Some of the Feathers used in Salmon Flies
What are the feathers that are used in tying the
varied styles of Salmon and Steelhead flies? The
answer might be, as many different birds that there
are. True, for the standard fishing flies, commonly
available feathers from birds like Ringneck, Golden,
Amherst Pheasants, Turkey, Chickens, Partridge, Goose,
Ducks and more, will provide us Tyers with relatively
inexpensive feathers to tie our fishing flies with.
For the Tyer of the Classic Full Dressed and/or Free Style
Atlantic Salmon Flies, such mundane feathers just won't do.
Some Tyers will spend many thousands of dollars on rare
feathers for their tying.
It will be impossible to show all of the various feathers
that have uses or, at least, potential uses for tying our
flies. In addition to the ones shown below, I will be adding
more as I come across unusual feathers as well as showing
some in the lessons themselves.
Every Tyer has their own priorities and personal methods for
feather selection/acquisition. For me personally, when I find
something new and, unusual, I get it as long as I can afford
it and, can convince my dear wife that my sanity and well
being is threatened without it. This is becoming harder to
do with each new purchase.
My real interest in tying full dressed flies is in the area
of what I call "free style" flies. Some call them "creation"
flies and, there may be other names as well. I like the term
"free style" because it conjures an image of breaking the rules,
anything is free game and, the only limitation to creating a fly
are the limits of the imagination and, the absence of materials.
So, my feather collecting focuses on unusual feathers that
can be used as full feather wing flies. Of course, feathers
other than these are also searched out but, it's the boldly
marked feathers that really become the fly. The other parts
are supporting actors if you will.
What dictates your collecting habits will likely be different
than mine. Whatever it is, have fun with it and, good hunting!
Here are some pictures to get you started!
Various Turkey secondaries.
Various Turkey tail feathers.