Spey flies

Spey flies

Viking Lars | Saturday, 17 November 2018

Classic salmon are things of great beauty, history and tradition, all of which I love and have a great interest in. I love flies with history, which is one of the reasons I have a great interest in the North Country style of trout flies, which I’ve written about many times.

Classic salmon flies are equally interesting and share the same, long history. They certainly hold beauty and the fact that they are so difficult to tie add its own air of exclusivity.


But amongst the classic salmon flies, I have a special interest in the Spey and Dee flies. They are tied with simple, easy to obtain materials and when tied correctly, they fish extremely well. And they hold their own beauty, not in the splendour of feathers from rare, extinct birds, but in their slender design and simple constructions. 


90% of such flies are actually relatively easy to tie, and then comes the defining wing. Set low over the shank, either the roof shaped brown mallard wing, characteristic of the Spey flies or the strip wings of for instance turkey, characteristic of the Dee flies. They are just hard to tie well. That means that on a properly tied Spey or Dee fly, there’s no hiding.


I’m far from an expert in tying these, I can tie a good one, but the wing often takes a few attempts. Which makes it even more humbling to watch the really good tiers. For instance, my friend Håkan Karsnäser from Sweden, who ties these wings on like the rest of if tie on a simple hair wing. Håkan is one of the best, and most productive, fly tiers I know and his Spey flies are exquisite to the point of perfection. Håkan tied (and photographed) the one in the PoD.


If you’re looking for a winter project, why not tie up a batch of Grey Herons, Carrons, Glentanas or... They are excellent low water flies that have caught salmon for 150 years or more.


Have a great weekend,