Steelhead Fly of the week – Spawning Purple Spey - Step-by-step [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Steelhead Fly of the week – Spawning Purple Spey - Step-by-step

03-09-2007, 01:42 PM
This fly was invented by John Shewey in 1986. The fly was developed for winter fishing and grease-line fishing. The wing on this fly has a very unique leach like action that is very different from most other marabou-winged flies. It needs to be seen to be appreciated. Some care must be taken when selecting marabou for the wing of this fly in order for it to look and work correctly in the water. The best marabou for this fly should have long thin barbules with very even tips. Thick uneven barbules will make the fly look and work sloppy in the water.

Good marabou quill. (
Bad marabou quill. (
There are several versions of this fly but the one below is my favorite.

Tag: Flat gold tinsel
Body: Fluorescent red thread or floss
Wing: Purple marabou
Collar: Purple hackle then dyed orange guinea hen
Cheeks: Jungle cock (optional)
Head: Red

Start some fluorescent red thread on a spey style hook. (
Tie in some flat gold tinsel just above the hook point and wrap a short tag. ( (
Cover the hook shank heavily with the fluorescent red thread to about its mid point. This will be the back half of the fly’s body. (
Tie in some marabou fibers. They should extend to the bend of the hook. Clip off the excess and cover it with thread to about the thickness of the back portion of the body. (
Repeat the process with another clump making sure the tips are even with those of the first clump and work your way towards the eye of the hook. ( (

03-09-2007, 01:48 PM ( (

Stop the process leaving yourself room to tie in 2 hackles at the front of the fly. (
Tie in a long purple hackle and wind it folding the barbules back towards the hook point and tie it off. ( (
Tie in two jungle cock eyes on either side of the fly (this step is optional). ( (
Tie in a dyed orange guinea hen hackle and wind it the same way you did the purple hackle. (
Finish the head and give it several coats of head cement. (

03-09-2007, 02:45 PM

Some friends of mine have very fond memories of the effectiveness of this fly.

Personally, I prefer Dave McNeese's original Spawning Purple Spey, a true spey fly that is more difficult to tie than the stacked marabou wing Shewey uses.

Dble Haul
03-09-2007, 03:18 PM

Beautiful fly and pictures. What type of camera do you use?

03-09-2007, 05:37 PM
charlie -

I didnt think this was possible... but you've outdone YOURSELF!

Great fly, phenomenal photography and I feel like I could tie this fly from memory the next time I get to a vise because of the clarity of these steps.


03-10-2007, 11:17 PM
Thanks for these, Charlie. I hope you will do some more step-by-step builds. They are very helpful.



03-12-2007, 11:59 PM
Terrific work, Charlie_ A tip o' the hat to ya!

03-16-2007, 03:47 PM
Thanks gents, glad you all like the fly and step-by-step.


I have a Canon Digital Rebel. However, you could do this with most digital cameras. The big trick is getting the lighting correct. I have some florescent lights that I put next to the camera shining directly onto the fly.