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The following comment keys off of Dana's thread below.

It's my perception that over the past 25 years or so, west coast salmon/steelhead fly fishers as a group have moved away from traditional flies as opposed to east coast and European salmon fly fishers who continue to embrance traditional patterns. Is this the case? If so, why? Do flies such as the egg-sucking leech represent an evolution in salmon/steelhead flies? That is, trial and error have proven them to be more effective than traditional flies? Does anyone sling 4" hot pink bunny leeches on the River Spey (or for that matter, a black 2" woolly bugger)? I wouldn't hesitate. Aah, blistful ignorance.
 

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Hangdog,

I don't think that West Coast steelheaders have really moved away from "traditional" patterns. I think there are a couple of reasons for this. First, I'm not sure there were traditional steelhead patterns and early flyfishers just borrowed salmon patterns. Secondly, as Dec Hogan said it the Northwest is the home of "Freestyle" fly-tying. If you consider the "classic" Atlantic Salmon flies, Green Highlander, Jock Scott et al, they are pretty darn freestyle as well! Here on the West Coast we are in fact carrying on with that tradition.

Having said that, my day in day out fly of choice is the General Practioner. Mind you, it is black/purple - not orange, marabou - not golden pheasant it has pecarry feelers and it's a tube. Tradition and freestyle in one fly.
 

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Hangdog,
No one I know uses these flies on the Spey just the usual trad patterns with modoifications, evolution. A lot more hair rather than feathers.


Malcolm
 

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I think part of the movement away from traditional flies would be the use of sink-tip lines. I know that I want to use simple patterns so that I am not spending hours tying flies. Last time out I went thru 8 flies, came home and had to tie more up. Flies like egg sucking leeches are quick, and you can vary colors for bright/dark so I don't mind fishing close but hopefully not on bottom for winter runs. I think it would even be interesting how many people tie G.P.'s traditionally vs. a short cut method
 

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Hangdog,
RLN is right, Eggsucking leeches are just so much quicker to tie, and the fact that we are (well I am anyways) fishing heavy heads, I know I am going to loose a lot of flies, why tie flies you know you are going to loose faster than you can tie them.

Don't get my wrong, I tie my share of G.P's, the traditional way, with G.P feathers(other than the eyes, burned mono for those), and Spey flies, but I will only fish them if I fish dry lines, why would you??? :hehe:

The Flymaster.
 

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Very Nice

Flymaster,

Great speys and great picture. Your like me I love tying speys but hate fishing them and losing them. Only fish them now for summer runs when I don't have to dredge the bottom here in great lakes rivers.
 

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I tie and use steelhead flies of all degrees of complexity. I hate it when I break off one of my thirty-minute beauties!
Steelhead aren't eyeballing our flies, counting trilobal tails and labial palp. They probably see a blur of a certain size and colors, so simple flies probably work as well as any.
When I begin to lose too many flies, I reach for my "Cannon Fodder" box of sub-par ties and deliberately simple flies, of no more than three items on an economical hook (like the great old Eagle Claw 1197). Crosscut rabbit strips or hanks of maribou produce a fly in two minutes.
 

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Can you still get the Eagle Claw 1197 and 1197N, I am all out and cannot find them ?

I agree on your approach like mine.
 

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MJC,

Thanks got to get some, they were a good stout hook for the price.

Hal
 

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Hangdog !!
You mentioned that Eastcoast Atlantic Salmon fisherfolks embrace the tried and true .Tain't so here in Eastern Canada.My experimentals for this year include a couple of Bass fly variations.I've also in the past have used a variation of Harry Lemire's EXCELLENT fly, the Black Diamond.
Cheers
Brian
 

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It seems to me that there are several logical reasons why North West fishermen have largely abandoned Classic Salmon patterns.
First a good Parson or Durham Ranger takes about an hour to tie,but the average salmon fly lasts about 20 minutes on the river.Somewhere you meet the point of no return.
North westers never really did make a big thing of the classic patterns.What they called classics were really simplifications of classic patterns.for example the Stilliguamish Sunrise was simply a simplyfied bastardized Rosey Dawn.
The advent of new materials including holographic ribbon etc etc proved to be so successful that new patterns making great use of these materials were needed.
I still have two Wheatly boxes of Classic flies I figue I have about 100 hors of tying time tied up in them. do I fish them ? No I`ll be damned if I will bend the barbs off of good Partridge hooks I`d rather leave them to my grandson.
 

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I agree, most fisherman have migrated away from the "Classics", be it Perthshire or Steamboat.

But that does not mean they still don't work. Every salmon I have hooked on the Matapedia has come to a full dress Green Highlander, Silver Doctor, Jock Scott, Canadian Black Dose, or Lady Amherst. The only materials I chose not use are Indian Crow and Toucan, all other materials are as the recipe calls for.

I have found that the married feather wing flies cut through the faster water and stayed just under the surface. Hair wing flies tended to want to wake. Don't think it matters either way as hitched flies work just fine too, but hair wings do fish differently.

William
 

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Traditionals..

Bud Smithers wrote:
I still have two Wheatly boxes of Classic flies I figue I have about 100 hors of tying time tied up in them. do I fish them ? No I`ll be damned if I will bend the barbs off of good Partridge hooks I`d rather leave them to my
grandson.
Geez Bud, you could adopt ME:D
 

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Hi Bob: I know you recognize my penchant for creating patterns which resemble the Classics.I have a new one for you .I call it the British Grenadier.
Tag: silver wire and scarlet floss
Tail: scarlet gpcrest over yellow gp crest
Butt: Black ostrich
Body : 1/2 silver /1/2 Black seal Black ostrich butt between sections with indian crow (sub red sections from base of gp crest)tied aft over silver.
Rib; Silver twist
Hackle; Scarlet over black seal
Wing: Back to back Scarlet tippet
Cheeks: Jungle cock
Topping Black Ostrich 3 strands
Thread black
PS somebody gave me a scarlet dyed gp crest and tippet cape.
 
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