We have no shortage of choices when it comes time to knot something onto the end of our leader at the side of a steelhead stream. We have literally hundreds of nymphs, leeches, MOALS, eggs, jigs, intruders other unspeakably deadly and hilarious flies at our disposal.
Sometimes, it is really nice to tie on an un-weighted fly and swing it through steelhead water. The Alec Jackson series of Steelhead Irons are classic hooks, with sharp points and low barbs. They look good in a fly box, they swim well in the water and they attract steelhead too.
Here is one of my favorite Spey Iron flies that I like to swim in the winter. This fly is an adaptation of the Flame Boss – perhaps a stretch, but heck, that’s what I call it.
Since Chris is bound to ask, yes, the flies in this Spey Iron Winter Steelhead fly series also fish well in summer too. However, I tend to fish smaller flies in summer; so I reserve these larger critters for summer days when flows are up (if you fish the Deschutes you know the days when White River pukes and visibility drops) or as a change-up fly for fish that have refused a more sensible #8 fly offering.
I would reach for this Flame Boss Spey Iron pattern when the water is really dirty, or should I say “gritty”? This fly will show up in very poor light conditions and I have caught steelhead in downright muddy water with this fly.
Spey Iron Winter Steelhead Fly Series – Flame Boss
Hook: Alec Jackson Heavy Spey Irons #3 Gold
Thread: Lagartun 95D Black
Tinsel Rib: Lagartun Oval gold, small
Tail: Eumer Arctic Fox, black, edged with Hot Orange Krystal Flash
Rear-body: Silver Lagartun Mini Flat Braid
Fore-body: Hareline Medium Carded Chenille, Fl. Flame
Hackle: Whiting Coq De Leon Saddle feather
Wing; Eumer Arctic Fox Tail – Hot Orange, topped with pearl Krystal Flash