The really small stuff Why such small tube flies? Small flies are just an important…
The squirrel`s a large family of rodents divided into five subfamilies, with about 58 genera and some 285 species some like the Eastern Grey Squirrel and the Pine squirrel have long been known as top fly tying material, and hair from these animals is found in 1000´s of known fly patterns across the world. The Eastern Grey Squirrel is an absolute favourite material in our fly tying shop… and we buy selected squirrel tails from these animals in the UK (*) by the doz.
Photo right: Pine Squirrel by Mr Bill Bryden
* The Eastern Grey Squirrel was introduced to Britain, many years ago where it has spread across the country and has largely displaced the native Red squirrel Wherefore it is considered a pest animal by most Brittain’s.
A squirrel in Western Europa could very well look like this guy …very bright red in its colouration – Here one from my garden in Denmark where this colour of the squirrel is the dominant genetic line of the Sciurus vulgaris (Eurasian red squirrel) – once black squirrels were the dominant genetic version in Denmark …now it is rare to see all black squirrels in my part of Scandinavia.
How to conserve a fresh squirrel tail
The tail from an unfortunate red squirrel (Scientific Name: Sciurus vulgaris) I found at the road side. Always keep a set of pliers in your car so you can collect a squirrel tail when the opportunity rise.
This process is best done during winter months when there are now insects around.
- Start by freezing the tail in a plastic bag for at least 72 hours.
- De-frost it and carefully rinse it under running water to remove any dead parasites.
- Dry the tail by hanging it outside in the wind and sun ..don’t let it sit too long.. a few hours will do.
- Cover the entire tail in coarse or fine salt (regular table salt is absolutely fine) Leave it covered in salt for 2 weeks – This will draw out most of the moist from the skin and meat.
- Shak all salt off
- Pin the tail to a piece of plywood and let it dry further for a few weeks (I leave my tails to dry outside)
Now your squirrel tail is ready to be part of your fly tying material.
Take time to select the perfect squirrel tail
We buy many tails to be able to select the best possible tails for our V-FLY´s we want a squirrel tail with thin hair as we have found that flies tied from this hair has superior fishing-abilities when hitching for Atlantic salmon…
We have been scouting for a supplier of silver tip tails that we could trust to harvest the tails when the hairs had the right texture..
We managed to find a Game Warden in the UK that knew what we was looking for –
Richard – Who is a salmon and trout angler – promised to help us with our very special project.
Setting traps for squirrels is part of Richards daytime job – and doing so in the right time of year we have managed to secure a small stock of these first-rate Riffling Hitch tails.
Russian Flying Squirrel
An absolutely small squirrel tail – and very hard to find – Some of the finest fly tying material we ever have seen.
Siberian Pygmy Squirrel
The smallest squirrel we have ever seen – and some of the finest hair we have ever come across – Most likely not your everyday roadkill fly tying material
Rare squirrel material quite close to its cousin the small pine squirrel
Chinese Pine Squirrel
Similar to its US cousin but much softer – A really nice tail for small and medium salmon flies
Eurasian red squirrel – the black version
Eurasian red squirrel as they formally are known as (Scientific Name: Sciurus vulgaris) is a squirrel species widespread across Northern Europa and the vast forest land of Russia where some squirrels are caught in traps and their pelt is used for various garments – Truly great material. Super quality and perfect for miniature patterns like riffling hitch flies and any other fly pattern designed to lure trout, salmon and char. The Eurasian red squirrel is found in colour variations ranging from jet-black to almost ginger red Buy it from us
Eurasian red squirrel
Here in a black coloured version
Eurasian red squirrel
Here in a browner coloured version
The fox squirrel (Sciurus niger), also known as the eastern fox squirrel or Bryant’s fox squirrel, is the largest species of tree squirrel native to North America. Great material for bigger or very bushy flies – less efficient for smaller patterns.