Loch Trout Flies

Traditional and Modern

It is true that the traditional flies work every bit as well as they ever have. However, today we have more and higher quality materials than ever before. When I look at a traditional fly I ask myself,

“What is it about this fly that makes it so good?”

Then I will set about trying to incorporate more of what makes it work. A good example of this is the Soldier Palmer. Perhaps the best known of the Loch Flies. The answer to my question was colour and movement.

First I set about the colour. A generally drab brown fly with a bright red hot spot. First I changed the red wool at the tail, for red Glo Brite. This daylight fluorescent material is a brighter red than the original.  Next I added a little more red at the head. Replacing the usual red game hackle at the head with a dyed red hackle.

For movement we have to look how it is fished. One of the most successful methods of fishing this fly is to gently pull it through the surface, called “dibbling”. This calls for a fly with lots of buzz, and that will stay in the surface. To achieve this I replaced the body hackle with a high quality dry fly saddle hackle of the same colour, and put a bit more on. Well a lot more really, traditionally 6 turns of hackle are used. I will often put 20 turns on mine.

Dibbling is not the only way this fly is fished. Sometimes the fish want it sunk. Not easy with my version. That’s why I tie a more lightly hackled version, which I fish in the middle dropper position.

Looking at flies this way increases the confidence with which I fish them. I have addressed many of the traditional patterns this way, but by no means all.

For those times when the fish are in a chasing mood, a muddle headed version is very good. That makes the set of three flies I fish in place of the one. Are they better? I don’t know, my ego will not let me say that they are better. But I often say, “Doing anything better is about more attention to detail.”Which is just what this is. For me they are more effective.

Individual Flies

Soldier Palmer

Kate Dabbler

Hook: 10 or 12 wet fly.

Thread:  Black.

Tail: GP Topping.

Rib:  Silver wire.

Hackles: Black and red game cock.

Wing: Bronze mallard.

Individual Flies

Blue Zulu

Tail:  Glo Brite No4

Rib:  Silver wire

Hackles: Black and blue cock.


Red Zulu

As the Blue Zulu but with read hackle.

Individual Flies

Highland Rough Flies

These came about when I was searching for an effective middle dropper pattern. They have proved to be much more than that.

The orange version has proved particularly successful for stocked rainbow trout. Golden and claret working well for browns.

Cardinal Palmer

Light Cardinal

Soldier Muddler

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Red Flies.

Just why are they so important?

Red is a hugely important in fishing the lochs I fish. Why is it so successful to me and should you be using more red flies on your cast. Click here to read Seeing Red, a recent article that answers these questions.

If you want to try Crackaig Red Flies on your water, there is a set available here.

The set contains, two each Cardinal Palmer, Black Pennel Variant, Red Zulu, and Ke-He.

Individual Flies