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.

The Kate McLaren Wet Fly

Ah, Kate-O, my little not-so-yellow friend.

Every year, I’m on the lookout for new flies to tie and fish. My friend Jon, who’s been wet fly-fishing forever, also happens to be from the UK. So he’s been exposed to a broad cross-cultural mix of patterns. When I asked him for some suggestions, he immediately offered up the Kate McLaren. It’s fair to say that I liked Kate the moment I laid eyes on her.

The Kate McLaren is a Scottish loch fly, intended to be the top dropper (or bob fly) on a team of three. While its traditional use is on still water, I’m going to be fishing this on rivers. And while I might give it some time as a top dropper, it’s going to get the lion’s share of action on point.

There’s something about the contrast of the golden pheasant crest tail and the dark body that I find magnetically appealing. Golden pheasant crest almost glows when wet. Who knows what a fish will think this fly is – perhaps a flash of spotted salamander, or a chubby stonefly – but I can’t wait to feel that first take.

Kate McLaren


Hook: 8-14 (this is a 1x short, 2x strong Orvis 1641 size 10)
Thread: Black
Tail:  Golden pheasant crest
Body: Black seal fur (I used angora goat)
Rib:  Fine oval silver tinsel
Body Hackle: Black rooster (I used soft hen)
Head hackle:  Brown rooster (ditto on the hen)

Tying notes: Technically, this is a Kate McLaren variant since I used soft hen instead of stiffer rooster hackle. Since I primarily intend to fish this fly subsurface, I wanted the action the soft hackle would provide. When finishing the body, I tied the black hackle in near the head, leaving the thread at the tie-in point, and then wound the hackle backwards toward the tail. I then secured the hackle with the tinsel, and wrapped it forward to the thread. Also note that the black hackle is smaller than the brown. Some of the Kates I’ve seen have a longer tail, but I like the proportions of this one. I got lazy on the head and left it rough. As Dave Hughes said, trout aren’t interested in neatness.