Posts Tagged ‘Spruce Fly


Spruced up….

A variation of the streamer fly pattern called a Spruce Fly…

spruce fly-SwitterB-macro-fly pattern


Sprucing Things Up……….

This coming year, I intend to Spruce things up more. To start, while searching the depths of streams, rivers and lakes, I intend to use the Spruce fly and other streamer/baitfish patterns more than I have. Of course, the Woolly Bugger complies with this intention to some degree, but even then I don’t use it as a baitfish imitation (in my mind’s eye). 

spruce fly ™ SwittersB

Spruce Fly

This is not an advocacy piece. It seems many fly fishers often use streamer/baitfish patterns. I seem to have some how never fully committed to their use. I have tied sculpin patterns, Muddler Minnows, Spruce flies, Matuka’s and assorted concoctions of rabbit and such for Bass. But, they are always a side experiment.

I suppose if I was searching for Brown’s I would more often use such patterns. But I don’t come across Brown Trout that much. But, the biggest Trout I have ever caught (13#, Central Oregon lake, 1995) came to a Spruce Fly. I have made this commitment several times over the years, but somehow fail to follow through.

Don’t try to figure out the photo. I am not sure why my son staged the fly with an old silver bracelet. But, there’s the Spruce Fly he tied.


Stripping Streamers…Impart Life

Erratic stripping of a streamer pattern,whether on a river or lake rarely fails to produce a strike. The streamer pattern could be swung cross current on a river or trolled at a uniform speed on a lake. The addition of jerks, pulses, pauses and streaks in the presentation will lend more life to the presentation, beyond a swinging or trolling fly.


Fly Fishing: Attractor Fly (Loosen Up, Experiment)

Standing Out by David Smith

Match, Match, Match: size, color, shape, actions. The majority of your fly tying and presentation will be to match the stage of an insect or fish food source. As a beginning fly fisher you strive for success, for certainty. You will have little patience for far afield experimentation. When you read that article or go into that shop you are looking for answers, specifics that hone into the magic bullet.

But, yes the but, attractor patterns are often touted as something to break up the routine in the fish’s life. Something that stands out, provokes a response. With attractor patterns, be they nymphs, emergers, dries or streamers there are colors, size, wiggle factors that stand out. I don’t have a serious opinion by virtue of not having a lot of attractor patterns. I have had the same Humpy’s, Royal Coachman’s, Spruce Fly’s for years. They have worked on rivers and streams. There are quite a few out there now. I too have to pause and consider a change up to an attractor pattern. It is a psychological exercise to give up on the matching game unless you are just done trying to figure it out and say ‘what the hell do I have to lose. I’m not doing squat anyway.’ 

For the last few years you read more about the dry + dropper (hopper/dropper) combo. That dry sometimes is a large attractor style pattern that acts as a strike indicator and might just take a fish. Other wise I fish attractors in pocket water, seams, skitter them on a lakes surface. I experiment and provoke and have fun. Last resort or maybe just some relaxing experimentation behind that boulder or in under those trees. Think of them as fun.

Red Humpy (Round Rocks)

Spruce Fly ~ Tony Muncy (SwittersB)


Fly Tying: Spruce Fly Streamer (Matching the Wings)

I posted re this pattern a year or so ago (6-19-08). This pattern accounted for a large rainbow from a Central Oregon lake on a cold, windy day. I couldn’t launch with the winds, so I walked the shoreline, getting out the best cast I could, letting the Intermediate line sink, then strip back with moderately fast strips of 6″ or so. The fly seems more attractor that bait fish. The paired wing (hackles) if paired and tied in correctly, will provide a flexing of the wing and suggest life.

Traditionally, the tail on this pattern is tied with peacock swords (shorter, more vivid colors). I used  red hackle barbs from a Schlappen feather. I used red floss (can use silk or tri-lobal/1 strand) for the body. The tedious part for me is wrapping a tapered body. I wrap the body up and then part way back up and this creates a somewhat tapered body. I did not rib this pattern. The thorax is comprised of good quality peacock herl. I tie in 2 herls. I wrap the two herls to create a nice plump thorax. Do not crowd the eye of the hook. You have to leave space for the wings to be tied in as well as a hackle collar.

Now the important part is matching the Badger wings. The lesser used Badger hackle is used. The tier wants to select two feathers on the cape that are side by side to assist in matching the length. Take the two feathers  and match them for shape and curvature first. Equality is important here. Align the two feathers by starting at the tip then make sure they match progressing toward the butt.

Each feather has as a dark side (top) and a light side. Each feather has a slight curve (concave-bottom). To pair the feathers place the two feathers dark side/convex side together. Measure the feathers for length with the feathers not extending beyond the tail. Now lay the paired feathers along the top of the shank and at a point at least a hook eye’s width back from the eye.  The butt sections will extend out over the eye. Eye the tie in point and snip off the excess butt sections. Tie in the paired wing feathers, but make sure they don’t rotate and misalign here. Tie in, inspect, unwind and straighten them up if necessary until you get it right because this is the important part of the pattern….the correct alignment allows for correct movement.

Next tie in a larger Badger hackle with longer, webby barbs. Wrap the hackle 2 times. Trim the excess. Create a nice thread head to cover the materials. Add head cement if it suits you. If you study capes, you will see Silver Badger hackle suggested for the wing and collar. Furnace hackle is more common and just as good as the harder to find Silver. Don’t put on a bead head. If you weight it (I never have), then wrap a weighted underbody at the thorax area and then over wrap with the peacock

Hook: Sizes 6, 8, 10 on a 3x long streamer hook of your choice.


Spruce Fly Streamer

Spruce Fly~T.Muncy (Tier/Photo)

Spruce Fly~T.Muncy (Tier/Photo)

Spruce Goose

Spruce Goose


Spruce it up (Streamer Fly)

The largest rainbow trout I have ever brought to net was a thirteen pound behemoth ( that attacked the Spruce Fly at a Central Oregon lake. I have found streamer use to be a personal preference point. All manner of streamers, some looking to be exact creations of baby rainbows, brook, browns or tui chubs and others, like the Spruce Fly or Mickey Finn, appearing to be more of an exciter or stimulant fly. As always, presentation of the fly may be the key. At Central Oregon’s Hosmer Lake, one can see flyfishers stripping white, pink or orange streamers to Brook Trout and Atlantic Salmon on cold October mornings. The flies represent, by their appearance, nothing in that lake (no not a crayfish) and the presentation is the key. An exciter/stimulating stripping action suitable for Trevally at the edge of the flats. So, the Spruce Fly works great at that moment when big browns, char or rainbows are on the hunt. Sizes 2, 4 and 6 on a 3x long hook are appropriate. Also, the wing placement is the key to this fly. They should not extend to far back and should be splayed (curved side out to gain that affect). Tie it and try it when stripping streamers to the big ones! Fly tied by Tony Muncy at a flytying expo a few years ago. Fortunately, he tied plenty to share while preparing/practicing for the show and during the show.   


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June 2020

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