December 2010

                                   Fly Pattern: Wahlflower
          Tyer's Name: Erik Simpson
          Date: December 6, 2010
    Fly Originator and History: The Wahlflower pattern is one of the best-known 
    steelhead flies. It was created in 1965 by Ralph Wahl of Bellingham, Washington 
    who had been fishing for steelhead since the 1930's. Ralph was born in 1906 and 
    passed away in 1996 at the age of 90.  Ralph became an avid steelhead fly fisherman 
    when he discovered a secret pool (now known as the steelhead Shangri-La) on the 
    Skagit River near Lyman. At this site he developed his passion for angling steelhead 
    which lasted for 45 years. Ralph is best remembered for his outstanding fly fishing 
    memoirs, books,and black-and-white outdoor photographs.

                                  How the Fly is Fished
    Suggested line and leader:  Floating line with a 9'- 15' monofilament, sinking 
    leader, or weighted leader and a 3' to 6' tippet in the summer.
    Depth range: In streams: Fish in shallow slow moving water, across pockets, 
    behind rocks or near obstructions, along seams, downstream and across current. 
    Remember to always keep the fly swimming forward.
    Suggested retrieve: Make smooth and natural strip retrieves and mend the line.
    Comments: The Walhflower pattern works best for summer steelhead in low clear 
    waters; however, it fishes very well anywhere steelhead are caught.

                                  Fly Material
    Hook make /size / length: 1.0 Alex Jackson Gold hook recommended. The pattern 
    can be tied down to size #2.0.  Prefer to use a Gamakatsu,  size #2.0 with a 
    return eye, #T10-6H.
    Thread: size / color / type: flat silver tinsel, gold floss, green florescent 
    floss and 8.0 black thread.  
    Weighted y/n / size: No.
    Tail material / size / color: Gold pheasant crest.
    Body material / size/ color: Golden floss over flat silver tinsel.
    Ribbing size / color: Oval silver tinsel
    Thorax size / color: Green florescent floss over gold floss. 
    Wing size / color: Gray squirrel tail dyed yellow.                    
    Head size / color: Large black thread head.
    Other: Crests: Gold pheasant crest on top and on the bottom of the shank 
    (Optional throat: Orange Schlappen).
    Glue: "Hard as Nails" glue or equivalent.

                                  Tying Instructions

    To understand how easily the Walhflower can be tied, only five tying steps are needed:

                                    Step 1. Tie on flat tinsel.

    1.1 On a Gamakatsu hook, size 2.0, tie on the flat silver tinsel just behind 
    the return eye at the end of the wire. This is the starting point.  Wrap the 
    tinsel down on the hook to a point above the back of the barb.  The wraps should 
    be touching to form a solid color. Wrap the tinsel back up the hook to the starting 
    point. There should be no hook showing through the tinsel. Whip finish, cut and glue.

                          Step 2.  Tie on gold floss and gold crest tail.

    2.1 Tie on the gold floss at the starting point. Wrap the gold floss down the 
    hook to a point above the middle of the barb. The wraps should be touching to form a 
    solid color. Wrap the gold floss back up the hook to the midpoint. 

    2.2 Select a gold crest with a length of about 1 1/2" that has been soaked and 
    dried on a flat surface. Tie on this gold crest at the midpoint. Make sure the crest 
    is centered, properly aligned, and parallel to the hook. The crest should extend  
    just beyond the hook bend. Then wrap the thread forward on the hook to the starting 
    point to build up a level, solid colored  body. Whip finish, trim and glue. 

                          Step 3. Tie on green floss and oval tinsel.

    3.1 Tie on the florescent green floss at the starting point, then tie on the 
    oval tinsel on the side of the shank facing you. Run the tinsel along the side 
    of the shank to the midpoint as you cover it with the green floss.

    3.2 Wrap the green floss forward to the starting point. The wraps should be 
    touching to form a solid color.
    3.3 Wrap the oval tinsel forward about 4-5 wraps with equal spacing. Use the 
    green floss to  whip finish the tinsel, cut and glue.

                               Step 4. Tie on gold crest throat.

    4.1 Tie on a small black thread head at the startng point and glue. Turn the 
    fly over and tie on a small soaked and dried gold pheasant crest throat or some 
    orange schlappen (optional).  The gold crest should point downward to the hook 
    barb. Wrap the thread down and forward to form a solid colored head. Make sure the crest 
    is centered, properly aligned, and parallel to the hook. Trim and glue.

                               Step 5. Tie on yellow squirrel wing.

    5.1 Turn the fly over and tie on the squirrel wing. The squirrel fibers are 
    slippery so first wrap on a small thread base and glue it. Then cut a small 
    amount of squirrel tail, stack it, clean out the junk, tie on the fibers and 
    glue them (this is the 'platform' that the actual wing will rest on). Make sure 
    to tie on the fibers so the back portion points slightly upward and toward the 
    hook bend. Trim and glue. Then tie on a second amount of squirrel tail fibers 
    repeating the wing process. Pluck any unwanted squirrel tail fibers below the 
    hook shank and glue.    

    5.2 Place a fair dab of glue on the head and wrap on an even thread head slanting 
    slightly downward in front. Wrap the thread to form a solid colored head. The glue 
    will provide a black shiny head. Whip finish, trim and glue.

                                  Wahlflower with an orange throat.

    Comments: John Gort said "The Wahlflower pattern is relatively easy to tie with 
    a minimum amount of materials that gets the job done in the water". 

    The Wahlflower pattern is shown on Page 73 of the "Flies for Steelhead" by 
    Dick Stewart and Farrow Allen, 1962 Edition, Third printing, Mountain Pond 
    Publishing Corp. 

        Erik Simpson, updated 12.4.10.