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Riffle Hitch

How to tie the Riffle Hitch Knot. The Riffle Hitch or Riffling Hitch is a knot that helps the fly to skim across the surface of a river or stream to attract fish feeding near the surface. It is usually employed by salmon and steelhead fishermen however it can also be highly effective for trout.


The knot is tied after the primary knot connecting the fly to the leader. The primary knot can be any knot although some fishermen prefer to use the Turle Knot which seats behind the eye of the hook. The illustration below uses the Turle. It is simply a matter of tying a pair of half hitches behind the eye and the primary knot. Note that if there is not a lot of room on the shank of the fly behind the eye, a single half hitch can be used. When complete, you want the line to come out below the eye so that it is perpendicular to the hook shank. The Riffle Hitch Knot is one of 12 great fishing knots included on the Pro-Knot Fly Fishing Knot Cards (click to see).

Scroll to see Animated Riffle Hitch Knot below the illustration and tying instructions.

Riffle Hitch


Riffle Hitch Knot Tying Instructions

  • Tie fly to leader with your preferred knot or the Turle Knot. Form a loop in the leader in front of the fly.

  • Pass the loop back over the fly and tighten down, making a half hitch on the fly shank.

  • Form another loop the same as the first.

  • Pass the second loop back over the fly and tighten down in front of the half hitch formed in the 2nd step.

  • Manipulate the the fly so that the leader exits the knot below the eye, perpendicular to the hook shank.
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Disclaimer: Any activity involving rope can be dangerous and may even be life threatening! Knot illustrations contained in this web site are not intended for rock climbing instruction. Many knots are not suitable for the risks involved in climbing. Seek professional instruction. Many factors affect knots including: the appropriateness of knots and rope materials used in particular applications, the age, size, and condition of ropes; and the accuracy with which these descriptions have been followed. No responsibility is accepted for incidents arising from the use of this content.