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Tying Dry Flies
Mike Huffman
Basic principles for effective dry-fly construction
Mike Huffman

A well-tied dry fly combines several different elements and basic principles of construction. The hook is the first element to consider. Because dry flies should float, a light-wire hook is a good place to start. From that point on, each choice of material -- from the thread on up -- requires consideration. Unless you are cinching down hair or foam, a finer diameter thread serves to keep the weight and bulk down. Use only enough wraps to secure the materials; excessive wraps add weight.

Hackle should be web-free and relatively stiff; otherwise, the hackle will not support the fly's weight and may absorb water, causing the fly to sink. Dubbing material should ideally be water resistant. Muskrat and beaver underfur is a good natural dubbing fiber for dry flies; poly dubbing is a good choice on the synthetic side. Use only enough material to define the silhouette. Closed cell foam is popular for many larger dries because of its durability and floatation. The use of foam allows stronger thread and the addition of weightier materials like rubber legs. Because dries are viewed from below, silhouette is a critical element in design.

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