Classic Dee Flies

Work and the remnants of hurricane Sandy have kept me at home for the last few weeks. Fortunately the deluge that blew out all of the steelhead streams in my range (OH, PA, NY) has moved on and these tributaries should be looking good as they fall back to fishable levels. In the mean time I’ve been reading a bit, procrastinating on another rod build, and mostly browsing classic salmon flies via the internet. My interest has been focused on the classic Dee flies for a couple of months now and I’ve started filling a box with them.

This Balmoral is a combination of Kelson and Murdoch’s recipes. I used white wings instead of the called-for cinnamon or brown.


I’ve spent the last several weeks collecting the appropriate materials for these flies starting with the hooks. While there aren’t any hard rules about hook selection these days the original Dee’s were tied on long shank hooks with Limerick bends. The most appealing modern examples I’ve seen are tied on the Daiichi 2091 blind eye hooks. I love the look of these hooks right out of the package. They’re so sleek, almost jet-like, they seem to be a perfect match for a classic Dee.

The venerable Akroyd tied on a Daiichi 2091 blind eye.

Another hook I like the look of is the Daiichi 2271. These down-eyed hooks have a bit shorter shank than the 2091s. The shorter shank means that shorter wing strips can be used and I’ll have more options in that regard. The Akroyd below was my first attempt at the pattern and was a learning experience. I think it will still fish well.

A smaller Akroyd, with white wings, wrapped on a Daiichi 2271.

A lot of these flies call for wing strips of cinnamon turkey. Natural cinnamon has been somewhat difficult for me to find. Upon a friend’s recommendation I contacted Aaron Ostoj ( to see what he had in stock. Luckily I was able to order some large white turkey tail sections and he also has cinnamon dyed over white sections. I’ve been really happy with all of the materials I got from Aaron and I wouldn’t hesitate to contact him again when I need a refill.

The Dunt. The dyed cinnamon tails wouldn’t quite “lay down” like the white wings did for me. Again, I think it’ll still fish well.

So my first small group of Dee’s are put together and waiting to be fished. There are a few things that I’ll do differently when I tie these patterns again and as always, I learned a lot. There are still a good number of other recipes that I plan on tying as well so I’ll be able to fill up this box.

Dee flies only.

Thanks for checking them out.


7 thoughts on “Classic Dee Flies

  1. down and across has been the theme for fall, but on a much different scale since the only water i care about is tiny.

    alot of leadwinged coachmen and gold ribbed hare’s ears, yet the nicest fish i took was out confluence with the local river when i threw the biggest thing i had handy, the humble mickey finn.

    i always liked these sorts of flies, i’m just afraid i have no use for them.

  2. You know, I saw the picture you posted on your blarg with the Medalist in the foreground and the mill in the background. I saw the Mickey Finn. I absolutely love that picture and my first thought was, “I should tie some of those”.

    I’m with you on the CDC too. It’s not my favorite.

  3. there’s a story that goes with that picture. i typed it up, looked at it and thought, “shit, this is the sort of thing i’m expected to post?” i’ve then cut and pasted it and now its like over 9000 words, blathering and stupid and i don’t care because its terriffically self indulgent.

    fuck, its 2am. i’ll try to capture the essence tomorrow. i’ll spoil it for you though, it ends in disaster.

    but you knew that already. it always does.

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