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2013 Fly Tying

Specific information on each fly is found in the files below

Please note: all photographs on this page, and those linked to it, ©2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 by Marv Slind. Non-commercial use is permitted, provided appropriate credit accompanies the photographs. All commercial use is prohibited, except with the express written permission of Marv Slind.

January 2013

General Store

Steve Matter

 General Store 
Hook: Standard dry fly hook, size 12 - 18
Bead:Color of choice; I prefer tungsten in nickel
Wings: White goose biots
Tail: Small or medium diameter chenille, color of choice
Body: Fuzzy dubbing, color of choice
Thorax: Peacock herl
Hackle: Relatively short soft hackle (partridge, etc.)
                                                          Tying Instructions and Pattern History:
This pattern is a combination of materials that are proven and basic to the craft. Primarily it mimics a caddis emerger, but also is effective any time. Why? Because you are using it and have confidence in it and trout are not very bright.

Step 1) Attach bead of choice. I prefer tungsten in nickel. Hook size 12-18. I usually use 14 or 16.

Step 2.) Attach small or medium diameter chenille in preferred color. First cut several two inch pieces and singe the ends with flame. Easy does it. Then cut those in two and you have lots of one inch pieces to work with. The length the chenille extends past the bend is entirely up to you. If quite long your quarry might mistake it for a worm of some sort and eagerly eat it. If too short there won't be any wiggle, which is a "trigger". But, again, the trout will still try to eat it since there are the shiny bead, peacock and soft hackle "triggers".

Step 3) Attach the non-singed end to the hook about in middle of shank. Add a little dubbing over the area of attachment and then wind peacock up close, but not too close, to the head. Run the thread through the peacock a couple times for strength.

Step 4) Tie in and wind a suitable feather for making a soft hackle. Hackle tips should not extend past point of chenille tie-in.

Step 5) Attach two white goose biot feathers over the top of the fly and whip finish. BTW, In forty years of fishing I have never used head cement and maybe six or seven flies have come unwound. Just a waste of time and toxic fumes.


February 2013

Scraphackle Caddis

Jerry Grehl

 Scraphackle Caddis #1

Scraphackle Caddis #2 
Hook: Mustad 3906, 9671, or equivalent, size 12 or smaller
Rib: Black wire, small or medium
Abdomen: Floss, color to match natural (olive, green, gray, orange, etc.)
Thorax: Dark brown dubbing
Hackle: Grouse or partridge hackle, tied per instructions
Collar: Black ostrich plume fibre
Antennae: Two wood-duck barbules
Bead: Gold tungsten or glass colored bead
Tying Instructions and Pattern History:
Tying Instructions:
  1. Attach bead
  2. Tie in rib just after hook bend
  3. Taper abdomen-floss 3/4 up the hook shank clock-wise, wind rib counter clock-wise, creating segmented look
  4. Dub fur for thorax, more full than abdomen
  5. Trim center of grouse hackle, a little more than desired hackle length, attach stem at hook eye: pull back on stem until point of trim passes thread
  6. Wind thread back to front of thorax, fold back hackle, twisting it to rotate around hook, secure with thread--examine to see if hackle is not bunched up; re-do if necessary
  7. Attach antennae, which should be much longer than hackle
  8. Finish with ostrich plume collar behind hook eye

My FOTM is more a generic means of using grouse and partridge hackle that is normally unused, except for beards on wet flies, laquered wing cases, or nymph legs. We all buy bags of loose grouse hackle, then frantically search for the right size. It becomes more difficult the smaller the hook size. It takes a little practice to get the hackle to rotate evenly, but the results are worth it.

Pennsylvania's Pine Creek begins near Wellsboro in North-Central PA, and courses its way southeast to its confluence with the Susquehanna west of Williamsport. On its way it picks up important tributaries like tumbling Slate Run and Cedar Creek, important fisheries in their own right. Below Waterville it is more a river than a creek, and more smallmouth-walleye fishery than trout. It is basically a put and take fishery, but big holdovers can strain a rod. One of my favorite places to stay was the long gone Gibson hotel located on its banks--a typical Pennsylvania country hotel with shared bathrooms, small bar, and wonderful food served home style by friends long gone but not forgotten. Upstream from the tiny village of Cammal, home of the Wagon Wheel Tavern, was a great stretch of water where the Brachycentrus caddis hatch in early May would eclipse the celebrated Hendrickson and Quill Gordon hatches. Two dozen fly-rodders would take their posts along this run, keeping a cast away from each other. I hiked to the head of the rip, where there were several bait fishermen, all in the process of getting skunked. By 1970 I had learned the secrets of the grouse hackle wet fly, cast across and drifted downstream during a caddis hatch. "Try your fly pole over here, buddy! They're really jumpin!" a local wag said. After hooking about a dozen and creeling a few I waded to the shore. "Man, I'm gettin' me one of them fly poles!" the local said. "Good idea, my friend, good idea!" I replied, as I headed to the Wagon Wheel to exchange lies.


March 2013

Copper John

Caleb Roffman

 Copper John  
Thread: 8/0 Black
Hook: Standard wet fly hook, size 12 - 18
Tail: Brown goose biots
Abdomen: Copper wire (color of choice)
Thorax: Peacock herl
Legs: Pheasant tail fibers
Wing Case: Black Flashback
                                                        Tying Instructions and Pattern History:
This is one of my favorite flies to fish in the Driftless area. I like to dead drift in the head of riffles in fast water, all the way through the pools.

There are several varieties of the fly I like to tie and use. I use different colors of copper wire -- copper, red, yellow, green, and brown.

Have fun tying and good luck fishing!

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October 2013
(Reprise of April 2009 Fly of the Month)

Soft Hackle Fly

Tom Murray

  Yellow Soft Hackle

Brown Soft Hackle

Hook: Standard Wet Fly (Size 12-16)
Thread:6/0 or 8/0 Orange, Green, or Yellow, or if dubbing the body, Black or Olive
Body:Tying thread or floss in the above colors; Body can also be dubbed fur, with gold or copper wire ribbing (as shown in lower photo)
Tail: Optional
Thorax: Optional (I use rabbit fur from a hare's mask)
Wing: None
Hackle: A feather from a partridge (my favorite), grouse, hen hackle or other soft game bird feathers
                                                       Tying Instructions and Pattern History:
 Tying Instructions
Body-Orange Floss
  1. Wrap the thread on the shank of the hook so it is even with the point of the hook. Remember, the winding direction is away from the tyer. Then place the floss (about 4" long) on the hook and secure with 3-4 turns of the thread.
  2. Once the floss is secure, wrap the tying thread forward to within 1/8 inch from the eye of the hook.
  3. Wind the floss toward the front of the hook and secure with the tying thread. Wind the thread forward another 2-3 turns and make a half hitch knot. Now you have a base to add in a thorax if you wish, prior to tying in the hackle.
  4. Thorax

  5. I like to add a little wax to my thread to about 1 inch just below the hook. Then I cut a small clump of fur from the hare's mask and touch it to the waxed thread.

  6. Once it adheres to the thread, I wind it between my thumb and forefinger to create the thin noodle of rabbit fur. Try to keep the thorax sparse-wind two to three times around the hook and floss leaving enough room to add in the hackle and a neat head in front of the hook eye.


  7. The hackle is the most important part of this fly. The partridge feather is plucked from the skin with the soft down or fuzz still attached to the stem. Strip off this fuzz then move your finger up to the tip of the feather. Hold the tip between your left thumb and forefinger and with your right hand pull the remaining barbs down away from the others so they stand out at right angles from the stem of the feather.
  8. Hold the bare stem of the hackle at a 45 degree angle against the side of the hook with the natural curve of the feather towards the back. Wind the thread around the stem 3-4 times to secure it firmly to the hook shank winding towards the front. Cut off the excess hackle stem.
  9. Grab the tip of the hackle with the rubber tipped hackle pliers. Try to get as many of the end barbs in the jaws as you can together with the center stem. Bend the feather forward so it is 90 degrees or perpendicular to the hook.
  10. Pull the hackle upright so it is perpendicular with the hook. The hackle barbs will want to stick together so as you wind 2 turns of the hackle, separate the barbs with a needle or bodkin. You should end up with the pliers in a down position when you finish.
  11. Pull the pliers and the remainder of the hackle towards the back and wind the tying thread back through the hackle making sure to catch the stem hanging in the pliers. Now wind the thread forward and let it hang on it's bobbin. Reach in under the hook with your scissors and and cut off the hackle stem.
  12. Use a whip finish to complete the head. It should leave the head neat and secure and should not require head cement.

This fly can be traced back to 1496 in England when it was described by Dame Julianna Berners in her book The Treatise of Fishing with an Angle. Since then numerous books have been written about this "north country wet fly". Most notably in this country by James Leisenring and Sylvester Nemes. I had an opportunity to meet and fish with Nemes over thirty years ago on Dowagiac Creek near Cassopolis, MI. I had recently started tying flies and he really sparked my interest by sharing the history of this fly and how to tie it. That afternoon he demonstrated how to cast the fly by quartering it upstream and then mending the fly line either up or down stream to get a natural drift without drag. Nemes researched and fished this fly thoroughly and concluded it could be used to imitate a caddis fly, mayfly, or a stone fly. It has become one of my favorite flys. I like the orange/partridge in size 12-16. Good luck!

Recommended references:

The Soft Hackled Fly: A Trout Fisherman's Guide by Sylvester Nemes,
Quill Gordon by John McDonald, and
The Art of Tying the Wet Fly by James Leisenring


December 2013

Sparkle Pupa

Jerry Grehl

 Sparkle Pupa 
Hook: Mustad #7957B, 9671, or 3906, size 18 - 10
(Note: LaFontaine recommended using Mustad's 94840 dry fly hook)
Weight:lead wire, .015 or .020. or a small tungsten bead
Underbody:Antron or suitable substitute dubbing, olive mixed with bright green
Overbody, or halo:light olive sparkle yarn, antron yarn, Z-lon yarn, or similiar material
Hackle: Grouse
Head:brown Marabou or dubbing
                                                Tying Instructions and Pattern History:
The clerk in West Yellowstone's Bud Lilly's fly shop advised me to head for the McAtee bridge for the evening caddis hatch. It was a long drive from our campsite on Hebgen Lake but worth a try, I thought. The little fellows were popping all over the surface and the trout were eagerly slashing at the emerging pupae. I'll give one of LaFontaine's Sparkle pupa a try, I thought. There were 15 - 20 anglers lining the bank so I headed upstream, darkness rapidly coming on. I only got an hour's fishing in, but it was rewarding indeed! It was too dark to tie on a new fly so I fished the #14 Sparkle pupa until it literally disintegrated! No monsters, but those Madison brownies loved that fly!

LaFontaine's seminal work, Caddisflies was published in 1981, before many new tying materials were introduced. He lists four primary color patterns. My favorite is the Brown and Bright Green Deep Pupa. It copies the ubiquitous Brachycentrus fly quite well. Other color combinations suggested by LaFontaine are brown and yellow, gray, and ginger.

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