Article Written for Foxy-Tails by: Steven Osborne
These days, to call these salmon flies ‘Temple Dogs’ is doing them a great injustice. In fact, the name Temple Dog is a misnomer as the days when they contained hair taken from a Shih-Tzu dog are, thankfully, long behind us. Today, as tiers, we have available to us: hair from the super soft Marble Fox; the long and highly mobile Silver Fox; supple Cashmere Goat and an ever increasing range of pelt materials emanating from Europe. All of these materials will create flies with unparalleled levels of movement and mobility.
At shows, in the Foxy-Tails shop and on the river bank when fishing, I am often shown or handed flies and told by the disgruntled owner that these Scandinavian style flies are just not effective for UK run fish. Most of the time I am not surprised that they haven’t been working effectively as they have been far too heavily dressed – usually there is so much material tied into the flies that they would have been ‘dead’ in the water – quite simply robbed of what would make them enticing in the first place.
Personally, my stance on this is to keep the fly as light as possible and if I can’t see through the wing materials (translucency) then there is a very good chance it’s been overdressed. However, I must stress that not all the flies I see are like this, sometimes it’s quite simply the wrong fly in the wrong place or a fly used in the wrong river conditions. Put simply you need water (or better put as water flow) – these are not flies suitable for the low water levels of a UK summer. Currents act on the wing bringing the high mobility materials in to play. They flick and dance and come alive.
With any chosen fly on the day there can never be guarantees. A fly tied in the Scandinavian Style will never be a panacea to catching a Salmon and they are certainly not suitable for every situation. But, if the water conditions are favourable for their use then I personally believe they are almost unbeatable in their fish catching potential. Besides, thousands of Scandinavian fly fisherman who chase salmon effectively with these flies can’t be wrong can they?
Tying the Willie Gunn Salmon Pattern in Scandinavian Style
Quite a long step-by-step (SBS) but I wanted to make it as easy to follow as possible.
Step 1: We are going to start with FutureFly 1.8mm Inner and 3.0mm Outer plastic tubing in black.
Step 2: Assemble the tubing onto the needle allowing room in the back of the outer tubing to accept a hook.
Step 3: Tie in small oval gold tinsel at the front of the tube (underneath) and wrap down in open turns to where the first tag will be.
Step 4: Apply 4 turns of oval tinsel, tie off under the tube and remove waste material.
Step 5: Tie in yellow Fl-Fibre for the tail on top of the tube and tie tight to the oval tinsel tag to ‘kick’ the tail up.
Step 6: Cut the Fl-Fibre tail at an angle.
Step 7: Tie in medium oval gold tinsel and holographic gold flat braid underneath the tube.
Step 8: Advance the thread forwards to where the end of the rear body section will be.
Step 9: Apply FutureFly Antique Gold Dubbing generously to the remaining area of the outer tube.
Step 10: Apply 2-3 turns of yellow soft hackle and tie down.
Step 11. Apply the yellow fox wing layer to just short of the Fl-Fibre tail. Ensure the wing forms a ‘delta’ shape.
Step 12: Apply 2-3 turns of hot orange soft hackle over the wing tie in point before
Step 13: Apply the hot orange Marble Fox wing layer slightly longer than the first yellow wing to start building the ‘tear drop’.
Step 14: Apply 2-3 turns of black soft hackle over the wing tie in point before
Step 15: Apply the final black wing layer of Black Silver Fox, again slightly longer than the layer beneath.
Step 16: Add Jungle Cock eyes (or substitute) and a small black FutureFly 4mm Hybrid Cone to complete the nose of the fly.
Have fun and enjoy experimenting and without doubt you will find many methods of your own.
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