The Peter Ross Wet Fly

The next time you fish the Peter Ross, be grateful that his name was not Aloysius Karbuncle. The Peter Ross is a traditional Loch style fly that dates back to the late 19th century. Ross based his pattern on the Teal and Red, another stillwater fly.

This fly is also a popular sea trout pattern, and you can easily see why. I like the contrast of the red, the black, and the dramatic barring of the teal. With its silver body, I’m thinking small baitfish or fry. Perhaps even something shrimpy. Something that looks alive and good to eat. I’ve already used it for steelhead, and I’m going to try it as the point fly on a team of three wets this spring.

The Peter Ross


Hook: 8-16
 (this is an Orvis 1641 size 10)
Thread: Black
Tail: Golden pheasant tippets
Body: Rear half silver wire, front half red angora goat
Rib: Fine silver tinsel
Hackle: Black hen
Wing: Teal flank

Tying notes: When you’re tying a small wet that calls for a body of “half this, half that,” it’s easy to mess up calculating how much area you need on the shank for each section. (Ask me how I know). You end up with a body that’s two-thirds one and one-third the other. Remember to take the head of the fly into consideration. Then, divide the remaining space between where you think the head will end and the end of the shank. There are many ways to tie in waterfowl wings. Some like to create an effect like a quill wing. Others like to fold the wing several times on top of itself, dull side in. Another way, the one I used here, is to tie the wing in small folded sections. For this size fly, I used three sections of teal flank about ¼ to 3/8 inch wide, folded them once, dull side in, and tied them on top of each other.

10 comments on “The Peter Ross Wet Fly

  1. stevegalea6953 says:

    Nicely done Steve. I’d love to hear how this one works for you, I live in a county with 600 named lakes, and many are filled with trout. I’ve only dabbled in loch-style fishing though. Most times we throw steamers with sink tip lines or fish inlets or outlets.

  2. stevegalea6953 says:

    towards inlets or outlets I mean….

  3. Steve Culton says:

    Bet you could strip this in or tie it on a streamer hook. I’m going to be fishing it rivers.

    • stevegalea6953 says:

      Yes, I’m sure it would work both ways, but I am getting more curious about loch-style fishing, I’ve done it a couple of times but using beadhead wooly buggers and a canoe. Once you located fish it worked well. But it was a slow way to go.

  4. Jon says:

    Nice fly Steve. An old favorite to be sure. Funny, I never had great confidence in it as a “trout” fly, but along with the Teal, Blue and Silver, I sure liked it for sea-trout.

    Loch-style isn’t so much used to catch fish as it is to find them. Rather like wet fly fishing on a river, where the cast and step approach helps you cover a lot of water, loch style is an effective way to cover large expanses of water; essentially setting up one’s boat to quarter up a loch in separate “drifts”. No fish? Time to move.

    The boat is positioned to drift with, or parallel to, the wind and is always moving to cover new water or to repeat a particularly productive drift. The approach was invented – and is still widely used – to catch wild brown trout. It is almost entirely reliant on a good wind blowing, and is most effective when fish are feeding near the surface. Sinking flies are rarely used, though some will use a sink tip line as required. Because your boat is always moving, overhead casting is traded for a series of short roll casts, using a longer rod (10 or 11′) to draw the flies through an arc that ends with the bushy “bob” fly (the top fly of a team of 3 or 4) waking its way to the boat before the next roll cast is made. False casting is time spent not covering new fish. Fish will often follow right to the boat, sometimes boiling at the bob fly and taking one of the others on the cast. Takes are often violent and wonderfully visible!

    Like any fly fishing method, loch style is only one way to do it, and and only then when conditions suit. I suspect it is probably most effective in the clinker-style boats seen in Scotland. With a requisite wind blowing, it often takes one non-angler to manage the oars and the trajectory of the boat to cover known structure or to keep such and such distance from islands/the bonnie banks, with two others fishing; one fore, one aft. Taking turns to work the boat/pore a dram always seemed very civilized.) When the conditions are right, it is extremely effective, and quite the most delightful way to spend a day.


  5. Jon says:

    For when we go to Scotland!

    (Though I will pour, not pore, the drams!)

  6. Steve Culton says:

    It would be good to be neither fish nor whisky poor.

  7. dotkaye says:

    I have a pair of Peter Ross that I tied thirty years ago, for some reason they have survived the vicissitudes of the years.. the last time used in the Grand Tetons it took a 21″ cutthroat..

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