Tackle Bag

I've always said if you're worrying about your gear, you have the wrong gear. Here in the Tackle Bag I'll review some of the equipment I use that I have found adds to my experience on the water. If you need more information on a particular piece of gear, please call me at the shop. You can also sign up for the newsletter at the bottom of the page to get notices about new Tackle Bag posts.

Grease Liner

Joel La Follette - Thursday, February 22, 2018

By Adrian Cortes

In honor of the release of America's Favorite Flies I asked Mr Adrian Cortes to provide a copy of his favorite Steelhead Dry Fly, the Grease Liner. He was very gracious and supplied the sample in the photo above. I then pushed my luck to the limit and asked if he would add a material list and short antidotal story about the pattern for our Fly of the Week. I even gave him a Thursday morning, 3:00 AM deadline. He missed it.

At 5:24AM I received the following....

Crap! I mistook it for 3 pm! Very bad.

Hook: sz 6 - 10 light wire dry fly (Gamakatsu S10 hooks are a fine suggestion.)
Tail: Deer hair
Body: Mr Lemire preferred musk ox dubbing (because of its water repellency) which can be a challenge to find, however almost any dubbing can be used.
Throat: Grizzly hackle
Wing: Caribou which has a natural curve that Mr. Lemire preferred (can substitute with deer or elk hair.)

Antidote in a few mins.....

In the early 1960s, an iconic steelheader changed the mentality of northwest steelheading by introducing the Grease Liner. The late Harry Lemire was the kind of angler that not only 'fished' for steelhead but also observed their behavior. He wanted to capture this great sportfish in the most sporting way possible...on the dryfly.

Realizing that summer/fall run steelhead are curious and can be aggressive in nature, Mr. Lemire designed the Grease Liner as the first waking dry fly to trigger surface grabs. Such a simple pattern, but so deadly effective. Fished on the swing, it has enticed many steelhead to the surface...it needs no further testing or tinkering.

Harry preferred natural materials and was quoted as mentioning that he did not like the "Buck Rodgers" type of flies. To be honest, the Grease Liner can't compete with the foam and flash of today's current selection. But it is not trying to compete; it is waiting for that certain angler that wants to give a nod to simplicity and effective tradition. Use a little floatant on the leader and keep swinging the surface. It will move steelhead.

I have caught steelhead with the Grease Liner in all types of the normal summer/fall conditions. In bright sun, in fast flows, in shallow water, and even in frog water it will still catch fish. At times when it gets sucked under, the Grease Liner is natural enough that steelhead will still find it appetizing.

It's winter and snowing, now is the time to start your resolve in tying steelhead dryflies. Pay homage to steelheading history and tie the most effective dry fly for steelhead ever made. Surface grabs will be seared in your memories.

Metal Detector II

Joel La Follette - Thursday, February 15, 2018

The original Metal Detector had gone out of commercial production years ago much to the dismay of many Northwest Steelhead anglers. So, we asked Mr. Sheppard to reissue an updated version of this iconic pattern that we could have tyed for the shop. He was more than happy to oblige as that would give him a steady source of flies for his clients without hours spent at the tying bench. The Metal Detector II was born and has fast become a Royal Treatment favorite.

Metal Detector II
Black and Blue version

OPST steelhead shank 1 1/4"
Senyo wire
Gamakatsu octopus size 2
7/32" tungsten plummet bead from Hareline or Gold Cone
Tail: Finn raccoon blue
Body: polar chenille blue
Collar: black marabou tied in by tip and EP holo blue sparkle brush palmered together for color (three - four wraps)

Metal Detector II
Red and orange

Tied on OPST steelhead shank 1 1/4"
Senyo wire
Gamakatsu octopus size 2
7/32" tungsten plummet bead from Hareline or Gold Cone
Tail: Finn raccoon orange
Body: polar chenille orange
Collar: red marabou tied in by tip and EP speckled gold sparkle brush palmered together for color three -four wraps

Tying notes
Shank and wire without the hook should be 2 1/4" long

Raccoon tail should be tied on top of the shank, do not pull out the guard hairs, tail should extend just beyond the hook

Marabou and sparkle brush should be wrapped together to create the collar

Foxee Prawn

Joel La Follette - Thursday, February 08, 2018

Foxee Prawn GP Orange
By Josh Linn, the Fly Czar

Shank: 40mm Shank
Stinger Loop: Senyo Intruder Wire
Hook: Gamakatsu Octopus size 1 or 2
Thread: 140- Denier Red
Butt: Ice Dub Red- Spun in a dubbing loop
Tail: Long Arctic fox tail Orange, topped with holographic flashabou, Golden Pheasant Tippet(center Trimmed out) and a golden pheasant shoulder feather natural.
Rear hackle: Extra Large Guinea Hen Orange
Body: Small cactus chenille, burnt orange, paltered with a grizzly saddle hackle , Orange
Wing: Arctic fox tail Orange
Collar: Extra Large Guinea hen Orange
Overwing: Pair of golden pheasant shoulder feather natural

When Charles teamed up with solitude to produce his flies they immediately became a success. He’s had a number of great hits, including the Hoh Bo Spey, Foxee Dog, and the Foxee Prawn. One of the things you immediately notice is that most of his flies have a very mobile wing made from arctic fox and that they are unweighted. Charles feels that weighing the fly kills some of the natural swimming motion from the current.

Over the last 10 or so years I have fished many of Charles St. Pierre’s flies personally and have had many clients land their first steelhead on one.

On one such occasion a few years back a client ventured west from New Jersey to fish for the legendary Pacific Northwest steelhead. Malcolm prepped for the adventure by attending a winter steelhead school followed-up with a few guided days on the Sandy.

By day three of his guided adventure Malcolm was struggling with his casting and was yet to hook a fish. Throughout the long cold days he remained amazingly optimistic. The Sandy river was running high and the rain could only be considered a deluge. It appeared as though the river would soon blow out.

We pulled into a run known as “I don’t know.” It had been producing fish when the river was on the rise. Needing to mix it up a bit and change Malcom’s luck, I made the executive decision to search Malcom’s fly box for something that had a large profile, black, blue and easy to cast. Immediately my eye was drawn to a Charles St. Pierre blue Foxee Prawn. As I removed it from the box Malcom’s eyes lit up with a new spark of rejuvenated hope.

We started high on the sandy beach working our way down into to the tail out. Malcolm was refreshed and
fishing better with more confidence. It is amazing what a simple fly change can do to brighten even the rainiest of winter days and spirits.

Malcom swung the Foxee Prawn across a deep trench when it happened. The line pulled tight. The reel started to click. Fish on! Malcom set the hook and became a little disoriented with excitement. In an instant he forgot everything he had learned. The excitement of a first steelhead can do that to anyone. Often in times like that it ends with either a lost fish or an accidental swim in the river for the excited angler.

Malcom was no exception to that trend. He fell into the cold wintery Sandy river. The ever optimistic Malcom didn’t let being soaked on a winter day dampen his spirits. He fought on. Soon after he won the battle bringing a small wild hen to hand. After a photo and quick release Malcom was still smiling when he said, “I think it is time for lobster. I’m done. Let’s celebrate.” Celebrate we did!

Bret's Klamath Intruder

Joel La Follette - Thursday, February 01, 2018
Brett’s Klamath Intruder


OPST Steelhead intruder shank 20mm
Senyo intruder wire
Gamakatsu octopus hook size 4
Ice dub 
Krinkle mirror flash  
Micro Rubber Legs 
Crosscut Rabbit
Lady Amherst Tail
Barbell or Bead Chain eyes  


Attach a Gamakatsu Octopus hook in size 4 or 6 to a 20mm shank with intruder wire.

Make a small dubbing ball at the rear of the shank. 

Tie in Krinkle Mirror Flash and Micro Rubber Legs in the round. Four strands at each corner.

Trim Rabbit fur from the hide strip and spin in a dubbing loop.

Add a few strand of Lady Amherst in contrasting color.

Hackle the front of the fly with contrasting color rabbit, again twisted in a dubbing loop.

Tie in barbell or bead chain eyes

This little intruder is one of the best small steelhead and trout swing flies that we have found. We have been using this little guy all over the place, John Day Steelhead, Deschutes trout or steelhead, the Metolius, anywhere you can swing a fly this bad boy will work.

This micro Intruder fly has all of the essential components that you need, rubber legs, flash, rabbit, and a trailing hook.

In the late fall fished on a sink tip this fly has proven extremely productive for summer steelhead. Pink and orange have been very effective colors.

For Trout we have been fishing the olive color and giving it a short strip and twitch. This technique has worked well for us on the Deschutes and the Metolius.


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