Category: Davy’s Fly of the Month

Fly of the Month May 2016



Thread…Red UTC
Hook… Your choice, l used size 14 jig hooks. Sizes from 12 /14/16
Bead…Optional, size 2mm color of choice.
Tail…..2 or 3 strands of peacock sword tail fibers
Body…Your choice either silver, gold or pearl mylar
Rib……Red wire
Thorax…SLF Prism number 22 Hares ear // or number 21 peacock.
Hackle…Any varigated hen in brown tones or hen pheasant neck or brown

One of my patterns that is a good general fish catcher, Browns love it !!

Fished either as a dead drift under a indicator of dry or used as a single
or in combination with a team of soft hackles or wet flies.

If in combination this fly should be the tail fly, not the dropper which should
be tied as a detached tag.

Insructions to tie the fly:

Add bead if needed.
Run thread from midway hook shank to just before hook bend, there catch in the sword tail fibers and the red wire rib.
Return thread toward hook eye trapping down in line with the hook shank the wire rib.
About 1/3 back from the hook eye catch in the body mylar, wind this in even close turns to the hook bend and back to the thread, secure with 3 wraps and rib the body, secure rib and cut off all surplus body and rib material.
Dub on the SLF Thorax of Hare’s Ear or Peacock. Select and wind about 2 to 3
turns of the chosen hackle, varnish head and you are done.



Introducing a new fly pattern to compliment the series of Whitetail Midge Fly patterns from the Davy Wotton stable.

For some time l have been using this pattern with great results, it well compliments a 2 fly nymph rig in conjunction with another Whitetail Midge variation.


David Murray happily displays his 22 inch Brown as a testimonial for the new pattern.

This fly being known as the Red-head Whitetail Hare’s Ear.


Davy's Red-head Whitetail Hare's Ear tied by TBird - Photo courtesy of TBird

Additionally we now offer the standard Black Whitetail with a red head. ( shown below)


Davy's Red-head Whitetail size 14-tied by TBird


Whitetail Midges are currently available in these variations and sizes  14/16/18. Tungsten bead heads.


Black Whitetail

Red Whitetail

Black and Pearl Whitetail

Black and Silver Whitetail

Crystal Whitetail

Red-head black Whitetail

Red-head Whitetail Hare’s Ear

Super Midge Patterns also available in a wide range of color combinations.



posted August 21st, 2014- by Teresa “TBird” Van Winkle

Its that time of the year with great expectations we look forward to the caddis season, for it is the first major emerging food  source in abundance that the trout will key onto.
Often as not many of the larger Browns will rise to  the occasion giving the fly fisherman opportunities to hook up a  trophy feeding close too and on the water surface, not to mention the many Bows  that will also come to the fly.
During the period of time caddis are active trout will forage at the river bed for the caddis larva and the early movements of the  pupa as they begin the process of emergence to the surface, in other words trout  are now looking in all directions for active caddis, be it larva, pupa, emergers  and adults, which open up many options for the angler to hone  in.
My years of experience have taught me that one of,  if not the most effective way to catch trout at this time is with pupa and wet fly tactics, by that l mean traditional style winged wet flies, which is  also the case when you see trout taking the adults, all be it fishing the dry caddis should not be ruled out by any means. As dry fly fishing in its own right  is great fun.
There are 3 primary fly patterns l would not be without for l can almost guarantee that one or more of the three with nail fish,  in fact l would bet money on it, assuming you present and fish them right.
They are:
1. Davy Wotton SLF Transparent Caddis Pupa Emerger.
2. Davy Wotton Green Butt Emerger/soft hackle
3. Davy Wotton Cruncher wet fly.
We will deal with tying the Cruncher in this article-
The "Cruncher", Tied by Davy Wotton- Photo by Teresa "TBird" VanWinkle March 31, 2013

The “Cruncher”, Tied by Davy Wotton- Photo by Teresa “TBird” VanWinkle March 31, 2013


Hook. Scud hook sizes 12 /14
Thread: Brown/tan/orange.
Tail: Two strands of brown mallard
Body: 1/3 gold  2/3 SLF Whitlock # 1 Red Fox Thorax,
Rib: Holographic Flashabou.
Wing: Strands of light tan moose hock.
Hackle: I prefer hen pheasant neck// other than brown partridge or hen hackle light brown/tan.

        Tying Technique

Run a flat thread base to a position above hook  point, here tie in 2 or 3 strands of brown mallard, so they extend 1/2 to 3/4  ins past the hook bend.
Tie in at the same point a 4 ins strand of the  Flashabou.. forward the thread 1/3 length of hook shank and dub on a sparse body  of the dubbing, 2/3rds the hook shank, make sure you leave enough room for wing  and hackle.
Wind now the flashabou to cover the bare thread at  the rear of the hook and then run open spirals of rib over the dubbing to  the thread. Secure and cut off excess.
From the elk, select about 12 strands, deposit into  you hair stacker, make sure all fine tips are gathered in line and offer them to  the fly, about same overall length of the fly body. Secure very tight with about  4 to 5 wraps of thread, cut off excess.
Hackle, remove worthless fiber from the stem, draw  back fibers from the hackle tip allowing for you to tie in the hackle by the  tip, 3 turns of thread. Proceed to wind the hackle  2 or 3 turns, secure,  cut off surplus and for a neat head to the fly, whip finish and  varnish.


This is a winged wet fly and as such l would  normally fish this fly in conjunction with one or more of the above named flies.  Its position would be above the tail or mid dropper  fly 3 to 4ft. The  initial cast made slightly up and across allow the fly or flies in the case of 2  or 3 to dead drift track to a position just below directly across stream,  by raising the rod and using a slow rate of recovery either as a continuos draw  or short pulls and pauses bring the fly or flies slowly back at a across stream  angle toward you to a position directly downstream. Aim to have the cruncher  skimming the surface so as to imitate a skating caddis, watch out for the takes  as they can be explosive.
A dry line is first choice, if fishing deeper and  faster water l may well use a Intermediate line.

Here are 3 deadly combinations to work with.

1. Trans caddis pupa tail…cruncher top  dropper
2. DW Green butt soft hackle……cruncher top dropper.
3. Trans caddis tail…GB soft hackle mid dropper….Cruncher top dropper.
For those of you interested to further wet fly/soft  hackle tying techniques and wet fly fishing techniques.
Wet Fly Ways. The Art and Science of fishing  traditional winged wet fly, soft hackles and spiders.
Wet Fly Tying.. Covers all techniques for tails/bodies/wings and hackles.
Copyright  Davy Wotton
Posted by: TBird March 31, 2013



Soft Hackles and Spiders.

As most of you may know the origination of soft hackle and spider fly patterns originated in the UK, all be it that is not totally true as flies of this nature were also used in other parts of Europe. Fact of the matter is such flies formed from silk thread bodies, at times a body formed from animal fur and a hackle wound at the head became known and from that time on are now considered by many fly fishers essential to have in the fly box, no wonder as they are some of the most effective fly patterns to catch trout in any water they are found. Be it a large lake or a micro small creek.

Provided you choose the right fly and present it in a natural manner.

Flies of this category may be fished at any depth in the water column to the surface, by many methods, be that dead drift or with animation. However it is when fish are seen feeding close to the surface or fishing over shallow water runs and slower back water eddies that these flies really hold their own against others, here again provided you choose the right fly and present it in a natural manner.

Which in my book means dead drift with some semblance of life imparted to the fly. Trout do not see midge and mayfly emergers swimming upstream, they await the nymphs, emergers, duns, spinners moving towards them and that is the essence of fishing these flies, in a natural drift. Granted in the case of caddis there may be a greater animation of the natural pupa/emergers and here is may well pay to enhance movement of the fly to attract the trout’s attention.

For many anglers fishing soft hackles amounts to simply casting the fly across the stream and striping it back, granted this may well catch fish, saying that it is not by any means the way to accomplish skills that will ultimately catch you many more fish, and that is the crux of the matter.


The rod is very much an integral part of being able to fish soft hackle and spider flies to good effect. The ideal rod should have a soft tip and a mid flex action, fast action rods are not the way to go here. Rod length ideally 10ft all be it l also use 11ft rods. And there are reasons why l choose long soft action rods. Rod action is related to how you are able to impart movement to the flies, often the take of the fish can be fast and hard and you need a rod to absorb that initial shock, you may well hook a large fish, often you will be fishing with small hooks and light X leaders, once again the rod acts as a shock absorber. When fishing combinations or teams of flies you also need a rod that allows a slower wider casting stroke, that reduces tangles,line speed is reduced and softer presentations are the result. Granted there may be situations such as fishing small creek with heavy vegetation that limits rod length. My preference is for rods that carry 3 /4 wt lines.


When l started to fly fish silk lines were still the most popular lines used, and there is no doubt that they have values over and above modern lines, finer diameter for the wt, they impart better movement of the flies and due to their suppleness move in sequence with the water’s surface. Downside is you have to maintain them and the will cost you close to $200.

Modern lines tend to be stiff and wiry, therefore lighter weight lines should be chosen, 2 to 4wts, 3 is overall my choice here and a double taper profile or at least a long forward tapered WF profile. Heavy forward WF lines are not the way to go. Distance is not the issue here, its presentation values, neither do you want the increased drag effect that WF lines create, due to the forward weight and diameter of the line.

You need all in your favor to be able to allow the flies to dead drift in a natural manner as close as you can to the fly if it were not attached to your leader. In other words as it would by natural stream drift and movement.

Color of line, l prefer white for l can see it at all times. There are those who argue that white lines spook fish, that’s not my opine, any line will spook fish if you cause its presence to be known either in the air or on the water’s surface. You do not cast a fly line to the fish, you cast the fly separated from the line by a leader and that’s what the fish should see. And that also includes the absence of your presence to the fish.

Leaders and tippet.

If your choice is to use a factory tapered leader and add additional ok. My way is to build my systems to suit my needs which may differ depending on chosen presentation methods largely based on the nature of the water fished and the trout’s feeding pattern at the time. That may also be related to time of year, water temperature and time of day.

More or less l build from the fly line a butt section using clear Amnesia and add to that my additional leader to which the fly or flies are attached. In the case of more than one fly then detached a dropper is used.


Not enough room here to discuss this. Other than in the case of soft hackles and spiders look at it like this. They should be fished dead drift, by the same manner as you would fish a nymph, dry or emerger with an initial upstream presentation most certainly to fish you can see feeding in the surface levels. Your indication of the take is either watching the trout move to the fly or a movement of the leader/tippet, granted this takes practice and demands from you perfect line and drift control to start with, secondly you must maintain your sight in the known zone the flies are at. Once your flies are in a position well across and down then a slow retrieve across stream will often promote a take. It is not a strip type retrieve as you would use for a streamer, remember these are small sparse flies and you need the fish to see them.


Years back flies were fashioned from natural materials, fur and feather, to-day we have a wide range on synthetics which to some extent allow for to increase the range fly patterns, at least so far as body materials as almost all soft and spider flies use a natural bird hackle, that what makes the fly come to life.

So far as what pattern to use. Many are related to species, such as BWO, March brown, Sulphurs and so on.It pays to take account of this for your choice of fly if they are present on the water you fish or know to be found in that body of water. On the other hand there are many other combinations that are more generic, also wise to carry those.

My own personal choice is to use flies that are more closely related to species, for the reason that it gives me a far better background knowledge of what to use and when.

Spiders and Soft Hackles- tied by: Davy Wotton (for posting in  Davy and TBird Fly Fishing Journal)

Spiders and Soft Hackles- tied by: Davy Wotton (for posting in Davy and TBird Fly Fishing Journal)


If you have further interest to improve your soft and spider fishing then you might choose to obtain my Wet Fly Ways DVD, as that covers most of what you need to know rigging and fishing wise. I also offer a wide range of soft hackle and spider fly patterns.

The flies shown are DW Fidgets, sizes 18/20. Used for dead drift when small midges and May-fly are of interest to the trout.

Davy Wotton






Posted by Teresa “TBird” VanWinkle  on February 28th, 2013

An under water shot of Davy's SLF Caddis Emerger (Insect Green, shown) Tied By Davy

An under water shot of Davy’s SLF Caddis Emerger (Insect Green, shown) Tied By Davy

The SLF Trans caddis pupa/emerger is one of for myself a must have in the fly box. Briefly it was a fly l developed back in the 70s primarily for fishing stillwaters, all be it there is no such thing as a still water, water in lakes move as do the fish as they cruise the waters looking for food sources. Such also is the case for trout that inhabit moving water systems, all be it there is one major different and that is trout here await food sources in most cases to be drifted down to their location.

My view regarding that is simply this. If the angler presents to a trout a reasonable representation of a known food source in that particular water and presents it in a natural manner odds are a trout will take it, all be it there may be times mainly due to the abundance of a given food source or angling pressure that a closer representation of that food source coupled with a higher degree of fished and presentation techniques will be needed to fool those fish.

In the case of sedge/caddis emergence often as not trout will lose some degree of caution due to the abundance of the species and the very nature of how caddis emerge which is different from mayfly and midge.

The original fly used at the time seals fur, which is generally not available here in the US. Granted there are some sources, saying that the quality of the seal is not that good, the best seal was obtained from the fur of baby seals and not adults, which is very coarse and not easy to work with, in consequence today seal fur subs such as SLF standard and dubbings that are combinations of natural and synthetic fibers are the way to go.

In the case of the original fly which was featured in Fly Tyer in the 90s, l used a split thread method to build the body of the fly for it is to some extent important that you produce a body that allows a great degree of translucence as seen in the picture. I tight wound dub will not achieve same. I know that for many using the split thread method is not easy therefore one must when producing the body of the fly pay attention to how it is formed, it needs to effect a more fly away effect, that is achieved by not twisting the dub too tight.

Color of fly body may be related to species, which in many cases will be shades of insect green to dark olive, cream and tan, all be it colors such as hot orange can be deadly at times, particularly late evenings.

Threads. My original fly used Danvilles fly master 6/0 for the reason that this thread is the absolute best for split thread methods, Wapsi UTC is close. Most others do not allow effect for split method and in many cases you cannot separate the strands of thread to do it.

Hook sizes can be as large as a standard 10 down to size 16, which will cover most sizes of caddis, best overall general sizes are 12 to 14, standard wetly nymph hook profiles.

Here is the standard tying for the fly.

Hook. Sizes………….. ..10 to 16

Bead head is optional… Gold/silver or nickel

Body…………………….. SLF standard in the colors mentioned above.

Wing case……………… Swiss straw also known as raffine, it is the same product.. colors natural straw or light tan

Hackle……………………The original l used brown partridge which is now a costly material /// alternatives such as hen pheasant, hen saddle and neck will suit well, colors to be generally light brown/tan or variegated.

Head of fly ………………Should be a darker shade of dubbing, hare ear or SLF Dave Whitlock number 1 red fox works fine

Horns……………………..The fly shown sports two horns that represent the caddis antenna, tied in at the head of the fly. Two strands of brown mallard, wood duck also works fine. Option to use or not.

Tying technique.

Add bead if needed.

Form the body of the fly app 2/3 hook shank length.

Wing case. Is formed from a folded strip of Swiss straw related to hook and body size. It should when tied above the fly body fold down so as it more or less encloses the entire body of the fly, when wet the result is as seen in the picture.

Hackle..Is wound about 2 turns in front of the now formed body and shuck casing.

Head….A small dark dubbing.

Horns…Tied so as they lay rearward alongside the fly body.


The fly may be fished dead drift, in conjunction with one or more flies as used for traditional style wet fly fishing or use of indicator for dead drift methods. My choice is to fish this fly with animation which in the case for rivers and streams is to cast the fly a little upstream and across and slowly recover the fly across stream in known zones fish reside or are seen surface feeding to emerging caddis, in this case it may be choice to fish a pair of flies a larger fly at tail and above 2 to 3ft a size smaller attached to a 4 or 5 ins dropper. In the case of stillwater a long leader should be used 12 to 15ft, the flies cast either to seen rising fish or in known zones they are active. either a dry line of a intermediate are best choices. Here again my choice is to use 2 flies spaced 4ft apart of two different sizes and colors.

Davy Wotton

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