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Dry fly wings

Joined:
2012/12/9 15:03
From Lewistown, PA
Posts: 399
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I splurged on some dry fly hackles not too long ago, and have been tying simple dry flies with no wings, or just a parachute post as a wing for parachute patterns. Well to tie wings from, I recently bought some lemon barred woodduck feathers. Here's my first attempt at a winged March brown dry fly:

Resized Image


A couple problems I had were where exactly to tie in the wing - the fly has an abdomen that is *way* too short and stubby because I tied the wing in too far back. I also had trouble figuring out exactly how long to make the fibers. Some are too short, and some too long.

Also, woodduck feathers are expensive! I bought these from J stockard, and I think if I'm careful I can make 2 flies from one feather, but I paid like $4.50 for 12 feathers! That comes out to like $0.15 a fly just for the wings. I guess that's not that expensive compared to buying them pre-tied, but I could tie 10 times that many wings with a spool of poly yarn that cost half as much.

How important are a dry fly's wings to catching fish, anyway? They're definitely aesthetically pleasing when tied right, but they're a little tricky to tie.

Posted on: 3/3 9:59


Re: Dry fly wings

Joined:
2012/6/11 23:48
From Coopersburg
Posts: 555
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From what im told the wings balance the fly properly. Im no expert, and im sure knowledgeable folks will chime in. As far as wings go, i feel there is just something awesome about a nice catskill style dry. Its just iconic i guess.

Wooduck is expensive. I get the dyed mallard flank as a substitue.

Posted on: 3/3 10:04


Re: Dry fly wings

Joined:
2006/9/13 22:36
From Tioga co. formerly of bucks co.
Posts: 5535
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A good tied Catskill type pattern should be able to drop from a foot above table and land upright 90% of the time. I use a gage for my dries when I tie those patterns. shows all the lengths to use for the hook size. Not all hooks are the same. most dries are based on the mustad 96840 dry fly hook for proportions.

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Posted on: 3/3 10:18
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Re: Dry fly wings

Joined:
2012/12/9 15:03
From Lewistown, PA
Posts: 399
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That's an interesting gage. I've never seen one with the wing size on it. Mine is just a hackle gage.

Posted on: 3/3 10:24


Re: Dry fly wings

Joined:
2013/1/15 12:02
From Pipersville Pa.
Posts: 579
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Jeremy, for your first attempt at this style they are pretty good. As you said the wings are back too far. That being said the traditional catskill style would be tied back a bit. Just enough to show bare hook. maybe a eye lenghth back. I tend to finish my flies with the head almost at the eye. As far as you wings they are a bit too long.
Try and keep them just a hair longer than your hackle. It is hard to get a good wing by trying to get 2-flies out of a feather. 1 fly per feather is better.
Like Tyger mentioned try some dyed mallard it is very inexpensive and good to practice with. As far as are they important. Lots of guys omit wings and do well with their flies. For me I am a bit old school.
I like doing the wings. It adds to the silhouette of the fly. Also I don't know how old you are but for me once I passed 45 my eyes are not as good as they were. The wings help me see the fly. This is one of mine.

GC

Jermey PM sent

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Posted on: 3/3 10:33
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Re: Dry fly wings

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2013/5/22 20:31
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If you tie your wings back, just wrap several turns of hackle behind & in front of the wing & call it a thorax style dry:)

I bought a gallon sized bag of lemon wood duck from Russ Mowery (Mowrey's Fly Box, Latrobe, PA) about 30 years ago. I paid $4.50 for it and still have most of it left.

GC - I "see" what you mean. Now that I'm 41, I like wings so I can see the fly on the water, though I rarely fish a Catskill-type dry anymore.

Matt

Posted on: 3/3 10:45


Re: Dry fly wings

Joined:
2013/10/29 14:04
From Westmoreland/Tioga
Posts: 216
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Quote:

jeremymcon wrote:
How important are a dry fly's wings to catching fish, anyway? They're definitely aesthetically pleasing when tied right, but they're a little tricky to tie.


Datus Proper, suggests that the hackle-fly design (catskill without wings) is usually very effective.

Posted on: 3/3 10:51


Re: Dry fly wings

Joined:
2012/12/9 15:03
From Lewistown, PA
Posts: 399
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Yea I don't really know a "thorax" style dry fly from a Catskill-style dry fly at this point. I read about them in a book I have, but didn't really understand the difference since at the time I wasn't tying hackled dries. I'll have to look over that book again.

Also it looks like my tails are a little too short compared to the one you posted, GenCon. I wonder if these flies will land correctly when I try to cast them? Guess I'll find out eventually.

I wasn't aware of mallard as a substitute for wood duck. I'll have to look around for it. People also tie wings with other materials, right? Like hackle tips, hen feathers, and such?

Posted on: 3/3 11:03


Re: Dry fly wings

Joined:
2010/6/19 16:43
From Clinton County, Pa.
Posts: 1803
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Quote:

sandfly wrote:
A good tied Catskill type pattern should be able to drop from a foot above table and land upright 90% of the time. I use a gage for my dries when I tie those patterns. shows all the lengths to use for the hook size. Not all hooks are the same. most dries are based on the mustad 96840 dry fly hook for proportions.
I was in the area a while back and stopped for a few minutes at Sandfly's shop. I could'nt stay long but I bought that exact guage. It does come in handy. Good product.

Posted on: 3/3 11:04
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Re: Dry fly wings

Joined:
2010/6/19 16:43
From Clinton County, Pa.
Posts: 1803
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I have a friend who is a duck hunter who gave me a bunch of wood duck lemon side feathers several years ago. They do make a nice wing. I tie most of my wings with parapost though. It's waterproof and tough!

Posted on: 3/3 11:09
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"Even the thousandth trip to the same familiar stream begins with renewed hope and unfailing faith." ZANE GREY


Re: Dry fly wings

Joined:
2012/12/9 15:03
From Lewistown, PA
Posts: 399
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Quote:

WildTigerTrout wrote:
I have a friend who is a duck hunter who gave me a bunch of wood duck lemon side feathers several years ago. They do make a nice wing. I tie most of my wings with parapost though. It's waterproof and tough!


Yea I also wondered if I could just tie a para post, but then wrap the hackle normally instead of making a parachute dry fly. It would float a little higher than a parachute, and still have something to represent the wings. Though in that case I may want to split the post like the calf tail wings on a royal wulff.... I could even use grey or tan poly yarn to give the wing a more natural color than the bright white of a royal wulff.

Posted on: 3/3 11:17


Re: Dry fly wings

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2007/1/30 10:05
From Jersey Shore, PA
Posts: 476
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jeremymcon, yes, you can. And, you don't have to split the wings.

Posted on: 3/3 11:51


Re: Dry fly wings

Joined:
2006/9/21 0:02
From Pittsburgh
Posts: 4275
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I always tie my wings in at about one third of the hook shank length back from the eye. Just balances the fly a little better, and makes it look nicer IMO. And you don't risk crowding the eye.
I also like to wrap dubbing around the thorax area - after I tie in the hackle - then wind the hackle over top of it to just behind the eye. Gives the fly a better overall appearance too.

As for adding wings to mayflies - I still think it's a good thing to do. Part of the enjoyment of tying IMO, is creating a fly to look the best it can be. Just for my satisfaction, and even if it's true that the fish really couldn't care less - which I have some doubts about.

Posted on: 3/3 12:51


Re: Dry fly wings

Joined:
2006/9/13 22:36
From Tioga co. formerly of bucks co.
Posts: 5535
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only have 1 or 2 left of that gage on the wall, excluding the few I saved. the other gage works for all flies ie: streamers, wets, nymphs, drys, bucktails, etc. that one you cannot find, going to copy it one day with the directions.

Posted on: 3/3 13:25
_________________
sandfly

So many Fish, So little time !!!
from the outer edge of nowhere
fly tying and fishing ghillie..
https://www.facebook.com/BigMeadowsFlyShop




Re: Dry fly wings

Joined:
2007/1/30 10:05
From Jersey Shore, PA
Posts: 476
Offline
Dry Fly wings:
(I hope this uploads

Posted on: 3/3 13:54



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