Fly Of The Week
Steelhead Bee
Steelhead Bee
By Gerald Bartsch, British Columbia, Canada

Previous Flies
Fly Tying Terms

Steelhead Bee

The Steelhead Bee is a Spey-style variation of the tradition bee or bumblebee patterns.


    Hooks:  Dry fly salmon hook: #2 - 10.

    Thread:  Black Danville 6/0.

    Tail:  Fox squirrel.

    Body:  Dark brown and yellow wool, silk, seal fur or other "buggy" dubbing material.

    Hackle:  Natural brown, ginger or honey.

    Wing:  Fox squirrel.

Tying Instructions:

1. Attach thread 1/4 inch from the eye of the hook. Wrap a base of thread and return to tie-in. Measure fox squirrel so the wing is the length of the shank. It should be quite bushy. Tie the wing forward and divide into two equal sections. Make wraps in front of the wing until it stands up at a 45 degree angle.

2. Measure fox squirrel tail 1/4 inch longer than the shank and tie in. The tail should also be quite bushy.

3. Dub three equal sections of dark brown, yellow, and dark brown. The final section of dark brown should be dubbed right up behind the wing.

4. Tie in one hackle, directly behind wing, make three wraps behind the wing and two wraps in front of the wing. Tie off, whip and cement.

Fishing Suggestions:

You can fish the steelhead bee using the dry fly technique developed for steelhead by Haig-Brown. When you find a pool of steelhead, position yourself below the fish and use a 'slack line' cast allowing the fly to float drag free as far as possible. Sometimes, the steelhead will strike at the end of the drift when the fly begins to wake. Natural drift fly fishing works well when the water temperature is a little warmer (55 - 65 degrees).
~ Gerald Bartsch

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