Glasso's Purple Spawning Spey

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
I have a good friend (older of course) who knew Syd. He only has memories, and used to have some of his flies. I've advised him if he still had them they'd probably be worth quite a bit of money.

Here's my delimna. He has none of the flies left. He wants me to recreate one fly. He knows the name, but has no description on how to make it. Do ANY of you have instructions on how to tie a Syd Glasso style Purple Spawning Spey? I guess it requires widgeon, but not sure of which feathers and how to put it together. I've seen a few pics, but all are different. So, if any of you can direct me to a website (I've searched to no avail) or have a good pattern to give me it would be HIGHLY appreciated.

Contact Paul Schmookler and he will point you in the right direction
Phone:(508) 898-2990 He is always there.

Bob Veverka is the one who know Syd's flies but Paul has the largest database of Steelhead flies in the Nation. Maybe Paul can find you a book or copy pages from his library. I remember seeing that fly in someone's book but I can't remember which one. It might have been the Pamela Bates book.

Widgeon is commonly used as throat material for Spey flies and it would be the barred flanks you would be after. You might want to confirm this since I have never tied the fly you are after.

Hope my info can help.

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
Thanks, I'll be giving him a call in next few days. My friend actually was a student of Syd's back in the 50's I guess (or knew him back then). He asked me to tie him up some of them, but had no flies nor had the description to tie. I may have to sit his butt next to me on bench and go bit by bit.


Active Member
Somehow, that doesn't sound right. With the exception of the Purple Peril, the popularity of purple steelhead flies is a phenomenon of the last twenty or so years. I could certainly be wrong, but I don't recall ever seeing a purple Glasso pattern. John Shewey ties a pattern he calls the Spawning Purple Spey, but it's his own creation.

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
Actually, the purple is only small on fly. I've heard about the Shewey fly, but this was a Glasso fly from the 50's. I think I may have figured which fly it is. Will have to forward pic onto my friend. I will say, purple has been used, just hasn't been widespread until the last 20 years. I've seen old books that dated to early 1900's that had slates of purple flies for "steelhead trout". I just think that classic colors were always the oranges and reds.

I'm going off Brady's word. I have no idea if he's speaking of same fly, maybe he described the fly, and that's what someone told him name was. The purple spawning spey I've seen has very little purple in it. So beats me Preston. I just know this guy grew up in over on the OlyPen and supposedly knew Syd. Since Glasso died when I was extremely young, have no idea how well he knew him. Just trying to help a friend out.

Thanks again. I've read about Glasso, but I'm not fluent on all his works. Just trying to figure out a few flies to tie up for a friend. I prefer to tie up my style of spey flies.
I agree with Preston. It does not sound right, but if you do come up with something let us know. I am a little curious.

Also, Glasso used widgeon for the wing material in place of mallard. That could be the application.


Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
Got some more info

Ok, he clarified some things up for me. What he wanted was for me to tie him up spawning purple speys and he was going to give me some widgeon to tie up some Glasso patterns for him. Brady let me know it was a miscommunication. As I said, I have no idea on the patterns. I spoke with him last night and he cleared some things up. I guess he said he has some of the glasso patterns in his head he wants, but I guess he had got ahold of a few of the SPS's and liked them. He wants to have some more tied up.

Hey Matt, what book is that from? I have tons of steelhead/salmon books on flies, but have never seen that one. What is the books title?
The pattern for Shewey's "Spawning Purple", including photos can be found in the book

John Shewey and Forrest Maxwell, "Fly Fishing for Summer Steelhead",
Frank Amato Publications, 1996.



Matt Burke

Active Member
In John Shewey's book, Spey Flies and Dee Flies, he makes a reference to spawning purples in one of his older boxes, but doesn't give a pattern. He defers the spawning purple thing to Dave McNeese and some comments by McNeese about being influenced by Syd Glasso in the seventies.

McNeese states, "My aftection for Spey patterns began in 1974 when I first met Syd Glasso, the reclusive tier from Washington. I gave Syd two hooded merganser skins in exchange for several Spey patterns he tied for me from the prized flank feathers. As I watched him tie his Brown Heron Spey fly and others, never had I seen such elegant, slender flies. These flies became examples I would duplicate in color and in materials, but not necessarily in the Glasso style, as I have my own. It is sad so little has been published about Syd as his 1982-83 salmon-fly patterns demand a price equal to that of the finest salmon tiers of all time, including Megan Boyd or George Kelson. He was a very private person and seemed to feel unworthy of the attention he received for his fly-tying skills."

Under this was a picture of a spawning spey variation. I have also included some stuff from other books that I have.

Hope this helps,