AUTHOR: Skip Morris
HOOK: Light to standard wire, 1X long for smaller (#16-18) hooks; Daiichi 1260 or 2XL or 3XL, straight or curved shank for #14 and larger hooks.
WING: Bunches of tan or cream wool blended with fine strands of brown Mylar (Lite-Brite, Angel Hair, Ice Dub, or similar).
BODY: Brown Antron dubbing.
POST: Yellow (or orange or red) wool, or egg yarn, poly yarn, or Antron yarn.
NOTE: This all-purpose version is easy to see. It’s also easy for the trout to see, with its darkish body against the light sky. If the trout are open-minded, or no specific hatch is going on, try this dressing. For imitating specific insects, consider one of the variations.
Woolly Wing Step 1
Start the thread at the rear of the hook shank. Dub a round section of the body at the bend—keep it short.
Woolly Wing Step 2
Hand-blend a piece of wool with fine Mylar strands such as Lite-Brite, Angel Hair, or Ice Dub. I recommend teasing the wool into a thin sheet, aligning the Mylar strands along it, and then rolling it all up.
Woolly Wing Step 3
Wind a tight layer of thread over the shank in front of the dubbing section, building a foundation for the wool. Bind the wool atop the shank in front of the dubbed body section.
Woolly Wing Step 4
Keep the butts of the wool short and bind them thoroughly. Dub over the bound butts of the wool.
Woolly Wing Step 5
Bind more of the wool mixture in front of the previous section. Keep adding clumps of wool (with Mylar) between short body sections of dubbing until you’ve covered about two-thirds of the shank with three to five wool-and-Mylar clumps.
Woolly Wing Step 6
Trim and taper the butts of the last bunch smoothly down to the hook eye, and bind them thoroughly with tight thread wraps. Remove the hook from your vise. (You can either half-hitch the thread and cut it before removing the hook, or allow the bobbin to hang.) Trim the wool to an elongated wedge—slim and low in the front and wider and higher at the rear. Trim the rear wing to about 1 to 1½ times the width of the hook gap. The wing should extend past the hook bend.
Woolly Wing Step 7
Return the hook to the vise. Just in front of the wing, firmly bind a section of brightly colored wool at its center. Raise both ends of this section together, and then wind two light-tension layers of thread up and down the base of the material to create a post for the hackle.
Woolly Wing Step 8
Bind the stripped stem of a dry-fly hackle to the post. Dub in front of the upright wing (sparingly) and around it. Wind the hackle down the post in close turns, bind the tip of the hackle, and trim off the tip.
Woolly Wing Step 9
Stroke the front hackle fibers up and back, and dub the area in front of the upright wing. Complete a small, tapered thread head and then whip-finish. Hold the wool post upright and snip it sharply, just above the hackle. The result should be a fuzzy dome on top—easy for you to see on the water, but obscured from the trout.
Woolly Wing Dark Brown Variation
Imitates grannom caddis and small, dark stoneflies. Standard dry-fly hook (#12-16); green or olive thread; dark brown wing with black Mylar. Body is dark brown and black dubbing, blended. Use brown blended with black and green or olive for grannoms.
Woolly Wing Gold Variation
Imitates Golden Stoneflies. Long-shank hook (#6-10); gold or yellow thread; tan wing with brown Mylar; gold body; ginger hackle.
Woolly Wing Green Variation
Imitates small, light-colored caddis and some Yellow Sally stoneflies. Standard dry-fly hook (#8-14); green or olive thread; gray wing with pearl Mylar; green body; green-dyed grizzly hackle.
Woolly Wing Orange Variation
Imitates Salmonflies and October caddis. Long-shank hook (#4-8); orange thread; dark brown wing with brown or rusty brown Mylar. Use orange and brown dubbing blend for the body; brown hackle.