Collie Dog and variants


As with any other salmon fly you will need to have a selection of Collies in various sizes, say from 2” to 5” long wings. Personally, I have seen no need to go smaller than 2” wings, as for the larger ones - the longest winged collie dog I have taken a salmon on is 5.75”

My favourite and most successful size over any given season is a collie with a 1.25” body dressed with a 3.5” wing. This may not seem quite so extreme in size but bear in mind it will be catching fish throughout the season, sometimes when conditions would dictate a conventional fly size 12 or 14!


I have found it important to have a formula for the wing length against the body length. Like any other fly tier it is fun to experiment, and I do, but 90 percent of the Collies in my own box are tied using this formula, which enables me to have them all uniform in length of wing, giving me the confidence that I am reproducing them identically each time. For example - if we start with a 1” tube the hair would be 3” long, on a 1.25” tube it would have 3.5” of hair, 1.5” tube dressed to 4” and so on.


The Salmons reaction to a Collie dog is similar to a cats instinctive behaviour to flash out a paw or pounce on a string that is flicked in front of it as it doses in front of the fire, it simply cant help it. It just instinctively reacts that way. Interestingly another trait they seem to share is that after a short period the object of its curiosity may only become of interest as it disappears out of its view, bringing on a bout of renewed enthusiasm. Similarly Salmon will react as a fly goes out of its sight or it looks as though it has lost its chance. Sometimes this will happen after the Salmon has came to the fly quite a few times, you will work the fly right into the side or over a ledge then there will be a flash of silver often resulting in an explosive take. The fly just going out of sight seems to be the added incentive needed to make him take. The under water configuration of some pools relative to the Salmon lie will produce this response almost every time as in certain lies the Salmon obviously does not have a completely un- obscured view. I am sure Salmon react to and take the Collie dog instinctively, I have seen countless times Salmon which are lying in a pool or run erupt into life in pursuit of a Collie which has been swiftly moved over them, the same fish that had shown little or no interest in other flies. If they are not jagged, under the right conditions they will come time and time again the most times I have moved the same Salmon to the Collie was 12 consecutive times he came to the fly on the 13th and took it and was successfully landed.