I’ve mentioned the Ken Lockwood Gorge several times in previous tying videos, it’s a 5 minute drive from my house and one of my favorite places to fish. Named for noted outdoor journalist and conservationist Ken Lockwood, the gorge has become a fly fishing destination for northeast anglers. Although it’s stocked by the State, there are a significant number of wild fish in the mix as well. This nifty looking little streamer was also named for Mr. Lockwood and just so happens to work quite well in the gorge, particularly in the fall.
For a hook, I like something in the size 8-12 range, here a Lightning Strike ST5, size 10. Begin by getting the hook firmly secured in your tying vise. I generally don’t mash the barbs on long-shanked hooks like this, as they tend to drop a lot of fish. Even with the barb, the hooks are quite easy to remove because of their size.
Traditionally, the body of the Ken Lockwood Streamer is formed using scarlet colored silk or a single strand of 4 strand floss. For whatever reason, my hands make a real mess of the stuff so I prefer to go with regular tying thread like UTC 140 Denier in red. Start your thread on the hook shank leaving a 2 eye length space behind the eye and take a few wraps rearward before snipping or breaking off the tag.
For the rib I’m going to use silver mylar tinsel. Although I prefer the extra small size, I’m fresh out, so I’m going to use the slightly larger small size, 5-6 inches is all you need. With the gold side facing out, lay the tinsel against the near side of the hook and take 2 or 3 thread wraps to secure it. You can then pull the excess under the thread wraps.
Give your bobbin a clockwise spin to cord up the thread and then start making touching wraps rearward. The corded thread adds a bit of bulk to the body of the fly and conceals much of the tinsel and the hook shank. Continue taking wraps all the way back to halfway between the hook point and the barb. Now, give your bobbin a counterclockwise spin to uncord the thread and flatten it out. Start wrapping forward to produce a nice even top coat of thread. Every so often, give your bobbin a good counterclockwise spin to flatten the thread as you work your way forward to the initial tie-in point. You should be left with a smooth evenly colored body.
Pick up your whip finish tool and do a 4 or 5 turn whip finish as you’ll no longer be needing the red thread. Try to make the whip finish nice and even so when you snip off the thread you’re left with uniform wraps for the entire length of the hookshank.
Now load a bobbin with black thread, I like lighter 70 Denier Ultra thread for this part because it helps to keep the head size down. Start the thread behind the hook eye and, again, take wraps rearward before snipping off the tag. Do just enough to secure the thread.
Get hold of the tinsel and start making open spiral wraps up the shank, trying to keep them as even as possible. Go all the way until you reach black thread. Once there, secure the tinsel with 2 or 3 good wraps and snip the excess off close.
For the wing of the fly, black buck tail is traditionally used but black bear hair is good too. Snip an ample clump from up near the tip of the buck tail, the stuff toward the tail’s base is simply too hollow. Strip out the shorter hairs from the butts and then pull out any excessively long hairs from the tips. Snipping an inch or so off the butts will make stacking easier. Place the hair in your stacker tips first and give it a real good stacking. While keeping the tips aligned, remove the hair from the stacker. You should end up with a small clump that looks about like this. Measure to form a wing that extends a little more than a hook gap past the hook bend. Keeping the measurement, snip the excess butt ends off square and maintain a firm pinch on them. Place the clump on top of the hook shank at a downward angle. Then make thread wraps at a 90 degree angle to the hair to secure it. This should make the buck tail kick up slightly to form an attractive wing.
Saddle hackle is used to form the throat of the fly, white or light grey if you can find it looks good. I prefer a webby feather, almost like schlappen. While keeping the tips aligned, strip a 1/2” or so of fibers free from the stem. With the tips extending to about the midpoint of the hook, secure the hackle to the underside of the head, leaving some space behind the eye. If the length and angle look good, carefully reach in with the tips of your tying scissors and snip the excess butts off close. Take thread wraps to cover up any butt ends left showing and build up a small neat head on the fly. If there are any fibers sticking out, now is a good time to snip them off.
Pick up your whip finish tool and do a nice, neat 5-6 turn whip finish. The better the whip finish, the better the head will look. When you’re done, snip your tying thread free. To finish the head, apply a coat or two of head cement, the idea is to get a nice glossy finish.
Traditionally, this pattern was tied with jungle cock eyes but I think it looks just fine without them.