This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is John Shewey’s Spawning Purple Steelhead fly.
I recently finished tying an order of a half dozen Shewey’s Spawning Purple steelhead flies.
Shewey created this fly in the mid-1980’s and tells the story of creating this variant of Dave McNeese’s Spawning Purple. McNeese’s version utilized a tail of orange-dyed polar bear, dubbing of orange seal, and three wings of purple-dyed polar bear. Lastly, collars of purple hackle and guinea finished the fly.
Now take a look at Shewey’s version. Orange floss is substituted for the seal dubbing and most notably marabou is used for the wings. His original variation utilized an orange-dyed golden pheasant tippet for the tail and a throat hackle of European gray heron. The last material was a wing of peacock secondary quill segments. John called his version the Spawning Purple Spey because of the heron hackle and Dee-style wings.
After struggling to find adequate materials for this spey version, he ultimately settled upon this fly which he demonstrates in his Steelhead Flies book. Check out pages 110-112 for specifics about how he ties his fly. The detailed fly pattern sheet can be found HERE.
I’m a big John Shewey fan. A prolific author, he writes about fly tying techniques and histories of the flies.
I love tying these steelhead flies!