Fly Fishers' Republic

Spruce (Light)

May 13, 2006

by Raif Killips

Spruce (Light)



This tying of the pattern is fished for steelhead, though originally the Spruce was developed to catch sea-run cuttthroat. Tied on a standard streamer hook the Spruce is used for other species including rainbow and brown trout.

How to fish:

Use a traditional wetfly swing.


Back in 1918 the Spruce was originally called the Godfrey Badger Hackle or Godfrey Special after a Mr. Godfrey to whom the pattern is now credited.


The most original dressing of the Spruce is tied on a regular streamer hook with red wool (1/4) and peacock (3/4) body with splayed wings (E.H. Rosborough). This, and the version illustrated are sometimes referred to as the Light Spruce. A Dark Spruce variation replaces the silver badger hackles with golden badger or furnace. The pattern can also include a silver tag and a head over wrapped with red thread.

Further Reading:

Streamer Fly Tying and Fishing, 1995, Joseph D Bates,Jr., Stackpole Books, ISBN 0-8117-1702-X.

Streamers and Bucktails, the Big-Fish Flies, 1980, Joseph D Bates, Jr., Random House Inc., ISBN 0394415884.