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pastortd 09-30-2003 10:49 AM

Winter's Hope

DFix 09-30-2003 11:12 AM


Philster 09-30-2003 02:46 PM

Is that an olive GP crest?

pastortd 09-30-2003 02:54 PM


Originally posted by Philster
Is that an olive GP crest?
No, it's natural. There seems to be some discrepancy in pattern recipes between crest, calftail, and colours. Might be interesting to find out what the "original" was!

fredaevans 09-30-2003 03:05 PM

Down memory lane!
For many years this was my main 'go-to' fly for winter steelhead. I think I got the orig. pattern from Trey Combs first book on steelhead fishing.

Philster 09-30-2003 03:32 PM

It's a beautiful tie. I really like the ribbing. I never rib my silver flies, but everytime I see one with ribbing it always strikes me as one of the most elegant bodies out there. Per early writtings, including recipe in his "dry line" book it was golden olive bucktail. Never did say why he chose bucktail as a material. Love the blue and purple hackle. It looks like neon underwater.

Stu Farnham 09-30-2003 06:27 PM

Bill McMillan's pattern
Thomas, since you asked about the original pattern:

The Winter's Hope was developed by Bill McMillan of Washougal, WA. In his excellent book "Dry Line Steelhead", McMillan offers the following recipe (reproduced verbatim):

Thread: Burgundy 6/0 prewax
Body: Wide silver mylar
Hackle: Turquoise, long and weepy
Forehackle: Purple, long and weepy
Wing: Two deep orange hackle tips enclosing 2 yellow hackle tips (or pale orange)
Topping: Several strands of olive calf tail
Hook: 3/0 - 6/0 Partridge Std. Salmon

As the name suggests, McMillan developed this pattern for the cold water and high floes of winter in the Pacific Northwest, hence the large & heavy hook. He says that he tried a hairwing variaition but found that the hackle tips gave the fly more movement.

You can find color photos of the Winter's Hope and other of McMillan's patterns, tied by him, in Dick Stewart's & Farrow Allen's "Flies for Steelhead".


Steelheader69 09-30-2003 07:23 PM

Beautiful fly. Inspires me to tie up some more now. LOL. But too bad mine didn't look like that. Love using those hooks. May have to try that instead of the standard salmon hooks.

flytyer 09-30-2003 09:01 PM


As usual of your flies, a very nicely tied fly.

To answer the question of why McMillan used yellow-olive calf instead of G.P. crest, it was because at the time he originated the fly, he had not learned how to straighten crest feathers or how to tie them in so that they stay on top of the wing. The yellow-olive calf is pretty close to G.P. crest in color and yellow-olive Veniard's dye was readily available for McMillan to use. There is no reason not to use a crest feather as a topping.


Not only does oval tinsel ribbing (usually silver but some flies use gold) over flat silver tinsel look elegant, it serves the very practical purpose of protecting the flat tinsel from getting torn apart; thus the fly lasts longer.

Folks, the torquoise listed in the original pattern recipe is what people on the west coast now call "Kingfisher Blue", and people on the east coast call "Silver Doctor Blue", a bright, light blue. In other words, the exact color that Pastortd used on the fly he pictured.

roballen 09-30-2003 09:07 PM

Stu is correct
In regards to the hook. to get the true intent of the pattern it needs to be tied on a large heavy wire hook 2/0 for shallow tail outs annd up to 5/0 for other locations depending on depth and speed. The commercialy available ones tied on 2's totally defeat the purpose.. This fly is designed to be fished on the swing with a floating line. The hook needs to be large and heavy.. Also the olive Bill used was not really olive but a drab yellowish green not a dark olive. I know he always had a difficult time finding the proper Olive calftail to suit his need for that fly and the Washougal Olive

BCOrchidGuy 10-01-2003 12:56 AM

I'm really new at tying spey flies so I need to ask, the hackle and the forehackle, are they schlappen hackle or something else... sorry if it's a dumb question but, I need to ask.


pastortd 10-01-2003 01:08 AM


Originally posted by roballen
2's totally defeat the purpose.
Och, I don't know. I've caught steelhead on #6 WHs! They actually work pretty well in a variety of sizes. Hmmm... don't know how much success I've had with larger ones come to think of it!

Doug - the hackle is from a rooster cape specially designed for SW flies. (I didn't want to plug a non-sponsor, so being careful what I say here.) They are nice because they have well rounded tips for the wings and long fibres for the hackle. You can use schlappen or Chinese hackle or whatever you find that is the right length. I like the shinier feathers (not much barb like schlappen has) because it makes the colours more vibrant in the water IMHO. That's just personal preference, though.

Thanks to the crew for the hair/GP crest info. Must say I like the way the crest curves with the feather and complements the hook bend.

Steelheader69 10-01-2003 01:26 AM

I think what was meant
Was that the flies true form is to be tied on large hooks. I have Bill McMillan's book, and he suggests them be tied on 1/0-5/0 partridge hooks. So, that's the designers method of tying them. BUT, and it's a REALLY BIG BUT. You can tie them anyway you want, and they will catch fish. What Bill's thoughts were was using a floating line in rivers where most guys would be dredging with heavy sinktips and huge bushy flies. This way he has a sparsely tied fly on a heavy hook that sunk it for him (per his book). I understand the method.

I myself, think they look really good smaller sized. But have not had a chance to really use them. Have tied them, but not use them. May give them a shot this winter if my shoulder feels up to it.

Don't think they were knocking you. You tie a super gorgeous fly. I'm always in awe when I see what you bring out. I just think they were bringing up the true intent of the fly in question. At least the intent Bill had when he published his dry line steelheading book. Not sure what he thinks today, since I don't know him.

BCOrchidGuy 10-01-2003 01:26 AM

Thanks Pastortd, I tried it with schlappen and it's way to webby, think I'll try it tomorrow with some Spey ( or... add $2 and remove 50% of the package) hackle...or go out tomorrow and buy some more stuff....


striblue 10-01-2003 06:31 AM

I agree with Fix's word... Bueatiful!

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