red frances


Tying the Red Frances

The Red Frances salmon fly is tied on both treble hooks and tubes. While hooks suit the smaller versions, these can also be tied on a copper tube to make the fly heavier, allowing you to fish deeper water. Here we are going through the steps to tie a Red Frances on a treble hook.


Esmond Drury TrebleGold #10
Danville Thread6/0 Red
Calf TailBrown
Wild Boar BristleSunburst
Wool ThreadRed
Saddle HackleNatural Brown
UTC Ultra WireSM Silver

Step 1 – Make the Tail

When you have set the hook in the vise, you are ready to build a base of tying thread, going from just short of the head area to the back of the hook where you want to tie in the tail of the Red Frances. It is essential to get this as even as possible, as it will make a more durable fly with a better look.

Once you have covered the hook shank with tying thread, it is time to prepare the calf tail. We want the tail to be approximately the same length as the hook shank. The calf tail materials are supposed to go all the way around the hook. You can do this by adding the material in several steps or letting it slide around as you tighten the tread. A toothbrush can be helpful to untangle the fibers caught by the hook.

To complete the tail, we have to add the wild boar bristles. You can also use striped hackle stems. The fibers used on the underside should have a length of 1.5x the hook. The fibers for the upper side of the hook can be at least 2x the hook length.

Step 2 – Tie the Thorax

For the thorax, we will use red wool thread. To get a nice taper into the body of the Red Frances, we will start tying it in towards the head area of the fly. To prevent the wool thread from unraveling while fishing, you can zig-zag it while you tie it onto the fly.

Step 3 – Add the Hackle

Once the thorax is completed, you can add the hackle of the Red Frances fly. We will use a natural brown saddle. The length should be a bit shorter than the calf tail. If you strip one side of the fibers, it might get easier to make the hackle. As soon as you have tied off the hackle, we are ready for the next step.

Step 4 – Tie the Body and Rib

We will use the same red wool thread as we used for the thorax for the body. In addition, we will also rib the body with a gold wire. Again, we think of the fly’s taper and tie the wool thread closer to the head area. Once the body is covered with the wool thread and tied off, you can start ribbing the fly. You will get a more robust fly if you rib it in the opposite direction as you tied in the wool thread.

How to Fish the Red Frances Fly

The most common way to fish the Red Frances salmon fly is to swing it across the current. However, you can also cast it upstream, and dead drift it. It is normal to tie Red Frances on weighted copper tubes, meaning that you can also cast upstream and jig the fly. Hitching has become popular over the last few years, and it is possible to tie the Red Frances hitch version.

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