Steelhead Fly of the week Purple Flash [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Steelhead Fly of the week Purple Flash

02-17-2007, 11:13 AM
Joe Howell developed this simple pattern. Howell is considered to be one of the great innovators in steelhead fly tying. When a new material comes on the market he is often one of the first to incorporate it into a steelhead fly.

Hook: Up eye salmon dry fly hook
Tag: flat gold tinsel
Tail: Red hackle fibers
Body: Purple braided Mylar type body material.
Hackle: Soft purple.
Wing: Red squirrel tail.
Cheeks: Jungle cock
Head: Black


02-19-2007, 04:08 PM

It is very cool for me to see this fly. Independently of Joe, I started fishing this fly for winter fish in clear water over 25 years ago, well before I heard of Joe's version. Many people modify proven favorites per their whims, and I consider this a modification of the venerable Purple Peril. I call my version a Purple Diamond, since it was tied with Diamond Braid, which was the first flash body material I encountered.

I still have the fly that caught my very first summer fish 20 years ago from the Picnic Table hole on the North Fork Stillaguamish--a Purple Diamond tied on a small Partridge Wilson hook.

Interestingly, the Purple Flash/Diamond has been a very poor fly for me on Joe Howell's river, the North Umpqua. I once asked him about it, because of my tremendous lack of success with the fly on that river. It was probably just a case of insufficient data, and just last fall I (unfortunately) "picked the pocket" of my son, taking a nice wild fish on this fly when following him through a hole.

In contrast, this has been a favorite fly for me on the Deschutes, and also the half-pounder rivers of Northern California. ever since that year when I first started fishing for summers. Deschutes guide John Hazel once looked through my box to pick out a fly for me to use, picked out a small Purple Flash, and a short time later I hooked and landed a nice bright fish--the only one of the day in my group.

As is typical for purple and dark flies, I especially like this fly at dusk.