Richard Vipond, son of Tony, the proprietor of Tweedside Tackle in Kelso, first tied this pattern, which has become a great favourite on the Tweed.
It was introduced to T&S readers in 2003 by Mick Williams, celebrated Borders fly-tyer, who first fished it on the Tweed at Carham at the end of November.
The weather was awful, with snow on the banks and grue in the water. Mick reckoned the fly's colours looked perfect for the conditions — and it took the only fish from the beat that day. On that occasion, the Ice Maiden was tied on a brass tube and fished deep and slow in the freezing conditions.
Its attraction seems to lie in its “icy” colours, the overall whitish effect working like a Whitewing in poor light.
Hook To suit conditions Thread Black
Body Pearl Mylar tubing Wing Bucktail,
white over blue over chartreuse green
1. Slip the tube securely on to its mount then take two inches of pearl Mylar tubing and remove the core. Slip the Mylar over the tube until it reaches the end.
2. Run red tying thread on at the end of the tube, using it to fix the rear end of the Mylar tubing in position.
3. Build up close turns of the tying thread to form a distinct red band. Cast off the tying thread at this point then apply two coats of clear varnish. Give it a few minutes to dry.
4. Run black tying thread on at the front of the tube, using it to secure the front end of the Mylar tubing in place. Remove any excess Mylar at this point.
5. Take a large bunch of chartreuse bucktail. Divide it in two, catching in one half on top of the tube and one half beneath it. Fix it in place with tight turns of thread.
6. Take a slim bunch of dyed-blue bucktail and, again, split it in two. Catch in the two halves so that they form a thin veil over the top of the chartreuse hair.
7. Repeat the process, this time using plain white bucktail. Ensure that the tips of all three colours are level. Keep the amount quite sparse and well spread, allowing the colours beneath to shine through.
8. Secure the hair with plenty of tight thread turns before removing the excess. Though scissors may be used to trim the waste, a sharp scalpel blade produces a neater finish.
9. Add further tight turns of thread until the hair is well and truly secure. Build a neat head with turns of thread and cast off with a whip finish. Add two or three coats of varnish to protect the thread turns.
WHERE, WHEN & HOW TO FISH
W H E R E
Though its reputation was made on the Tweed — where its popularity continues to grow — the Ice Maiden should work on any river with a spring or autumn run. Mick Williams has also tied it on tiny trebles and used it to great effect in Scandinavia and Iceland.
W H E N
Tied in various sizes and weights, the Ice Maiden can be used throughout the season, but it is as a cold-water pattern — particularly if there is snow-melt in the river — that it excels.
H O W
For early-spring and late-autumn fishing, tie the Ice Maiden on a heavy tube and fish it deep and slow on a fast-sinking line.
T Y I N G T I P
For full effect, the bucktail should be tied in three separate layers, each one to evenly skirt the tube.