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· Registered
581 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Been tying up some stuff for my first trip to the famous Thompson.

Here is my version of an orange butt spade. I had good reaction to smaller versions of these on another summer steelhead fishery so I decided to do some larger ones and added in a holo tinsel rib (which you can't see unfortunately)

Enjoy :D

Picture of the smaller version all wet from being in action this summer


· Pullin' Thread
4,694 Posts
My friend Bob Arnold, who originated this fly back in the late 1960's on Washington State's NF Stillaquamish River would be very happy to see this version of his fly. Very nicely done Sir!


I'm surprised you're not familiar with SPADE. It is a very worthwhile addition to one's fly box for summer/fall low-water steelhead fishing. Bob never tied it large. His favorite hook for SPADE was a #8 Sealy standard salmon iron, which of course has not been available for many years. I like SPADE tied on a Daiichi 2161 #6 (Alec Jackson sells this same hook as his AJ Steelhead Iron and he calls this size #9).

The original SPADE tied by Bob is:

Tail: fine deer body hair (sparse)
Body: Black fine chenille
Hackle: Hen Grizzly, longer than normal
Head: Black thread

Bob also tied and fished several variants:

He tied one with a red & yellow mixed bucktail tail, red chenille body, and red & yellow red hackle, he used either black or red thread for the head on this one. This one was inspired by his friends Ken and George McLeod SKYKOMISH SUNRISE, a fly that George often told me I should fish in summer/fall on #6 hooks.

Another he tied had a deer body hair tail, red chenille body, Grizzly hen hackle (he called this one GARTH, which is the name of his son. His son doesn't fish though.

He sometimes fished one with a yellow chenille body, hackle and tail same as the original.

Alec Jackson (who is also a friend of Bob's) quite literally got to be known as a fly tyer because of his ostrich or peacock herl chenille-bodied versions of SPADE. I tie SPADE most of the time with Alec's ostrick or peacock chenille body. I has more life in the water than rayon or nylon chenille. Alec ties his versions on his AJ SPEY HOOK usually in #7 & #5. He did tie of few on the #6 Daiichi 2161 (his Steelhead Iron #9, which is the same hook).

And there were others who tied SPADE with dubbed bodies.

Those of us who know and use SPADE wouldn't go astream in the low-water of summer/fall without several different ones on our fly box. I've always been surprised that it never gained much of a following and has stayed relatively obscure because it is very effective.

· Registered
581 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
would you please post a materials list ? very nice fly
by request a materials list

Mustad SL53UBL size 2 hook
Black deer body hair
Red saltwater crystal flash (2 strands folded over)
Shrimp pink UV ice dub mixed with Orange seal fur (I mixed these to darken the ice dub and add the buggy look of the seal)
Black seal fur
Rib - silver holo tinsel (medium) - cant see it in the pictures unfortunately and I only ribber the black seal
Natural select guinea
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