brule skunkThis pattern, the Brule Skunk, is a spey version of the classic west coast Green Butt Skunk steelhead pattern with some variations to make it distinctive to the Brule River and the era of fly fishing it represents. The inspiration for the pattern came from a variety of sources. For example, the green butt of the fly is a material called Uni-glow. I first learned about this material from a Gary LaFontaine book where he recommended it as an ideal phosphorescent material to use on nymphs in dark water conditions. A buddy and I started using it as a rib for stonefly nymphs to use on the Brule during low light or stained water conditions. I replaced the traditional white wings of the skunk with wild turkey feathers that a friend of mine gave me when he shot his tom last spring. Th e black and copper body is a reference to tried and true Brule stonefly nymphs. I have always felt confidence fishing dark nymphs with a copper rib and thought it would translate well to the Skunk pattern. I also have a soft spot for copper on fl ies because I think it looks like the tannic stain of the water in Northern Wisconsin. I wanted the Skunk to include traditional and newer materials. Even the jungle cock cheek is a throw back to Victorian era Atlantic salmon fl ies and the original spey patterns, but now we order them in little packets of ten feathers. They come from feathers shed from birds raised in England. Originally I came up with the pattern to give versions of it to two of my Brule fishing buddies who after a few years of all learning the river and its steelhead together, moved to Portland, ME and Atlanta, GA…. They are a long ways away from steelhead in general and the Brule in particular. This has been their first fall run they’ve missed since moving and I thought they needed something to put on their desk to remind them of the river.

Full Dress Variation
Hook: Any upturned eye salmon hook
Thread: 8/0 black
Tag: Chartreuse Uni-glow over gold tinsel
Tail: Red Schlappen Fibers
Body: Black Rabbit
Rib: Gold Tinsel
Cross Rib: Copper Wire
Hackle: Black Whiting Bird Fur
Collar: Mallard
Wing: Wild Turkey
Cheek: Jungle Cock