Steelhead Fly of the week Umpqua Special [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Steelhead Fly of the week Umpqua Special

07-06-2006, 12:45 PM
The Originator of this fly, Vic O’Byrne operated one of the two early camps on the North Umpqua, Fish Rack Riffle. The other better-known camp was Steamboat. He came up with the fly in the mid 1930’s and it is still a well-known fly today.

Hook: Up eye salmon hook.
Tail: White hackle barbs or hair.
Body: Rear 1/3 yellow chenille, front 2/3 red chenille.
Rib: Oval or flat silver tinsel.
Wing: White deer hair or polar bear with red hair on the sides.
Collar: Brown hackle.
Cheek: Jungle cock (Optional)

07-08-2006, 01:07 AM

Well done modern style of this venerable fly. The original, as I know you are aware, was tied in the old steelhead bucktail style: i.e with a much thicker body, a lot more hackle, a wing that went to or beyond the tip of the tail, and almost always was tied on a heavy (5x heavy wire was usual), pretty much standard length shank down eye wet fly hook like the Eagle Claw 1197.

I much prefer the modern style of tying hairwing steelhead flies because they are sleeker, sink better, and swim a lot better than the old, original style.

This is a fly that never had much of a following in Puget Sound or the OP rivers of Washington. The folks up here usually used (and still use) Ken and George McLeod's SKYKOMISH SUNRISE or the Northern California/Southern Oregon fly THOR when they use a red fly.

By the way, I've seen this fly tied on small (#10, #12) double hooks without hackle for use on Oregon's Rogue River.