Tying Lee’s San Luis Smelt


Im lucky to share my home waters with some pretty amazing fly fishermen.  One of the greats on San Luis and the Forebay is Lee Haskin who I had the pleasure of connecting with at the Pleasanton Fly Fishing Show  last week.   With Lee’s permission,  I was able to Film him tying his iconic Lee’s San Luis Smelt Pattern.  To watch him tie this pattern  is to witness a passionate and skilled fly tyer.  Lee’s San Luis Smelt is perhaps the most productive  commercially tied fly pattern on the lake and forebay of the present time.

Lee’s passion for fly fishing, tying and traveling has taken him many places. From casting to big stripers in the San Francisco Bay, to fishing for permit and tarpon in Central America and the Caribbean. He revels in the challenge of developing patterns to match different species and conditions, always striving to craft an even better fly than the one before. After nearly 60 years of fly fishing, Lee still enjoys every day on the water, and looks forward to many more years of fishing and tying flies. His enthusiasm for the sport has never waned, and neither has his commitment to perfecting his craft. With a lifetime of experience behind him, he is an ambassador for the sport that we can all learn from. His passion and enthusiasm are infectious, and we are sure that Lee Haskin will be remembered for generations to come.

Lee has been featured in various fly fishing magazines and books, and has had numerous speaking engagements. He also volunteers his time with Trout Unlimited, working to preserve and protect local waters for future generations of anglers. Lee is a member of the American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA), Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF), and the International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF). He also serves as a consultant for many fly-fishing related companies. Lee’s passion for the sport is evident in his involvement with the fly fishing community, and he is an inspiring example of how one person can make a difference.


Material List

  • Hook – TFS 5444” 60 deg. Jig hook, available through The Fly Shop.
  • Thread – Uni Big Fly White and Danville Flat Waxed Red
  • Wing – Cream, Golden Brown and Olive Yellow Craft Fur
  • Eyes – 5/32 Dumbell Eyes
  • Dubbing – Cream Hairline SST Trilobal Dubbing   Cut to 1 inch
  • Dubbing Flash – Angel Hair,clipped to ¾” and blended together with 1inch Trilobal Dubbing
  • Gill Flash – Red or Scarlet Craft Fur
  • Gills – Pearl Crystal Flash
  • Head Finish – Hard as Hull cement over Hard as Hull Penetrator.



2 thoughts on “Tying Lee’s San Luis Smelt

  1. Meng
    Everything you said about Lee is correct. He is one of the gems of the fly fishing world. A great generous guy always willing to share his knowledge.
    From one of his trips to the Yucatan.

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