By Mike Hogue, Illustrations porvided by Cascade-Crest Tools & Materials

For some time folks have asked me to post some patterns for salmon and steelhead. I have been somewhat reluctant to put some patterns for several reasons. A good many of the salmon patterns are more or less designed to used for show rather than fishing. I personally, would not care to spend 4 making a fly only to break it off. Like any good fly, a pattern must use materials that are easy to obtain, be durable and be easy to make. A pattern must also catch fish, otherwise it's usefulness is a bit limited.

Pat Dunlop of Cascade-Crest Tools provided me with this pattern sometime ago. I hadn't done much with it until I moved out to the North East and I began looking for patterns to make which I could use fishing.

This pattern is more or less a style, rather than a specific type of pattern. You can use several colors or mix and patch colors which fit the places you fish. You can tie this in many sizes and you can alternate materials such as glow tinsel, holo tinsel, Edge Brite, Estaz or catctus Chenille. You can use several materials for the spey hackle such as pheasant rump, teal or gadwell flanks. How you choose to make this pattern depends largely on how you want to make it.

Cactus Spey Pattern


Hook: Salmon Up eye, B180 or B190 Kamasan, 2/0 to 12

Thread: Black, Red or Hot Orange

Rear 1/2 of Body: Tinsel, either mylar, holo or glow

Front Half of Body: Cactus chenille or Estaz

Front Hackle: Brown saddle hackle, under-sized

Collar: Strung Guinea Hen hackle, tied spey style

Tying Steps


1) Begin by starting your thread. Tie in tinsel. I some times tie in tinsel at the front, wrap it forward and then wrap back. This makes the body even and smooth. If you wish to have a low water or reduced version, do not wrap the tinsel all the way to the start of the bend, stop before you get to the point of the hook.





2) Wrap tinsel and tie off. Tinsel should end about at the half way point of the hook shank.




3) Tie in the chenille and tie in a hackle. The hackle should be one size smaller than the hook you are using. For example if you are tying an 8, use a size 10 hackle.





4) Wrap chenille forward and tie off. Wrap hackle forward and tie off leaving about 3-4 eye lengths open for the collar and the head.



5) Select one Guninea Hen feather. You may use a dyed, natural, loose or strung. In a pinch the saddles feathers from pheasants or duck flanks could work too. Strip one side off, ideally you should remove the bottom as shown. The fibers of the feather selected should be oversized by at least one size. For example if you are making a size 8 , use a size 6 feather. The fibers on speys are quite long, typically more than 2 times the gap of the hook.




6) Tie in the Guinea Hen with the butt of the feather pointed down. I some times stroke the fiber out when I tie in the feather to make the collar a bit easier to make.





7) Wrap the feather as a collar and tie off.






8) Fold the hackle back and form the head. I often wind the thread back into the hackle to make the feather flare out. Tie off the thread and whip finish.






You can make several types of combinations using a variety of materials. Try using Edge Brite for the body, along with Estaz or mixing colors like red, purple, black etc. You can also use dubbing for the front of the fly or you can use teal or gadwell flanks for the front feathers.



For more Info Contact:

Mike Hogue / Badger Creek Fly Tying / 622 West Dryden Road, Freeville, NY 13068

Phone: 607-347-4946