Steelhead Fly of the week Polar Shrimp [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Steelhead Fly of the week Polar Shrimp

05-11-2006, 11:48 AM
This fly is probably one of the first steelhead flies I ever tied and being that it is a simple fly to tie I think many steelhead tiers started out with this fly. This one was invented some time in the 1930s for fishing the Eel River in California and is still an effective fly.

Hook: Up eye salmon hook.
Tail: Red hackle barbs.
Body: Orange chenille.
Collar: Orange hackle.
Wing: White deer hair or polar bear.

05-12-2006, 01:37 AM

I believe the Thor (it has natural brown hackle instead of the orange used on the Orange Shrimp) was the one originated on the Eel River and the Orange Shrimp came a bit later. As far as I know, the Polar Shrimp is attributed to Clarence Shoff from Kent, WA after he put polar bear hair on an Orange Shrimp instead of the Orange Shrimp's white calftail or bucktail. At any rate, for all purposes the Polar Shrimp, Orange Shrimp, and Thor are variations of the same color theme.

For those trout fishers out there who want to know what flies like the Polar Shrimp imitate, I suppose it could be said they look a bit like a roe sack. Personally, I just think orange attracts the attention of steelhead since steelhead aren't feeding for nourishment when on spawning runs.

Another facit of these early steelhead bucktails is that they were invariably tied on very heavy wire, bronzed, standard or 1xl hooks with down eyes and very long, thick wings with fairly thick and stout chenile bodies. The old original steelhead bucktail wets looked and swam very differently than the sleek, more sparse style of tying used today on them. Many time the old flies were wrapped with lead under the body to help them sink because the long, thick wings tended to float them.

05-15-2006, 08:39 AM

Some interesting info on this fly. I did tie it on a heavy wire hook but did not weight it. I will have to tie some up that way and give them a try.

Thanks, Charlie.