Style conversion

Style conversion

Viking Lars | Saturday, 29 February 2020

Norway is a country with a deep and fascinating fly fishing tradition and hundreds and hundreds of “indigenous” flies. Dries, wets, salmon flies and sea trout flies. Although Norway is known mostly for the majestic salmon rivers, there are rivers with runs of sea trout and earlier many more rivers had very prolific runs of sea trout, and big ones too. It was common to fish salmon during the day and then target sea trout for an hour of so in the dusk.

The sea trout fishing tradition in Norway is interesting as it is (and was) common to use quite small flies and lighter tackle and many of the dedicated sea trout flies are what would know elsewhere as a wetfly. As many wet flies go, most of these patterns are relatively simple of often quite beautiful. Many of the traditional British wet flies were in common use too.

The runs of sea trout have unfortunately declined on many rivers and generally I think that very few target sea trout now a days. I know there are rivers that still have runs and I know that there are rivers where work is being done to help the sea trout population.

Of the many Norwegian sea trout flies, I think one of the most famous, and certainly most beautiful, is the Heggeli. The original is a simple wetfly:

Hook: Wetfly, #6-12.

Thread: Black.

Tail: Golden pheasant tippet.

Rib: Oval silver tinsel.

Body: Flat silver tinsel.
Front hackle: Game red.

Wing: Brown mallard.
Cheeks: Jungle cock eyes.

I did an FP on a conversion from wet to spey with a Dunkeld in November last year. I kept everything more or less original, only changing the style to a spey-style. My friend from Sweden, Håkan Karsnäser, who’s an outstanding fly tier, just did a conversion of that old, Norwegian classic, the Heggeli, to a spey-style Heggeli. I noticed it this morning and it prompted this FP. And I just love it and now I know what I’ll be tying this afternoon. Our Danish salmon rivers often run with a brownish colour, so I’m going to tie some variants with a gold tinsel body. Håkan kept everything original, excapt the hackle, which he changed to a ringneck pheasant rump hackle to give it a spey-style hackle.

I quickly sent a message to Håkan, asking if I could use the fly and photo today, and so, he fly in the PoD is tied and photographed by Håkan “The Mighty Swede” Karsnäser.

Have a great weekend!