Sunday, July 21, 2013

UC Hairwing Drakes

UC Green Drake - tied by Steven Bird

UC Green Drake Cripple - tied by Steven Bird

UC Black Quill - tied by Steven Bird
UC Redband taken on a Black Quill
     Though all the western drakes occur in my homewater, the upper (U.S.) Columbia, black quills dominate, with green drakes a distant second. No matter, as trout here take them (the naturals) opportunistically without particular preference. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Good imitations are a must, & over the past ten years I’ve seen the big dries evolve in a decided direction toward what I would term a fairly unique ‘UC style’.

Form follows function. The fish, & the water type in which the fish live, will determine the form. The heavy, conflicted currents of the massive American Reach require a reliable floater, while the trout require a fairly accurate imitation. When all is said & done, the Wulff style (I suppose that could be interpreted as the western hairwing style) gets the nod. Which is nice, as it affords the opportunity to fish classically beautiful dryflies. UC tiers have taken the old style a step further, with a careful eye toward precise imitation, mixing hair colors to create realistic wings of buck tail, calf tail, elk & deer hair -- & that mixing of colors a hallmark of the UC style. 

UC Black Quill

Hook: #10-#12 TMC 200R

Thread: Yellow

Tailing: Black deer hair 
Rib: Strand from a yellow poly rope, or twisted yellow floss, or something yellow that won’t fade when wet

Body: March brown dubbing

Wings: Natural black buck tail or calf tail, tied upright, divided, & trimmed to shape

Hackle: One mahogany-brown & one grizzly dyed yellow, a size smaller -- & finish.

UC Green Drake

Hook: #8-#10 TMC 200R

Tail: Black deer hair 

Rib: Yellow poly or twisted floss

Body: Medium olive dubbing

Wing: Buck tail or calf tail: stack a pinch of black, a pinch of dyed blue dun, a tiny pinch of green or yellow, a generous pinch of natural light gray or white-ish bucktail – pull upright, divide & trim to shape

Hackle: One brown & one grizzly dyed yellow -- & finish

During short evening hatch periods you don't want to waste precious time tying on fresh flies. So to ensure ultimate floatation, I pre-soak my dries in Loon Hydrostop at the bench, then before fishing I dress the fly with Loon Lochsa floatant.  Great stuff, non-toxic & doesn’t bleed an oil slick. After catching a fish, I give the fly a shot of Loon Fly Spritz 2, make a few false casts, & I'm back at it with my fly floating nicely. 

Flyfish NE Washington with Steven Bird:

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