Atlantic Salmon Fly of the week - Rusty Rat [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Atlantic Salmon Fly of the week - Rusty Rat

02-15-2006, 08:08 AM
This fly was invented in 1949 by accident. Fly tier J. Clovis Arseneault of Atholville, N.B. had tied some black rats for publishing giant Joseph Pulitzer II to use on the Restigouche. Pulitzer got a few fish on the black rat and they chewed the rear portion of the body off exposing the rust colored floss that Arseneault had used for an underbody. This accidental modification seemed to increase the effectiveness of the fly greatly. Pulitzer caught a 41-pounder almost immediately after. He immediately approached Arseneault to tie him another batch of flies with the new modifications. The rest is history as they say. The Rusty Rat is now one of the most popular hair wings in North America.

Hook: Up eye salmon hook
Tag: Oval gold tinsel
Tail: Peacock sword fibers
Body: Back half rusty orange silk, front half Peacock herl
Body Vail: Rusty orange silk over back half of body
Rib: Oval gold tinsel
Wing: Grey Fox body hair
Hackle: Grizzly hackle saddle
Head: Red


P.S. It works very well for steelhead also.

02-15-2006, 11:22 AM
Nice tie. Never caught a Salmon on the R.R. However, picked up a few grilse and MORE than a few Steelhead ( #8's) :D

Earle Fletcher
02-15-2006, 03:50 PM
Good looking fly, Charlie. The Rusty Rat Has been good to me a few times over the years. I met "Clovie" back in 1971 in his fly shop. He was a cantankerous old buggar at stage of his life. What is the make and model of the hook you used?

02-16-2006, 07:54 AM
Thanks Guys,

The hook is a Daiichi #2161. It is also being marketed by Alec Jackson as a "Steelhead Iron" but it is the same hook.


02-16-2006, 10:48 AM
Looks heavier than the Bartleet's ? I'll definately be buying some.

02-16-2006, 02:08 PM
Hi Chalrlie..


I noticed the hook is barbless. Did you do it or are they sold barbless.

Getting cold here........... :(

Any scotch left!! :D


02-16-2006, 02:45 PM

They also have a better finish on them than the Bartleetís.


They have a barb but it is very small and easy to pinch down. I think they penetrate better than other hooks because of this.

And yes, I do have some scotch. Should I get it in the mail to you?


02-16-2006, 02:54 PM
K.......... and send that reel too :D


Muckle Salmon
02-16-2006, 08:15 PM
OK Charlie, who did you steal the reel from??:cool:


Salar 33
02-17-2006, 07:32 AM
Hi Charlie,

Great quality tie as usual. I thought you might like to see what the original looked like. I realize that your tie is the most popular today. The attached photo is a Rusty Rat tied by Clovis with his recipe below. Note that no exact hair is listed for the wing. I personally like extra fine baby goat. And also the black head.

Head: Black
Tag: Oval gold tinsel
Tail: Several Peacock sword fibers, tied short
Body Rear half: Bright rusty yellow floss. Front half: Peacock herl. There are two lengths of rusty yellow floss that extend as a veiling on the top of the fly. The first length extends from where the rusty yellow floss meets the Peacock herl in the middle of the body. The second length extends from a point about an eighth of an inch back from the first length. This second length extends from the rear half of the body and is trimmed nearly to the end of the body. The first length is trimmed even with the end of the second length.
Rib: Oval gold tinsel
Wing: Black and white hair that has been evenly mixed
Collar: Grizzly hackle


02-17-2006, 10:12 AM
Like Salar-1, I've found the Rusty Rat to be a very productive steelhead fly, and I used it extensively on the Deschutes. It was particularly effective when the October Caddis hatches begun.

The whole Rat series seem to work, although the Rusty Rat worked best (maybe because I used it most often).