Bulkley Black & Blue

Bulkley Black & Blue steelhead fly :: Maxwell Steelhead Guides

Bulkley Black & Blue


  1. Start with a tail of black ostrich (6-12 pieces). For the length of the ostrich, look to photo for proportions. Add 2 – 4 stands of blue flashabou to the tail. Tie in the flash to lay down either side of the tail. Use an equal # of strands on each side.
  2. Use a dubbing loop with black seal fur (or standard substitute, sometimes I like a little flash in my dubbing). Dub halfway up your hook or tube;  then tie in two pieces of blue grizzly hackle in a deceiver style so that the tip of each feather reaches just short of the end of the ostrich tail. This adds to the tapered appearance.
  3. In front, wrap one feather of black marabou. Look for long fibers in the feather and strip one side to make it lie properly. When wrapped, the strands of marabou should cover about half of the ostrich/grizzly tail, again to achieve the proper taper).
  4. After the black marabou, spin in one feather of blue (preferably a light royal blue, though a dark baby blue works as well).
  5. Add 2 to 4 more stands of blue flashabou, one more feather of black marabou, then finish with dark blue guinea. Strip one side of the feather. This completes the shoulder effect.
  6. For weight, use .03 lead or dumbbell eyes. As of late, I have been leaning toward the dumbbells. I like the silver flash and the silhouette of an eye. I recommend staying away from the cheap, oddly shaped lead eyes in favor of the hourglass style. The hourglass style doesn’t brake as often and rides better in the water. Use sizes x-small, small and medium.
  7. It also pays off to vary the size of the fly – my favorites are 2 inch, 3.5 inch and 4+ inches.
Bulkley Black & Blue :: Maxwell Steelhead Guides

Bulkley Black & Blue fly

Playing with rhea, ostrich or rubber legs spaced evenly before or between the marabou is fun. Other color combinations I like are… maroon and black, maroon, black and blue, blue and solid black, and blue and white. I also tie them all as a ‘bastard’ egg-sucking leech. Simply add wraps of peach chenille to form a head on the fly.

I hope these simple concepts will help guide you when you are filling your box for next season. We hope to see you fishing on the river in the days ahead – preferably with Maxwell Steelhead Guides. Let us know if we can help!

Matt Sharp
Matt’s Black & Blue Fly © Matt Sharp

Maxwell Steelhead Guides

Leave a Reply