It was late morning on the Morice River. I had been diligently casting for steelhead since dawn. Even though it was only early September, at day break ice crystals had formed in my rod guides. Now it was approaching 11:00 am and the sun was beginning to get very warm. I knew there were a few early run steelies in the river but up to that point, not a nibble for all of my hard efforts! I decided to change to a sackfly as I worked my way down to the tail of a long run not too far up from the confluence of the Bulkley River. The sackfly swung into fairly deep water as it straightened out from my long cast across the river. Then it happened! A silver bright steelhead was leaping clear of the water hardly a fraction of a second after I felt a savage strike! The sackfly was solidly hooked in the corner of the steelie's mouth and held for the duration of a short but violent battle.
A Prince George fly tying mentor, Steve Head, had proclaimed that the sackfly was an excellent steelhead fly but I had serious doubts in my mind. It looks dull and uninteresting to me and it is made from an old burlap sack so how could it be a good steelhead fly? However, after that morning on the Morice, I became a believer. Therefore, the sackfly is my choice for September's fly tying article as below.
Attach your tying thread to the hook shank and tie in a short tail of red embroidery thread. Then wind a single strand of burlap pulled from a brown gunny sack from the hook bend to the eye and tie off. The burlap body can be strengthened if you are using invisible tying thread by back wrapping the thread to the hook bend and back to the eye. Next attach a piece of red squirrel tail at the hook eye and tie it in so that it flows back over the burlap body of the fly. This wing should not be longer than the bend of the hook. The thoat hackle can then be easily tied in by flipping the fly in your tying vice and with the hook upside down, simply attach a small piece of red squirrel at the hook eye, about 1/2 the amount used for the wing, and allow it to flow back fairly tight to the fly body as you cinch the hackle down. Finish the fly by wrapping 3 or 4 turns of a single peacock herl at the hook eye. Whip finish, cement and you have just created a steelhead fly that may well produce some very pleasant results for you!
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