The Steelhead Hammer has had notable success targeting steelhead in British Columbia, as well as the Great Lakes tributaries. It is an effective pattern that can easily be changed with the season by varying the colour choices. Purple and blue seem to be better colours for winter use while pinks and reds tend to dominate in the spring and summer. Many Steelheaders have come to know the Hammer as their Go-To fly, and always keep extras in their box in a range of colours. The versatility of this fly has also allowed it to be an excellent choice for salmon and trout species. On a recent trip to Alberta, even a willing Arctic Grayling was found. I keep a selection of Hammers in my fly box, and you should consider it as well.
Purple Steelhead Hammer Fly Pattern Recipe
Hook: Mustad C49S or other scud hook
Thread: UNI-Thread 6/0 Fire Orange
Tail: Purple Schlappen
Ribbing: Silver Holographic Mylar Tinsel 1/64
Body: Black Super-Stretch Floss
Thorax: Purple Crystal Chenille
Head: Fire Orange
1. Begin by placing your hook into the vise. I often tilt the hook forward so that I can access the bend of the hook easily. This also allows the material to hang off the end of the bend without running into the vise. Attach your tying thread 1/3 of the shank length behind the eye.
2. Select s schlappen feather and strip a small clump of fibres for the tail (25). Choose a feather with long full fibres. Measure the fibres so that the tail will extend just under the hook shank length.
3. Wrap the schlappen fibres down to the bend of the hook, being careful to keep the fibres on top of the hook shank. Trim off the butt ends of the fibres at the tie in point. You do not need touching wraps, but keep them close to minimize bumps.
4. Take a strand of holographic mylar tinsel, or any thin silver mylar tinsel you have, and tie it in at the tail of the fly. Wind the thread back to the tie in point while you tie the tinsel down. This helps keep the body even and thin.
5. Take 2 strands of Super-stretch floss and trim the tips even. Use 2 or 3 wraps to secure the floss at the starting point. Trim off any material forward of the tie in point.
6. The floss has an amazing amount of stretch to it, hence the name, now pull hard on the floss towards the rear of the fly. you will notice that when it is stretched, it gets quite thin. Tie down the floss while you pull it. This will give you very little build up of bulk. WInd the floss down the the tail of the fly, and then bring the thread back to the starting point.
7. Grasp the 2 strands of stretch floss and apply tension and begin to wrap them forward. Be sure there are no gaps between the strands of floss. If you have difficulty using 2 strands, try using just one strand. It will just take a bit longer to wrap the body.
8. Wrap the floss to the tie in point and tie it off. Trim any excess, and save it for the next fly. The floss is very durable, and can stand up to many hits. Using a traditional floss will not give you the same durability.
9. Spiral the holographic tinsel up the body to the tie in point. secure the tinsel and trim any excess. You can reverse wrap the tinsel or wrap it in the same direction as the floss. The floss is much stronger than the tinsel and does not need to be reinforced. The tinsel is only to add segmentation to the pattern.
10. Tie in a length of Crystal Chenille trailing back at the tie in point. Be sure to make enough room so that an egg may be formed on the head of the fly.
11. Wrap the chenille 3-4 times so that it forms a ball or egg shape on the head of the fly.
12. Tie off the chenille and trim off any excess material. Be careful not to trap down too much of the chenille in the head. Create a neat head on the fly and whip finish the fly. Add a dab of head cement to the final thread wraps on the head.