Ally's Shrimp [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Ally's Shrimp

06-04-2007, 08:09 AM
While reading an article in an old ASA Journal, about Ally's Shrimp, by Alastair Gowans I got to wondering. He only developed the fly in the early 80s, yet it has taken hold in most all of Europe and Russia. In fact this fly has accounted for many fish on the Kola and perhaps is one of the most popular flies presently fished there along with other bright patterns like the mickey fin and GPs.

Has this fly lived up to its European reputation in the Gaspe? Alastair claimed that he introduced it to Warren Duncan while he fished with him in Scotland, and Warren used it successfully in New Brunswick. But I have never seen it being displayed in any fly shops on the Gaspe. They claim that orange is a good fall color in Canada, yet it Russia or Europe it is fished throughout the season.

Any comments? I ask because it is a completely different silhouette than most all other wets being used and some of us are lead to believe that a different offering often brings strikes from a reluctant fish.

Also, this board is morphing while the "salar" is on route to many of our rivers. We all are obviously readying to meet him, getting our lines, tackle, reservations and tying our favorite patterns. Could Ally's shrimp patterns be the ticket for much success on the various Gaspe rivers?

06-04-2007, 10:25 AM
It is my feeling that old habits die hard on the Miramichi in New Brunswick. I have see Ally's Shrimp used up there -- especially in the fall when larger flies are the norm -- but the preference is still for the Green Machine and other "Bugs" in small sizes in the summer. There is no denying that the Bugs consistently produce, so why change?

Personally, I like to be a little different, so I always start off fishing patterns different from the local favorites. When, however, I see others catching fish and I am not, I go back to the bugs.

I will be up there to fish for a week starting on July 2 and suspect the pattern (pun intended) will not change.

06-04-2007, 03:19 PM

Interestingly, a very similar thing has occurred here in the PNW steelhead rivers. The Ally's Shrimp in orange, purple, orange & hot pink, Red & Blue, and Cut Silk (purple w/pearl tinsel body) are very effective for both winter and summer steelhead; however, you don't see them used by very many out on the river, which is somewhat surprising since the General Practitioner is used quite a lot.

Some of this I think can be attributed to the vast majority of fly tyers not having learned how to tie body veils and flatter, non-knife edge GP tippet wings. Plus the Ally's Shrimp takes more time to tie due to having more tying steps than hairwing wets. I also think (like Smolt) that tradition and an unwillingness to try something new is at work too.

Nonetheless, I always have them in my boxes summer and winter.

Jerome F Molloy
06-04-2007, 03:58 PM
I have been a fan of the Allys since I first heard of them.Around 2002 I started playing with some of the other colours and came up with a variant of the yellow one in which I swapped out the silver rear half of the body and replaced it with Flourescent
green wool,also the tippitts I dyed scarlet and used dyed yellow squirrel. Heres a very happy Gary The Leader Man Selig in early June on the York.
and heres my version of the fly
Since that time I have discovered a couple of other shrimp flies that have served me well on the Miramichi, early season fishing, as well on other rivers.
First is the NessC from Scotland
and second is the Kylie Variant
The shrimp fly is worth note and a very valuable resource for patterns can be found in Chris Mann/Robert Gillespie,s book titled Shrimp and Spey Flies for Salmon and Steelhead.. Its a compliation of this style used through out Salmon n Steelhead range.
Off to the Causapscal on Monday n Tuesday n then a few days on the Matapedia.

Happy Fishing

06-04-2007, 04:27 PM
Smolt, I agree that old habits "die hard on the Miramichi". My experience there is very limited but I do remember not being that impressed with many of the anglers fishing the popular pools.

Old habits also die hard in Europe yet the Ally shrimp took hold there quite quickly. Perhaps this is due to the demographics. Most European salmon fisherman are quite wealthy and perhaps think compared to those fishing in the public waters of New Brunswick. I'll probably get some heat for that statement.

Fly Tyer, I dont think its about the difficulty factor. The GP is quite a difficult fly to tye as compared to Ally's shrimp. I think its more due to the "mold breaking issue. I'm going to try to break that mold this year, because I am sick and tired of swinging a green butt or Rusty Rat around.

Jerome.....I learned about the Ally shrimp back in 1993 on the Kharlovfka on the Kola. I never heard of it until I was up there. Seemed like every Scotsman, Brit, and French angler had boxes filled with them. That was only 10 years after Alistair first tied and fished it. It became extremely popular in Europe very quickly. Many variants have been developed....even by Alistair. Reds, Oranges, Yellows, Greens, and blacks.

One thing was for sure up on the Kharlovfka. During early season when the water was cold and high, the fish took long as it was the right size. But it seemed like the Ally Shrimp accounted for most of the fish that first year.

06-04-2007, 08:06 PM
Hey, who's that fat man holding on to The Leader Man's silver bullet?

Good to see that photo is still around. Epic battle.

The UK guys do love those small shrimp flies. Another one is the Pot Belly Pig, or PBP.

Similar style, just with eyes on top and boars hair whiskers. I'm going to try a new one this year called a NessC (Ness Castle) given to me by a friend. Should work. If not, there's always a white muddler.


06-04-2007, 10:11 PM

I'm not going to give you heat for your comment, but I feel compelled to say that, contrary to your experience, I have been and continue to be impressed with the "locals" who fish the Miramichi, at least in the Blackville-Doaktown area. They seem to know the water they fish, can cast with the best, and have been both friendly and courteous to me.

I haven't hob nobbed with wealthy European salmon fihsermen, so I can't comment on their state of mind regarding breaking with tradition or trying new approaches. You may, however, be correct about the difference in economic status having an effect on one's willingness to try new flies. It may be that one has a greater tendency to stick with what is working when trying a new pattern may cost money that would be better spent elsewhere.

Just my $0.02

06-05-2007, 05:22 AM
Hi Smolt,

Thanks for taking my statement without giving me the heat. It was just a thought. I do not put one demographic higher than the other. I was rather trying to look at both objectively as far the style in which they fish.

My experience on the Miramichi is very limited. I fished it for about three days many years ago and experienced a completely different style of fishing than any other rivers I had fished. It appeared that the local fisherman would fish the popular "runs" before going to work in the morning. I was taken to these "runs" by an a guide (legally I had to have a guide to fish the river), where all his friends used buck bugs and rotated the run very slowly. All of a sudden three or four grilse were landed all within a 15 minute span and then it was all over.

I wound up leaving for the Matapedia and Matane after landing a few grilse because it just was not my scene. I am sure that a lot of the Miramichi system does not reflect this style of fishing but I had no access to the other stretches.

Wilson......great looking flies. I mean really great. Perhaps you would be so kind as to list the pattern.....and ingredients as I would love to tie some up. Thanks for sharing them with us.

Jerome F Molloy
06-05-2007, 05:34 AM
Chris those are good looking PBP,s The pattern has been making quite a stir for sure.
I have yet to try some tho I will give a go sometime this season.
Are you on the Gaspe this June?

06-05-2007, 02:08 PM

I agree wholeheartedly that the GP takes more skill and a lot more time to tie than an Ally's Shrimp. However, the vast majority of GP's I see in use out here in the PNW are bastard ties that don't use all the body segments and GP breast feathers. They are typically tied with the bucktail tail; a bit of body; then the GP split tippet eye; followed by the rest of the body, rib, and hackle; finally they are finished with a pair of GP breast feathers tied flat as a wing.

Eventhough they are called GP's, as you can see, they are greatly simplified (and I don't think nearly as effective as a properly tied one with all the body segments and GP breast feather intermediate wings). I even see folks using flies they call GP's that have a bucktail tail, short body, marabou tied spider style, and one of two GP breast feathers tied flat over the marabou at the front of the hook (these I don't even consider to be GP's, but the folks who use them do).

Also, the Ally's Shimps I've seen offered by the various offshore fly operations are not very well tied and often eliminate the squirrel tail body veiling. This means the shops would have to get local folks who have the tying skills tie them, and this would mean the shops would have to both pay more to get them tied and charge more for them than the typical assortment of offshore fly operation flies usually stocked sell for. Thus, there aren't many shops carrying them here in the PNW.

I do agree that the novelty (or mold breaking as you call it) of a different looking fly is also at work.

06-05-2007, 05:35 PM
Don't think for a minute those are my pigs. I had a link in there and Juro did some housekeeping on me. I'd like to try some but all I have a gifted NessC to chuck at them ;-)

I leave Wednesday morning for the peninsula and will be in roam mode. I'd like to catch up on the Matapedia (sent you an email) if you're there. Causupscal should have fish.

I'm fibulatin' just thinking about getting my fly in the water.


06-07-2007, 11:00 AM
Last year, for my trip to the Kola, my plan was to have Ron Sutherland of Helmsdale, Scotland send me his "Kola set" which did not include the classical Ally's shrimp pattern but did include a temple dog that was obviously patterned after the Ally's shrimp. This "Kola set" was made up of individual flies of Ron's making and recommendation. Further to my plan as I could see time was a wastin, was to not even attempt to tie the Ally's shrimp but rather to have Ron tie these up for me. Instead, Ron advised I get with Ally's cascade shrimp which was an even more recent pattern and apparently in Ron's opinion, worked better. As to results, I believe the green butt was the best pattern for the week. However, very close behind it were the cascade shrimp and my copy of Ally's shrimp temple dog even tho I was never really satisfied with the look of my copies of Ron's temple dog from the Kola set. I would suggest anyone to contact Ron for both shrimp patterns at You might also want to look at flies from Kola Flies at, particularly the Mediator pattern.

06-07-2007, 12:10 PM
I'm a very big believer in fishing drastically different flies than the norm. I'm always trying to un-match the hatch. My favorite fly is a 3-4" yellow streamer that resembles absolutely nothing but consistently catches big fish. Last week on Grand Lake Stream all 15 salmon I landed were 17"+, with a few over 20. I lost many more including a monster that was probably 25".

06-07-2007, 03:15 PM
The yellow maribou streamer is one of my oldest secret weapons in Maine, it will catch pickerel,bass and most fish that prey. It works well on trout. it looks like a small perch for the bass and pickerel, and can look like any fish in distress.

The alley shrimp ( my version I call the "Floyd shrimp") has taken about half the atlantic salmon I have taken worldwide. This includes Newfoundland, Labrador, Iceland, Kola Pen., and of course in Newbrunswick. I have used it in the tube fly version, large singles and doubles, to low water versions. In the Fall on the Miramichi, I literally have 2 boxes with just this fly in all its manifestations.

Tight Lines,

Jim Y

PS: Off to Restigouche June 17-24, followed by 3 days on Miramichi, should be prime!