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Discussing fishing flies, trout flies, salmon flies, fly fishing gear and equipment, Idaho and Montana fishing rivers, NW rivers, fly tying and fly fishing trips. Over 50 years experience in fly fishing, best flies, fly tying, fly fishing techniques, fish stories, directions to rivers and lakes and great fly fishing tall tales with special communications from area guides.

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Friday, December 30, 2016

Spider Fly


Thanks to IDFFA member Larry (Professor), I am going to try a new pattern this summer. I say new but in fact it is not a new, but rather a very old, pattern. If you look up the history, this fly was apparently used during Roman times and soft hackle flies had a resurgence also in the late 1600's. Charles Cotton actually wrote about them in Compleat Angler 1676. And then, in 1816 G. C. Bainbridge wrote about them again in The Fly-fishers Guide. "Another 60 years were to pass before three more  valuable works featured soft hackled flies."

"W. C. Stewart wrote The Practical Angler; W. H. Aldham A Quaint Treatise on Flees and the Art of Artyfichall Flee Making in 1876; T. E. Pritt Yorkshire Trout Flies in 1886 (which was re-titled North-Country Flies in a later edition). All these books featured extensive writings on soft hackled flies. But in 1857 the greatest influence on using these patterns in England occurred. W. C. Stewart was a renowned fly fisherman from the Scottish Border area and it was Stewart that put 'spider' patterns in the fly box of all the north of England fly fishers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries" Above quotes from:

 
Actually, these patterns are not too commonly found in fly shops here, but outside the US they are sometimes the only flies fly fishers use. The current going name is the "Stewart Spider", but online, you may see multiple other imitations and names as well.
 
 
 
Fly tying instructions will follow in a future post and in fact this is a very simple fly to tie. By the way this "spider" does not mimic a spider, but rather, depending on colors and fishing methods, it does mimic many of the other emerging nymphs out there. How many times have I stood in a stream and said to myself while fishing "man, they are hitting emergers and not nymphs (or dries)"? Kind of makes me wonder if renowned Yellowstone fly fisher Charles Brooks in the 1970's wasn't right when he said "The best flies were those which look the same from EVERY angle."
 
I have fish soft hackles while Idaho fly fishing on numerous occasions and I now, after writing this post, wonder why I don't use them more often--and I may! Techniques are simple and many recommend a dropper as shown:
High sticking the fly is very important
but perhaps the most important thing is the drift and lift. How many times have you caught a fish on the "swing"? Swinging these soft hackles IS very effective as a nymph emerges.
Anyway, I'm going to stock up on soft hackles and use them more often. Hopefully, this will afford more hookups. More to come about my success. Hard takes and tight lines and huge, numerous trout to you all.
 
 
Tags:    Freshwater Scud
     Freshwater Shrimp
     Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear
     Grey Wulff
     Grizzly Wulff
 
 




 

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