Atlantic Salmon Fly of the week – Picasse [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Atlantic Salmon Fly of the week – Picasse

09-19-2006, 08:33 AM
This fly is another creation of Marc LeBlanc. Mark originally tied this fly to be an extremely durable guide type fly. And with its tough body vrib it is just that. The fish have a very hard time chewing this one up. This is probably my favorite early season fly. Tied in very large sizes it is a killer in high water. It is also a fantastic steelhead fly in the Great Lakes tributaries.

Hook: Up eye Atlantic salmon hook
Under body: Black thread
Body: Black or clear vrib or similar body material.
Wing: Black over yellow bucktail.
Collar: Blue eared pheasant
Cheeks: Amherst pheasant & Jungle cock
Head: Black

Peter Terndrup
09-22-2006, 05:33 AM
Hi Charlie

Its a very nice fly.

I have used it a couple of times in Norway on the Gaula river, and it can be very good both in high- and lowwater.

09-23-2006, 01:10 AM

I have liked the look of this fly ever since I first saw a photo of it. I can also see that it has the look of a baitfish to it, although it is not a traditional streamer or baitfish type of fly. And having tied some of them for someone, I know why it is not in more general use since it takes a bit more skill to tie than most tyers possess.

Is this what you and Juro have told me about regarding the effectiveness of flies for GL steelhead that have a look of a baitfish to them?

09-23-2006, 02:40 PM
Here is one tied by Marc Leblanc I got a couple years ago when he guided me on the Gaspe rivers.

Not how the fly has evolved to use crystal flash in the wing. Also, the wing has some soft artic fox as an underwing. What you can't see in the picture is the signature two tone heads he makes, this one has a grey stripe in the middle of the head.

Tight Lines,

Jim Y

PS- off to fish 3 days on the Penobscott, then 10 days on the Miramichi!

09-23-2006, 07:19 PM
Almost all my GL flies are modeled after baitfish. If it's not a baitfish-Spey I usually go with something buggy. I just don't fish the attractor types as confidently.

The Picasse is one of my favorites but I prefer the silver pheasant as a collar and not a cheek. Charlie and I have some fun debating this point as Marc changed his method somewhere along the line, but it's all in how you like the fly in the water. I think the collar gives it a bit more action, but if you're really looking for a smelt form the cheek is the way.

BTW - Marc is tying them in more colors than just yellow these days. I have a beautiful orange one I really like.


09-29-2006, 08:01 AM
Some interesting comments on this fly. It even made it’s way over to Norway? Wow!

Russ, when I started to fish this one for steelhead it never entered my mind that it was a bait fish imitation but now that you brought it up you are absolutely correct. In talking with some other salmon fisherman about this fly, they felt it was a good imitation of an elver or baby eel with its slim profile, and that is the reason the salmon took it so readily.

And as for the modifications that Jim and Chris talk about, I think they make it a much easier fly to tie, especially the use of the silver pheasant collar. I tie it with the Amherst pheasant because this is the first version of the fly I ran across and it works great for me. In fact it is probably my top-producing fly. If it aint broke why fix it! :smokin: I do like the idea of using other colors, however. Very interesting.

Chris, you coming up this way to fish this fall?


P.S. Jim, good luck on the Penobscott. Let us know how you make out.

09-29-2006, 08:36 AM
Another great tie as always Charlie!

My first reaction when I looked at the picture was peanut bunker!

I really like the un-cluttered look of this fly and the Amherst makes an awesome gillplate which is one of the most prominent features on tiny 1"-2" menhaden.

The Albies have finally started to put in an appearance in this neck of the woods and I think they'll be all over this one :smokin:

p.s. Something I forgot to ask....

Do you do any special prep on Amherst feather before tying in - flattening the quill? I find that the quills are typically quite thick and uneven (even more so than GP Tippet) which makes getting a neat tie-in tricky.


09-29-2006, 07:17 PM
Charlie, I may be up next week water permitting. I was going to hit the road for this weekend but I see it may only be good for beer drinking...which I can do just fine here ;-)

Another note on your tie is the wing is perfect. I've noticed that some of Marc's colored Picasse have more wing material these days but my understanding is that some sports wanted more hair for the buck so he's been tying them with more wing material with the recommendation that you thin the wing out to suit you and your fishing. Now, I don't take lightly to working around his flies with scissors but I have thinned some out so they are more translucent. It was designed originally with a thinnish wing and that's how I like them.

I had a beautiful green one I cast into a tree this year. If I could swim better I'd have chopped the tree down.


02-14-2009, 06:19 AM
I would like to add this fly to my selection, but I do not know what clear vrib is?

Can anyone explain. For the body, can I use clear mono wrapped over black silk under body?

Thanks in advance....

02-24-2009, 02:39 PM
Mono would probably work but is less supple (soft) than V-Rib, Bodyglass and other similar materials marketed under different names which are also clear vinyl-like plastic... Very stretchy and supple making it easy to wrap, cut, manipulate. Also, the cross-section is not symmetrical (round) the kind I use has a "D" shaped cross-section so depending how you wrap can change the appearance.

You should have no problem finding this stuff in a local shop or catalog... Private message me if you are still stuck. Typically comes in clear, olive, amber, brown, black and other natural colors. Great for many different patterns including nymphs, crustaceans, and streamers. I use it a lot.

Gaspe Salmon
03-02-2009, 11:11 AM
Hello all...

Ahhh the PICASSE!!! first of all, a little side note. Picasse is an old French word that means ANCHOR... it is an old slang word... The reason it was dubbed the Picasse is because the first time it was used we sat in the canoe and chose a new fly that Marc had tied. It was HUGE and when it hit the water it made a huge splash like an anchor hitting the water. An apprentice guide dubbed the fly the PICASSE!

After tying these flies for a while with Marc, and hating the fact that the Silver Pheasant would always twist on me, I decided to tie the pheasant in as a collar, A hell of a lot easier and more sexy!!! That is where the collar style came into play...

The Picasse is a GREAT fly when it is overcast or raining, however, the salmon seem to like it just about anytime! I use it in all sizes and it is my go to fly, like I already mentioned, when it is raining.

The axxel flash came about to give a bit more visibility in colored waters. You can use any color you want for the underwing but need to finish off with fox on the top wing. Also, you can use any sort of swanundaze you want but black or brown are the original colors used. Also, you may want to throw down some yarn under the body to give it some more hold as you tie and also to give a more tapered body style....

Have fun!!



03-05-2009, 06:11 AM
Hey David,

Charlie calls for deer hair wing, yet you talk of fox.....and perhaps some flash tied in as underwing.

You also talk of collering the fly with the Lady Amherst pheasant instead of tying it as cheeks.

Would love to see a pic of your rendition of this fly as it sounds quite different than the one pictured in this thread cause now I am totally confused.

03-05-2009, 10:04 AM
Hey David,

Would love to see a pic of your rendition of this fly as it sounds quite different than the one pictured in this thread cause now I am totally confused.

Here's a version that I tie — also matching the way Marc now ties the fly (the last time I got samples from him) and I think close what David was describing. Although here, I've used Arctic fox as the yellow underwing, I occasionally use Arctic fox for the top (black) wing but particularly like kid goat hair (shown here), a few strands of black crystal flash, dark brown or black V-rib, blue-eared pheasant, silver pheasant collar, and jc eyes. And I've taken steelhead in Oregon, Atlantic salmon from the Gaspé (including your river), New Brunswick and Russia with the picasse. It's one of my staples.

Gaspe Salmon
03-05-2009, 03:07 PM
Hey Bill and Howie

Ok Howie, you are obviously confused and I am probably to blame...

The underwing is tied with YELLOW GOAT hair which is similar to Deer hair, however is much softer and does not stick up in the air, which is a total pain in the ass! As for the true wing, it is indeed fox, any old fox you have as long as it is silver!! haha...

The collar is NOT tied with Amherst. I never said that, it is tied with SILVER PHEASANT as a collar! the original had an amherst eye but was too hard to tie in and too expensive for such a low budget fly. That is the beauty of this fly, it is so easy to tie and easy to get the materials!



03-06-2009, 02:58 PM
OK, Got the Silver Pheasant collar deal, my mistake. If you take off the Amherst and jungle cock cheeks you ultimately change the fly. Yours may even catch more fish. Who knows.


Is this original pattern shown tied by Charlie a good producer in July and August when the normal working size is #6s through #12s depending upon the conditions? Or do you think they produce best as larger flies, from #4s down?
Any first hand experience with this pattern tied on #8s??

03-06-2009, 05:01 PM
I've caught salmon on everything from size 8 doubles to size 1/0 singles. On the Gaspé I've usually used 6 doubles and 4 doubles. Sometimes I'll go to 2 & 1 singles. I'll be interested to hear what David recommends.

03-06-2009, 06:05 PM
I have one of Charlie's ties of this pattern. Hesitant to fish it, I tied it on one day in the pacific northwest and it was just the ticket on summer steelhead. Still looks good.

Gaspe Salmon
03-07-2009, 09:36 AM
Hey Bill,

Although the Picasse was originally made to be fished very large, 2- 3/0, it evolved into a good small fly as well. I like to tie and use a single hook version of the fly as I think that most Spey type flies look and fish better on a single, however, that is just my personal opinion and I have absolutely no basis to go on other than what looks good to me!

The key to the Picasse is the spey hackle, which is usually Heron but can be substituted with other materials but the flies just do not end up looking the same. I use the very delicate hackles in natural black. These feathers flow incredibly well in the water.

Here is are the sizes I use and when I use them:

June - 1/0 2/0 even 3/0 if the water is super high. In lower water levels I will use a 2 or 4.

July - 2-4-6

August 6-8

September 6-4-2 early September and later I go back to the big uglies 1/0 and 2/0.

By the way, the Picasse looks really kick ass :smokin: when tied on an Alec Jackson hook. Especially a silver one!!!

Remember, whenever it gets really cloudy or starts to rain, the first go to fly for the Gaspe is the Picasse! Well, at least it is MY go to fly. Then again, there are a ton of other good patterns to use so all I can say is fish what you have confidence in. After all it is not really the fly that makes the difference but the swing. Then again everyone knows that already - don't they?? :hihi:



Gaspe Salmon
03-07-2009, 09:41 AM

Sorry man, did not see your post...

I really do not tie the fly on anything smaller than 6 or 8 because the spey hackles are a bit hard to find and to work with in the smaller sizes. Like I said, the Picasse was originally tied to be a big fly.

What is really cool about the fly is that you can use any color wing you want without changing the body mats or spey hackle. This offers you the ability to have several different color Picasse's!

Will respond to your email soon, however, you know when you fish with me this summer that your boxes will most likely stay shut!! LOL! We will most likely use my flies.

Best to you and Anneke!

03-07-2009, 10:50 AM

I really do not tie the fly on anything smaller than 6 or 8 because the spey hackles are a bit hard to find and to work with in the smaller sizes.

Coot works beautifully on smaller flies. It's a great "small" Spey hackle.

03-14-2009, 11:30 AM
If anyone can point me towards a source for yellow Kid Goat hair it would be appreciated. Been looking for a long time with no luck.

Thanks in advance.... Brian