View Full Version : Tying the Smokey Mountain Blackbird

08-22-2008, 07:38 PM
Has Mr. Hartsell ever given out the recipe? Does anyone know what the hackle is? If I knew the hackle type, I think I could imitate the rest.

Gerry Romer
08-22-2008, 09:44 PM
The hackle is starling. The recipe is a closely guarded secret, but I hear that he shared it with a few tiers at one of his tying demonstrations at LRO last winter....

My best guess: black thread, lead-free wire for weight, black ice dubbing, small ultra wire in your choice of color for ribbing and starling hackle.

Good luck! Share some pics if you solve it!!

Hugh Hartsell
08-22-2008, 10:59 PM
Look out young fella! That's a dangerous fly to be carrying into the Park. You never know when a big brown trout might be just waiting for one of those to come floating by. If you want to give it a try, go to my website and click on the Articles Page. It will tell you about the fly and the materials used. After you do that , get onto the phone with Little River Outfitters and order what you don't have to tie the fly with. After you get the materials and you have tied the fly, try to tie a good nymph pattern to go about 14 inches above it. Take some pictures of them both and place on the Flytying site. We'll help you to be able to fish that type of rig when the water levels come up some. It will amaze you at the size of the fish that you will catch when you do this.
Good luck at tying it.

08-23-2008, 12:42 PM
Thanks:smile: I've heard it's a doozy! I'll give it my best shot. So far, my tying efforts have been weak at best. I did manage to weasle my way into the last swap, but after fishing my nymphs, I realize the other guys in the swap hot ripped off! I'll do better next time though.;) Thanks again.


08-31-2008, 10:21 PM
Picked up some starling feathers at LRO yesterday and here is the end product.


08-31-2008, 10:37 PM
Nice! I'll post my efforts soon :smile:

09-20-2008, 11:24 PM
The Blackbird is tied with Starling Hackle that has been first bleached and the dyed yellow. This tends to give the hackle a bit of a golden color.

I have to say this has been one of the most productive flies I have ever fished, bar none.


09-22-2008, 02:03 PM
Mike, thanks for the info. I may just call LRO and see if they have any. RIght now I'm working on learning the Royal Wulff.

09-23-2008, 03:45 PM
Hugh does not use the dyed starling. Just to let you know.
Make sure you post some pictures so we can see your progress.

09-23-2008, 08:29 PM

Will do...Been super busy with volunteer work lately, except for my awful weekend on the Caney. I think I may attempt this closer to Christmas, but I will attempt it because it is such a beautiful fly.