Cross-Dresser Variant

Nymphs, Steelhead Flies -

Cross-Dresser Variant

This template was originally made by Jeff "Bear" Andrews, and has been a standard Great Lakes steelhead fly for decades. This can imitate both a hex nymph or salmon alevin, hence the name "cross-dresser." By changing the color of Estaz, you can specify which you plan to mimic more closely. This hex version is tied with Peach Estaz, but Crustacean Tan would be good too. For more of a fry imitation, florescent orange or pink would be a good choice.

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Hook: Daiichi 1530 Sz 8 (+)
Thread: Veevus 6/0 Fl. Orange (+)
Eyes: Black Mono Eyes Medium  (+)
Tail: Natural Grizzly Mini Marabou  (+)
Wingcase: Think Skin Mottled Bustard (+)
Body: Peach Estaz (+)
Legs: Teal Flank (+)
Legs option: Gadwall Feather (+)


Start a thread base, and tie eyes in just behind hook eye.
Thread should stop just above hook point.


Tie in a Grizzly Marabou feather.
Try to use one with prominent barring.

Tie in a strip of Thin Skin for the wingcase.

Tie in Estaz and move your thread forward.

Wrap the Estaz forward to just behind the eyes.
Trim the top flat.

Tie in a Teal Flank by the tip, just behind the eyes.

Give it a few turns, tie it off.

Move your thread in front of the eyes.
Fold the thin skin over, and tie down.

Done. Feel free to add some UV epoxy to the wingcase for added durability.