This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Improved Governor.

Improved Governor |

This is another steelhead fly found in John Shewey’s Classis Steelhead Flies book. It’s one of my sources of flies for TBT posts.

I’ve read recently about the low steelhead returns in the Columbia Basin and it got me thinking about the last time I swung a fly for this marvelous fish. This beauty is from a trip on the Deschutes River in late September 2014.

Deschutes Steelhead |

Shewey writes the Improved Governor had its beginnings from an old trout fly in England called the Governor, much like many steelhead patterns.

Martha Benn, daughter of the famous John Benn, tied the fly with a feather wing. Later, in the 1930’s, C. Jim Pray was the tier to replace the feather wing with bucktail because they were much sturdier when hooking and landing multiple fish.

To learn more about the Improved Governor and other steelhead flies, I highly recommend John’s book:

Classic Steelhead Flies by John Shewey

Here is the fly pattern I used to tie the fly:










Dai Riki 2929 #2 *

Gold flat or oval tinsel

Red hackle fibers

Red silk floss

Peacock herl

Gold or silver oval tinsel

Brown saddle or neck hackle

Brown mallard, fox squirrel tail, or brown bucktail

Jungle cock

  • The Dai Riki hook I used to tie the fly is not included in the original pattern.

Enjoy…go fish, stay safe!

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