North Country Spiders - is the name given to wet flies tied in a particular style in the north of England. The Americans refer to them as "Soft Hackles". They are at the foundation of all North Country fly fishing and are tied intentionally to be very sparse. They have been used for over a hundred years and are tied using simple, traditional, fly tying materials, to represent the full spectrum of insects available to the trout and grayling. There are many North Country Spiders, but I like to keep my selection quite small, to only the ones you see below. With just these few wet flies I am able to represent virtually every insect I am likely to encounter throughout the year, from Large Dark Olives to Pale Watery Olives and everything in between.

Partridge & Orange North Country Spider Partridge & Orange Soft Hackle Wet Fly

Partridge and Orange (£1.20) - The Partridge and Orange spider (also known as the Orange Partridge) is probably the best known of all the North Country Spiders and dates back to the very early years of North Country fly fishing. The Partridge and Orange is generally thought to be a stonefly imitation, an early season and autumn fly, but it is a good choice throughout the trout season and well into autumn. Size 14

Waterhen Bloa North Country Spider Waterhen Bloa Soft Hackle Wet Fly

Waterhen Bloa (£1.20) - The Waterhen Bloa is my favourite North Country Spider. It is "the only" spider needed early in the season when the Large Dark Olives are hatching, of which it is a simple, but brilliant, imitation. I fish two Waterhen Bloas with a Baetis Nymph or Gold Bead Pheasant Tail Nymph on the point during a hatch. Between hatches I fish a single Waterhen Bloa with one each of the above nymphs. Size 14.

Partridge & Yellow North Country Spider Partridge & Yellow Soft Hackle Wet Fly

Partridge and Yellow (£1.20) - The Partridge and Yellow is my choice when the paler olive species are hatching from late April onwards. It imitates a large range of olives, including the Yellow May Dun, which is a very common fly on many of the UK's rainfed rivers, and other flies. It uses a grey feather from the neck of a partridge rather than the brown feather from the back of the bird used in the P&O. This gives the fly a much paler colouration and when wet looks very convincing. A good fly! Size 14

Black Magic North Country Spider Partridge & Yellow Soft Hackle Wet Fly

Black Magic (£1.20) - The Black Magic Spider is a good all-rounder to have tied to your leader at most times of the season. It must imitates a myriad of small black terrestrials and aquatic flies. It will represent just about any small terrestrial from Black Gnats and Hawthorns to Midges and Smuts. I sometimes even treat it to float and use it as a very convincing dry fly. It is very good autumn grayling fly and wet fly when loch fishing. A versatile fly if ever there was one! Size 16.

Snipe and Purple North Country Spider Snipe and Purple Soft Hackle Wet Fly

Snipe and Purple (£1.20) - The Snipe and Purple is one of the most famous North Country Spiders. Along with the Partridge and Orange, and Waterhen Bloa, it forms the 'famous three'. Many north country anglers fish these three flies together, on the same leader, throughout the season. The Snipe and Purple is generally considered to be an imitation of the Iron Blue Dun, but it also does a good job of representing other flies, particularly midges and small terrestrials. Good early season fly. Size 16.

Light Spanish Needle North Country Spider Light Spanish Needle Soft Hackle Wet Fly

Light Spanish Needle (£1.20) - The Light Spanish Needle is an excellent imitation of two species of Stonefly known as Needle Flies, due to their very slim bodies and dark colouration, apparently like the old needles once imported from Spain. Naturals hatch from before the trout season starts in February to May, and again from August to November, so this fly can be used with confidence throughout most of the trout season and for autumn grayling fishing. In fact it is widely known as one of the best North Country Spiders for grayling. The famous North Country angler T. E. Pritt claimed it to be "THE best all-round fly for North Country rivers", so there is no need to restrict its use to early and late season. Size 16.

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