A Spate Fly

Large pattern featuring barred wood duck flank as part of the wing.

Another steelhead pattern that features wood duck feathers. The barred wood duck flank is used as high veiling over a bucktail wing. The above example is based on a Northwest pattern called the Darbee Spate Fly originated  by Joe Rossano. The large fly is intended for steelhead swimming the high, cold, discolored waters of Winter…where any edge is sought by the hopeful fly angler.

About 1946 Harry A. Darbee, a commercial fly dresser of Livingston Manor, New York, originated his Spate Fly for fishing Canadian waters for Atlantic salmon during “high spate” conditions. The fly was dressed in sizes 1/0 and over. Joseph D. Bates Jr. in his fine old book Atlantic Salmon Flies & Fishing ©1970 list Darbee’s original recipe as including golden pheasant crest, and seal’s fur or polar bear fur. I’m just interested in the use of the wood duck.

The recipe for the Rossano Darby Spate Fly is as follows:

Hook Partridge Bartleet

Thread Orange

Tag Fine oval gold tinsel

Tail Yellow golden pheasant rump feather

Body Brown leech yarn

Rib Fine oval gold tinsel

Hackle Brown schlappen collared with long black schlappen

Wing Red fox topped with broad strips of wood duck

Head Orange thread


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