Distributer of fine fly fishing tackle for the discerning angler. I specialize in rare and hard to find cottage industry products of the highest quality.

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To place an order or query, please email me at Erik.helm1@gmail.com

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Hairwing Flies for Salmon and Steelhead

Hand tied hairwing flies for steelhead and salmon

Traditional flies for steelhead and salmon are becoming increasingly hard to find in flyshops and catalogues. They have been over-shadowed by more modern creations using stinger hooks. Traditional flies allow us to offer a bit of art to honor the fish we pursue, and thus I am happy to offer these creations to the public. Whether your destination is the Deschutes, Grande Ronde, or the Matapedia or Restigouche, these flies will look great gracing the end of your tippit. They also are proven fish-catchers.

My philosophy as a fly tier is to seek consistancy and perfection, and innovative design and coloration, while paying homage to the foundation of classic and traditional flies. I offer both commercial and historical patterns, as well as my own creations. In many cases these flies have been fished extensively for anadromous fish, and the results and experiences/learning incorporated into my technique and design. In the end, I try to come close to the high standards set by the late tier Warren Duncan, which will be a life-time pursuit.

I tie each of these flies by hand locally. No overseas production. In most cases, the bodies are spun from merino wool that I have dyed myself. I blend commercially available dyes to achieve what I consider the proper coloration for each fly. Wings are tied with either squirrel-tail, African goat fur, or black bear fur. The heads are triple coated with a special sealant, laquer, and gloss coat. The hooks used are the tiemco 7999 heavy wire salmon single. Custom hook orders and sizes are welcomed. Please inquire if you desire the flies tied on salmon doubles, or a different hook. Some of the flies are reduced patterns of featherwing atlantic salmon flies, and in this case, jungle cock, Barred wood duck, and other costly feathers are eliminated. This is a traditional way of making the flies available without adding additional cost. If you desire a more full-dress version including jungle cock, please enquire.

Hand dyed wool for bodies

Flies can be tied low-water style at no additional charge. Low-water refers to, for example, a size 4 dressing on a size 2 hook.

The patterns listed are a sample set of the most effective I have found that are not often widely available. Other patterns can be tied as well. Custom orders are welcome. These flies are designed to be fished. However, they are as close to true collector quality as you will find in this price range. I keep the head size as small as possible while practical. The golden pheasant crests used as tails may not be up to standard as true presentation flies. GP crest is rather difficult to come by in quality.

These flies are a bit more expensive than many offered by outfitters, but one pays for quality. Pride in the fly and confidence pay off. Just compare two commercially tied blue charms. Mine is on the top. My flies are also durably crafted and correctly porportioned.

All orders are shipped in a wooden box for presentation.

Standard Sizes are 4, 2, and 1/0. Other hook sizes are available as well. I have irons in stock in sizes 2/0-1/0-2-4-6-8-10 and 12.

Each half-dozen order consists of a single pattern. However, sizes may vary within a set.

Example: One half-dozen blue charms, two size 1/0, two size 2, and two size 4.
Minimum order is one half-dozen.

Price ‘A’: Half dozen sets are $35.99

Price ‘B’: Half dozen sets are $42.99

Price ‘C’: Half dozen sets are $49.99

Price ‘D’: Half dozen sets are $69.99

Wisconsin residents add 5.6% sales tax

Shipping to con US is $4.00

At this time I accept USPS money orders only. Payment must be received before the order will ship.

Please allow four weeks for delivery on standard orders. Custom or large orders may take longer. I will provide a time-frame in such a case.


Some personal thoughts on hairwing flies for salmon and steelhead:

To most people there exists a division between which patterns are fished for the two species. A green-butt skunk is used for steelhead, while a rusty rat is used for salmon. I have found that Atlantic Salmon flies will work quite well for steelhead, especially when the water is clear or slightly off-color.  In the past several years I have 'thought outside the box' and integrated salmon hairwings and even married wing salmon flies into my steelhead fly selection when appropriate. In general, these hairwing patterns are summer flies as far as steelhead are concerned. However, I have fished them in water as cold as 39 degrees on a floating line and hooked and landed steelhead in late fall and spring. The joy of presenting a pretty fly, and the resulting grabs, pulls, and fish to hand have added a new dimention to this sport for me. Swinging a fly is like an offering or a little prayer sent across the river in hopes of a bright connecrtion to natures forces. Make that connection piece a bit of art. Art made from fur and feather.

Sample production flies:

The original Skunk
This pattern is a solid producer in clearer water conditions. The body is of peacock herl.
Price code A

The Gold Demon
Popularized by Zane Gray, the Gold Demon is a solid all-around producer, especially in slighty dirty water or when one feels the need to move the fish to the fly.
Price code A

The Governor

The Governor is a pattern of storied history in both the UK and the US. An adaption of the Coachman, it is a good low-light and low-water fly in clear water.
Price code A

Bloody Baitfish
The Bloody Baitfish was originated by myself in 2009 in response to baitfish loving steelhead and brown trout on the Great Lakes tributaries. It shows up well in off-color water.

Price code A

The Yellow-Butt Blackbear
This fly is a more subtle version of the Blackbear-Green Butt, and has proved itself a worthy fly for spooky fish in clearer water.
Price code A

The Spring Sunrise

This fly was designed by myself as a bright but more natural pattern that shows up under a variety of light and water conditions. The fly glows in the water with its orange and yellow hackle.

Price code A

The Black Max
A varient on the Max Canyon by John Shewey, the Black Max is a fine fly for clear water when one wishes to present a buggy and natural looking pattern with a bit of subtle calling power.
Price code A

The Prismatic

The Prismatic is a steelhead fly of my design that has a lot of color and glow. The purple wool and peacock herl body, orange and purple hackle and white wings show up well in the water.
Price code A

The First Course is an original pattern of my own inspired by a wine, cheese, and olive dish served at Italian feasts. The claret hackle and purple wool body with peacock herl, and the yellow tag make it an ideal fly for clearer water when one wishes to present a more natural colored offering to the fish.

Price code B


The Springer
I devised this pattern as an adaption of the other green and yellow flies popular for spring run salmon. The body is green wool followed by peacock herl. It shows up well under a variety of light and water conditions.
Price code A

The Blue Charm

The Blue Charm is a traditional fly for both salmon and steelhead. It shows up well in both clear and slightly cloudy water. This fly has accounted for more salmon to hand than most any other. It is also a personal favorite for summer-run steelhead.

Price code B

The Orange Blossom
This fly was designed for the Matapedia by Carmelle Bigaoutte.
It is an excellent spring fly for salmon and a great all-around fly for slightly off-color water for steelhead as well.

Price code B

The Conflagration

An original pattern I came up with to resemble a fire and smoke, this is an excellent orange pattern variously resembling a "prawn on the 'barbi" It shows up well in the water and also makes a nice October Caddis wet fly.
Price code A

The Silver Rat
The Silver Rat is a traditional early 19th century North American fly for salmon. Its silver mylar body, but natural coloration also make it a nice steelhead pattern for clear water when a bit of 'flash' is desired.
Price code A

The Stoat's Tail
The Stoat's Tail is a very popular fly in the UK for salmon. It also is one of the quintessential all-around black flies. Originally tied with a wing made from the tail of a stoat, I instead use blackbear. A nice comeback fly for steelhead as well.
Price code A

The Autumn Twilight
This fly is another original pattern by myself designed for low-water steelhead. It has accounted for dozens of fish up to 39" and close to twenty pounds. It is a dark summer pattern with the calling power of blues and purples.
Price code A

The Green-Butt Blackbear

This fly is a staple on salmon rivers such as the Miramichi. It has a black profile and a neon green butt for calling power. One of the most popular flies for both steelhead and salmon.
Price code A

The Fall Favorite.
This fly was originated by Lloyd Silvius for use on the Eel river in northern California. It remains one of the top producing flies for summer, as well as a nice winter fly with good calling power.
Price code A

The Winter Sunset
This is a pattern I came up with while looking at a sunset over a lake in winter. The wings are clouds, and the body represents the oranges and purples of the sunset itself. Good colors for summer-run steelhead on a bright day with slightly off-color water, or for winter fish as well.
Price code A

The Black Doctor

My favorite of the classic doctor series of salmon flies. The red butt, yellow tag and blue hackle show up in both clear and slightly cloudy water.
Price code B

The St. Estephe
This fly is a Randle Stetzer pattern using a red-claret body and hackle with a black wing.
It has been used for both steelhead and salmon. Red is an under-rated color.

Price code A

The Patricia
Another Randle Stetzer pattern, this fly has the same red-claret body as the St Estephe, but uses a white wing.
Price code A

The Cummings

Originated by Ward Cummings, this claret
 and yellow fly with guniea has been a mainstay in fly boxes for years.

Price code A

The Black Prince
This is a very traditional fly. The yellow and black bodt and red tail provide color contrast to attract fish, while not being over flashy or gaudy.
Price code A

The Grizzly King
A pattern dating back to the 1930s, and used in the Restigouche area, as well as for steelhead in the western US, the Grizzly KIng is everything a subtle fly should be. Natural and buggy. The Grizzly King can be tied with either gold or silver tag and ribbing. I added a small forward portion of peacock herl to the body after the green floss in order to help the wing and hackle to flair better.

Price code A

The Rusty Rat
The most popular of the North American rat series, the Rusty Rat has quite a bit of natural color contrast. It remains a mainstay of fly boxes for salmon and steelhead to this day.

Price code B

The Green-Butt Skunk
An adaption of the traditional skunk, the green-butt version may be the most popular fly for steelhead of all time. It has a good profile in a mix of water conditions, and the flourescent green butt provides a spotlight of color.
Price code A

The Claret Killer
Similar to the cossboom and rat seriwes of flies the Claret Killer has hackle in front of the wing. This fly is one of my favorite and was originated by Bill Baker of Newfoundland.
Price code A

The Hairy Mary
This fly dates to the 1960s in the UK. It enjoys popularity as a spring fly. Its coloration is very similar to the blue charm, but it sports a simple golden pheasant crest for a tail, and lacks the yellow tag.

Price code A

The Lord Byron

This fly is an original pattern invented by myself to provide both the calling power of mylar flash, but yet remaining subtle in the water. I baptised it on a chrome 30" steelhead on a floating line in late November.

"All thats best of dark and bright..."

Price code A

Botham's Fancy

Named after the English cricketer Ian Botham, and first tied by Peter O'Reilly.

This fly has a nice green body and blue hackle.

Price code A

The Moy Green

Designed by Chris Downey for the Moy River, this green-winged and orange fly with mylar body looks like a St. Patrick's day parade. A very good fly for steelhead too in slightly off color water or on a bright day.

Price code A

The October Caddis Muddler

This fly is tied the way the original muddler was meant to be tied. It has a single wrap of deer hair for the head and is untrimmed, but carefully measured. The sparse head allows the fly to sink into the surface film instead of floating. A good surface fly for steelhead and salmon.

Price code A

The Garry Dog

This fly is one of the earliest British hairwing patterns. It is sort of a reduced thunder and Lightning without the claret body hackle and blue in the wing. It is a famous and commonly used fly for salmon. I can attest that it takes steelhead as well.

Price code B

Ally's shrimp
Originated by esteemed UK salmon angler Alisair Gowens, Ally's shrimp is th most popular prawn pattern for salmon. I use thin angel fibers in the bucktail tail to attract attention.

Price code B

The Canadian Black Dose

Another pattern by Warren Duncan, this fly is dark and buggy with a nice 1/3 body of burnt orange floss and a peacock sword underwing.

Price code A

The Green Highlander

This famous fly is considered a must for springer salmon. For some reason, steelhead like it too.

Price code B

Thunder and Lightning varient #1

one of my absolute favorite flies for steelhead, the T&L has its roots in the salmon world. This reduced version has the claret hackle tied in at the collar instead of the body.

Price code B

The Laverte Varient

With a peacock herl body and sword underwing, natural grizzly collar, dark wing and yellow butt and tail, this fly is an excellent choice for clear water conditions or for 'trouty' steelhead and salmon. A very buggy looking fly.

Price code A

The Blue Bottle

With greens and blues this original pattern of mine makes a nice summer fly for steelhead or clear water salmon. A nice comeback fly as well, as it is dark, yet has compelling colors.

Price code A

The Night Dancer

A Frank Amato pattern, this became one of Trey Combs favorite flies for steelhead. An excellent comeback or general use fly, it is also highly regarded as a fly to fish in the evenings.

Price code A

Blackville Varient

Most likely named after the town on the Miramichi, this fly is a simple pattern of black and orange with a grey squirrel wing.

Price code A

The Purple Peril

One of the top producing steelhead flies of all time, the purple peril comes to us from the gifted McLeod's.
A fine searching pattern, it accounts for steelhead in most water conditions.

Price code A

The Blue Bear Varient.

Another in the series of bear flies, the blue bear has a underwing of peacock sword, and two contrasting blue hackles: one of doctor blue, and the front of kingfisher blue. The hackle is tied in front to give a colorful profile. A fetching fly!

Price code B

The Skykomish Sunrise

Another McLeod pattern, the bright colors and white wing make this fly a favorite. Shows up well in both clear and slightly off-color water.

Price code A

The Gosshawk

A reduction of a very old Irish fly, the gosshawk uses scarlet and yellow very nicely together.

Price code A

The Wringer

A fly born on the Penobscot river in the 1960s. A beautiful pattern for either salmon or steelhead. Wing is of yellow squirrel over red squirrel. A favorite color combination seen in variety in the Munro Killer, Thunder and Lightning, and other successful flies.

Price code B

The Orange Charm

The orphan of the charm series, this fly is rarely seen anymore. Sad indeed, for I witnessed first hand how fish react to this fly when a fishing partner of mine hooked two fish behind me on this pattern.

Price code A

The Laxa Blue Varient

Made famous on the Laxa river in Iceland, this fly has a heavy blue profile with accents of spots of color in the tag and butt.

Price code B

The Red Charm

Tied as styled by Warren Duncan, this fly is one of the rare red winged flies of the salmon world. Once again, the blue hackle sets off the black body and red wing.

Price code B

The Gold Cossboom

A fly from the early 1920s from the Margaree River, the Cossboom series remains popular to this day. Much like the Rat series, the cossbooms often feature grey squirrel tail wings and have hackle tied in as a collar in front of the wing.

Price code A

Duncan's Cossboom

A version of the original Cossboom tied by Waren Duncan, the Duncan Cossboom has a emerald green body and tail vs. the the olive of the original.

Price code A