The Silver Demon is another old classic steelhead fly pattern that still is used. Perhaps not as well known as it’s famous cousin the Gold Demon, the Silver Demon steelhead fly actually out produced the Gold Demon during early days on the Klamath River. Upon it’s introduction in 1934 or 1935, early commercial fly tyer C. Jim Pray of Eureka, California wrote of his creation outselling the Gold Demon by 1,300 to 300. (Streamer Fly Tying and Fishing©1950 and 1966 by Joseph D. Bates page 250)
Tied in the fashion of the Cains River Streamers, which all featured barred mandarin or wood duck for tails, the Silver Demon was one of three patterns that Jim Pray added to the Cains River fly series. The other two were the older Gold Demon and a Black Demon creation of Mr. Pray. The distinguishing feature of the Demon flies were their bright orange collar hackle.
The Cains River Streamers came out starting with the earliest patterns in 1924 by a Mr. Fred Peet for use on New Brunswick’s Cains River. The quarry was Atlantic salmon. The Cains River Streamers proved effective for other fish species including trout and bass and eventually near 21 patterns came to be. C. Jim Pray thought that his Demons would work up nice for steelhead when tied in the Cains River style. Both the Silver and Black Demon feature the barred wood duck tail.
Two ways of attaching the barred wood duck tail to the hook. The old Cains River Streamer recipes call for two sections of barred wood duck back to back and tied down with a soft loop of the thread. This method produces a clean, even outline to the tail. Carefully folding a broad section of barred wood duck over into a smaller strip with two good equal sides is another technique. Little bit faster, but I can never get the folded sides to line up and look all that equal. Really of little consequence when you are going to fish the fly, as I don’t think the steelhead notice or care one bit about even edges!