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Discussion Starter #1
Posts on this board about Flatwings being used for Steelhead and other Salmonids are far and few between. Based on a search I couldn’t find a post, except for Striper related posts, since 2013. Flatwings excel in ocean currents. They also excel in ocean fare for steelhead and salmon. Just curious as to why more folks don’t try Flatwings for Steelies? If you are using them would appreciate hearing what patterns are especially effective?
 

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loco alto!
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It is all about hooking fish.

Flatwings are great but they have the hook up front, which is best when currents are slow / non-existent, and the fish may attack from any angle, or when a fly is so small as to be easily engulfed. In contrast, most river-fishing salmon and steelhead flies (traditionals and modern alike) work best with hook towards the rear, to hook following fish, which are prone to short strikes.
 

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loco alto!
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In the interest of convention, and risking some contention ... the steelhead fly pictured above (quite beautiful) is not a flatwing. It is in the GP style which is sometimes referred to as a “shellback” wing. It may have some other more formal name, but I’ve never heard it called a flatwing. I use it in my own steelhead patterns quite a lot.

I learned the flatwing as the “Rhody Flatwing” aka Rhode Island Flatwing, a striper fly. My spouse lived in R.I. for a spell, and the flatwing was my favorite when fishing stripers from rock cliffs, where tidal surges really activate the flatwing on gentle swings and strips. Google flatwing fly and you’ll see many examples.
 

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Check out Ken Abrams on the internet to see flat wing flies. I still have some of his dyed saddles for tying them. Ken was especially creative with his designs as well as his blending of colors. I would just love the way they moved in the water.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Great point! Where legal, would a stinger/trailer hook solve that and not interfere with the action of the flatwing?
 

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The original Nine Three, a fly designed for landlocked Atlantic salmon (but also fished in Maine and some Canadian rivers for the anadromous version) featured a flat wing. I'm sure there are some others, but that's one that I'm familiar with.
 

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flatwings for steelhead and salmon

i've tied some flatwings for stripers and local smb . they work !! pretty seductive looking in the water . softer edges and the like . the black one is cut out of the top of the picture but you get the idea . picked up my personal best smb in my home river this summer with a black one . 11 am, bright sun , amazing fish . creamed it ! i've got some nice larger browns on these flies as well . a wooly bugger with a flat wing tail . nothin' very fancy for sure . i tied these for a nice fella who gifted me some onyx stripping guides .
i want to give the ones in my personal box a go , but that 4 letter word that starts with a w has been keeping me off the rivers .
i would imagine a steelhead would hit one . hook-up might be a different story . i'll report any luck when i get some river time .
thanks , jim
 

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Great point! Where legal, would a stinger/trailer hook solve that and not interfere with the action of the flatwing?
I love flatwing streamers in situation where the hook is up front. I'm pretty certain you'd run into tangling problems with a trailing stinger, though the only way to find out is try it.
 
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