Steelhead fishing can be quite a challenge, but luckily some of the flies used to pursue these fish are quite easy to tie. Out of all the "classic" steelhead patterns that exist, the Green Butt Skunk is probably one of the most recognizable names. This fly is not just productive, but it's a really easy one to assemble, too. While the example I tie varies slightly from the more "standard" recipe, remember, on many flies you can feel free to experiment with different colors, fibers, etc. Let's hit the tying bench to see how to tie this steelhead fly!
*Material substitutions are noted in (parenthesis)
Hook: Tiemco TMC 7999 #4
Weight: Lead Wire
Tail: Red Calf Tail (replaces red hackle fibers)
Butt: Chartreuse Flash Chenille (replaces regular chartreuse chenille)
Body: Dark Purple Chenille (replaces black chenille)
Ribbing: Small Flat Silver Tinsel
Collar: Black Hackle
Wing: White Polar Fiber (replaces white calf tail)
1.) Lay down a quick thread base on the hook shank. Now is a good time to wrap lead wire if you want to use it. You can then use the thread to criss-cross over the wire to secure it now, or wait a couple of steps as I'm going to do.
2.) Snip off a bit of calf tail and tie it in at the rear without it being too long or too short. My tail is about 3/4 of an inch long not counting a few straggling fibers that stick out slightly longer. Those can be trimmed later if desired.
3.) Tie-in the chartreuse chenille and wrap it a few times just enough to cover the rear of the fly as shown. Take a few thread wraps to secure it and clip the excess chenille.
4.) Take the tinsel and chenille and tie them in (one at a time) where the chartreuse chenille is tied-off. When they are secure, bring your thread forward to just behind the hook eye. You can also secure the lead wire as you bring the thread forward if you haven't done so already!
5.) Wrap the chenille forward and tie it down where your thread is waiting.
6.) Wrap the tinsel forward over the chenille and secure it with thread when you reach the front. I like to wrap it about 4 times evenly spaced.
7.) Select a hackle to tie-in for the collar. Here, I've chosen a somewhat webby hackle that's just long enough so that the tips will be about even with the hook point when compressed. Strip away the very fluffiest part of the hackle and tie it down by the stem. Wrap it around the hook. I went around 3 times before securing it. This gives my fly a nice profile without being too thick which may hurt the action.
8.) Cut off a tuft of polar fiber to use for the wing. Clip the end you just cut so that it's nice and straight which makes it easier to tie-in and manage. Tie it down at the head securely and snip the excess so it doesn't cover the hook eye. The main part of my wing is about as long as the body. A few fibers may extend past that, but those few can simply be trimmed. I never like to cut the entire wing because that takes away the natural taper of the material.
9.) Form a clean, tapered thread head. Whip finish, snip the thread, apply head cement, and you're DONE! Easy, right?