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.
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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- Tags: Algonquin Fly Tying Supply, fly tying, steelhead, steelhead flies, Steve Galea, Winter's Hope