The Salmon Needle Fly

Needle Tubes and Tube Flies

Step by Step dressing of the Needle Fly for salmon and sea trout

by John Gray

Salmon and Sea Trout Needle Fly

The Needle Fly was devised in the late nineties, as an ultra-slim alternative to the tube fly and Waddington lure for late night sea trout fishing on the River Earn in Perthshire. Since then it has accounted for the majority of my sea trout and a few salmon, too. Here is a step-by-step sequence of how to make a needle fly. The dressing may, of course, be varied to taste.

Salmon Needle Fly


Sewing Needle - I have used here a size 7 long darner

Nylon monofilament - heavy nylon of 25 to 35 lbs

PVC tubing, bore 1.0 mm

Treble hook

Arctic fox or other hair

Krystal Flash or similar

Needle Fly tying materials


Tying the Needle Fly

Step 1: Secure needle in vice and tie a short "stop" or bump of thread one centimetre from the needle point. Apply two coats of varnish to the stop and allow to dry.

Salmon Needle Fly - 1


Step 2: Reverse the needle and lay a bed of tying thread at the head and varnish.

Salmon Needle Fly - step 2


Step 3: Tie in a loop of nylon.

Tying the Salmon Needle Fly - step 3


Step 4: Trim the ends of the nylon, secure with a layer of thread and varnish.

Salmon Needle Fly - step 4


Step 5: Tie in a bunch of white Arctic fox hair.

Salmon Needle Fly - step 5


Step 6: Turn needle upside down in vice and tie in a slightly longer bunch of yellow Arctic fox hair followed by a  bunch of orange Arctic fox hair.

Salmon Needle Fly - 6


Step 7: Add a few strands of Krystal Flash to taste.

Salmon Needle Fly - 7


Step 8: Tie in a slightly longer bunch of black Arctic fox hair

Salmon Needle Fly - 8


Step 9: Trim the ends of the hair, form a neat head and apply two coats of varnish

Salmon Needle Fly - 9


Step 10: Cover the shank of a suitable treble hook with a short length of tight fitting PVC tubing, which allows the needle to be secured to the hook.

Salmon Needle Fly - 10


Attaching the Needle Fly to the leader

To attach the hook to leader, slip the leader through the nylon loop at the head of the needle fly, tie on the adapted treble hook and push the point of the needle into the PVC sheath as far as the thread stop, so that the nylon leader lies along the underside of the fly with the needle on the top side of the treble hook. I like to store the adapted hooks and needle flies separately in a foam lined box until needed.

Attaching the Salmon Needle Fly


The dressing may be varied to taste and circumstance. Two more examples

Salmon Needle Fly - Black, Green and Yellow

Salmon Needle Fly - Black, Blue and White

Salmon Needle Flies

For more information on the origin, development and making of the Needle Fly, see:

Making the Needle Fly

The Needle Fly - Components and Construction

Using the Needle Fly

Book - Sea Trout Nights


 Salmon Spinhead


HMH Tube Fly Tool



Grays of Kilsyth

Salmon Flies

Trout Flies

Fly Fishing Knots

Salmon Fishing Scotland

Trout Fishing Scotland

Sea Trout Fishing

Sea Trout Flies

Tube Flies

The Tube Fly Shop


 Slim stainless steel salmon and sea trout flies






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