Spey Hackle
The ever increasing popularity of the longer spey rods first developed on the Spey River in Scotland has ignited the use of larger swimming flies for Steelhead,Atlantic Salmon and saltwater species. The spey rods length and strength have the ability to present the larger tantalizing natural swimming flies that require the use of long natural hackle fibers, traditionally known as spey flies. Spey hackle feathers have long individual fibers that have separation between the fibers. A typical example would be blue eared pheasant rump feathers. When hackled on a fly the separation of feathers and the length imitate the undulating swimming movements of large prawns, squids and other swimming food forms . Game fish relish thesegourmet treats, and the imitative swimming motion of spey hackle is second to none for imitating the movements of these special game fish treats.
Paul Miller's large and regular Super Spey Hackle
Each of these feathers will tie a multiple of different spey fly sizes from 1/0 to 5/0. To achieve maximum utilization each feather must be examined individually. The features that have nice thin supple tips are ready for application. Strip one side and hackle. To use the remaining length of the feather, quickly soak in room temperature tap water then one must strip the feather, peeling a thin layer off the main feather shaft with the barbs attached. This is accomplished by holding the top of feather in the in the left hand and grasping about half a dozen fibers in the right hand and pulling down the feather, thus forming a skin like strip that peels off with hackle barbs attached. Turn the feather around and strip the remaining side, thus giving you two supple long spey strips that can tie a variety of fly sizes.
Paul Miller's Magnum Super Spey Hackle
The perfect Hackle for giant spey flies 5/0 and larger, long tube spey flies, and salt water spey flies. Use the feathers from the tip first. There will be some longer fibers left after the hackling application is complete. These fibers can be used to tie in as individual legs or long feelers . Also keep tuned in for future saltwater applications in up coming seminars on this web site by Paul Miller and Bob Quigley.
Orange Super Spey Prawn SEMINAR
Fly by Paul Miller Article by Bob Quigley Published in: Northwest Fly Fishing, Fall 2001
Northwest Fly Tying Super Spey Prawn
I must confess, I was somewhat disappointed when Kate Davidson, owner of Siskiyou Aviary, gave me a large bag of what I thought were emu feathers. Although a few emu feathers were present, the bag contained a large number of feathers that I didn't recognize. Upon examining them I was pleasantly reminded of the adage, "Every dark cloud has a silver lining. " This silver lining was Spey feathers! Spey feathers as long as my forearm, with long gangly barbs that would tie a half-dozen flies from 1/0 to 5/0- and larger!
While sorting these feathers for dyeing I waved a few through the air to simulate a swimming motion. I then handed some to my fishing and fly-tying friend Paul Miller, an innovative and skillful tier whose creative flies are second to none. He proceeded to gather various materials and then fashioned the most natural-looking, gangly prawn I have ever laid eyes on. After seeing Paul's creation, Kate and I named the new feather Paul's Super Spey Hackle.
The unique construction and combination of materials make this fly a real winner. The ability of this long hackle to wrap the entire length of the fly makes it nice when tying and, unlike some Spey feathers with thick, short stems that make more than two wraps difficult, Pauls, new hackle is very supple and strong, making it a pleasure to use on all types of Spey flies. The joined two piece shell back allows the fly to glide and naturally imitate the swimming prawn. A dubbed, translucent, naturally shaped, natural-texture body and realistic eyes complete this pattern.
The Super Spey Prawn works well in a variety of colors, with orange being the most effective for winter steelhead. It is most effectively fished using the standard down-and-across approach, with plenty of mending to allow the fly to stay close to the bottom. Most strikes will occur as the line tightens at the end of the swing. Sure, a fish may grab the fly at any point during the drift, but a slow, controlled swing, with the fly hugging the bottom, is where the majority of strikes will occur. This is particularly true for winter fishing, when lower water temperatures slow the metabolism of the fish. Putting the fly in their face is paramount. A slight upstream pumping the rod tip during the swing will cause a undulating action in the fly that will sometimes entice a strike. You might also try stopping the fly and holding it steady at the end of the drift for a count of at least five seconds, then releasing a short amount of line. This causes the hackle to fan out, creating a squid-like swimming motion that steelhead sometimes find irresistible. These simple variations in the basic down-and-across approach have scored for me at times when I know steelhead are present and they won't respond to my slow behind my fly without a take.
When this fly is tied in different colors, we have also found it to be effective for several saltwater game fish.


  • Hook: Alec Jackson, size 1.5"
  • Body: Orange dubbing
  • Thread: Monofilament
  • Rib: Medium silver oval tinsel
  • Tail: Orange Krystal Flash, Mirage, and orange marabou
  • Hackle: Orange Super Spey
  • Shell back: Pearl EZ body braid tubing
  • Eyes: 40-lb monofilament
Step 1: Tie in a half-dozen orange Krystal Flash fibers, followed by an orange dubbing ball.

Step 2: Burn the ends of a piece of 40-pound monofilament to make the eyes, and set a slightly upward angle from the shank, followed by a half-dozen fibers of Krystal Flash

Step 3: Tie in two strips of Mirage. Strip one side of a marabou plume, tie by the tip, and wind on.

Step 4: Cut in half a piece of mefium braided Mylar tubing and tie in, covering the dubbing ball and Krystal Flash. This will give you a place to epoxy the carapace.

Step 5: Tie in a piece of silver oval tinsel. Form a dubbing loop and spin the orange dubbing for the body. Strip one side of an orange Super Spey feather and tie in by the tip.

Step 6: Wind the orange dubbing forward, followed by the oval tinsel. Leave a good margin for the head.

Step 7: Wind the Super Spey forward. Clip any excess off the top, as this will help the fly swim correctly.

Step 8: Cut in half a piece of pearl braided Mylar tubing, tie in near the head, and clip the excess. Epoxy over the top and underneath the Mylar to help angle the carapace and help the fly stay upright and swim true.
Siskiyou Aviary