Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Pheasant Tail & Bunny Spotted Sedge Pupa

Pheasant Tail & Bunny Spotted Sedge Pupa 

     Widespread, abundant, & with a long emergence season, spotted sedge (Hydropsyche) are the most important insect hatch of the West. And though it is true that spotted sedge are often the vexing culprits masking summer mayfly hatches, more often than not it is the main fare, or, at least, represents a good part of the stream trout’s daily fare, June through August.

Spotted sedge adults are generally a #16, with the emerging pupa a #14. Egg-laying flights are coincident with emergence; & my own experience leads me to believe that trout prefer the pupa stage to the adult, until the latter part of the season when emergence diminishes, yet a lot of adults have accumulated, then the balance tips, though not entirely in favor of the winged adults, as trout will usually take a swinging & rising pupa right up until the last whisper of the hatch season.  

There is no be-all-end-all pattern to meet spotted sedge with, at least that I have found, so it is good to carry several versions of the pupa, as trout will exhibit regional preferences, & even daily preferences on the same water. The all-rabbit pattern featured in my last post is the basic design of the Bunny Sedge series, & using that basic tie, you can incorporate a variety of abdomen materials to simulate spotted sedge, & I’ll be featuring some of those in the next few posts. As for now, there is no arguing the effectiveness of pheasant tail or hare’s mask, & the two old standbys combine to create a fine spotted sedge pupa which might come in handy on waters like Washington’s Yakima River where pupae exhibit decidedly brownish colorations over the abdomen, which pheasant tail simulates very well.

Pheasant Tail & Bunny Spotted Sedge Pupa

Hook: #14 Daiichi 1150

Thread: Camel

Rib: Copper wire reverse wound over the abdomen

Abdomen: Cock ringneck pheasant tail swords

Thorax: Dyed-brown hare’s mask with a bit of black dubbing added – 2 turns

Hackle: Brahma hen (may substitute brown partridge or grouse)

Head: Dyed-brown hare’s mask with guard hairs, wound in a dubbing loop of the tying thread (actually a continuation of the thorax in front of the hackle) –  & finish.        

Flyfish NE Washington with Steven Bird: ucflyfishing.blogspot.com


  1. Steven, just came across your blog while browsing the 'net for soft hackle patterns and sites/blogs. Have spent some time looking around and am very impressed with your content. Even though, I don't trout fish as much as I once did, (fishing most warm water species now.) I wanted to add that Soft hackle patterns are commonly used for Bluegills and Bass. I am always looking for something new to play with at the tying vise. Thanks again for your blog and I have taken the liberty to have added it to my BlogBuddy Community over on my blog. Happy Hook ups in 2014.

  2. Hello Mell. Thanks for the kind words. Glad you're enjoying SHJ. O yes, soft-hackle patterns are good for bluegill & bass. There are a few patterns archived here that are good for bass. I'll be posting more, & soon I'll put up some zen-simple bluegill ties.

  3. Steve, did you get one of those pheasant hide from Ron when you were in SLO? Lile the simplicity of your patterns. simple but effective.

    Keith Roberts

  4. Hey Keith. Yes! Uncle Ron did hook me up! An awesome gift. Now if only I might learn to tie & fish like him. Man you are lucky to have that guy as your compatriot. Not only is he a consummate gentleman, but I do believe he is right there among the hottest sticks & slickest fly tyers I've ever met & had the pleasure to fish with.

    Take good care of Uncle Ron. But I know you do.