The Shrek Fly

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, MT

I am unaware of other trout flies named after animated movie characters (there’s probably a Mickey Mouse fly somewhere), but sometime in the last decade, Tasmanian angling writer and member of the Australian World Fly Fishing Team, Joe Riley, did just that. As I was researching fly patterns for our trip to Tasmania next year, the “Shrek” fly kept being mentioned over and over again. Once I found some good tying references for the fly, it was evident why Joe named the fly “Shrek”. It was typically big and green like the animated character in the Disney series. I am not sure when Joe Riley devised this fly, but it was clearly after the release of the movie (2001). Additionally, the name Shrek was loosely adapted from William Steig‘s 1990 fairy tale picture book Shrek! The name “Shrek” is derived from the Yiddish and German Schreck (Yiddish שרעק) meaning “fear” or “fright”. It is unknown whether Joe Riley originally intended the Shrek Fly to frighten the fish into taking the fly.

An Original Shrek
An Original Shrek

In reality, the Shrek is nothing more than a variation on traditional Woolly Buggers and is now being tied and fished in Tasmania in colors other than the original green. There are two distinguishing features of the original Shrek fly—a mylar body and a green hackle. However, many variations have emerged over the years to include using dyed green Badger hackle. The original also employed a bead head.

When I started tying some Shrek flies a few weeks ago, I had no idea how effective they might be. Designed for the Brown Trout in the rivers and lakes of Tasmania, I wondered whether or not the Shrek might be enticing to our Montana trout.

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