Another classic salmon fly that is found in many variations in the old books. This one is tied according to the pattern in T.E. Pryce-Tannatt’s How to dress Salmon Flies (1914) that is usually concidered to be one of the last classic books on salmon fly tying. The pattern again differs a bit from the older ones published. The Greenwell is usually said to have been designed by the famous Tweed tyer James Wright and it could very well be true after all he knew C.W. Greenwell who designed the famous Greenwell’s Glory and had Wright tie it to him. Kelson for example is very specific in his Land & Water series that this is one of Wright’s original patterns and named after Canon Greenwell.
I tied this one a bit larger than usual on a 6/0 hook so I had to omit the teal mentioned in the pattern as first part of the married main wing as there simply isn’t one long enough. Also used different kind of turkey for the white-tipped under wing than usual. This one has a nice light mottled base as opposed to the more traditional dark brown but I think it suits the pattern nicely.
The underwing is probably the most crucial part on a fly like this as it’s hard to tie in so that it sits low and doesn’t kick up and get hidden inside the main wing. There are few things you can do to prevent this. First the point where you tie the under wing should be as flat as possible. This means that you must build it up with your tying thread so that the base is leveled with the bump caused by the throat hackle. The tie in point should also be leveled so that it’s not slanting forward at an angle. When these preparations have been made it should now be a bit easier to tie in the white-tipped turkey. Moisten the fibers from the tie in point. Hold the slips parallel to the shank when tightening down and it should lay nice and low. You can then hump the wing by drawing the top fibers from the shoulder forward(and up) and it will make the wing curve down a bit. Check the tie in point so that the wing has compressed nicely and there are no creases.
The Greenwell as per T.E. Pryce-Tannatt
Tag : Silver tinsel. Tail : A topping and a pair of Jungle Cock feathers (back to back). Butt: Black herl. Body : Pale blue floss. Ribs : Broad flat silver tinsel and twist. Hackle : A pale blue hackle. Throat : Widgeon. Wings : A pair of black white-tipped Turkey tail strips (back to back) ; over these, but not entirely hiding them, a mixed “sheath” of “married” strands of Teal, yellow and blue Swan, Bustard, Florican, and Golden Pheasant tail ; ” married ” narrow strips of Pintail and barred Summer Duck ; narrow strips of brown Mallard over. Cheeks : Jungle Cock ; a topping over. Horns : Blue and Yellow Macaw.