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

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If you enjoy tying and fishing old-school patterns, you’re in for a treat. And by “old school,” we actually mean it - The Montreal Wet Fly’s history dates back to the 19th century. Scotsman Peter Cowen initially tied the pattern shortly after immigrating to eastern Canada in the 1830s, and by mid-century, was one of the hottest commercially tied flies. This recipe is from Ray Bergman’s classic Trout, first published in 1938. These work well in sizes ranging from #6 to #12, so be sure to have a variety tied up.

Material List

Step One

Start the pattern by establishing a base by running the thread below the eye to the bend.

Step Two

Secure a piece of Mylar Tinsel near the bend by the tip for the Monreal Wet Fly’s tag. Be sure the silver side faces you and leave the tag end uncovered.

Step Three

Make five-overlapping wraps rearward, and five additional turns forward with the tinsel’s tag end. Secure and clip the extra material before moving on.

Step Four

Prepare the tail by removing a few webby fibers from the Strung Hackle plume that are around the length of the shank. Next, tie them on the shank with half their length running past the bend, then cover the forward-facing stems with thread.

Step Five

We’re using the tinsel again for the ribbing. Secure the material by the tip on the shank’s side opposite you, near the initial tie-in point. While gently pulling the tag end, cover the material down to the bend with thread, but leave the rear-facing section intact and uncovered.

Step Six

Start the body section by tying a few strands of the Danville floss below the eye, run the thread over the material to the bend,  but leave the tag end exposed.

Step Seven

Complete the body by making overlapping wraps up the shank with the floss material’s tag end, then secure them at the initial tie-in spot. 

Step Eight

Make evenly spaced wraps up the shank with the mylar tag end, then secure the material below the eye to finish the ribbing section.

Step Nine

Using your vice’s rotary function, invert the hook, then secure the maroon hackle fibers by the tips and below the eye. Be sure the tip ends are covered with thread, then clip the forward-facing excess material.

Step Ten

After reverting the hook, snip the thread, tie on the black thread, and build up a quick head below the eye.

Step Eleven

The last ingredient is turkey feathers for the wing. Clip out two similar-sized plumes - both left and right. Secure them by their tips perpendicular to each other, tie the stems below the eye, and clip the forward-facing fibers.

Step Twelve

After securing a whip finish apply the adhesive to the head, let it dry, then get down to the river and swing this fly like it’s 1869.