Nothing to Grouse About
In my version of the Grouse and Orange spider I added a fine gold wire rib and omitted the dubbed thorax that sometimes accompanies this fly pattern. There is nothing wrong with the dubbed thorax of course, it is just that I felt that it would be a bit overkill to include the thorax with a gold wire rib and that by omitting the thorax, it would allow the dressing to ‘breath’.
The Grouse and Orange spider has been recognised as a fly to have on your leader when the caddis are hatching on the river. Hopefully this will also prove to be true on the lochs. I have found that orange is a good colour to have in a fly when the olives and midge are hatching and can remember a session where an orange sugar cube buzzer pattern was taken readily by the trout. Orange can be a fantastic colour to incorporate into your soft hackle wet flies and you can do this quite subtly, by adding just a touch of orange dubbing into a thorax or along the body for example.
Tying the fly is simplistic and the materials required are minimal which make it an ideal pattern for the beginner or those on a budget. The thread used is orange 8/0 and I used this to tie in the gold Ultra Wire (small) rib along the length of the body. I brought the thread back back up to the eye of the hook and wound the wire rib to just behind the hook eye. The grouse hackle was tied in tip first and a couple of turns formed the hackle of the fly. If you don’t have grouse you can substitute this for a dark mottled brown hen hackle. A small head was then built up, whip finished and varnished to complete the fly.
How will I fish this fly? I think versatility is this patterns greatest strength: a general searching pattern, fished just under the surface, in the surface or even on the surface. In sedge, Chironomid or olive hatches. Using a slow retrieve or allowing the wind and wave action to drift and fish it for me. Perhaps casting it dry to rising trout.
And that is all fine, in theory. It will be the trout though that determine how acceptable it is to use in any given situation and ultimately how versatile the Grouse and Orange proves to be.