There are times especially when river fly fishing that your wonderful outdoor environment will offer few clues as to what the fish may be taking. There is no hatch and no visible activity in or around the water that may give you some idea about fly selection. If you do not have previous experience to rely on for those conditions, a streamer pattern just might be the best choice to seek out a willing trout, steelhead or salmon! More than once I have searched such water with a Mickey Finn streamer fly and have sometimes been rewarded for that effort. The Mickey Finn is a very easy fly to tie and can be used in a wide variety of sizes, that is, it can sometimes fool a 12 pound cohoe salmon, a 6 pound Peace River dolly, a 3 pound Coastal cuthroat or even a one pound Upper Dean rainbow, depending on the fly size and presentation! Our focus this month will therefore be on the classic Mickey Finn streamer fly.
A chrome or silver plated hook is a key factor for tying this fly. I sometimes thinly wrap the hook shank with silver mylar but I have found the fly to be just as effective leaving the hook shank as is, i.e., no wrap at all! Start by placing the hook barb upward in your vice and tie in a thin white polar bear throat hackle, making sure that the hair is no longer than the hook barb point. Next, place the hook upright in your vice and tie in a reasonably thin yellow polar bear wing that does not protrude more than 1/2 inch past the hook bend. The second step is to overlay a thin orange polar wing over the first but slightly shorter in length than the yellow hair underneath. The final step is to form a head with a few turns of peacock herl although the fly will also work without. Whip finish, cement and you now have an excellent streamer attractor fly. If you plan to fish fast water, it is a good idea to tie some of these streamers with several turns of lead wire just behind the hook eye and cement the lead before starting with the throat hackle.
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