ANATOMY AND PROPORTIONS
OF A STEELHEAD FLY
FLY TYING INSTRUCTION
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Proportions of a Steelhead Fly

ANATOMY OF A STEELHEAD FLY
(Parts and description of a steelhead fly)
When designing a steelhead fly there are always variations and many different categories. From simple designs to complex full dressed designs, there is not a single set of rules and this page is more of a cumulation of the most common steelhead fly patterns and historic references. When designing a steelhead fly, the proportions will make a difference in the appearance and profile that could affect the attractiveness to the fish. 

HOOK - There are a wide variety of steelhead fly hooks. Your choice of hooks will depend on the pattern and size requirements. Most steelhead hooks are made with heavy gage wire which are stronger and add extra weight.

TAG - The tag is usually aligned with the barb of the hook and wrapped forward to the point of the hook. Tags are often constructed with tinsel, but wire or floss are used with some patterns.

TAIL - Tails can be designed using a wide variety of materials from hair, feathers, ect... The tail could be straight or have and upward curvature as with golden pheasant crest feathers. Tail length will sometimes be determined by body length, but could also be measured according to the hook gap.

BUTT - Most often made with 3 or 4 wraps of peacock or ostrich herl. Can also be constructed with dubbing, misc...

RIBBING - Generally 5 wraps the length of the body. Can be constructed with wire, tinsel, floss, ect... The ribbing is generally tied in under the butt and wrapped forward after the body has been completed.

BODY- Starts from the butt of the fly and extends to the wing section. There is a wide variety of materials that could be used to construct the body, including tinsel, floss, yarn, dubbing, beads, ect...

BODY HACKLE - Body hackle generally follows the ribbing up the length of the body and palmered back towards the rear of the hook..

BEARD - Usually constructed using saddle hackle or schlappen and extends about half the hook length and is swept downward towards the rear of the hook. Beards are sometimes referred to the throat and then the throat would be called the front hackle or hackle veiling.

THROAT - Hackle wrapped in front of the beard using a complimentary color and should be distinguishable from the beard. Kingfisher blue guinea hackle feathers are often used for throat applications. 

UNDERWING - The underwings on a steelhead fly are usually constructed from hair with some flashabou mixed in.

WING - Hair wing patterns are most common because they are easier and faster to tie, but feather wing patterns are used often enough. Wedded wing patterns are seldom used on steelhead flies unless you like the artist touch and don't mind the extra time it takes to design them.

CHEEKS - Cheeks are usually optional on steelhead flies. Jungle cock nail feathers make excellent cheeks and it is said the fish can't resist them. Tippets and other feathers could also be used for cheeks.

TOPPING - Toppings are usually optional on steelhead flies. A golden pheasant crest feather can be used for a topping on feather wing flies, but most steelhead patterns keep the design more simple. While toppings are generally reserved for the Classic Atlantic Salmon Flies, for that extra touch of class there is nothing like adding a golden pheasant crest.

HEAD - Usually made with thread, keeping it small as possible with a smooth taper and varnished, but some patterns will use peacock herl, ostrich herl, yarn, ect...

As with anything related with fly tying there can be variants and artistic liberties. The parts of a steelhead fly anatomy listed above are a cumulation of common patterns, but not an exact blue print. There is no law that says you have to have a tail or any other part as listed above to be considered a steelhead fly. Then you also have spey flies and such that are considered steelhead flies, but in a category of their own.


ANATOMY OF A TROUT FLY
Parts and description of a trout fly.

ANATOMY OF A CLASSIC SALMON FLY
Parts and description of a Classic Salmon fly.

ANATOMY OF A FLY TYING HOOK
Parts and description of a fly tying hook.

ANATOMY OF A FEATHER
Anatomy of a fly tying feather

FLY TYING INSTRUCTION
http://www.flytyinginstruction.com
Fly tying equipment and materials
reference guide. Learn how to tie
flies for fishing and display.

ANATOMY AND PROPORTIONS
OF A STEELHEAD FLY