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Knudson White Streamer
By John Shewey, OR
Originated by Al Knudson

Al Knudson ranked among the very first steelhead anglers to enjoy consistent success taking winter steelhead on flies. He was also among the first to use over-sized—-huge by 1930s standards—flies that could tempt the elusive winter fish into giving chase. Better known for his Knudson Spider and Knudson Cutthroat patterns, this pioneering angler lived in Everett, Washington for a time before moving to southern Oregon in 1929 amid reports of superb fly angling on the Rogue and North Umpqua rivers. He eventually moved back to Everett and his beloved Washington rivers. Knudson's large streamer patterns are as deadly today as any modern over-sized streamers, but little known among modern anglers

Materials, Knudson White Streamer:

    Hook: Heavy wire, sizes 2-2/0.

    Tag: Small or medium silver oval tinsel.

    Tail: Red hackle fibers.

    Body: Large silver oval tinsel over an underbody of floss.

    Throat: Orange hackle fibers.

    Wing: 4 or 6 large white hackles.

    Cheeks: Jungle cock (optional).

    Head: Black.

Method, Knudson White Streamer:

    Step 1

      1. On large hooks, use single-strand floss (Flat Waxed Nylon, UNI-Cord, or 210 Denier) as a tying thread. At the front of the hook, just behind the return-loop eye, attach a length of small or medium-size silver oval tinsel and bind it down along the entire length of the shank. When you reach that portion of the shank that will be occupied by the tag, make certain that the material is bound down firmly to the hook shank with thread wraps placed close together as shown.

      Step 2

      2. Fold the tinsel firmly over itself and make 8 to 10 turns to form the tag. Tie off the end of the tag securely and do not clip away the excess.

      Step 3

      3. Make the tail from a dense bundle of bright red hackle fibers, and then wind the thread forward to the front of the hook, binding down the end of the tinsel used for the tag. At the front attach a long piece of large silver oval tinsel.

      Step 4

      4. Wrap back toward the base of the tail, binding down the oval tinsel along the shank.

      Step 5

      5. Reverse direction and return to the front, forming a fairly thick, even underbody. Use overlapping wraps as needed to create a uniform diameter to the underbody.

      Step 6

      6. Continue using the thread to create a smooth, uniform-diameter underbody until you reach the front.

      Step 7

      7. Now burnish the thread underbody, rubbing away the ridges and uneven spots in the thread work...

      Step 8

      8. Wrap the large oval tinsel forward, forming a tinsel body. Add one or more layers of cement or varnish.

      Step 9

      9. Once the varnish dries, switch to a small-diameter black thread and add a dense throat of long orange hackle fibers.

      Step 10

      10. Take 4 to 6 wide, webby white saddle hackles and measure them against the fly's body. These hackles should extend back almost twice the length of the hook shank. Match the feathers with the glossy sides facing outwards, 2 or 3 feathers on the left, and 2 or 3 on the right. Strip away the unneeded fibers from the feathers and tie them in all at once atop the head of the fly. After securing the wing so it cannot shift positions, feed the hackle stems through the eye of the hook.

      Step 11

      11. Fold the hackles' stems sharply backward and bind them down with thread to secure them in place.

      Step 12

      12. Clip away the excess stem portions and build up a fairly large, tapered head.

      ~ John Shewey

      Credit: This fly is one of many in the book Steelhead Flies by John Shewey. A well written and researched book, with hundreds of sharp color photos, including step by step instructions. Published by Frank Amato Publications, in both Spiral Hardbound and Hardbound. $49.94 US.

For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.

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