The Willie Gunn Tube Fly

Needle Tubes and Tube Flies

Step by Step tying of a simple Willie Gunn salmon tube fly variant

by John Gray

Willie Gunn, a keeper and gillie on the Sutherland Estates, gave his name to the famous salmon fly, the Willie Gunn, originated by Flt-Lt "Dusty" Miller in the 1940s while based at Kinloss RAF base in Moray. The fly produced six salmon for Willie Gunn from the River Brora on its first outing. The Willie Gunn, a hairwing fly dressed in the colours of the classic Thunder & Lightning, was to become one of the most successful salmon flies of the century. It can be dressed on conventional hooks, Waddington shanks or tubes and has spawned numerous variants over the years. Below is a step by step illustration of the tying sequence of a very simple variant, dressed on a bare silver (stainless steel) needle tube. Alas, this variant accounted for only three salmon on its first outing, on the last day of the Spey 2010 salmon season.

The Willie Gunn Salmon Tube Fly (variant)

The Willie Gunn Tube Fly



tube: needle tube 20mm long, diameter 1.8mm
wing: yellow and orange Arctic fox, black squirrel tail with a few stands of Krystal Flash


Step 1 - Place needle tube in tube fly vice and wind a short bed of black tying thread.

Willie Gunn Tube Fly - step 1


Step 2 - Tie in a bunch of yellow hair top and bottom of the tube.

Willie Gunn Salmon Tube Fly - step 2


Step 3 - Tie in a bunch of orange hair over the yellow, top and bottom, plus a few strands of Krystal Flash to taste.

Willie Gunn Tube Fly - step 3


Step 4 - Tie in a buch of black hair over the orange, top and bottom.

Willie Gunn Tube Fly - step 4


Step 5 - Form a neat head and apply two coats of Cellire No. 1 varnish. Add a short length of clear PVC tubing at the rear and a hook of choice.

Willie Gunn Tube Fly - step 5

Book - Sea Trout Nights




The Willie Gunn Tube Fly (variant)

The Willie Gunn Tube Fly


Salmon Tube Flies dressed in the above style on 25 mm stainless steel Needle Tubes

Salmon Tube Flies


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


For more information on Salmon, Trout and Sea Trout Flies, see Trout and Salmon 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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