Shrimps
By Marc Madore

Marc Madore is a particularly talented Fly Fisher and Tyer. He is inquisitive and creative and, ties not only beautifully crafted fishing flies, he also ties fantastic display flies including the fully dressed Atlantic Salmon Flies. Marc is involved with many facets of our sport/hobby and is well respected by his peers far and wide.

This series of patterns are some of Marc Madore's inspired design. I thought about how to present these, should I just offer them one at a time with its recipe or, give them their own section as they really deserve. I opted for the latter. So, what follows is their story as told by Marc Madore.


"Hello Ronn,
Enclosed are a few flies that might be dressed differently and of interest to your readers. They work the very best as we say on the Miramichi and, can be dressed for all fishing conditions. As for colour combinations, one is only limited to one's imagination.

The River Shrimps, here are some of the principals that I follow:

    1. Tails should be no longer than the full length of the shank plus " and, no longer.

    2. Use UNI-Mylar pearl tinsel 1/16" (no. 10). I've used other sizes but they don't fully cover the top as I would like and other materials did not seem to perform as well, caught less fish.

    3. For the front part of the body, I like to use Peacock herl. I'm sure other materials would also work well. The proportions used, rear 3/5 dubbing, front 2/5 herl.

    4. The tail materials should fit fishing conditions. Example, slow water can be soft but medium fast-to-fast water use a stiffer material. I sometimes use stripped quill, these can break though, and sometimes stiff Moose is ok. The best I've found for stiffness and durability is Chinese Boar. Certainly, there are others. If found, this information should be disseminated to all concerned because of its importance. When I used soft tails in fast water, the tail was following behind the fly and not giving action to the fly. Now, you can fish these flies with a short tail; have done this many times with success. I have enclosed one (see, River Shrimp, Brown, Short Tail), but if one expects the tail to react to the currents, then one should think of my remarks.

    5. For the collar and head position, I use mostly hen which works well. When fishing with a riffling hitch, I position the head further back to allow for two hitches so not to crowd the hook eye. I've seen some anglers put the hitch over the collar thus removing some of the fly's character and action.

    6. For those who would like to sink this fly even more, the use of a cone head works well. During the Salmon season we can't use this weighted method as there is no weight allowed on our Salmon Rivers.

The original fly that started my frustrations with friends that wanted me to teach them how to dress the General Practitioner. Some of them had a difficult time with this simple fly, so after awhile, I told them I would design something similar in the hope they could master it and be effective too.

Original River Shrimp

Recipe Original River Shrimp

    Hook: Partridge Single Wilson, or Daiichi 2131, Bob Veverka's "classic Salmon hook" #4 to #10.

    Thread: UNI-thread fire orange 8/0.

    Tail: Orange bucktail, long & sparse.

    Body: Orange Seal dubbing or substitute.

    Rib: UNI-Tinsel oval silver, medium.

    Hackle: Orange palmered from second rib.

    Wing: Three pairs of Golden Pheasant tippets lacquered.

    Head: Orange.

So came the orange one and it did have only orange for the complete body. That changed shortly after to the two part body. Again, the darned thing caught fish! Using a two-part body would give me more options so, came the different colours we found over the years to be attractive to Salmon in waters. The colouration of the waters changes quite a lot depending on where you fish and what river you're on. Since there are seven rivers around me, the bottoms of these rivers vary a lot creating different backgrounds. I started to get fancy with a feather wing and sometimes adding Jungle Cock and they also worked. Then it dawned on me as to why I had started this affair in the first place which, was to produce a simple but effective fly the locals could produce easily and economically. I stopped showing this fly around so as not to encourage people that these fancier versions of the flies were the way to go, and we had achieved our goal. Then one day I had a bunch of discarded tying materials on my work table and, being bored with nothing to do, I picked up a nymph hook and produced a fly I call a nymph/stonefly whatever.

Ugly Fly

Recipe Ugly Fly

    Hook: Partridge Single Wilson, or Daiichi 2131, Bob Veverka's "classic Salmon hook" #4 to #10.

    Thread: UNI-thread black 8/0.

    Tail: Fine brown hair.

    Body: Pheasant tail rear 3/5, herl front 2/5 topped with UNI-Mylar pearl tinsel 1/16" (no.10).

    Rib: UNI-Wire copper.

    Collar: Dark Partridge.

    Head: Black with copper tinsel at rear.

Using Partridge feathers and a piece of pearl mylar produced a terrible looking fly, ugly enough to catch a Trout I thought and, the darned thing worked! So I dressed the same ugly fly on a Salmon hook and fished it with success under adverse conditions. I dressed more and gave them to friends and asked them to give them a try. Paul Marriner was introduced to that model only last year (2001), first fish he caught that year on the Miramichi was with that fly under difficult conditions. You might wonder why I say difficult. Well, there are many occasions when the fishing is just great and mostly any fly, Trout flies included will give you a hook-up. The true measure for me is when the fishing gets tough, and you have a fly that you have confidence in and it will in fact do the job for you.

So, I came back to the original pattern and applied the pearl mylar to it, removed the palmered hackle and, put a collar on as was the ugly nymph/stonefly pattern had, voila, success, it worked! I would say that it worked even better than the original pattern and is very easy to dress.

We have a lot of water that looks sort of tea coloured under normal conditions and certainly after a rain. The pearl mylar I would suspect gives the fish a target to strike at. Another advantage this type of fly has, as do other Shrimp patterns is that they can and should be fished across and/or slightly up river thus covering more water than those whom fish at 45 degrees. Not that other flies can't be fished that way, these however work better while fished in that manner. Keep in mind that when the current really flows hard, you MUST decrease the angle of presentation as do those fishing with other types of flies. This is sometimes forgotten by many anglers.

As there is no magic formula other than a grenade and other unthinkable methods for catching these fish, other than good common sense, talking to friends, practice, a good fly for the type of water you are fishing on and, sportsmanship, one can always get a fish at the supermarket!

Irish Shrimp-type Flies

The only recommendations I can give to other Tyers not familiar with these is the method of tying the tail on. If one does not fold and attach the tail correctly, the fly will not pulsate properly during the pause phase of the retrieve, loosing the enormous value of this type of fly. As seen in the example, the Golden Pheasant red breast feather tail is attached with the feathers dull side up and ONLY the far side of the feather is folded thus once wound on leaves the tail opened so it will breathe and pulsate. The tip is NOT cut; leave it intact giving it more body and stiffness to the tail. On large flies I sometimes attach two feathers to give it enough consistency to be effective with the currents. Keep in mind that the same principals as the river shrimps that stiffness sometimes is needed to make the fly function properly.

The tail length is the same as the others. Recently the more popular body proportions are, rear length = 2/5 and the front part 3/5. This is exactly the opposite as the river shrimps.

Silver Wilkinson Shrimp

Recipe Silver Wilkinson Shrimp
Irish-type Sprimp

    Hook: Partridge Single Wilson, or Daiichi 2131, Bob Veverka's "classic Salmon hook" #4 to #10.

    Thread: UNI-thread black 8/0.

    Tag: Flat embossed silver tinsel.

    Tail: Golden Pheasant red breast feather.

    Body: Rear 1/2 flat silver tinsel, body joint, fuchsia hackle, font 1/2, flat silver tinsel.

    Rib: UNI-Tinsel, oval silver, medium.

    Wing: Jungle Cock.

    Collar: Blue hackle.

    Head: Black.

Foxford Shrimp

Recipe Foxford Shrimp
Irish-type Sprimp

    Hook: Partridge Single Wilson, or Daiichi 2131, Bob Veverka's "classic Salmon hook" #4 to #10.

    Thread: UNI-thread black 8/0.

    Tag: Flat embossed silver tinsel.

    Tail: Golden Pheasant red breast feather.

    Body: Rear 1/2 black Seal or substitute, body joint, silver badger hackle & black Ostrich, front 1/2, claret Seal or substitute.

    Rib: UNI-Tinsel, oval silver, medium.

    Wing: Jungle Cock.

    Collar: Brown or dark ginger hackle.

    Head: Red.

And here is the tailing method:

Tailing Method

For more of Marc's shrimp flies see the listing under Shrimp flies.

*About Marc Madore

Born in 1942 in Timmins, Ontario, Canada, most of his youth was spent along the rivers and lakes of this area.

After a full career with the Armed Forces, he retired in the community of Blackville, New Brunswick along the Miramichi River where he could pursue his passion in Salmon angling and tying.

As a professional Fly Tyer and one who never sought recognition, he is widely known as a premier fly dresser by his peers both in North America and Europe.

Marc's work has appeared in several Fly Fishing and outdoors magazines. A number of his patterns were published in the books Modern Atlantic Salmon Flies and, lately in Shrimp and Spey Flies for Salmon and Steelhead (Stackpole Books). He tied the signature fly for the Miramichi River Valley to the Royal Family.

Marc enjoys his retirement on the Miramichi where he maintains a life style emerged in the fly fishing sport.

As a perfectionist, Marc is constantly challenged to produce well tied flies that not only attract fish but also traditional and contemporary flies for the fly fisher and collector.

After 35 years as a fly fisherman, he has served as a guide, fly dresser, and is currently out of retirement managing the Curtis Tackle Shop in Blackville where, he enjoys passing on his knowledge and skills to fly fishermen.

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