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Lateral view of a Male Baetis (Baetidae) (Blue-Winged Olive) Mayfly Dun from Mystery Creek #43 in New York
Blue-winged Olives
Baetis

Tiny Baetis mayflies are perhaps the most commonly encountered and imitated by anglers on all American trout streams due to their great abundance, widespread distribution, and trout-friendly emergence habits.

Case view of a Pycnopsyche guttifera (Limnephilidae) (Great Autumn Brown Sedge) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
It's only barely visible in one of my pictures, but I confirmed under the microscope that this one has a prosternal horn and the antennae are mid-way between the eyes and front of the head capsule.

I'm calling this one Pycnopsyche, but it's a bit perplexing. It seems to key definitively to at least Couplet 8 of the Key to Genera of Limnephilidae Larvae. That narrows it down to three genera, and the case seems wrong for the other two. The case looks right for Pycnopsyche, and it fits one of the key characteristics: "Abdominal sternum II without chloride epithelium and abdominal segment IX with only single seta on each side of dorsal sclerite." However, the characteristic "metanotal sa1 sclerites not fused, although often contiguous" does not seem to fit well. Those sclerites sure look fused to me, although I can make out a thin groove in the touching halves in the anterior half under the microscope. Perhaps this is a regional variation.

The only species of Pycnopsyche documented in Washington state is Pycnopsyche guttifera, and the colors and markings around the head of this specimen seem to match very well a specimen of that species from Massachusetts on Bugguide. So I am placing it in that species for now.

Whatever species this is, I photographed another specimen of seemingly the same species from the same spot a couple months later.
27" brown trout, my largest ever. It was the sub-dominant fish in its pool. After this, I hooked the bigger one, but I couldn't land it.
Troutnut is a project started in 2003 by salmonid ecologist Jason "Troutnut" Neuswanger to help anglers and fly tyers unabashedly embrace the entomological side of the sport. Learn more about Troutnut or support the project for an enhanced experience here.

Wbranch has attached these 6 pictures. The message is below.
Front view CDC Red Quill
Side view CDC Red Quill
Front view CDC Hendrickson
Side view CDC Hendrickson
Front view hair wing March Brown
Side view March Brown
PaulRoberts
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Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Jan 30, 2012January 30th, 2012, 7:12 am EST
Maybe he has perfected some long distance telepathy. I'm going to concentrate on something, very hard, right now. Maybe Spence can post my thoughts.


Hmmm... Your posts have been getting more lengthy of late, Matt. Spence, is there anything you need to tell us?

Spence and Matt are one and the same person, with a split personality! I thought so!! So much for Occham's Razor.

Louis, thanks so much for taking the time to write all that down. I know it's not easy to describe what fingers and feathers need to do in fly-tying. I recently shared a recipe with Spence that had me re-editing enough that he finally asked, "Are you OK??" At least I know I am not alone. :)
Entoman
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Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Jan 30, 2012January 30th, 2012, 10:54 am EST
Louis & Paul,

I know it's not easy to describe what fingers and feathers need to do in fly-tying.

Wow, have you two touched on where it hurts! If edits are noticeable after it's been posted, it's usually only a fraction of the editing that went on before. Thank God for Jason's "Preview Reply"! The frustrating part is knowing that post-post editing (if done much later) is usually for oneself as the odds are the guys you want to read it probably already have and won't re-read it. You want to post again that you edited your post but don't because you realize that's silly and that Western Civilization is not in jeopardy.:)

There's varying degrees of perfectionism in all of us Angler/fly tiers or we wouldn't do what we do, I guess. It's very frustrating to know that even when we get it right and it makes sense to us, it's still probably Greek to everyone else. We have the advantage of the mental image, that's hard to get around. How do we describe an elephant to somebody that's never seen one? After ten thousand words, will they be seeing in their head what we are? Besides, usually the more we write, the more confused (or bored) the reader becomes.

Perhaps we'd be better off keeping our descriptions as brief as possible and just throw a label on a technique? It probably doesn't matter if it is an established name or something we just made up. Hopefully, the interested reader will ask for an explanation. Either that or we all get camcorders capable of macro work and start posting them...:)


"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
PaulRoberts
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Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Jan 30, 2012January 30th, 2012, 11:21 am EST
... that Western Civilization is not in jeopardy.:)

You take things too lightly, Kurt.
Martinlf
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Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Jan 30, 2012January 30th, 2012, 4:52 pm EST
Amen.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Strmanglr
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Posts: 156
Strmanglr on Feb 1, 2012February 1st, 2012, 12:42 pm EST
from Wbranch,

I'm an inexperienced parachute tier! Never figured out how to tie off and not get my hackle fibers stuck in the whip finish. I am getting a little better.


I'm not great at it by any means but two things helped me a lot.
1.I cut a small piece of foam that's about 3/8" in diameter and about a 3mm thick. Then I cut a slit 3/4 of the way across the diameter. When I get my hackle all spun and I'm ready to whip finish I put the piece of foam on from the front of the hook and slide it back over the hackle.
2.I started using just a tiny bit of dubbing after I spin the hackle between the post and the eyelet. I don't know why it just seems easier.
Kschaefer3
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St. Paul, MN

Posts: 376
Kschaefer3 on Dec 3, 2014December 3rd, 2014, 6:59 am EST
This is an old thread I want to revive. I've been trying to tie a fishable cdc comparadun recently. I was using Spirit River Ultra Select CDC feathers. I couldn't get my wing to be very full, and there was always a stem that looked weird and uneven tips. I went to the fly shop looking for something else and saw cdc oiler puffs. When I saw them, I was positive I was onto the right stuff. I tied some flies that looked much, much better, only to read this thread and find out oiler puffs are not so good.

Matt - How do you tie these cdc comparadun wings without having a big stem visible? I think I can figure out how to even the tips, that will just take a little more practice

Wbranch
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York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Dec 3, 2014December 3rd, 2014, 11:51 am EST
Matt - How do you tie these cdc comparadun wings without having a big stem visible? I think I can figure out how to even the tips, that will just take a little more practice


Well Grasshopper if I told you everything there will be no mystery to it anymore.

Just kidding; there is no stem in my CDC comparaduns because I only use the tips of hand selected Trouthunters natural dark dun CDC. When you use only the tips of the feather the stem has tapered to just a few thousands of an inch larger in diameter than the barbules on either side of the centerline.

I think there is European guy who is famous for the work he does with CDC. I think his last name is Pettijean. I have seen some photos where he strips the barbules off of the stem and he has developed tools to put the barbules into so you can design different uses for the CDC.

Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Wbranch
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York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Dec 3, 2014December 3rd, 2014, 12:03 pm EST
I just happened to read PaulRoberts comment from January 30, 2012 for the first time. I don't usually have the patience to go very far back on a post with many responses therefore my excuse for just seeing a two plus years old post.


Maybe he has perfected some long distance telepathy. I'm going to concentrate on something, very hard, right now. Maybe Spence can post my thoughts.

Hmmm... Your posts have been getting more lengthy of late, Matt. Spence, is there anything you need to tell us?
Spence and Matt are one and the same person, with a split personality! I thought so!! So much for Occham's Razor.



So you finally figured it out! Our, opps, my secret life has been exposed.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Oldredbarn
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Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Dec 4, 2014December 4th, 2014, 6:15 am EST
Hmm...I don't remember seeing this either...Occham's Razor...hmm...

"The principle states that among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected. Other, more complicated solutions may ultimately prove correct, but—in the absence of certainty—the fewer assumptions that are made, the better."

Hmm...Matt...This may be why Paul left the country. He figured that once he found out what we were up to he better scram...He maybe making fun of me/us on some level, if I only could understand it. ;)

We may have to explain the Yin/Yang of the Matt/Spence interface. Some scientists are lumpers, and some are spliters. Some things are simple while others are complicated. Matt is the "simplify, simplify, simplify", side of the split personality and I'm the, "it's really no fun unless we complicate the hell out of it".

He's been at it longer than I have and has reached Nirvana...While Kyle and I are the acolytes. :)

Matt is Obi-Wan Kenobi...:)

Spence

I don't doubt that somewhere here I commented on those nice flies...

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Oldredbarn
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Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Dec 4, 2014December 4th, 2014, 6:28 am EST
Now...On a serious note. I'm not totally sold on CDC. In some cases it looks great, but in others it mats up and gets slimmed so easily. IMHO...It's great for those really tough Henry's Fork/Nelson's Spring Creek type trout where you really don't care that the fly is wasted cause you just fooled a 20+er.

If I fished it in a situation where I'm fishing to juniors all day...It would drive me nuts.

Mr Harrop doesn't worry about how many flies he has to change in a day, since he probably has a whole friggin' box of them in several different versions in his vest. Speaking of "more complicated solutions"...:)

Spence

Lets not go there...Spencer's over complicated vest...;)

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Dec 4, 2014December 4th, 2014, 7:37 am EST
Hey Spence,

Harrop is a walking fly bin. He confesses in his latest book to carrying as many as 18 boxes in his vest with that many or more held nearby in reserve!

Not many Wheatleys in that collection... :)

My poor back and shoulders ache just contemplating his practice.

BTW - Nice flies, Matt!
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Kschaefer3
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St. Paul, MN

Posts: 376
Kschaefer3 on Dec 8, 2014December 8th, 2014, 8:04 am EST
I've been practicing comparaduns. My cdc isn't very good, or I'm just really bad at getting the cdc to look right. Probably the latter, so I switched to deer hair. This is the best one I've tied yet. Still a lot of work to do, but this is the first dry I've tied that will go in my box. I would appreciate any advice on improvements. This is a #14 sulphur.





A question. How do you secure the deer hair to the top of the hook? Mine consistently rotates around the shank. The only times I have secured it to the top, it has been with hair that is pretty hollow, so when you cinch, it flares and grips nicely. Even still, it usually rotates at least a little. As I understand them, comparaduns should be tied hair the isn't hollow and doesn't flare, but I struggle securing that type of hair.
Oldredbarn
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Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Dec 8, 2014December 8th, 2014, 10:49 am EST
Kyle,

Google Blue Ribbon Flies West Yellowstone. Pull up their site and click on "How-To" at the top there. Then search the flies listed and find "Sparkle Dun" and watch Craig Mathews tie one. He has a couple vids there.

"Hollow" vs finer hair...

Per the late master of deer hair, Chris Helm, deer hair isn't "hollow" in the sense of how we think of hollow. Think of the interior part we think of as hollow as filled with round cells similar to how a honey comb in a bee hive looks. The part we think of as hollow is filled with these honey comb like structures that when the thread is cranked down on it they collapse and and the hair flairs.

Hair on different parts of the hide are somewhat structurely different. That is, there is "good" hair for flairing, and no-so good hair for flairing.

A friend of mine was adamant that the best comparadun hair was from up near the face. In fact he would say that if you had a piece of hair with a whisker in it, great. This does make awesome looking comparaduns, but it floats (flairs) like crap. You usually want a dry fly to float.

Watch Craig Mathews' technique...Let the hair flair, wrap your binding wraps towards the rear of the hook from the first wrap...Trim off the butts at an angle, cover them, and then pull up one third of the hair in front and throw a couple wraps of thread, then another third, and wrap the thread there in the v created and finally the last third and then jam some thread in front to stand the wing up.

After the wing is upright head to the rear of the fly and split your tail, or add in your trailing shuck. Dub body, and dub in front of wing and tie off...I then turn the vice towards me and tease the hair into the 180 degree arc you are looking for.

Wrapping the thread through thirds of the wing helps to keep the wing upright...I have seen poorly tied comparaduns that look like the "Haystack" or "Usual" they were modelled after...The wing has fallen and is out over the front of the fly when you are on the river and want to use it.

A slight stylistic note...If you look at Matt's flies you will see that his body extends to just above the hooks barb. Just where the standard hook starts to curve in to the bend.

That's all I have. :)

Spence

Have you ever seen Ted Leeson and Jim Schollmeyer's "The Fly Tier's Benchside Reference"?

Have Eric or Tony explain reverse tied comparadun wings. :) They point the hair tips towards the rear instead of out over the front...Contrarians! those PA Boys! :)

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Oldredbarn
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Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Dec 8, 2014December 8th, 2014, 11:05 am EST
One last thing...That second to last pic there of Matt's flies shows a perfectly tied wing. You would have to practise to match it, but that's ok...What else you doing with your spare time? :) But it did remind me of a problem some folks have with tying with deer hair...Not cleaning it properly.

If you look closely you can see a few curly fibers in that wing of Matts...When stacking those can cause problems with getting the tips aligned...Especially with smaller flies.

On really small flies I use a spent .22 shell as a hair stacker. :)

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Wbranch
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York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Dec 8, 2014December 8th, 2014, 11:42 am EST
If you look closely you can see a few curly fibers in that wing of Matts...When stacking those can cause problems with getting the tips aligned...


I do get anal about seeing errant hairs in the wing. After stacking them thoroughly I transfer the clump to the thumb and forefinger of my left hand and examine the clump. If there are any fibers with broken ends or curly cue tips I pull them out with a pair of fine tweezers.

My attachment method is just something I deduced after years of failures. I never had any lessons but I think if you make enough bad flies, and you have half a brain, you will begin to figure out more effective methods for all of your fly tying problems.

I always make sure there is a thread base under where I plan to initiate the clump attachment. Something I do that is kind of cheating is I often attach the hair wing with 3/0 flat monocord and then after it is secure half hitch the 3/0 and cut it off and then finish the fly with Uni 8/0.

I position/measure the wing so when it is upright it will have the correct length for a given hook size. Then while the clump is held between my two fingers parallel to the shank I run 2 - 3 turns of thread around the clump to get it positioned on top of the hook shank. Then I proceed to really lash the clump down tightly to create the flaring. I tease the fibers radially if the wing is less than 160 degrees.

Then after it is secure I take my sharpest and fine pointed scissors and cut off the excess hair on about 10/15 degree angle. Doing this allows you to taper the abdomen nicely to virtually nothing in the rear yet you have created a nice base for a robust thorax.

Them I either dub and wind the body or apply a goose biot and rib to just behind the wing. Add some natural beaver or synthetic product and wrap behind and in front of the wing. Whip and tie off.

On really big compara-duns like #8 - #10 Brown & Green Drakes I have applied a little drop of Krazy Glue right to the base of the upright wing. You just want to add a little bit so it infiltrates the base of the fibers and thread base. If you add too much it will wick up the fibers and make the visible part of the wing stiff.

Okay, now you know another of my secrets.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Wbranch
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York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Dec 8, 2014December 8th, 2014, 11:58 am EST
Kyle,

Your compara-dun is very nicely tied. You did a good job and I would be happy to put a dozen of those in my Sulfur box. I like how you built up a very nice abdomen and thorax and finished it off with more fur in front of the wing. Nice job on the split tails but duns have much shorter tails. Your tail length is the size I'd use for spinners.

When I was your age I really wanted to tie the most beautiful dry flies and duplicate all the fly techniques I saw in the books. IMO split tails are very nice and do help to "set" the fly upright but the trout don't really give a hoot.

I still split the tails on my Tricos because they look so cool but on most of my other flies I rarely split the tails. Either I just take a small clump of stiff hackle fibers found on the sides of a #1 neck (they are shorter feathers with long stiff barbules) and I clip off the fuzz on the ends and tie them in on top of the hook shank, then I run one turn of thread under the fibers which lifts them up and flares them. Another tailing method I've been using for about a decade is to take 6 - 8 lemom woodduck fibers (many mayfly duns have brown and black tail marrkings) and tie them in at the tail position and then tie in a very small clump of krinkly Z-lon in a brown shade on top of the woodduck to look like a shuck.

Do the trout think it is a shuck? Who cares, they eat them.

Edit 12/09/14 - I should of said "I rarely split the tails on my duns but do split the tails on 90% of my spinners."
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Kschaefer3
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St. Paul, MN

Posts: 376
Kschaefer3 on Dec 9, 2014December 9th, 2014, 5:17 am EST
Spence - Thanks for the lesson on deer hair! And thanks for the tip on extending the body to just above the barb of the hook. I actually wondered about that when I finished the fly, but I was just excited I got the wing somewhat correct.

The picture you reference above, the one with the perfect wing, is what I'm after (obviously). No doubt it'll take practice, but as a friend said, practice just fills the boxes. :)

Matt - Thank you for all the help! Good to know that duns and spinners have different length tails...learn something new everyday. I'll tone the tail back to a shanks length on my duns. I'm hoping to sit down again some evening this week and crank out a bunch. I just hope I can tie them a bit more consistently than usual.

Good thing (unfortunately, actually) there is a lot of winter left to practice and fill my dry box with my own flies.
Oldredbarn
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Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Dec 9, 2014December 9th, 2014, 12:15 pm EST
Better be careful there Kyle...You may get pulled to the dark side...We dry-fly-guys are a strange bunch. :)

The mention of the .22 shell as a hair stacker was just to let you know we obsess. He and I are both fond of comparaduns...It is a great pattern. We have tied a few over the years.

The weird thing about the .22 shell is that when the hair is in there all those curly hairs can be seen and gently removed before the hair makes it to the hook.

Watching me clean hair would drive most folks nuts. Some guys use combs. I like running a bodkin needle through the hair. When I hold the pinch of hair in my left hand I blow hard on it and the curlies move to the outside of the bunch and I pull them away.

The obsessive in me would have noticed the couple of broken hairs in your wing and I would have removed them before they were tied in.

Your wing looks nice. I will bet that if you stick with it as long as Matt or I your flies will look just fine. :)

That said, that fly of yours, no doubt, will catch trout.

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Kschaefer3
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St. Paul, MN

Posts: 376
Kschaefer3 on Dec 10, 2014December 10th, 2014, 9:34 am EST
Better be careful there Kyle...You may get pulled to the dark side...We dry-fly-guys are a strange bunch. :)

I'm already strange, so I'll fit right in :). It seems less like I'm getting pulled, and more like I'm willingly jumping in head first.

I love comparaduns. I especially love them over flat water and selective fish...even more so if those fish are large :).

The spent .22 hair stacker is a great idea. I love re-purposing things for fishing/tying. I tried to be particular about cleaning the hair, but it's pointless to waste time when the fly is going to get cut up most likely anyway. If I can replicate this quality or better going forward, I'll be more inclined to spend time cleaning hair.

I understand the obsessive, or perfectionist, side. Most folks wouldn't tie and cut up 4+ dozen flies before finding one fishable. The drive to get better at fishing/tying is part of what I love. If I could already tie a fly as well as you or Matt, what fun would it be?

Glad this one will fish! It's the first one that I though would, although my comment above alludes to the likelihood of previous ties being fishable as well.

Martinlf
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Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Dec 11, 2014December 11th, 2014, 10:50 am EST
Like Spence, I like Matthews' technique. It really stands the wing up and keeps it there. I typically only throw one wrap in between each bunch for most flies, and that seems enough. Al Caucci has always been a fan of very thin bodies, as the real bugs aren't typically as fat as some comparaduns are tied.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell

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