Wednesday, February 21, 2018

To Wing, or Not To Wing!

To Wing, or Not To Wing!

Countless articles and chapters of books have been penned over the years addressing this one simple question when tying dry flies. Studies with divers, tank imagery, you name it and it has been conducted. In particular classic up-wing dries. And while I will not attempt to solve this riddle or define the answer beyond personal preference, I will pass along my thoughts and the reasoning behind them. 


A good number of year ago, I stopped tying wings on up-wing dry fly patterns from #16 down. The result?  No impact noted. I therefore proceeded to tie #14 and larger patterns without wings. The result? Less effective. 

My only assumption is, the profile/footprint from the view of the fish is more impacted on the larger patterns. The larger the pattern, the more "visible" the wing becomes, or the "visible footprint"is altered. A scientific study?  Not hardly. But I fish with what I know and what I am confident in. And as well, don't take my word for it....go try it, and make up your on mind on the matter.

The matter of altering on the water.....

Next, is the issue of altering my pattern on the water. You can, and I do often, alter my pattern while fishing. I simple snip of the scissors can and does allow some patterns to cover several stages of a hatch. Or better fit the conditions on the water. Wings in many instances alters your efforts in these instances. I find that many times a lower profile fits the water or wants of the fish at times. I will often V-notch the bottom of the hackle in order to achieve a desired stance on the water. However, with wings, this will often throw the fly out of proportions a bit too much and cause the fly to fall on it's face. Also, trimming wings out can prove sloppy at best on the water. However, without wings? issue at all. 

Trimming a Dry fly

(Left-to-right: Spinner, film stance or upright)


Trim the spinner a bit more and you have an emerger or nymph.

Give it a try and see what you find. I know where I am on the about you?