Published May 14. 2007 - 16 years ago
Updated or edited Nov 29. 2023

Bloody Butcher

Originally this was a classic style wet fly with a feather wing, but it's easily transformed into an excellent sea trout fly. Black, red and silver are perfect together and makes the fly very visible. See tying steps and lots of pictures and 

Bloody Butcher with a simple hair wing - A modern salmon/sea trout Bloody Butcher with a one section hair wing
Simple hair wing
Martin Joergensen

I personally love

this fly for its colors. Black, red and silver are perfect together and makes the fly very visible and one of my favorite flies for slightly muddy or really turbulent water.

The original is

a wet fly with a feather wing, but as much as I love these beautiful classical feather wing flies, they are not suited for my saltwater fishing. I tie the fly larger than prescribed for the original wet, and with a hair wing in stead of feathers, typically made from Arctic fox. This material is easy to use and has the right texture for a fly this size.

The possible variations

are numerous, and a great alternative is to use a strip of black rabbit and tie the fly as a zonker. You can also vary both the body and the tail and throat hackle. Use yarn or hackle for the tail, tinsel, silver braid or flash chenille for the body and soft or stiff feathers for the throat hackle. The most important issue is to keep the color scheme, which in my eyes is the key to success with this fly.

I like my

Bloody Butchers to be rather meaty and heavy—a real attraction to a hungry trout in the early spring. I also like to add some weight under the body to get the fly to sink readily and to induce a swimming motion to the fly as it's retrieved.

Dark skies - Weather like this is Bloody Butcher weather
Bloody Butcher with flash chenille - A bright flash chenille is an excellent body for making a beefy Bloody Butcher
Wave action - The visible Bloody Butcher is best in water with a lot of action and maybe some color
Butcher by the water
Martin Joergensen

The Butcher is

not an imitation of anything that swims in my home waters, but still is a very productive fly for sea run brown trout. I prefer using it when the water is a bit rough with some waves and maybe a bit of dirt. I have also had success with the fly in the early spring, where the bright colors seem to be able to get lazy sea trout moving.

Tying instructions

This sequence shows how to tie the fly with a wing in several sections, This gives a nicer, drop-shaped wing, but also requires more tying steps. You can tie the wing in a single section if you're lazy...

Step 1- thread

Step 2 - cover shank

Step 3 - tail material

Step 4 - tail

Step 5 - trim the tail

Step 6 - tail done

Step 7 - tinsel

Step 8 - varnish

Step 9 - start the tinsel

Step 10 - body

Step 11 - tie down

Step 12 - prepare hackle

Step 13 - tie in

Step 14 - trim stubs

Step 15 - start hackle

Step 16 - 3-4 wraps

Step 17 - tie down and trim

Step 18 - hackle done

Step 19 - first wing section

Step 20 - tie in

Step 21 - fir section ready

Step 22 - second wing section

Step 23 - tie in

Step 24 - in place

Step 25 - trim stubs

Step 26 - second wing section OK

Step 27 - Third wing section

Step 28 - wing done

Step 29 - form a head

Step 30 - whip finish

Step 31 - varnish

Step 32 - done

It works! - A slightly colored sea trout fell for a large Bloody Butcher
Kelt - Spring fishing for sea run browns will bring you some large kelts - fish that have been into a river or stream to spawn
Fish on!
Martin Joergensen

See also

We have covered the Bloody Butcher other places:
The Bloody Zonker
The Angel Body Bloody Butcher
EZ Bloody Butcher


Log in or register to pre-fill name on comments, add videos, user pictures and more.
Read more about why you should register.

Since you got this far …

The GFF money box

… I have a small favor to ask.

Long story short

Support the Global FlyFisher through several different channels, including PayPal.

Long story longer

The Global FlyFisher has been online since the mid-90's and has been free to access for everybody since day one – and will stay free for as long as I run it.
But that doesn't mean that it's free to run.
It costs money to drive a large site like this.

See more details about what you can do to help in this blog post.