Published Apr 13. 2006 - 18 years ago
Updated or edited Sep 25. 2017

Classic Wet Flies

Wet flies have been around as long as fly fishing itself. Are they starting to see a renaissance? In fly tying circles at least, that may be the case, as tyers look for new challenges and new sources of inspiritaion.

This article has been brewing for quite some time. One of the first fly tying books I ever got was Mike Dawe's "The Flytiers Manual". I think I got it for Christmas one year from my Mom. I was a little disappointed at first because it was UK based and seemed "different". The more I read it, however, the more I learned to appreciate that difference. Not only that, I kept going back to the chapter on wet flies. They were fascinating - and quite beautiful. They were unlike anything that was "in vogue" at the time in US based magazines and books. My interest in wet flies has been on a slow simmer ever since.

This past Fall and Winter, the simmer came to a full boil. It started with a visit to the International Fly Tying Symposium, where I watched Don Bastian tie for awhile and then sat in on his slide show. Granted, a gifted and experienced tyer like Don always makes fly tying seem incredibly easy, but I couldn't shake the "I can do that" feeling that was coming over me. I'd wrapped my share of thread, paid enough dues. It was time to scratch an itch. The first thing I did was dig out my 1965 edition of Bergman's "Trout", which was handed down to me from my father.

When I was browsing through the plates by Dr. Burke and picking out flies to tie, I tried to choose that that had a variety of wing styles. Some married, some duck flank, some solid "slate" as they call the natural duck and goose wing quills, some mottled, and some solid colors. I looked for a variety of colors schemes, some bright attractors as well as some flies sporting more subdued natural tones. I wanted a few with palmered hackles as well as a few with mixed hackles. Some classics are sprinkled in, but for the most part, many of these flies are not well known.

I must say, tying the sets of flies was great fun. I tied three of each, which filled a single row in an old Perrine #60 fly box. Due to the size of the hook, I had to skip rows, so I could fit 5 rows of three flies on each side of the box. Since I had two boxes, I had a total of 20 patterns to tie. I listed the patterns on a sheet of paper and sat down and tied. By New Year's, I was done.

Since Wet Flies seem to be coming back in fashion somewhat, I thought I'd share them with GFF readers.

Ed: This article has been updated with flies tied during the Christmas holiday season of 2005. The new set starts with the "Beauty".


Hook: Mustad 3399, #8
Tag: Flat Gold Tinsel
Tail: Golden Pheasant Tippet
Rib: Flat Gold Tinsel
Body: Dark Red Floss
Hackle: Brown
Wing: Gray Mallard
Finding mallard flank to make a nice slip wing is difficult. You need to use those "side" feathers that are essentially one sided, with the good side having solid web all the way to the tips of the barbs. I sorted through a lot of flank to find a few feathers to use on these flies.


Black and Orange

Hook: Mustad 3399, #8
Tail: Black Hackle
Rib: Black Floss
Body: Orange Floss
Hackle: Black
Wing: Black
This was supposed to be a Lord Baltimore, until I realized I forgot the jungle cock eye. As luck would have it, there was also a fly named the Black and Orange that match this recipe perfectly. Lucky me. Since my dyed black goose was more of a dark blue, I used natural crow quill for the wing. Looks nice.


Blue Bottle

Hook: Mustad 3399, #8
Tag: Flat Gold Tinsel
Body: Blue Floss
Hackle: Black, palmered over body
Wing: Slate
I never noticed this fly until I saw it on the cover of Don Bastian's DVD. It caught my eye and I thought I'd try my hand at a few. It's a real handsome pattern. I'm a sucker for flies with palmered hackles.



Hook: Mustad 3399, #8
Tag: Flat Gold Tinsel
Tail: Red
Rib: Flat Gold Tinsel
Body: Yellow Wool
Hackle: Yellow and Red Mixed
Wing: Gray Mallard
The wool body of the Brandreth provides a different texture compared to the more widely used floss body.



Hook: Mustad 3399, #8
Tag: Flat Gold Tinsel
Tail: Red and Peacock Sword
Rib: Flat Gold Tinsel
Body: Yellow Floss
Hackle: Brown
Wing: Yellow
This is the first of Bergman's wet flies that I tied. I plan on fishing these on Long Island's Connetquot River, where some friends have found yellow to be a good color for the local brown trout.



Hook: Mustad 3399, #8
Tail: Lemon Woodduck
Body: Orange Floss
Hackle: Brown, palmered
Wing: Lemon Woodduck
When choose flies to tie from the book, I could not pass up a fly known as "Catskill", especially since it contains one of my favorite materials - lemon woodduck flank. Palmered hackle? Man - nice fly.


Dr. Burke

Hook: Mustad 3399, #8
Tail: Peacock Sword
Rib: Oval Silver Tinsel
Body: Flat Silver Tinsel
Hackle: Yellow
Wing: White
Cheek: Jungle Cock
Dr. Burke was the man who painted all the plates in Bergman's book "Trout". This fly is just a wonderful blend of materials and colors, which also happen to work quite well as a streamer.



Hook: Mustad 3399, #8
Tail: Yellow and Red, married
Tag: Flat Gold Tinsel
Rib: Flat Gold Tinsel
Body: Yellow Floss
Hackle: Green
Wing: Mottled Turkey with a Yellow Stripe
A nice combination of colors in this fly. If tied using the traditional mottled turkey in the wing, use goose shoulder instead of goose quill for the yellow stripe, as it will marry easier.


Fish Hawk

Hook: Mustad 3399, #8
Tail: Mottled Turkey
Rib: Brown Floss
Body: Flat Gold Tinsel
Hackle: Brown
Wing: Mottled Turkey
Cheek: Jungle Cock
This fly calls for mottled turkey in the original recipe, but I happened upon a matched pair of speckled hen wings that looked terrific.


Fontinalis Fin

Hook: Mustad 3399, #8
Tail: White
Rib: Flat Silver Tinsel
Body: Orange Floss
Hackle: Furnace
Wing: Orange, topped with narrow strips of dark slate and white
The Fontinalis Fin is another imitation of a clipped brook trout fin. This version is also often tied with an orange wool body.


Grizzly King

Hook: Mustad 3399, #8
Tag: Flat Gold Tinsel
Tail: Red
Rib: Flat Gold Tinsel
Body: Green Floss
Hackle: Grizzly
Wing: Gray Mallard
The wing on this fly is just a bit too long. The fly is commonly tied as a trout bucktail using gray squirrel tail for the wing, and is also used as a salmon fly tied on an upwing iron.


Last Chance

Hook: Mustad 3399, #8
Tag: Flat Gold Tinsel
Tail: Red
Rib: Black Floss
Body: Yellow Floss
Hackle: Brown
Wing: Slate
I was surprised to find quite a few of the wet flies in Bergman's book sport some sort of floss or thread ribbing. I used Danville 3/0 to rib this fella, which is tied on a size 8 Mustad 3399 hook. Any heavier thread or floss would dominate the body too much.


Leadwing Coachman

Hook: Mustad 3399, #8
Tag: Flat Gold Tinsel
Body: Peacock Herl
Hackle: Brown
Wing: Dark Slate
Another well known classic fly. The Leadwing Coachman is often used during Isonychia Season, since the nymphs of those mayflies are known to migrate to shore so they can emerge on streamside rocks.


Parmachene Belle

Hook: Mustad 3399, #8
Tail: Red and White
Butt: Black
Rib: Flat Silver Tinsel
Body: Yellow Floss
Hackle: Mixed red and white
Wing: White with a Red Stripe
One of the most famous of all the "Bergman" wet flies. The Parmachene Belle is named after Parmachene Lake in Maine, USA. The first time I ever saw a real one was when a friend in Nova Scotia sent me some in a swap, telling me how he used them when fishing for sea run brookies. How cool is that?


Pebble Beach

Hook: Mustad 3399, #8
Tag: Flat Gold Tinsel
Body: Claret Floss
Rib: Flat Silver Tinsel
Hackle: Brown, palmered
Throat: Black
Wing: Orange
I'd like to know a little bit more about the history of this fly, as the Pebble Beach I know is known more for birdies and bogeys rather than trout and wet flies. Still - a pretty fly just the same.


Pink Lady

Hook: Mustad 3399, #8
Tag: Flat Gold Tinsel
Tail: Golden Pheasant Tippets
Rib: Flat Gold Tinsel
Body: Pink Floss
Hackle: Brown
Wing: Slate
One of my favorites of the lot. This pattern also makes for a beautiful dry fly. There are not many patterns that incorporate pink into their recipe without being gawdy.


Royal Coachman

Hook: Mustad 3399, #8
Tail: Golden Pheasant Tippets
Body: Peacock Herl with a center band of Red Floss
Hackle: Brown
Wing: White
One of the most famous flies of all time, whether the upwing dry fly, or the quill winged wet fly as shown here. This combination of materials has been used in a million different ways to catch all sorts of fish. A true timeless classic.


Silver Doctor

Hook: Mustad 3399, #8
Tail: Golden Pheasant Tippets
Rib: Oval Silver Tinsel
Body: Flat Silver Tinsel
Hackle: Blue
Wing: Green, Yellow, Red, married
Cheek: Gray mallard, sparse
I can hear you now. "Silver Doctor? You kidding me? This does not match the recipe in Bergman's book." You're right. It doesn't. The recipe for this fly came from Mike Dawe's "Flytier's Companion", which is UK based. I loved the combination of colors and the mallard flank sides. Forgive me, Ray.


Telephone Box

Hook: Mustad 3399, #8
Tail: Golden Pheasant Tippets
Butt: Peacock Herl
Rib: Black Floss
Body: Orange Floss
Hackle: Brown
Wing: Mottled Turkey
Cheek: Jungle Cock
Here again I made use of speckled hen wing quills in place of the traditional mottled turkey. Don't they look nice? This is a real pretty fly. Not flashy, but certainly not dull by any means.


Tomah Joe

Hook: Mustad 3399, #8
Tail: Yellow
Butt: Peacock Herl
Body: Flat Gold Tinsel
Hackle: Mixed Scarlet and Yellow
Wing: Barred Woodduck
A real pretty fly. Nice combination of colors and materials. The wing can be made with either matching left/right slips of barred woodduck, or taking one wider slip and folding it lengthwise (the British method). By the way - this is a real fish catcher.


Trout Fin

Hook: Mustad 3399, #8
Tail: Red
Rib: Oval Silver Tinsel
Body: Flat Silver Tinsel
Hackle: Badger
Wing: Red, married to narrow strips of black and white
Knowing that brook trout were quite territorial, old timers would often clip the fin off a caught fish and use it for bait. Fly fishers imitated this behavior by creating several "trout fin" type flies, this being one of the popular variations.


Hook: Mustad 3399, #8
Tag: Flat Silver Tinsel
Tail: Guinea
Body: Dark Gray Floss
Rib: Flat Silver Tinsel
Hackle: Black
Wing: Guinea

Who turned the color off? Talk about a black-and-white fly, with a little silver and gray to mix things up a bit. Drab - but fishy, isn't it? I was looking for patterns that had Guinea wings, and this is one of the first I found.


Blae and Black

Hook: Mustad 3399, #8
Tail: Golden Pheasant Tippet
Body: Black Floss
Rib: Oval Silver Tinsel
Hackle: Black
Wing: Natural Duck Quill
A not-quite-as-well-known fly from the UK, where "blae" refers to various shades of gray (like dun, slate, etc.). Quite a few of the patterns from the UK use GP tippet tails. I try to keep mine sparse and make sure both bands are showing, but keeping the separation between bands significant.



Hook: Mustad 3399, #8
Tail: Red
Body: Flat Silver Tinsel
Hackle: Black
Wing: Irridescent Blue segment from Mallard Drake flight feather
Everyone knows about this fly. The theory is that the silver is the butcher's blade, the red is the blood from the meat, and the irridescent blue is his apron. Whatever. It's a great fly. The original called for Ibis for the tail, but I use just a few whisps of hackle.


Dark Montreal

Hook: Mustad 3399, #8
Tag: Flat Gold Tinsel
Tail: Scarlet Wisps (hackle)
Body: Magenta Floss
Rib: Flat Gold Tinsel
Hackle: Magenta
Wing: Mottled Turkey

Who could not like this fly? What a great combination of colors. Gold and claret/magenta with a mottled wing. A real beauty. It's easy to see why this has caught so many fishermen's attention over the years. This one was tied with chicken wing quills like the flies above. Amazing, eh?


Hook: Mustad 3399, #8
Tag: Flat Gold Tinsel
Tail: Bronze Mallard
Body: Hare's Ear Dubbing
Rib: Flat Gold Tinsel
Wing: Slate NOTE: This tie is slightly different from the traditional in that it uses holographic gold tinsel.

Probably the single most famous fly of all. I am a bit embarrassed to admit I've embellished the traditional dressing a bit by adding the bronze mallard tail and using holographic gold tinsel for a tag and a rib. I can't help it. That holo gold is a fish magnet.


Greenwell's Glory

Hook: Mustad 3399, #8
Body: Pearsall's Gossamer Silk Thread, Primrose, darkened with dark brown cobbler's wax
Rib: Fine Oval Gold Tinsel
Hackle: Greenwell's Hen (furnace)
Wing: Slate

The UK's version of an Adams. Everyone ties and fishes the Greenwell's Glory in an almost infinite number of varieties. This particular one was intended to be close to the original dressing, including the dark waxed primrose body and the narrower-than-usual Starling slip wing.


Hardy's Favorite

Hook: Mustad 3399, #8
Tail: Golden Pheasant Tippet
Body: Peacock Herl
Rib: Red Floss
Hackle: Brown
Wing: Mottled Turkey

One from Helen Shaw's wonderful book on wet flies, "Flies for Fish and Fishermen - The Wet Flies". I first saw this fly in a swap I did back in 1994 and it's caught my eye ever since. Hen again.


Light Caddis

Hook: Mustad 3399, #8
Tag: Flat Silver Tinsel
Tail: Golden Pheasant Tippet
Body: Peacock Herl
Rib: Orange Floss
Hackle: Brown
Wing: Light Slate

Another one from Helen's book. It makes a good match with the Hardy's Favorite. I used to tie this one with a wing tied "Hughes" style with a bunch of dark dun hen saddle fibers. The quill wing looks much nicer.


Mallard and Claret

Hook: Mustad 3399, #8
Tag:Flat Silver Tinsel
Tail: Golden Pheasant Tippet
Body: Claret Seal's Fur
Rib: Oval Silver Tinsel
Hackle: Black
Wing: Bronze Mallard

Obviously, I am struggling with my bronze mallard wings. This fly is fishable, but it will not win any beauty contests. I almost chose not to include it here, but it's such a good fly. It's very popular in the UK and has spawned countless variations on the "mallard and claret" theme.



Hook: Mustad 3399, #8
Tip: Flat Gold Tinsel
Tag: Scarlet Floss
Body: Peacock Herl
Hackle: Brown
Wing: Mottled Turkey

One I had never heard of prior to getting a copy of Helen's book. One day I was in the mood for some herl bodied wet flies, and this one caught my eye. Again - hen here instead of turkey (I know - I'm being redundant - but I don't want to be called out on the mat by the internet fly tying police.)


Guinea Hen

Hook: Mustad 3399, #8
Tag: Flat Gold Tinsel
Tail: Crimson
Body: Crimson Fur or Wool
Rib: Flat Gold Tinsel
Hackle: Light Claret
Wing: Guinea

Can you believe this fly? The red wool body leaps out at you when you're holding the actual fly. It looks like a Christmas ornament in my fly box. I like it.


Silver and Black

Hook: Mustad 3399, #8
Tail: Golden Pheasant Tippet
Body: Flat Silver Tinsel
Hackle: Black
Wing: Black
Another from Helen's book. I wanted a dark fly with a bit of flash. This will do the trick.


Teal, Blue, and Silver

Hook: Mustad 3399, #8
Tail: Golden Pheasant Tippet
Body: Flat Silver Tinsel
Rib: Oval Silver Tinsel
Hackle: Blue
Wing: Teal Flank

Another very well known fly - although probably more so for sea trout than for trout fishing. I have done very well with this fly, however, fishing it during the height of the season with all sorts of little fry are about.


Whickham's Fancy

Hook: Mustad 3399, #8
Tail: Brown Hackle
Body: Flat Gold Tinsel
Rib: Oval Gold Tinsel or Gold Wire
Hackle: Brown, palmered
Wing: Slate

I wish I had done something different with the first turn of hackle, as the overall effect of the palmer makes the fly look butt heavy. Still - this will be a fish catcher. Gold tinsel, brown rib - what's not to like? This will catch fish - and in fact has caught fish for far longer than I have been fishing.


I have to say what a...

I have to say what a first rate set of wet flies. As a " wet fly" tyer from the UK I can appreciate the work and skill put into them
Best regards John

Lovely flies! You po...

Lovely flies! You possess a masters level of fly tying skill. I've been fly fishing for 55 years and ironically have caught less than ten trout on wet flies. They are very pretty and I think I'll tie some to put into my fly box.

Beautifully tied and...

Beautifully tied and presented. Thank you especially for the dark Montreal wet fly!

thank you , marvelou...

thank you , marvelous flies: i love them!

Some excellent work....

Some excellent work. These classic patterns have a singular attribute - they look "fishy."
Along with that, they are simply beautiful. Their sweeping curves, vibrant color and intriguing names take us back to that grand and ealier time we too often care nothing about. So few know these flies were the genesis, the foundation upon which our sport was built.
It is encouraging to find them making a comeback.

Beautiful tying! I...

Beautiful tying! I havnt really fished or tied wet flies yet, but im going to tie a few now thanks to your work

i to love thoes flie...

i to love thoes flies i been tying flies now for about 40 yrs never seen thoes flies befor in my life going to tye a few up and give them a try no harme at all to try out and ty verry much

when putting the bod...

when putting the body hackle for a wickham,s fancy,next time,try using a saddle hackhle with the flue NO longer than the gape of the hook,and STRIP the flue from one side of the hackle.this will make a more sparsley hackled body. wind fine gold wire over the hackle to protect from breaking due to fish teeth abrading it.this is a really great fly when bounced on the surface of a 3 fly "cast of flies as the top dropper. it works well any where on the leader.

Beautiful photos of ...

Beautiful photos of classic wet flies, along with the recipes using legally available, modern-day feathers. "Trout" by Ray Bergman = best fly fishing literature that I've ever read (and I've read a lot of it). A huge measure of "Thanks!" to Mr. Bergman for permanently morphing my fly fishing "bug" (at age 8) into my permanent fly fishing habit at the age of 12, back in the mid-1960's when I first read "Trout", cover to cover. The Wet Fly Plates in "Trout" are works of art. And for dry flies??? Mr. William Blades had no superior. He was amazing.

Great patters,going ...

Great patters,going up to the limestone lochs in durness,in a couple of weeks,vice bamboozld with ideas!!!!!!love it.

Bob great job Do you...

Bob great job Do you have a DVD out?

There's nothing more...

There's nothing more delightful than traditional wets and soft-hackles, fishing them or tying.
Absolutely stunning!

Just wonderfull fl...

Just wonderfull flies!
I'm big fan of classic trout flies.
I've use many years these classic flies and they are very good fish catchers!

I have become a fan ...

I have become a fan of the classic wet patterns, and have begun to tie some. Until reading your comments with each pattern describing how this or that catches fish, I was tying for display only. Having tied more than one of each pattern, I'm going to try them out on North Carolina mountain trout. Thanks for the great photos and encouraging remarks.

I too am a big fan o...

I too am a big fan of Bergmans, Trout.and also like to tie and fish those old traditional wet fly ties. Some of those flies are such fish catchers, especially the version of the hares ear wet with the slate wings. early in the year you can tie it on and just leave it there until you need another. My compliments to your tying skill, I very much enjoyed the pictures. Just got done tying myh firs tomah joes. Im glad I finally found a use for the feathers I dont use on the wood duck as I dont tie salmpn flies.Keep up the good work Stan fron Ct.

WOW !! I 'M I GLAD T...


Forty years ago the ...

Forty years ago the oldtimers in the Harman, WV area used three wets at a time on short leaders. Favorites were gray hackle peacock, gray hackle yellow, queen of the waters, cowdung, and hare's ear. My dad's was the royal coachman and mine, the coachman which I've taken browns of three pounds on.

I have had many wond...

I have had many wonderful evenings fishing for lake rainbow trout using squirrel tail blue dun wets and catching fish after fish as people just shook their heads wondering what "magic fly" I was using. These patterns are very much overlooked these days I think.. and the photography is pure 'eye candy." wonderful plates. thanks.. I was looking for Wickhams Fancy and there it was..

exellent!!. i mainly...

exellent!!. i mainly fish for seatrout on the rheidol and ystwyth in mid wales and was wondering if we could see a peter ross as it is one of my favorite.

Great work! I very ...

Great work! I very much enjoy tying these patterns, and am using your pictures as an instructional guide. Thank you!

WOW and WOW !!! Beau...

WOW and WOW !!! Beautiful photography, and wonderfull looking " wets".

Great flies. Expertl...

Great flies. Expertly tied

Nice tying here, I h...

Nice tying here, I have saved the site to my browser.

Truly stunning...war...

Truly stunning...warts and all...excellent reference page...i will be back...

These wetflies are t...

These wetflies are the most beautiful I ever have seen. They are as high class as classical salmon flies.

I love your wetflies...

I love your wetflies. I have never seen mor beautiful wetflies before
Thank you

No praise too high. ...

No praise too high. These pages are a real exibition space.

As for bronze mallard winging, I've never managed to match opposing slips. I've reasoned that there is insufficient barbing on the fibres to prevent splaying when locked with thread. One technique, and the only alternative I know of, is to trim a slip 3 times the size of the desired width of wing and "fold" or "roll" each end inwards. The resulting laminate of 3 slips can be manipulated between the fingers to shape the final wing profile.

This will give a fairly solid profile to the wing, but the fineness of the mallard fibres will allow sufficient movement to suggest life in the water. Definitely not as delicate as your work in these pages but who knows, with your skill at the vice, you might take "folding" or "rolling" to a new level.

In appreciation............Stephen Scanlan

Wow! nothing shy of ...

Wow! nothing shy of Awesome. Thanks for the great pattern photos and information.

Great site. Beautifu...

Great site. Beautiful flies! I sell guinea feathers through a farmers' cooperative . May I use the pictures of your Guinea Hen and Beauty flies in my coop ad and blog for our farm? I will give you credit and link to this page. Thank you for your time and consideration.

used the Butcher (al...

used the Butcher (also known as the Bloody Butcher) to great effect in Fife, Scotland as a lad, coached by my sage Uncle Bertie who could talk to the fish !!!! Got some fine fish from the Frandy and other lochs. River Devon was a great source of scrappy little fighters, all released as gently as possible.

Just checked in on t...

Just checked in on this page again and am surprised at the the interest. I thought I was one of the few that was interested in the wet fly style of fishing and tying.

A suggestion; pick any one of the patterns and do a "step by step" tying photo and instruction like the "Tabou Caddis Emerger". I think this would be beneficial to the tyers that are interested in tying this type of fly. As you well know there are several nuances in the tying procedure.


Thank you Bob for a ...

Thank you Bob for a wonderful reference page of wets. It is my "go to" page for tying wet flies. Again thanks,

Beautiful! I am now ...

Beautiful! I am now retired and was superviser in our local tackle factory 25 years ago when I was young!
North Wales

If you sell the coll...

If you sell the collection, I am ready to purchase 4 each, and a dozen of several of the patterns.

Beautiful flies perf...

Beautiful flies perfectly photographed. I've been looking for BROWN cobblers wax for years to tie the original Greenwells Glory (wet) since I live right THERE where Tweed, Clyde and Annan rise

I just keep going ba...

I just keep going back to these flies time after time, fantastic beautiful patterns love them to bits

Dr Petti, Excellent...

Dr Petti,
Excellent work. I always say, "the classics are classics because they work." I've been out of things for a while but am coming back to the land of the living and this page of traditional wet flies for trout is inspiring eye candy......

Don Bastian shows a ...

Don Bastian shows a "Good Evening" tied for his article back in 2006 in Fly Tyer. I finally got around to taking the wings of a mallard drake this season and tied the fly but reached a quandry when placing the slips together. Normally, the slips are matched dull side out, I thought, so the wings curve out slightly. But on this fly, one would lose the beautiful purple speculum if tied this way; so I tied the fly dull side in. This part of the wing is pretty flat any way, so one would not get much curvature however tied. Does anyone know how this fly was tied originally?

excellent site.i hav...

excellent site.i have been looking for good classic wets to tie. found everything i needed on your site. i am interested in all the old classics from trout flies to salmon flies. i am tying some of them now to see how they work on trout here in nova scotia. keep up the good work and i hope you add more to your site, just can't get enough of them. thanks for sharing these with all of us

...was only eight ye...

...was only eight years old when brother (four years older) and I dug frozen chickens - "plymouth rock" out of the snow; cut bristles off of Dad's paint brush and crudely attached them to a worm hook. A lifetime hobby began. Dad always fished wets - always three - two droppers and a point and any other way was treason. Beautiful page, wonderful photography and comments. Thank you so much!

very nicely done i ...

very nicely done i will be tying some of these myself.

WOW- WOW-WOW !!!!!!...

WOW- WOW-WOW !!!!!!!!!! This is a real inspiration for a beginner. Gathering up materials and building a desk right now. Again, they are beautiful and fantastic.

Bob V

Excellently tied tro...

Excellently tied trout flies on this page. Very good photographs.
I have an old 'John Veniard' book which has some of these flies in, they are tied with the same materials here, apart from the 'Catskill', Veniard uses Brown Mallard shoulder feather for the wings and tail.. There are other dressings like Adirondack, Cupsuptic, Potomac, Rio Grande King, Utah, Ray Bergman and Montreal Silver in the book too.

I never heard about ...

I never heard about "wet flies" before, I just played with google ;), but wow! good photos about beautiful flies... I really enjoyed watching these artistic beauties. grats & thanks!

Super flies! I live...

Super flies! I live in a resort in Florida where the streets are named for trout & salmon flies. iI would like to find someone who would tye SIX of the patterns for me. CATSKILL,GRAY HACKLE, NIGHT OWL, PARSON TOM, PINK LADY, WOODRUFF.
I need a dozen of each to maKe a frame to give as gifts, If you know of someone please advise. THANKS BOB

As a keen flytier my...

As a keen flytier myself , I always think that when exposing both bars on pheasent tippets tails that the tail looks too long , but as I can see you compensate the body length which tends to bring the tail further down the shank and makes it look more acceptable , I also like your skills when combining three different wing slips as one , trully impressed and overall they are dressed very neat and tidy ......jim

What a great web...

What a great website with crisp patterns! Keep up the great work.
Happy Easter to all.

Now that I've seen y...

Now that I've seen your beautiful flies I will re-read Rays book again. This time with fresh eyes. Wonderful art and dialogue. Thanks for sharing! Back to the vise with renewed vigor.

Thanks for wonderful...

Thanks for wonderful flies that have some of the neatest symmetrical head wraps I've seen. this is the page that inspired me to start a Soft hackled or Winged wet fly swap in my favorite online forum.

I just finished read...

I just finished reading The Soft-Hackled Fly and Tiny Soft Hackles by Sylvester Nemes which inspired me to surch on line for more articles about wet flies.
Thanks for the article and pictures, my next move is to the bench!

Thanks for this fant...

Thanks for this fantastic job . Were can i buy entire wet collection ? Please answer me quicly. Thanks

Neat stuff Bob; I lo...

Neat stuff Bob; I love to fish with the wet fly. I am 72 & fished the same water as Ray B. & Dr. burke, Both of which were from New Jersey , as I am too. The water they fished , is on the south branch of the Raritan , near a town called Long valley, DR. Burke lived in a town called Bound Brook N.J. I really like your style of tying. Great photos FRED

just a great collect...

just a great collection of flies , I have been looking for some classic patterns to ty & try
around B.C.

Where can I buy some...

Where can I buy some of these beautys?

PS. All 35 Wet Flies...

PS. All 35 Wet Flies will be on my site in the very near future. Stay tuned at

Triple A....Awesom...

Triple A....Awesome article, Awesome Flies, Awesome Photography.

simply Fantastic!...

simply Fantastic!

Exactly what I've be...

Exactly what I've been looking for! Great flies nicely photographed, with good commentary. You've raised the level of respect for the lowly wet fly to the ranks of classic salmon patterns. Nobody has made dead animal parts look more inviting. I must tie them! Here chicky . . . chicky . . . chicky . . .

very nice flies, the...

very nice flies, they would look good framed

Lovely flies, your r...

Lovely flies, your right though your having trouble with folded wings (Mallard & Claret)
Tight Lines

Your flies have insp...

Your flies have inspired me to try to do these flies justice.The manner you have presented them has started a itch in me I will have to scratch!!!!

very nice work. livi...

very nice work. living in the Rangeley, Maine area one has the opportunity to fly cast on some historical waters and see many flies from the world over. "Classic wet flies" have never been absent from my fly boxes in 37 years of fly casting. Some of these patterns reside there now and by the looks some additional patterns will soon take up residence!!!!! We all owe a debt of gratitude to the Ray Bergmans of the world. Best wishes for fly casting.

Great job! Thanks fo...

Great job! Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane. RR

I love how you tied ...

I love how you tied the gold ribed hares ear! I'll tie that right now!!

Fantastic job on the...

Fantastic job on these wet flies!...I especially liked the Greenwell's Glory as I have been trying to tie one for a friend...with limited success I might add...the Dark Montreal is very effective on brook trout in Nova Scotia...thank you for sharing your expertise and the "commentary"....

This presentation wa...

This presentation was wonderful and stimulating.
I am fairly new to tying and now a bit frustrated 'cause I could use some step by step instructions.
Suggestions would be appreciated.

I fish brook trout in ponds and lakes in the Rangeley Region primarily.

Loved the different ...

Loved the different hares ear you tied,I tied one to try , fish 1 rocks 1 lost 1 will remember to tie several from now on.I have a different hares ear myself maybe you would be

Dropped in on this p...

Dropped in on this page and find Bob has created some fine wet flies. In keeping with tradition he has made an impressive set to be shared with others on the internet.
Great work, Young fellow.

Soft hackles are pro...

Soft hackles are probably the most effective flies there is. I have caught more difficult fish on soft hackled wet flies than any other . It is the most under rated flies in the world. You can fish them upstream dry fly with a bit of floatant and it looks like a seriously trapped crippled emerger/dry. Fish them as a unweighted nymph dead drift down stream. Czech nymph with them. Across and down on the surface as a egg laying caddis. Or sub-surface in the traditional North Country style, it will catch fish every way. There is no other fly that is this versatile.

Wow... THANK YOU, T...


I love traditional wet flies as well as soft hackles.
I am a beginner and have a beginner's question: will they catch fish, though? I mean, in places like the Housatonic, the Farmington, the Beaverkill and the Willowemoc, and as opposed to nymphs like the Pheasant tail? Perhaps it's just comparing apples and oranges.
Whatever the answer, THANK YOU once again for sharing your work with us - such beautiful creations! (I must get the Bastien DVD!)

If only there was en...

If only there was enough time left in life to do what we would like to do. I feel that my daughters will inherit my stack of flytying materials. I find that I tie flies only to replace those left in trees and fish. Such is life!

Really, beautifully ...

Really, beautifully tied fishing flies and superbly photographed. Nice story too.
Traditional wet flies (and their modern derivations) for sea-run brown trout and salmon. They are the most interesting and are unsurpassable catchers of wild salmonids.
I wish that you would tie some traditional Irish and Scottish wet patterns, such as the Green Peter, Kate McClaren and Kingsmill Moore's bumble series - the Golden Olive, Fiery Brown and Claret Bumble.
Traditional flies with well-picked out seal's fur bodies and palmered body hackles are far superior to the smooth body/slip wing paterns. Particularly the bumbles, with two contrasting body hackles, will provide you with superb photo models and not a few fish. Keep your work up!

Lovely pictures. Nic...

Lovely pictures. Nice to see my all time favourite wets here...
Teal, blue and silver...Telephone box...Fish hawk.
I am having great results using them in Denmark for sea trout. The good ole' English way...uhh?
Ripley Davenport

Most impressive. ...

Most impressive.

I'll have to give the sea-run patterns a whirl...

I met Don Bastian fo...

I met Don Bastian for the first time last winter at the Fly Show in College Park, Maryland. I found out that he is friends with our good buddy Large Mike Martinek. Don's booth was the first one on the left as I walked in. I stopped for a quick chat and spent an hour (at least) watching him tie. I realized that I could spend the rest of the day at his booth so I pulled away so I could see the show. Upon leaving several hours later I made the mistake of stopping by his bench again. Yes. Another hour. And like you, I went home with new confidence and started tying wets. What a great inspiration he was. I asked him way too many question and he answered every one. He gave me lots and lots of wonderful tips on many aspects of tying.

This article is superb. Thanks.

Bob Abrams

You might want to lo...

You might want to look at Don Bastian's DVD on tying these wonderful flies. Also, there is now at least one discussion board on the web (not allowed to give you a link, you'll have to find it yourself, maybe by googling the names of some classic wet flies) where many of us afficianados of the classic wets hang out and show some patterns and discuss ideas. I'm a great fan of GFF as well, and love many of the patterns and articles. The one on Mary Orivs Marbury flies and the stuff on classic streamers come to mind as examples of great GFF stuff.

I love all the wet f...

I love all the wet fly talk in this article. I tie alot of classic wet flies, including many of these patterns and let me make one suggestion. DO NOT hesitate to use these during the season. If you think they are fun to tie, wait 'til a nice trout or bass rolls on your wet fly at the end of a swing!

thanks, i am just st...

thanks, i am just starting to tie, and i was running out of patterns for the materials i had, thatnks again




I am really interested in the "old-time" patterns! If able please do more of this type of work.

I am a fly tying and rod building consultant for Front Range anglers in Boulder, Colorado. Check out the shop website at ""

Classic wet flie...

Thank you , for a look at flies from the past, now i am doing them and enjoying to tie them very much, i have the veniards book and there's a bunch of flies calling to be tied.I always found it difficult for the wings but the more i tie the more i like to tie them. Is there threads that tie feather wings better


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