Scottish Shrimp Salmon Flies

Needle Tubes and Tube Flies

Step by Step dressing of a Scottish Shrimp salmon needle tube fly

by John Gray

Scottish Spey Shrimp

A Spey Shrimp tied Scottish Shrimp Style


Ally's Shrimp and the Cascade Shrimp, devised by Ally Gowans, are two of the most successful salmon flies to come out of Scotland in recent years. Over the past couple of decades, many salmon fly tyers have adopted Ally's style to create countless variations on his theme. It might be said that Ally's patterns have led to a whole new style of salmon fly, which I will refer to as "Scottish Shrimps". The essential features of this style of salmon fly, as illustrated in the example below, are:

  • A long tail or lower wing, usually of mixed coloured hair
  • A shorter upper wing, usually in a darker colour than the tail
  •  A collar hackle made up of one or two coloured hackles

Scottish Shrimps can be dressed on single, double or treble hooks, or on the wide range of tubes now available to the salmon fly tyer.

The "Scottish Shrimp" style is very adaptable and even a single change of colour in any of the component parts of the dressing can alter the appearance of the fly dramatically, enabling the fly tyer to dress a range of flies, in various sizes, weights and colours, to suit the varying conditions of water and weather he is likely to meet throughout the season. Ally's flies were generally dressed with a two part body dressing, e.g. silver and black in the case of the Cascade or red and black on his Ally's Shrimp. The Scottish Shrimps shown below have been dressed on slim stainless steel needle tubes, making a body dressing, to my mind, unnecessary and thus greatly simplifying the dressing. The fly used in the step by step illustration came about by chance. On a recent walk with the dog along the banks of the Spey, I disturbed a buzzard at his lunch of red squirrel. Thinking that he would have little use for the fine brown tail, I stole it and made use of it in this pattern, which I have called the Spey Shrimp, and in several other Scottish Shrimp style patterns  illustrated below.

Tying the Spey Shrimp


Tube: 15 mm needle tube
Tail/Underwing: orange over yellow fox squirrel tail with a few strands of pearl Krystal Flash over
Wing: red squirrel tail (or other fine brown hair)
Hackle: yellow cock hackle

Note: Arctic fox hair, or other fine hair may be used in place of the squirrel.


Step 1: Secure needle tube in needle tube vice and lay a short bed of black thread

Scottish Shrimp


Step 2: Tie in a bunch of yellow hair

Scottish Shrimp Needle Tube Fly - step 1


Step 3: Tie in a bunch of orange hair then a few strands of Krystal Flash on top

 Spey Shrimp Scottish Shrimp tube fly - step 3


Step 4: Tie in a shorter bunch of brown squirrel hair

Spey Shrimp salmon tube fly - step 4


Step 5: Tie in two or three turns of a yellow cock hackle

Spey Shrimp salmon tube - step 5


Step 6: Pull hackle back to desired angle and form a neat head

Salmon needle tube fly - Spey Shrimp step 6


Step 7: Finish with two or three coats of Cellire No. 1 varnish, add a link of clear PVC or silicone tubing and a hook of choice

Scottish Spey Shrimp


More Spey Shrimps

Scottish Shrimp Tube Flies

See also How to make a knot guard (or swing tube) for a Free Swinging Tube Fly Hook

For more information on Grays Needle Tubes, see Fly Tying Tubes and Salmon Tube Flies

Book - Sea Trout Nights


Variations on the Scottish Shrimp Theme

Some more examples of Needle Tube Flies dressed in the Scottish Shrimp Style

Magus Scottish Shrimp Needle Tube Fly
Speing Green Scottish Shrimp Needle Tube Fly
Spring Green
Green Miller Scottish Shrimp Needle Tube Fly
Green Miller
Munro Shrimp Scottish Shrimp Needle Tube Fly
Munro Shrimp
Thunder Shrimp Scottish Shrimp Needle Tube Fly
Thunder Shrimp
Tanuki Sunrise Scottish Shrimp Needle Tube Fly
Tanuki Sunrise


Scottish Shrimp Selection

Scottish Shrimp Needle Tube Flies

A boxed selection of Scottish Shrimp salmon flies dressed on Grays Needle Tubes


Scottish Shrimp Tube Flies

 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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