Dark Spruce Fly

Dark Spruce Fly

A great pattern to take on your travels.

  • By: A. K. Best
  • Photography by: A. K. Best

IF I WERE PLANNING AN EXOTIC TRIP TO someplace south of the equator, among the first patterns I’d put in my fly box would be Dark Spruce weighted streamers in sizes 2 through 6. I have an affinity for this fly partly because it’s one of the first steamer flies I learned to tie and, more important, because it always seems to work no matter where I fish it. To me an exotic trip equates to catching really big fish using big flies. Coq de Leon saddles solved the problem of tying large Spruce Fly streamers. The feathers have rounded tips and are long enough to easily tie size 2 or even larger, if you wish. Find one with furnace markings and dye it medium brown if it isn’t already dyed for you.

Hook: Mustad 79580, sizes 2 through 6
Thread: Danville Black Monocord
Weight: Lead-substitute wire, diameter to match hook wire
Tail: Clump of peacock-herl tips (a dozen or so)
Body: Red floss
Thorax: Peacock herl
Wings: Two pairs of brown furnace Coq de Leon saddle butt feathers
Collar: One brown furnace Coq de Leon saddle feather

(1) Attach lead-substitute wire beginning one hook gap space behind the eye and wind it one third of the shank. Cover with tying thread and a liberal coat of head lacquer. Tie in a clump of peacock herl (a dozen or so), bind up to the rear of the wire wraps, lift the butts and clip the excess.
(2) Tie in the end of the single strand red floss at the rear of the wire and firmly wind to the rear and forward enough times to create a smoothly tapered body.
(3)Select a clump of peacock herl (about 12), tie in the butts over the front of the wire weight, spin them around the tying thread and wind to the rear and forward again. Tie off on top of the hook.
(4) Select two pair of saddle butt feathers that will be long enough to extend beyond the bend by one hook-shank length. Match the curves and tips evenly and strip off enough fibers to allow for the tie down immediately behind the eye. Be certain the wings lie as close to the top of the shoulder as possible.
(5)Select one saddle feather and tie in the feather with its shiny side forward and palmer it to within one hook-eye space behind the eye. Clip off the tip, whip-finish and apply a liberal amount of head lacquer.