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.

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