The Black Bear Green Butt is a traditional Atlantic salmon fly on the rivers of eastern Canada, but it is also popular with Pacific Northwest steelheaders. The pattern’s provenance is a bit murky, but several authorities credit Harry Smith of Cherryfield, Maine, for tying the first Black Bear in the 1920s. Smith’s original was all black, and other tiers added the green and the flash over the ensuing decades. Rest assured that trout will eat this fly, as well.
In this week’s video, Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions shows how he ties this venerable pattern, although he is quick to point out that he veers away from tradition at several points. As always, Tim ties the fly to be fished, not to be looked at. There are several key tricks here that will help you produce a beautiful and effective Black Bear Green Butt. For instance, the foresight to counter-wrap the tying thread before using the rotary function to wind the rib is ingenious.
Black Bear Green Butt
Hook: Salmon/steelhead hook (here, a Dai-Riki #899), size 6.
Thread #1: Fluorescent green, 6/0 or 140-denier.
Tag: Silver Oval Tinsel, small.
Underbody/Butt: Fluorescent green tying thread.
Tail: Black saddle hackle fibers.
Rib: Silver Oval Tinsel, small.
Body/Thread #2: Black thread, 6/0 or 140-denier.
Thread #3: Black, 8/0 or 70-denier.
Throat: Black saddle hackle fibers.
Adhesive #1: Superglue (Fly Tyers Z-Ment).
Wing: Black bear hair, cleaned and stacked.
Adhesive #2: UV-cure resin.