What a swell time yesterday tying and teaching at Legends. Many thanks to Sal for hosting, and the same shout out to the group for making my job easy. This was an all day event, featuring wet fly theory/tactics/strategies in a classroom setting, and most of all, lots of tying. We managed to bang out a half dozen soft hackles, wingless wets, and winged wets. Always nice to have a full class — not to mention a full glass at the end of the day.
The late afternoon view from the great room at Legends. You can’t tell from the photo, but it was a perfect day for staying inside (windy and cold) and tying wet flies. I was digging the fireplace.
What’s the difference between a Partridge and Orange and an Orange Partridge? Not much. And everything. Sure, the gold rib provides segmentation and a hint of flash. But for me, it’s the brown speckled hackle that gives the Orange Partridge an entirely different energy. They liked this pattern for olives on the streams of Yorkshire; I’m seeing caddis all the way. Tell you what: let the trout decide what it is. And hold on tight.
Hook: Dry or wet fly, 14-16
Rib: Fine gold wire
Hackle: Brown speckled feather from a partridge’s back
Another straightforward tie. You can find a general North Country spider video tutorial here.
Pale Wateries, indeed. The Poult Bloa has Light Cahills and Sulphurs written all over it. When it comes to matching those hatches with North Country style spiders, I have been using my home-brew Partridge and Light Cahill and one of Leisenring’s favorites, the Light Snipe and Yellow. Clearly, the Poult Bloa needs to move into the rotation. This fly would work both as part of a swung team, or as a dropper off a dry.
Poult Bloa North Country Spider
Hook: Dry or wet fly, 14-18
Body: Straw silk
Hackle: Feather from the inside of a grouse wing
No straw-colored silk? Not to worry. UNI makes a very nice Light Cahill thread. Absent an English grouse wing, you could use any number of lighter colored hen hackles. You can find a general North Country spider video tutorial here.
As you can see, currentseams is on a North Country Spiders kick. The goal here is to show you some of my favorite classic Yorkshire soft hackles, including the recipe, brief tying directions, and match the hatch notes. I have to confess that I haven’t fished Greensleeves as much as I would like. I tend to tie it smaller, say 14-18. It makes a fine BWO emerger, as well as caddis (and even microcaddis is you wanted to cross the size 20 and smaller Rubicon). It certainly works nicely as the top dropper on your nymph setup.
Greensleeves North Country Spider
Hook: Wet or dry fly, 14-20
Body: Green silk (this is Pearsall’s Gossamer Highland Green)
Hackle: Hen pheasant neck or inside of a woodcock wing (this is woodcock)
Tying notes: This is a fairly straightforward tie. While not as fragile as starling, woodcock isn’t as robust as partridge, so don’t pull too hard as you’re winding. You can find a general North Country spider video tutorial here.
Best is relative, but if I were compiling a list of the best North Country spiders, the Winter Brown would be near the top. While legacy fishers of this fly may have intended it to represent a stone fly, the Winter Brown is for my purposes a caddis imitation (and the trout have agreed on occasions too numerous to mention). Much to like here, including a not-so-common hackle feather and the delectable secret sauce that is peacock herl.
The Winter Brown
Hook: Wet or dry fly, 12-16
Head: Peacock herl
Hackle: Woodcock under covert
Tying notes: The head is tied in first (I tied this fly “wrong” for years). Two or three close wraps are all you need. Next, attach the hackle, then wind it rearward, secure, and clip. Stroke the hackle fibers toward the head (this makes it easier for you to construct the body), then wind the body with two layers of silk. Tie off just behind the hackle, and stroke the fibers back to their natural position. You can find a general North Country spider video tutorial here.
Looking forward to a good crowd for tomorrow’s seminar at the Fly Fishing Show in Edison, NJ, and you can help make it happen. Wet Flies 2.0 is an extension of my intro wet fly program. We’ll go a little deeper into the ancient, traditional art of fooling fish with soft hackles and other magical creations. Lots of new stuff to learn and discover. Catch Room, 3:15pm. And be sure to come say hello.
Wet flies have been fooling trout for centuries…and the Salmo aren’t getting any smarter.
Lots of good stuff to see, buy, and learn about. I’ll be there — hope you will, too. Still waiting to hear about Edison. Here’s a pdf of the brochure: