No better time for Winter's Hope

Posted by Steve Galea at

I planned on ice fishing this morning but the thermometer outside my window read -24. Since I wasn't going to fish from a hut, I chose to pursue my other winter pastime instead. That being tying flies for the season to come. 

That's why it is appropriate that the fly pictured above is called "Winter's Hope." It's an old steelhead pattern designed by the legendary west coast angler Bill McMillan. As always, my version has a few flaws -- the return tinsel wrap has a gap or two and the head might be a touch too large --  but, ultimately, that makes it a perfect fishing fly. The first one I tie that's flawless won't be fished.

This one, however, will do what Mr. McMillan designed it to do.  I'll swing it in the river this spring and the fish won't see its flaws one little bit. They'll just see those bright colours and the movement of its hackles and feather wings  And, ultimately, it might be made more perfect once firmly affixed to a rainbow's jaw.

The recipe is as follows.

Hook: Any salmon/steelhead hook that suits you.

Thread: Orange or maroon 6/0 or smaller.

Tinsel: Silver

First hackle: blue 

Second hackle: purple

Inner wings: a pair of yellow saddle hackles

Outer wings: a pair of orange saddle hackles.

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