Trout Wet Flies: The Valasesiana

Trout wet flies are used all over the world, and there are patterns equally varied as the regions from which their real life counterparts come from. We will from time to time in the blog talk about the origins of some of these, some of which you may never encounter or use yourself, others of which will be familiar. In a previous posting we talked about an extremely well known one, the mayfly. This time, though let’s look at a more exotic creature, the valasesiana.

The valasesiana hails from the Sesia valley in the Piedmont region of Northern Italy. Its pattern has been used on the river for more than two centuries. The first reference to valasesiana appeared in church chronicles around 1760. Originally they were fished using hazel or ash poles of about 3.5 to 4 metres long. The line was typically made of braided male horsehair with a gut leader, and four flies were used. The flies were designed to catch not only trout but also grayling. Their bodies were made from cotton of silk in a variety of shades and they had no tails. The hackles came from a variety of young birds, including blackbirds, thrush, starlings, owls and domestic fowl no more than six months old. Finishing the flies behind the hackle gave them a forward tilt, providing plenty of movement in the fast flowing rivers of the region. These Italian trout wet flies tended to be tied on blind (eyeless) hooks.

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