Sunday, 16 December 2012

Spey and Dee Style Shrimps.

     I've had a productive weekend at the vice. First up are a few Spey flies, an Ackroyd and a few variants.
I've been reading a lot recently about steelhead fishing in the US and Canada. Over there, Dee and Spey style flies are used an awful lot with great success. Indeed, it could be said that they have a cult following in certain circles. Take a quick browse through the flytying section of the american forum, Speypages ( and you'll see a plethora of Dee/Spey style patterns.
I really like the translucency these flies have and I think they have great potential for Irish rivers.
Foyle anglers swear by yellow flies for springers so the Ackroyd will get an extended trial this season.
Of course, Spey/Dee flies bear more than a passing resemblance to the Irish Shrimps many anglers swear by.

Sourcing spey hackles can be problematic however. I've used yellow sclappen in the Ackroyd, but I would prefer use longer hackles.

 On a Daiichi 2151 with a yellow FF Softhackle.

 Pink hackled version.

 Sunburst & Grizzly Orange FF American Softhackle.

Sunburst Spey

In the variants, I've used the longest hackles I could find in packets of Future Fly American Soft Hackle.
They're too short, resulting in flies that are like a cross between and Irish Shrimp and a Dee/Spey fly.
Aficionados of Dee/Spey flies use materials such as Lady Amherst pheasant, blue eared pheasant, ringneck pheasant rump and heron. A suitable spey hackle should be long, mobile and the fibres should not clump together. Another material which is used is goose shoulder; readily available from most fly-tying material retailers. Goose shoulder must however, be subjected to a treatment known as burning before it can be used as a spey hackle. This involves soaking the feather in bleach to remove the barbules that connect each feather fibre. It appears however, that many tiers do not like burned goose because many feathers end up damaged and unusable.
We tend to use small sized flies in the summer for grilse so schlappen should be effective as a spey hackle for smaller sized flies. I think they could be useful on the Dee and Glyde where the flow in many places tends to be smooth and even where a mobile fly should score well.
These are fishing flies as opposed to authentic classic flies. Hopefully they do the biz!

Next up will be a selection of Shrimp flies.


  1. Those flies are looking well. You'll have to come out here and try them out.

    1. Would love to get out to try them. Steelhead in Oregon would be class!