptation for sure, Ii`d post the pic but I dont use other peoples work without permission. It could be a good fly to start with beautiful adaption. Ard can post it if he wants, it looks like a good salmon and trout fly.

Maybe a Sliver Wilkinson to start? and then the silver doctor?
 

Ard

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Go ahead and post it to see what feedback you get, like I said the picture was what I used as a guide without recipe I just tied to look like it.
 

flytie09

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If that's the dressing we want to use....to clarify what I think it is:

Low Water Silver Wilkinson

Hook - Size 1 Salmon upturned eye
Tag - Silver flat tinsel
Tail - Golden pheasant crest and tippet
Butt - Red wool yarn
Body - silver flat tinsel
Ribbing - Silver oval tinsel
Hackle - Magenta (and blue?) saddle hackle
Wing - Yellow, red and blue goose shoulder topped with mallard flank
Sides - Jungle cock
Head - Black thread

Look right?
 
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