Several years ago when the Vedder River was not as crowded, I fly fished for cohoe as late as December. Recently I was rumaging through my river fly box and I came across a fly that I used for those late season cohoe. Although I did not land many fish, I recall that it produced hits from both cohoe and those heavy late season battlers, the chum or dog salmon. The fly, called the Blue Spartan, is definitely worth a closer look for those who like to pursue cohoe salmon using flies. We shall therefore examine the tying technique for the Blue Spartan as our choice for December's fly tying article.
As with most of my cohoe flies, I like to weight the fly, in this case, with a dozen turns of lead wire in order to ensure that I can get the fly deep enough to interest salmon near the river bottom. Attach the silver tinsel and the silver wire to the hook shank and then wrap the tinsel forward to the hook eye, followed by the silver wire as a rib. Note that the silver wire is not needed for attraction but it serves to strengthen the body tinsel, even with generous amounts of hardener coating the body. Next tie a single thin blue saddle feather as the wing underlay, followed by a single barred mallard breast feather on top to finish the wing. If you want to economize on your tying materials, leave the blue saddle feather used for the wing underlay projecting past the hook eye prior to attaching the mallard feather. You can then wrap the rest of the blue saddle feather a few turns around the hook eye to complete the hackle, rather than using a second feather. Cement, tie off, and you have finished a good cohoe fly, the Blue Spartan! I have also used the same fly dressing for cohoe with green saddle as the fly underwing and hackle.
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