Steelhead Fly of the week Springer Green [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Steelhead Fly of the week Springer Green

04-10-2007, 03:40 PM
The inventor of this fly is Walt Johnson, originally from Arlington, Washington. The fly was invented in the 1970s for spring fishing on tributaries of the Columbia..

Hook: Up eye salmon hook.
Tag: Flat silver tinsel and fluorescent green floss.
Tail: Toucan orange hackle barbs
Rib: Flat silver tinsel
Body: Rear half, greenish yellow yarn, front half, green yarn.
Collar: Toucan orange hackle.
Throat Barred wood duck.
Wing: White fox or rabbit hair.
Cheeks: Hackle tips dyed grass green.
Head: White

04-10-2007, 05:15 PM
Interesting pattern!

With their ocean diet being rich with candlefish, whose colors are primarily these it's a wonder I never put these colors to use on early run fish.

I shall have to try it.

04-10-2007, 10:09 PM

Notice how Walt put a cheek (or sides) of hackle fibers on this fly in the manner of using Kingfisher or Indian Crow. This is something he got from classic featherwing Atlantic Salmon flies. He put hackle fiber cheeks (or sides) on many of his flies after he met and got to know Syd Glasso and saw some of Syd's classic featherwings (Syd gave him a quite a few of them) when Syd fished the Stilly for Deer Creek fish after Syd's daughter moved to the Seattle area.

Don't know if you know this or not, but Glasso moved to Seattle after he retired from being the principle at the Forks, WA high school and lived in Seattle until his death. Glasso and Walt became good friends and often fished together. Unfortunately, I never got to know Glasso since he died before I moved the WA state. My very good friend Bob Arnold knew Glasso and counted Walt amongst his friends as well. Also, Alec Jackson knew Glasso very well (Alec has a good number of Glasso tied Glasso speys and classic featherwings in his home) too.

This fly was designed for fishing the SW Washington rivers in May for the "springer steelhead" of the Kalama, Washougal, and Lewis rivers. Arnold told me that Walt did this because he thought that the greens and yellow-greens of all the vegatation fit well with the use of a green or greenish-yellow fly. Walt also used this fly on the Stilly during May and very early June to good effect. In later years, he also put a few strands (3-4) of pearl of chartruese Krystal Flash in the wing to give it a bit of "twinkling sparkle".

This is a wonderfully composed fly by one of the master tyers and steelhead fly fisherman who helped establish the steelhead fly fishing tradition in Washington state. The steelhead fraternity had a great loss upon Walt's death several years ago.

04-13-2007, 05:59 PM
This is an amazing fly. I've never seen anything like it in regards to colors for steelhead. Usually steelhead flies seem a variation on a theme -- but this bug is truly unique.




04-13-2007, 07:08 PM
Charlie: That's a beautiful tie - and fly!

And thanks to flytier for the very nice story about the rich heritage of the fly and its place in Western steelhead-fishing history.

Charlie, I'm thinking that this one would excite a few Atlantic salmon on the GREEN :D rivers of the Gaspesie!

Give 'er a go and let us know how it does down east.

Jim Corrigan