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Salmonfly.Net Salmon and Steelhead Fly Tying Guide  In Memory of Yuri Shumakov 

Contributing Fly Tyers Series

The Flies of John Glaspy

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Dr. John Glaspy at his fly tying desk.UCLA Medical Center physician, fly fisherman and fly tyer, Dr. John Glaspy, has been fishing Alaska and Pacific Northwest waters for Pacific Salmon for some time now.  You will discover here that he has the experience to know what works and the creativity to apply that experience to his fly tying. He has developed some unique Alaska flies that are not only attractive, but use a very effective combination of Spey, Wooly Bugger and Egg-sucking Leech materials. If you are looking for  flies for Pacific Salmon, these may be all you need. Before you look at his flies, I recommend that you read what he has to say about them. He has some great tips on how to fish them.

I enjoy tying and fishing Spey flies for steelhead in the Pacific Northwest. I also fish in Alaska every August for Pacific salmon (Coho, Chum, Sockeye, Pinks), but have been unable to find Spey patterns specifically designed for Alaskan salmon fishing. I have developed four Spey patterns that together match all of the conditions I find in Alaska. These flies are slight modifications of the original Spey patterns, in that they have "wooly bugger" style marabou tails (at times, the undulating motion of the tail when the fly is dangled directly downstream can entice strikes when all else fails), are lightly weighted for the often brisk Alaskan stream flows, have two Spey hackles (bushy flies and mixed Spey colors seem to work best for me in Alaska), have a zonker-style bunny strip wing for toughness and added motion and have large epoxy heads to imitate the egg head of the classic and unbelievably effective Alaskan fly, the egg sucking leech. The tails are tied short to minimize short strikes. Tied in sizes 1.5 to 1/0, these flies work for kings, silvers, and chums; slightly smaller sizes for sockeyes and pinks.

The Deshka Light and Dark are named for the Deshka River where I fish most often, and are used when the water is relatively clear and the weather is either sunny (Deshka Light) or rainy/overcast (Deshka Dark). Bruce's Spey is named for Bruce Knowles, friend, famed Alaskan fisherman-guide and tireless advocate for Alaskan sport fisheries; it is designed for use when the water is stained. Paddy's Spey is named for my son, Padraic, my favorite Alaskan fishing partner and, like Paddy, can catch fish under any conditions when all else fails.

These flies are fished on the traditional Spey slow downstream swing, but should be left dangling directly downstream for at least a minute after the swing is complete because of the propensity of these salmon to strike "late." They can also be fished dead-drift nymph style (the bunny strip adds important motion to the fly when dead drifted) through deep holes or slots common in Alaskan rivers.

John Glaspy

Bruce's Spey Deshke Light Spey Deshke Dark Spey Paddy's Spey Pixie Floozie Pink Jag Chartreusse Egg-Sucking Jag Bunnicle Tricolor


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