Was talking to a fellow-angler on the Sol Duc and he was complaining about not being able to get his fly to sink deep enough, despite using sink tips. When I looked at his flies, the reason was evident. Like many flies, this one had too much bulk. These flies look pretty but the more material on the fly, the more it’s water-resistance causes it to loft in the water column. Try this experiment: tie a full-bodied fly and watch it’s behavior in the current. Now tie a very sparse fly and observe it in the current. The sparse fly sinks deeper. Often, we tie our Steelhead flies on a silver or gold hook or shank, with no body other than a thorax. The glitter of the shank provides the body without bulk, the small thorax provides color and the sparse wing provides movement.

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