Need hook advice


youngish old guy
Okay, so I've been having problems with my October Caddis- Its a huge bug- same or bigger than a salmon fly. To me, the hook that matches is a 2x length #2 streamer. But, the hook is pretty heavy and the fly won't float that well. Plus, I strongly prefer turned up eyes on my hooks these days, as I think they're more dependable as far as the tippet connection goes, plus you can riffle hitch etc. Where is the line between strength and lightness when you're targeting steelhead- I mean I always tie my wet flies for salmon/steelhead on black salmon hooks which are strong and sharp as heck. My point is that they're different than the large hooks I used for streamers to target browns (cheaper, weaker?) when I lived in Montana. I've seen what the 'heavy duty' salmon hooks can do to trout (not pretty), and it has lead me to think that they are definitely overkill for trout. But then wouldn't a dryfly hook designed for trout be 'underkill' for steelhead? Do you risk bending? When it comes to dry flies, are there hooks made specifically for steelhead? :dunno
I think you are probably better off with a steelhead hook in this case. The tiemco low water hook is your best bet. This will not only give you a turned up eye but the shape of the hook is ideal. Don't worry about the color. My dry fly hooks are mostly 900bl which are black as well. Try the TMC 7989 for best results. The other thing to try is the same techniques used for summer run steelhead. Dead drift is good but swinging after the dead drift gives you more time in the water and sometimes trout will respond exactly the same way.:beer2

Rob Blomquist

Formerly Tight Loops
I would recommend the Partridge 01-Single Wilson or for the longer shank in a slightly heavier wire, the Partridge N. The 01 is designed for Salmon dry flies the N is designed for Low Water flies. The Tiemco is also designed for Low Water flies.

Salmon hooks are designed very differently from regular fly hooks. Don't use normal dryfly hooks.



Active Member
A lightweight black japanned turned up loop eye salmon/steelhead hook like the Tiemco TMC7989 would be suitable. The TMC5212 is a 2x long 1x fine but has a turned down eye. The TMC200R (or RBL) is a 3x long with a straight eye but has a slightly curved shank. Although it is standard qauge wire it is light enough for dries. The TMC2312 is 2x long and 1x fine with as slightly curved shank like the 200R. Even though it is 1x fine, I've neve straightened one out on a steelehad.

Jay Allyn

The Poor-Student Fly Fisher
This is off topic but Tight Loops, do you also go by Wooley Worm?

I once say a light wire salmon/steelhead hook that was made for making dries. Not sure on where to get them though.

Tim Cottage

Formerly tbc1415
Another option is the Alec Jackson's River Dee Low water Hook. As compared to the Partridge N, the wire gauge is considerably lighter, the shape is almost identical but for a very slight difference in the beginning of the bend as it comes of the main body, the gap is the same, the color is very dark blue like a dark gun metal. A size 3 River Dee is the same length as a size 2 N.
All in all a really nice low water hook with other applications as well.
Avid Angler is the best place to find Alec's hooks in stock since his son Steve works there. If they are not in stock they can have them the next day assuming Alec has some. Almost everyone stocks his more common hooks. I would imagine that his spey style hooks out-sell the others ten to one so some of the other styles are not often displayed.
I tie a lot of these and I agree the hook choice is critical.

The Wilson is an excellent choice. I have tied them on the Dee hooks as well. My favorite is the AJ Spey, Bronze finish. The flies look like a million bucks on these hooks and I have landed fish from 4-32+ using them.

I once straightened out a 7 on a big fish but it was my fault, I really reefed too hard. A size 5 was just slightly misformed when it came out of the mouth of my best friends 32# buck on a dry. This is why I am nervous about the River Dee style hook. They Spey hook has a little more beef but still wakes up a storm.

Tie one on!

I'd agree that the Partridge or Jackson would be good - nice lighter wire and reasonably strong - and I definitely think you need a different configuration for trout vs. steelhead. Big hooks = mortality for trout.

I mentioned it on another string, but my favorite salmon/steelhead hook these days is the Tiemco 911S stainless with straight eye. At first, I didn't think they'd stay sharp, but they're surprisingly good. With the straight eye you can tie anything, dumbbell eyes or not, and they seem to hook up as well as a down eye. Key benefit it they don't rust, period, which is nice with fluffy flies or on multi-day trips when things stay damp for a while.