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Welcome to my fly tying page. Through this page i will show how i tie up some of the flies that i use during the wild trout fishing season. I will also explain the way  i tie up these flies and what materials i use for each fly. I will try to give the tips that i find useful when putting the different patterns together. Most of the flies i tie up are based on well known patterns some dating back to the eighteen hundreds. Some of  tyings  will be exactly as per the pattern while others will be my own take on a particular pattern. As well as explaining what each pattern  represents in the natural world i will give details of what angling method i use with each fly on a given day. When tying up each fly i try to be as neat as possible, however i dont go in for exact proportions for each tying as i feel that these exact tyings should be reserved for glass cases or picture frames. I all my years of fly fishing and catching fish i never once had a complaint from a trout that my flies were not neat enough. I will keep adding to this page throughout the seasons and hopefully build it up in to a nice database of all the flies that brought me success through out the years.

I am going to start off with some of my all time favourites North Country Flies like Bloas, Spiders and Wets. Most of the flies tied in the North Country tradition are very simple patterns and very easy to tie up.

Snipe and Purple :

This is a simple pattern which is a fair representation of the Iron Blue nymph or dun. It should be tied sparse with just a few turns of the tying thread and the hackle feather.

Snipe and Purple

Hook : Kamasan B160 in sizes 14/16

Body: Purple Uni 8/0

Hackle : Dark Snipe (marginal covert feather) sparsely tied.

Hares Lug and Plover :

This is an excellent fly that represents many of the Olives. I tie the hackle semi palmered (Stewart Style) as it is an excellent emerging Olive imitation.

Hares Lug and Plover

Hook : Kamasan B160 in sizes 14/16

Thread: Well waxed Primrose or Brown

Body: Hares ear fur

Rib: Fine Gold wire

Hackle: Golden Plover (pale Brown with Yellow tips)

Partridge and Orange :

One of the best known flies of the Partridge series. It is used as a Stonefly imitation but it catches fish even when there are no Stoneflies about.

Partridge and Orange

Hook: Kamasan B160 in sizes 14/16

Body: Orange thread 8/0

Hackle: Brown Partridge

Waterhen Bloa:

This fly is one of my all time favourites as it is the fly with which i caught my first ever wild Brown Trout many years back on the River Dodder. It is a fly that i have with me throughout the season and one which gets regular use. It is a great imitation of a Dark Olive or Iron Blue.

Waterhen Bloa

Hook: Kamasan B405 in sizes 14/16

Thread: Waxed Yellow or Primrose

Body: Tying thread sparsely dubbed with Moles fur

Hackle: Undercovert or marginal covert from a Moorhens (Waterhen) wing.

When tying the Waterhen Bloa i select the hackle and then i strip one side of it so i can tie in a couple of turns with out making the fly too bulky. I also tie the hackle so that the under side of it is facing forward i.e. shiny side facing towards the eye of the hook.

Winter Brown : 


Winter Brown


The Winter Brown is one of the flies i use early in the season. It is tied as an imitation of the Needle fly which can be found on some rivers from February onwards. I have found it a useful fly as it catches fish even when there are no Needle flies on the water. The tying that i favour is often known as an Orange Woodcock when it is tied with the Peacock herl as a thorax.

 Hook : Kamasan B160

Body : Orange thread 8/0

Thorax : Peacock Herl

Hackle: Woodcock (marginal covert)

Olive Spider :


Olive Spider

The Olive Spider is a simple fly to tie as it consists of only three items hook, tying thread and a hackle. I use it as a general olive pattern when there are olives coming off the water. It is one of the flies which i keep in my fly box throughout the season. When using this fly on a team of wet flies i uasually tie it on the middle dropper.


Hook : Kamasan B405 14/16

Body: Uni thread 8/0

Hackle : Olive cock (henny)

The methods i use when fishing North Country patterns is generally a team of three flies (depending on what flies are on the water) for instance Snipe and Purple on the point Partridge and Orange middle dropper and Waterhen Bloa top dropper. These i fish mostly down and across although i sometimes fish these upstream or i would cast them over rising fish.

18 Responses to “FlyTying”

  1. Robbie says:

    Very nice, it’s just something I am getting into myself this season…
    Good work, Robbie.

  2. Paddy H says:

    Excellent info and great detail on the photos- I intend to give spider patterns a good go this coming season. Are wing feathers / hackles generally used for spider patterns or should I be looking for whole skins?

  3. wgsten says:

    Hi Robbie all the best with your blog.

  4. wgsten says:

    @Paddy H. Hi Paddy thank you for your comment. I have sent you a pm.

  5. Michael C says:

    Excellent flies Wgsten, fishing N.C. spiders is one of my favourite methods. Do you use any alternatives to the game bird hackles, Snipe & Moorhen is becoming very hard to source. I have tried Medium Dun Hen hackle but I found they don’t look as nice.

    P.S. looking foward to the next set of tyings !

  6. wgsten says:

    @ Michael C. Thank you for your comment. I agree with you about game bird hackles being hard to come by. I have been fortunate in that i have gathered a good supply of these hackles over the past few years which i have mothballed for future use. There are a number of suppliers that do stock some or most of these hackles. I will pm you details as i dont want to post any links on here. As for the next set of tyings i hope to have some posted up shortly with the intention of adding to them as we go through the open season.
    Tight Lines.

  7. declan says:

    hi , just wondering what do you mean by tying a hackle semi palmered ( stewart style ) . keep up the good work . declan

  8. wgsten says:

    Hi Declan. A hackle semi palmered is one that does not cover the full body of the fly. W.C. Stewart autor of “The Practical Angler” first published in 1857 mentions how he ties in the hackle. He wraps the tying thread around the hackle and winds both of them on to the hook on to the first one third of the body of the fly.Giving rise to Stewart style.
    “The Black Spider.- This is made of the small feather of the cock starling, and dressed with brown silk, and is, upon the whole , the most killing imitation we know. We were first shown it by James Baillie and have never been without one on our line since.”

  9. Mark says:

    Found your lovely blog today. I enjoying tying North country spiders as well and am learning to fish them here in the states.

  10. declan says:

    hi , can you tell us where you get your fly tying materials as i find it hard to get a good source for all materials . thanks declan

  11. bobby says:

    hI again some great spider dressings I would fish nothing but spiders if I could when I could I dont know what it is I enjoy dry fly fishing but nothing to my mind is better than a team of wets I enjoy the read on here more and more this river liffey seems to be a place I am bound to visit it is my kind of water I think thanks again wgsten

  12. Joe says:

    Hi Wgsten,
    i would like to ask you if you could mail me some good source for north country feathers. I have been looking for them for few day but i just cant find it. I would really appreciate it. kind regards Joe

  13. wgsten says:

    Hi Joe,
    i have replied to you by PM.

  14. mark dwyer says:

    i love your flys great job p.s can you tell me
    were you get your moles fur thanks mark

  15. wgsten says:

    Hi Mark, i have sent you a reply by email.

  16. Ray Huddleston says:

    Morning Sir.
    Any chance of a tying pattern or picture of the Yellow Jack.It would be appreciated.

  17. wgsten says:

    Hi Ray, I am sorry I can’t post more information on the Yellow Jack at present. I am writing an article on it for an angling publication and I want to hold off on posting information until this article is published. Liam.

  18. Ray Huddleston says:

    Thanks Liam.Any heads up on what publication I should be looking for.I understand of course if you’re wanting to hold fire on that.

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