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Benjo's Salmon Fly
Text and photos by Benjamin Hart

J. Birkholm photo
The salmonfly hatch is one of the greatest things to happen in the world of trout fishing. Giant bugs flying around like bi-planes piloted by drunken maniacs on a crash course for many western rivers. The only drawback is that trout gorge themselves with such abandon that they seem to get full of the monster salmonflies and won't eat for a while.

I always looked at Rogue style salmonflies and wondered how they were made, I figure this must be the way they do it commercially, if I'm wrong somebody please credit me with developing this method and send me on the road to riches.

Materials: Benjo's Salmon Fly

Hook: Tiemco 200R, size 4.

Thread: 6/0 shown purple, but black and orange are both good.

Body: Rainey's foam, orange.

Wing: Montana Fly Company Etha-Wing material.

Head: Natural Elk.

Legs: Round Rubber.

Post: Foam.

Tying Instructions: Benjo's Salmon Fly

    You'll want to start with a good iron and some Rainey's sheet foam. Here I am using a size 4 Tiemco 200R. Take the foam and cut it as wide as it is thick so that you have a long rectangle. Tie in your thread and take it back so that it hangs down somewhere in the barb of the hook.

    1. Bind down the foam on top of the hook. This might take a little practice. You want to be firm, so the foam won't rotate on the hook when you fish it, but not so firm that you slice through it. You'll learn the proper tension quick.

    2. Wrap your thread towards the eye of the hook on the shank until you feel it's time to bind down the foam again, forming the next segment.

    3. Repeat this process a few more times leaving some space for a nice head. You can see here that it doesn't look like I've left myself enough space, which is true, I'll just cover up some of that segment with other materials and not worry about it too much.

    4. Now the trick. Whip finish on the head.

    5. Take the fly out of the vice and turn it around.

    6. Gently, but firmly start your thread to form the segments that will extend beyond the hook. Careful not to slice it here. After you tie in, be sure to take the tag end of your thread to the right and bind it under a new wrap of thread to keep it from falling apart. Whip finish on the foam.

    7. Repeat this a few times until you're satisfied with the number of segments that extend. You can now hit those whip finishes with some cement.

    8. Turn the fly around in the vice and tie in a wing cut from Montana Fly Company's "mottled web" etha-wing material. You can try to make something like the stuff yourself using thin packing foam and a colored dryer sheet glued together, but I prefer the MFC material.

    9. If the wing won't lie flat for some reason or another, hit the back of the body with a drop of Zap-A-Gap and press the wing down.

    10. Clean, stack and spin a generous clump of elk hair.

    11. Clip the elk and pull it back to make the bullethead.

    12. Clip the elk flat on the bottom.

    13. Add some round rubber legs and something to make it more visible if you're so inclined.

    14. Color the egg sack with a black permanent marker.

Now you've got a Rogue style salmonfly that will float all day, will ride low, land upright and will fool trout as good as any. I tie some real bulky and bushy and others more dainty. This has become my go to salmonfly whenever the bugs are being eaten. I feel that this technique is far faster than putting a pin in the vice, which is probably the only other way to make an extended foam body like this.

Tight Lines, ~ Benjamin A. Hart (Benjo)

About Benjo:

Amongst other things like owning a whitewater rafting company, guiding elk hunters and hunting ducks with his black lab Belle, Benjamin Hart has been a fly-fishing guide in Missoula Montana for the past four years. Fishing and guiding the salmonfly hatch on Missoula area waters are some of his favorite things to do. To find out how to book a guided trip, drop him an email: ~ Jeremy

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

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