By Kenzie Kozera

While I have yet to cast a fly in pursuit of steelhead, the species presents like a mythical creature in my mind. While Atlantic salmon are without a doubt the fish that is closest to my heart, thoughts of someday gracing famed steelhead rivers such as the Deschutes, Rogue, Columbia, or the Skeena and its tributaries provide fuel for day dreaming. In the meantime, I have had the ability to help fill the fly boxes of anglers, who then swing my flies through these waters that are steeped in history. To learn of one of my creations bringing large, chrome bright steelhead to hand, provides a secondhand excitement that is truly appreciated by me.

It is this interest in steelhead and of course the flies tied in pursuit of this bounty that has driven much of my fly tying in recent year. Particularly, I have enjoyed reading literature from steelhead tying royalty, such as Dec Hogan, John Shewey, or Bob Veverka to name a few. To learn of the history behind some of the classic patterns has also helped me identifying the overlap of flies which would also possibly be productive when targeting Atlantic salmon.

Upon browsing through Shewey's Classic Steelhead Flies, the "Max Canyon" immediately stuck out to me. Developed in the 1970s, this creation of Doug Stewart’s was designed for the Deschutes River. While becoming very popular on its own, the Max Canyon is also said to have inspired the design of many other well know two-toned body PNW hairwings. With a mixture of bright tag, and the orange and black profile, the pattern also makes me think of chasing fall salmon on a number of my local rivers in Nova Scotia...


Hook: up-eye salmon single (Partridge M2)

Tag: Gold tinsel

Tail: Orange over white hackle fibers

Body: rear 1/3 orange wool, front 2/3 black wool

Rib: Gold oval tinsel

Collar: black hackle (hen saddle)

Wing: Orange over white bucktail

Head: black thread

Step by step instructions:

Step 1: Tie in gold tinsel tag
Step 2: Tie in tail consisting of a pinch of orange hackle fibers on top of white.
Step 3: Tie in gold oval tinsel
Step 4: Tie in body (1/3 orange wool, 2/3 black wool). In this case, I tied a little close to 50/50.
Step 5: Wrap gold oval tinsel five (5) times.
Step 6: Tie in and wrap black hackle. Ideally, this is tied on the sparser side.
Step 7: Tie in wing consisting of bright orange over white bucktail. In this case, the orange bucktail I had on hand was a little lighter shade of orange than would be typical for the pattern. I have also chosen to tie this stacked and even, which many tyers may choose an uneven, more tapered wing. 
Step 8: Whip finish and add your choice of varnish for a glossy black head.

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