Don's Fly Tying - the Steelhead Black Dry Fly

[the Steelhead Black Dry Fly]

Although the summer runs of steelhead are not what they once were, there are still a few streams in British Columbia where a summer run steelie will rise to a floating fly. I have found that on bright days, a large dark fly will often be the best way to entice a steelhead to rise from its bottom holding point to wildly slash at your fly floating overhead! In fact, an all black deer hair fly will sometimes do the trick when all else fails. I can recall an early September day just east of Telkwa on the Bulkley River when dozens of casts with a variety of both wet and dry flies had failed to get any response from a good stretch of steelhead holding water. I finally switched to an all black deer hair fly, well coated with floatant to ride high on the rippled current. The first long cast had just reached a spot behind a large underwater rock when a flash of silver exploded the surface in a savage strike at the deer hair fly. It mattered not that I quickly lost that fish, just the fact that my fly had brought a moment of glorious action was reward enough! This month we will look at the very simple tying techniques for the all black steehead dry fly.



This fly is tied with black deer hair only. Start by attaching a small clump of black deer hair for the tail and wrap your thread forward from the hook bend to the hook eye to form the body with the rest of the tail hair, trimming off at the hook eye. Next, spin about three clumps of black deer starting at a point on the hook shank about 1/3 of the shank length from the hook eye, and work towards the eye. You may find it easier to work with a bare hook shank by clipping off the body hair at the 1/3 point. Also, another trick is to spin the first clump near the hook eye, then push it back 1/3 of the distance to the hook bend. Then spin the next clump also at the hook eye and push it back against the first clump. Continue with a third clump which by now should fill the hook shank to the hook eye. As you spin each clump, force the hair to sweep back towards the tail as you tie off. The final step is to clip the forward clump right around, leaving more hair on the top side. Cement, tie off and you have finished a very effective all black steelhead dry fly!

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