How to Tie a Strong Turle Knot for Fly Fishing

The Turle knot was popularized by Major William Greer Turle an English angler from the 19th century. Now the turtle knot wasn’t invented by Major William Greer Turle but it is named after him. The English General’s use of it is what got fly anglers using it regularly and thus it bears his name.

The turle knot is one of the most popular fishing knots used by modern-day fly fishing anglers, especially those targeting steelhead and salmon, as the way the turle knot holds a fly allows flies to swim freely and hopefully entice a fish to eat the flies more willingly.

How To Tie A Turle Knot

We are going to look at how to tie the original turle knot, not the double turle knot, also known as the improved turle knot, but we will talk about it at the end. All of these knots are made for attaching your leader or tippet to a hook or fly.

The turle knot is quite fiddly to tie, especially when standing in a river fly fishing, so we recommend doing quite a bit of tying practice at home. Here is hot to tie a turle knot

how to tie a turle knot

Step 1

First, pass your line (leader/tippet) through the eye of your hook or fly and make a loop with the tag end by bending it towards you and around anti-clockwise.

Step 2

Take the tag end and go over the line at the top of the loop you just made and back around to create a second loop.

Step 3

Wrap the tag end around the second loop you just made two times. Now hold the larger loop and pull the tag end to tighten the knot.

Step 4

turle knot step 4

Take the bigger loop under and over the fly or hook then wet the knot and pull the main line to tighten. The knot will then sit snug under and over the eye of the fly tying hook or fly.

Step 5

To complete the knot, trim the tag end of the line but leave an additional part of the tag end as this will stop the knot from slipping out under the fly. Test the knot to make sure it’s secure. You have tied your first turle knot.


One of the best tips for tying the turle knot is that the fly or hook doesn’t need to feature until the end and therefore you can move it out the way.

When you have threaded your tippet leader through the eye of the hook or fly in Step 1, push the hook or fly, way up the leader so you can focus on making two loops without them being in the way. Then bring them back down at the end to complete the turle knot.

Here is a video from Rio Lines demonstrating the tips and how to tie the turle knot.


Is the turle knot good?

The Turtle knot is a very useful knot for a variety of situations. It is strong, adjustable, and has a wide range of applications. It is also relatively easy to tie, making it a great knot for beginners.

When to use a turle knot?

The Turtle knot can be used in a variety of situations, such as securing a rope to a pole, stake, or other stationary object, making a lashing or loop, creating a fishing net, or securing a boat to a dock. It is also used in recreational activities such as camping, boating, and climbing.

How strong is a turle knot?

A turle know is considered one of the better fishing knots with a strength of about 80%. This means if you tie turle knots with a 10lb leader or tippet line, then it will break at 80% of the 10lbs, 8lbs of pressure.

What is the turle knot used for?

The turle knot doesn’t have many uses and you may only tie a turle knot to connect your hooks or flies to your leader line.

The turle knot is incredibly popular and used in both fly fishing and non-fly angling. Modern fly anglers use it because the knot doesn’t sit too snug against the eye of the hook and allows flies to have better action in and on top of the water.

This is key to annoying fish including salmon and steelhead into eating the fly.

How do you tie a double turle knot?

A double turle knot, also known as the improved turle knot is quite simple to tie if you have learned the original turle knot. The only major difference is that in Step 1, you need to make two large loops, to begin with, and then a further loop to wrap the line.

Check out also our post here on how to tie a davy knot fly fishing.

What is the best knot for fly fishing?

What is the best knot for fly fishing?

There are so many knots one can use in fly fishing and it depends on what knots you like and prefer to use as an angler. When it comes to attaching your line to your hooks then the two most common knots used are probably the improved clinch knot and the turle knot.

Each not is strong enough to be used on large fish, tying the improved clinch knot is easier but it holds the eye tightly unlike the turle that lets the eye sit a bit lose so your fly or bait swims freely.

Photo of author

Jamie Melvin

Growing up fly fishing on trout streams in Kenya and the UK, Jamie has traveled the world in search of fly fishing nirvana. From his time managing bonefish lodges in the Bahamas and running fishing safaris in East Africa, all the way to guiding on the flats of Seychelles, there aren't many species or environments he hasn't experienced firsthand.

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