Phillip Rowley - Thompson Spey Intruder (Created by Scott Baker-

Hook:              Daiichi 2546 #2 or #4 (Used as a foundation only as the bend and point are cut off)

Trailing Hook: Daiichi 2553 #1 Up Eye Octopus Hook

Thread:           MFC 8/0, 6/0 or UTC 70, 140, Black

Loop:               Fireline (60lb, 50lb or 30lb)

Tail:                 Chartreuse Polar Bear Hair

Rear Hackle:   Chartreuse Polar Bear Under Fur Followed By a Large Webby Pheasant Rump Feather Dyed Black

Body:              Peacock Green Mylar

Body Hackle:   Black Neck Hackle

Rib:                 Fine Gold Wire

Front Hackle:  Chartreuse Polar Bear Under Fur Followed By a Large Webby Pheasant Rump Feather Dyed Black

Wing:             Black Ostrich

Collar:            Chartreuse Guinea Fowl

Eyes:              Dumbbell Eyes


Most northwest steelhead patterns are steeped in history dictating specific materials, proportions and construction techniques.  Enter the Intruder, the new kid on the block spurning history and forging its own creative path and personality. Intruder information is sparse.  Internet searches reveal little other than a clear mystique surrounding the Intruder and its magic powers over steelhead and fly fishers.  Washington state angler, Ed Ward is credited with the Intruder’s creation and forging a path for others to follow.  Ed broke away from traditional designs designing a fly with a huge profile, inherent action and the ability to swim amongst the nastiest rubble.  Since Ed’s original creations the Intruder has blossomed in popularity with west coast steelheaders.  New intruders are always appearing and no two seem to be tied the same.  Intruders are in a constant state of evolution and flux.


So just what does an Intruder suggest or represent?  The responses fall into two categories.  Some believe it is a fantastic representation of a squid or prawn, predicated by the belief that these prey items are favored steelhead fodder during their ocean phase and one of the last saltwater food items before migrating upstream.  Others believe that 3 to 6 inch Intruders are nothing more than a large animated attractor capable of irritating the dourest of steelhead into striking.  No matter the reason, the Intruder’s magic is based upon an ingenious design platform with a number of features and characteristics working in its favor to obtain 3 basic goals; casting ease, bulk without mass and hook size adaptability. 


Bulky patterns are an aerodynamic challenge and tough to cast.  Materials must shed water with ease and once wet resist collapse providing a large silhouette for steelhead to hone in on.  Intruder materials must pulsate at the slightest suggestion.  Large webby Spey style hackles such as pheasant rump aid this goal.  Large neck hackles tied for and aft or palmered over the body help hold materials away from the body and maintain a broad acoustic footprint.  Synthetic substitutes such as Polar Chenille are also making a presence.  Barring UV Polar Chenille with permanent markers provides an interesting look.  The pheasant family is a common source of inspiration as their stiffer tail fibers resist collapse aiding the Intruders profile goals.  Depending on the Intruder’s colour scheme and complimentary materials Ringneck, Golden, Lady Amherst, Silver and Peacock are a smattering of pheasant family candidates.  These long relatively stiff feather fibers can be tied around the circumference of the fly in clumps or wound on as a strip cut from a tail section.  Tail feather strips are challenging but there are a few tricks to ease any frustrations.  A razor blade is a preferred tool for splitting tail stems.  Once split down the center place the stems in a warm water bath to soften them up.  Some tyers let them sit over night while others wait a mere 10 minutes.  A drop or two of hair conditioner also softens stiff stems.  Some ardent Intruder designers prefer to cut their feather stems into 6 inch segments and using their skill strip the fibers from the stem still connected by a thin flexible membrane 


Long flowing materials are also key Intruder features.  Typically tied fore and aft, materials such as ostrich, saddle feathers and rhea provide animation.  Rhea is a small South American ostrich like bird and has developed a loyal following amongst Intruder disciples.  Most tyers prefer Rhea feathers with individual plumes of 3 inches or longer.  The most durable Rhea feathers feature a waxy appearance and can be tied onto the fly in clumps or stripped in the same fashion as pheasant family.  Long strand hair fibers such as polar bear or bucktail are another option.


Large bulky heads are a common Intruder trait.  Original designs featured Muddler heads to create a hydrodynamic disturbance to animate the hackles.  The addition of dumbbell eyes also serves the same purpose while adding a hint of weight and inverting the pattern.  Dumbbell eyes keep the Intruder out of rubble trouble and neutralize the pattern’s tendency to ride up in the water.


Hooks are the second big fly challenge.  Large hooks are tough to cast and easier for fish to lever out of their mouths during the battle.  Tyers face a paradox of needing long shanks for construction but not their inherent shortfalls.  Enter the Fireline loop.  Bound in place during the initial phases of construction Fireline loops allow for simple hook changes and the benefit of using a short shank up eye hook.  Some tyers place 2 wraps of oval tinsel under the loop forcing it up from the shank datum.  The original hook from the foundation shank is removed once the fly is complete.  The up eye trailing hook affords a fantastic hook set and minimal risk to the fish.  Keep the finished loop about 1 to 1 ¼ inches long to afford easy hook swaps. Place the trailing hook within the loop by sliding the loop through the hook eye and pulling the shank through the loop with the gape facing up.  The Fireline loop should lie on the gape side of the shank.  Inserted hooks must ride point up reducing hang-ups and tongue hooking.


Other foundation options include Waddington shanks featuring loops at either end.  Some tyers are comfortable using Waddington’s of all sizes, others prefer to only use smaller versions concerned about the fly’s castability.  Waddington shanks require different rigging options.  Tippet is feed through both eyes along the shank and then through a small diameter plastic tube.  The hook is knotted into place and the plastic tube is used to hold the rear eye of the Waddington and eye of the trailing hook in place.  Tube based Intruders are another option and like the Waddington shank eliminate the Fireline loop.  Tubes are available in a range of densities providing a host of presentation options depending upon river conditions and flow.

Tying Instructions


Add Daiichi hooks to your order and receive $5.00 USD off the purchase price.  Use Coupon Code PRFB2015 at check out.    (limit one per customer)


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