by Paul Egan

American River Purple Peril


Last year at the ISE show I was tying some steelhead flies. These are some of my favorite flies to tie. Steelhead flies are easy to tie, have that classic look and, with bright or very contrasting colors, they are eye catchers. The flies got a lot of attention and I received a lot of compliments about them. This version of the Purple Peril was one of the crowd favorites and the women just adored it.


I evolved the pattern while at the show and never did fish it that year. I have several in my box along with some freight trains, coal cars, green butt skunks, royal coachmen, wets and others; none of which get used very much because I donít swing that often. I mostly just admire them when reaching for a Hackle 3D or egg pattern, and they do look cool.


Fly tying is not always functional; sometimes I just sit at the vise and tie things that will never get wet, just to enjoy the art and relaxation of the hobby. This fly is one that is both; it can be an artwork and a work horse. The Purple Peril is sturdy and beautiful at the same time. I hope to hear that many fish admire this fly as much as I do.



  1. Hook: Mustad #7989

  2. Thread: Black 6/o

  3. Tag: Med. silver mylar tinsel

  4. Tail: golden pheasant crest feather

  5. Rib: Med. French tinsel

  6. Body: Purple anglerís choice mohair plus or angora goat dubbing

  7. Hackle: Black soft

  8. Wing: White calf tail


1.       Place hook in vise and smash the barb

2.       Tie in the thread at the Ĺ way point and wrap back to the point.

3.       Tie in a 4Ē piece mylar tinsel wrap it to the rear of the hook three turns, and then forward over the top of it self for 4 turns.

4.       Select a golden Pheasant crest feather and smash the stem flat so it will lie on the hook shank with the tip curving up to the rear of the fly.

5.       Tie in a piece of  French tinsel

6.       Dub a body stopping about 1/16 of an inch behind where the split eye begins.

7.       Wrap the silver tinsel forward in a spiral. Tie off and clip the tag end.

8.       Select a soft hackle with barbs 2 times the gap. Tie it in tip pointing to the rear of the fly shiny side to you.

9.       Make three or four turns of hackle right in front of the body. Tie off and clip the tip.

10.   Three finger sweep and tie down with three wraps of thread.

11.   Clip a clump of calf tail hair and pull out the shorties and the long straggly ones. Tie it in right in front of the hackle. Use soft loops to hold it in place and tie it tight clip the butts close to the hook shank, and make a smooth taper. Glue.

12.   Wrap a smooth head and whip finish.

13.   Glue the head. I use at least two coats


Copyright 2006 by Granite Bay Flycasters unless otherwise noted