When I lived in Vancouver, my two favorite fly fishing rivers were the Vedder and the Skagit. Because of the crowded conditions during the cohoe and steelhead seasons on the Vedder, a very special retreat for me during the summer months which are generally considered as off season, was a trip to the upper reaches of the Skagit River. I usually spent most of my time dry flying that beautiful river but a seldom fail standby fly for me was the skagit fullback which we will review in this month's fly tying article. You may ask why we are tying a summer fly in January? I have used the skagit fullback with success in the winter months as well so I believe that this fly is a valuable addition to any fisherman's fly collection.
Attach a thin strand of black wool at the hook bend. Also tie in a small clump of dark moose hair tip first along the hook shank and allow the hair to extend past the hook bend. Then wind the wool through to the hook eye and tie off. Next secure a brown saddle hackle at the hook eye and palmer it back to the hook bend, shaping the fibers to flow away from the hook eye as you wind it to the bend. If you use invisible mending thread as your tying thread, you can easily wind it back to the hook bend and forward to the hook eye, shaping the hackle to flow backward without distorting the shape or color of the body. The final step is to clip off the hackle fibers from the top and then fold the moose hair forward to the hook eye and tie off at that point. Trim the moose hair at the hook eye so that it forms a head about 1/8 inch long projecting over the eye. Whip finish, cement and you have completed the skagit river fullback!
I have had good success fishing this fly through the fast ripples of the Skagit, often with a larger fly as big as size 2 working the best! You can experiment by weighting the fly but the unweighted version seems to produce equally as well for me! Good luck for 2000!
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