Hidden Bead Steelhead Jig Fly Tying Video

The name ain’t fancy, but don’t overlook this fly when tying or fishing for steelhead. This is actually a knock-off from a steelhead fly that was/is called the Sally Fly. Wayne Doughton, of Doughton hardware in Salem Oregon, developed this fly and named it after his wife, Sally, in the 1960s. I fished the original pattern tied on Eagle Claw 1197-B size 8 hooks. The original used white poly yarn for a tail and a puff of Paulason’s Fluorescent Flame Yarn.

This Hidden Bead Steelhead Jig fly can be fished on the swing, dredged along the bottom, or suspended under a strike indicator. The fly is a steelhead catching’ dream, and that is the truth, so go have some fun with it.

Jay Nicholas
January 2012

Hidden Bead Steelhead Jig

Hidden Bead Steelhead Jig

Hook: Gamakatsu 90 degree Jig #1-2
Bead: 7/32 Plummeting Tungsten Fl. Orange
Thread: Lagartun 150 White
Tail: Eumer Arctic Fox White + Krystal Flash Fl. Fuscia+ Holo Flashabou Pink
Body: Lagartun Mini Flat Braid
Thorax: Fl. Shell Pink Chenille
Head: Ultra Chenille Standard Fl. Pink
Veil: Hareline Egg Yarn

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7 Responses to Hidden Bead Steelhead Jig Fly Tying Video

  1. Jim Terborg says:


    I’ve tied many jig hook flies for lakes to use under a strike indicator including damsels, leaches and dragon flies. Even with a 90 degree jig hook, the fly doesn’t present itself in a horizontal plane, but at about 45 degrees. I learned a trick from stillwater master Philip Rowley where you attach the bead to a pin and extend the pin in front of the hook eye. It takes some practice to position the pin to get a horizontal presentation, but even with a loop knot, the fly is horizontal. And, under a strike indicator it bobs up and down with water action.

    Have you tried this with steelhead jigs? And do you think a true horizontal presentation makes a difference? I just tied some egg sucking leaches that hang horizontal and I can’t wait to try them under an indicator in the McKenzie.

  2. Jay Nicholas says:

    Jim: sorry, I have no idea what you are talking about and besides this is an illegal act to use beads on pins because it starts to look like getting materials from craft stores and you know how that slippery slope goes pretty soon you will be substituting golden retriever fur for arctic fox and then who knows what’s next.

    Seriously, you are spot-on. I have caught so many steelhead on non-horizontal jigs that I just do not know how important it is. I used to angst about this and would check my clinch knot for tightness and supposed horizontal-holding-ness but eventually just gave up. My first introduction to the bead-on-a-pin was actually watching a fellow on the _________ River in central Oregon who was fishing a Black Wooly Bugger on a jig hook with a brass bead on a pin lashed to a 90 degree jig hook. He was catching monster ———- within a few _______ of the river bank, using a 12′ rod, no reel, and 8′ of fly line and 6′ of leader. Highly unorthodox, eh? The take home was that the bead on the pin was a way of making a fast sinking gizmo that you could probably get away with calling a “fly” and not a “jig” because it did not employ a molded-on lead-head, but relied on a tied-on bead instead. This all exhausts me, because there are so many different techniques like you have mentioned and so little time to field test. And again, seriously, I recommend tossing those pin-head egg-sucking leeches in the garbage disposal and flipping the switch because I am POSITIVE that they will NOT catch one single fish in the McKenzie and besides ….


  3. Jim Terborg says:

    Thanks Jay. At least I can sleep better knowing that I can call this a “fly” and not a “jig” except when I fish on St. Patrick’s day and then I’ll call it a jig so I don’t offend the fish gods.

  4. wags says:

    if you need some, i do have a stash of the Paulson’s Flame colored Poly Yarn….. btw, the Sally Fly never worked on the Alsea or Siletz ever – just saying……

  5. Two dogs says:

    So,……what is the recipe for the Sally Fly? I could not find it by a Google search. Thanks. Btw i have a small stash of 1197g size 8 if anyone is really getting nostalgic.

  6. wags says:

    Bill Stinson in his book Fly Rod Steelhead makes reference to the Sally Fly and I think he may describe the pattern – though it has been a long time since I looked at the book. Bill does credit Wayne for the fly’s origin.
    In it’s basic form the Sally Fly was a Glo Bug 1.0

    Tail: White yarn untwisted
    Body: silver tinsel
    Wing: a dab of Flame Orange Paulsen’s Poly yarn, pulled upright and clipped about a 1/4 to 3/8 inch high

    note on the Poly Yarn: it was not a twisted yarn as we know today, it was a mass of very fine and coarse poly fibers and came in a flat pkg a little larger that a big Shredded Wheat “unit”. it was in some ways like shredded wheat in that you could pull it apart and use it many different ways.

  7. Two Dogs says:

    Thanks for the great info. Like to keep up on the oldies but goodies. There’s an old shop out here where the guy keeps most of the stuff in the back room and then wonders why he can’t sell anything. Well have to check with him on the Poly Yarn.

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