The Green Butt Skunk is one of the most popular steelhead patterns ever created. Originated by Dan Callahan on the North Umpqua River the “Skunk” has fooled fish in all temperatures, conditions and different types of rivers that exist. It is one of the have-to-have flies no matter where you fish steelhead along the Pacific Rim.
Two of its most endearing qualities are that it is realitively easy to tie and it’s a breeze to cast and fish. The green butt skunk incorporates materials like chenille and calf tail to add volume and flare to the fly while at the same time keeping things simple and light making the fly easy to cast. To fish this fly use anywhere from a 5-7 weight 9 foot rod with a long fine leader. Steelhead are easily spooked so keep your fly line as far out of sight as possible from active fish. That trick will only help to improve your odds. Standard streamer swing fishing techniques work wonders with the “Skunk.”
Start this fly by placing your hook into the vice securely and attaching your thread behind the hook eye. Strip several red hackle fibers from the stem and stack so that there tips are even. Measure the tail so that when tied in, the length is approximately the same as the hook gape. Secure the tail in place once you are happy with the length and clip the tag ends of tackle clean off.
Strip one end of the green chenille clean of fuzz, and tie it down to the hook shank. Wrap this stripped down piece of chenille with thread until you reach the point above the barb. Advance the thread and wrap the chenille forward to the 1/3 mark on the hook shank. Clip a small section of silver tinsel and wrap it down with thread until it butts up against the green chenille. Strip the end of black chenille as you did with the green chenille and tie it down to the hook shank. Again wrap it with thread until it butts up against the green butt section you already created. Wrap the black chenille forward until you reach the 2/3 mark on the hook shank and then tie and clip the excess off. Counter-wrap the silver river forward up the black chenille body you created making sure to keep the spacing even and the ribbing sitting on top of the chenille.
Select a long soft black hackle and tie it in by its tip in front of the chenille body. Wrap the hackle forward up hook shank watching so that none of the proceeding fibers get bound down. With your fingers pull the hackle fibers back and to the sides and bottom of the fly and tie it here in position with your thread.
Clip and stack a small section of white calf tail. Measure this calf tail wing so that when tied in it will extend to the end of the tail. Tie in this wing on top of the fly in the seam you created in the hackle by pulling the fibers back and to the sides of the fly. Adding a small drop of cement to the wing when it is tied in will help hold things in place a little better then thread alone. Clip the tag ends short and build a small neat head. Whip finish the thread and cement the head thoroughly.