Don's Fly Tying - The Dusty Miller

[Dusty Miller]

While playing about 44 games of golf this past three months in Arizona, I also found time to do some research on a favourite topic of mine, hand tied Atlantic Salmon flies! I must admit that even though I have spent countless hours fly fishing for steelhead and Pacific Salmon, the closest that I have ever been to the world of Atlantic Salmon is standing on the banks of the Margaree River in Cape Breton watching a fly fisherman making long beautiful casts for that wonderful and elusive fish! However, that doesn't stop a true fisherman from dreaming, does it? Classic Atlantic Salmon flies to me are a thing of beauty and besides, they do remarkable well as a West Coast steelhead fly! Therefore, why not begin a series of tying some of the more famous Atlantic Salmon flies?

Before starting on this month's fly, we must look at some specifics of the classic Atlantic Salmon fly. The following definitions cover general fly standards from the hook bend through to the hook eye. You may want to draw a diagram as you read through the definitions below.

If these definitions seem confusing, follow the directions for this months fly, the Dusty Miller, and everything should become clearer!



Start with a short tag of fine oval tinsel at the hook bend followed by the yellow floss tip. A golden pheasant crest feather tail is next (the tail is a bit long in the figure shown) and a black ostrich butt is tied in securing the start of the tail just above the hook point. At this point, attach a piece of oval silver tinsel for later ribbing. From the butt to about 2/3 distance to the hook eye, wrap a body of silver flat tinsel followed by orange floss to the hook eye. Now rib the complete body with spaced turns of the oval silver tinsel. I then flip the fly in my vice and attach the guinea hackle beard near the bottom (now upright) of the hook eye. Flip again to work on the wing, first the mix of orange, red and yellow polar bear hair, then an overlay of red squirrel and finally a golden pheasant crest feather. A cheek of small jungle cock feather is now tied in to each side of the wing. Finish the fly with a black tying thread head, cement, tie off and you have finished a classic Atlantic Salmon fly, the Dusty Miller! This fly may be a bit more complicated than some for a beginning tier but it does use all the steps of the classic fly except for a palmer hackle. They are pretty and for you West Coasters, they will catch steelhead, guaranteed!

Your comments are welcome at "dhaaheim at telus dot net"

Http:// -- Revised: April 7, 2005
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