Friday, October 17, 2014

Hairwing Wetflies ~ Kamiakin

     The basic form of the Kamiakin (named for the Spokane war chief who defeated the U.S. Army at the Battle of Steptoe Butte) is fairly typical of the hairwing style attractors I’m tying for trout, in sizes #8 to #12. The elements, material choices, color combinations of my flies are those things I’ve found to be attractive to the trout living in my home water (& you might recognize these to be attractive to trout, in general, more or less). Known (or suspected) trigger elements, if you will. I tie the bodies a bit forward on the hook, usually tipped about even with the hook point. Bodies might be anything. I tie some with tinsel bodies, & on those I apply a short thorax or ball of dubbing before tying in wings, providing a bit of bulk to lift the wing slightly & flare the hackle.  Tails are kept fairly short. Wings, or toppings, aren’t too heavy. Light should pass through. Too fat a wing will swim like a shaving brush. I like the wing to extend to the end of the hook bend, perhaps a whisper of hair tips beyond. I don’t even the hair in a stacker, just tweeze & even by hand. Unlike the old wetfly patterns tied for trout which called for cock hackle, tied bearded, I borrow from the soft-hackle tradition, using game & hen hackle, tied in-the-round. As these are fast-water flies, & often fished moving – swung, lifted, stripped – I hackle my wetflies somewhat heavier than I would usually hackle a nymph or flymph, folding back the barbs from both sides of the stem, together, & generally going for three, or four winds on larger patterns like the #8, 3x long versions I fish on my home water. Sometimes I use more than one hackle & mix colors. I’ve found that trout appreciate a highlight added to the wing, like the red mallard flank fibers tied in as a cheek on the Messenger, the turkey tail fibers on the October Caddis patterns, & the gadwall flank used on the Kamiakin.


Hook: #8-#12 TMC 200R, or choice

Thread: Black UNI 8/0

Tag: Black thread

Tail: Brown-dyed mallard flank (less expensive than lemon wood duck)

Rib: Fine silver wire

Butt: Bright yellow floss

Body: Peacock herl twisted with the yellow floss

Wing: Pine squirrel & 2 gadwall flank fibers per side, tied in as a cheek

Hackle: Furnace hen ~ & finish.

Flyfish NE Washington with Steven Bird:

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