This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Dark Snipe or Snipe and Purple.

Snipe and Purple |

The Snipe and Purple is another old soft hackle fly pattern listed in The North Country Fly – Yorkshire’s Soft Hackle Tradition (2015) by Robert L. Smith. Many of these older soft hackle fly patterns come from the Yorkshire Dales in northern England. The Snipe and Purple fly is one of the flies listed in Smith’s North Country Fly Plates, page 184. His list is intended for the fly fisher to use today on North Country rivers.

I’ve also seen this fly listed in other old books, including Brook and River Trouting as fly No. 5, Dark Snipe or Snipe and Purple. The authors, Edmonds and Lee, provide the following description:

Dark Snipe or Snipe and Purple


Hackled with the dark feather from the marginal coverts of s Snipe’s wing


Purple silk, No. 8


Purple silk

Note: I tied the fly on an Alec Jackson North Country Trout hook, size 11.

The snipe feather was taken from an English Snipe I highlighted in last week’s TBT post, the Light Spanish Needle.

English Snipe |

I’ve highlighted other purple soft hackle flies, including the North Country Purple Partridge soft hackle and the Starling and Purple.

Starling and Purple Soft Hackle Flies |
Starling and Purple

There’s just something about the simple elegance of soft hackle flies I appreciate from our fore bearers of the 1700’s and 1800’s.

Lastly, speaking of old flies, I’ve added The Contemplative and Practical Angler (1842) to the list of Links to Free Old Fly Fishing and Fly Tying Books. I encourage you to revisit our fly fishing and fly tying history.

Enjoy…go fish!

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One Comment

  1. I am thinking I should fish these this summer. Maybe your yellow soft hackle tied in this North Country style.

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