Learn how to tie the Golden Retriever fly pattern including step-by-step instructions, a video tutorial, pictures, and much more. Improve your fly tying skills here.

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The Golden Retriever originated in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley in the ’90s. Since then, it has become so popular here in Maine that many anglers associate the fly with the state. Brook trout, smallies, and land-lock salmon all find it irresistible. Once more, the pattern can be fished in various ways: Swinging, stripping, or dead drifting, the Golden Retriever will put fish in the net. Jim Finn initially tied the Golden Retriever on a 3X long streamer hook, but today we will be tying it on a jig-style nymph hook with a tungsten bead. 


Step One

Begin the pattern by sliding the tungsten bead to the hook's eye, then establish a thread base from below the bead to the bend. 

Step Two

We want the Golden Retriever to get down, and the lead wire will aid with this. Tie on a section of wire below the bead tightly, then wrap it to the hook’s point with overlapping turns.

Step Three

After sniping the excess wire, build up a thread base behind it, then cover the wire with thread.

Step Four

Tie the marabou material above the bend, then snip the forward-facing fabric for the Golden Retriever’s tail.

Step Five

Estaz is the last material we are tying in. Strip the tip section of fibers, then secure it above the tail.

Step Six

Finish the body by wrapping the Estaz up the shank with tight, overlapping turns, then secure the material below the bead. 

Step Seven

Build up the head by wrapping the thread below the bead several times.

Step Eight

The Golden Retriever is ready to hit the water after securing a whip finish.