Poly-Wing Dun
My Favorite Flies




Origin: This fly combines the style of (1) Gary Borger's  Poly-wing Caddis and (2) Rene Harrop's Hair-wing Dun. The body is fully dubbed, and the fly can be tied with a very thin profile because the poly wing material ties in with little bulk.  Bright colors can be used for added visibility. By trimming the bottom hackle, it will lie nearly as low in the water as a parachute style fly. Plus, by using the "straw tool" described in the step-by-step instructions below, it is easy to tie!






Wing materials, clockwise from top left: (1) Mixture of brown and gray Zelon, (2) yellow Zelon, (3) Polar Bear Widows Web, and (4) Fluorescent orange Para-Post



Hook: Standard dry fly hook, sizes 12 to 18.

Thread: Danville 6/0 works well for hook sizes 12 to 16. I have tied 18s using Wapsi 70.

Tail: Use your favorite tailing material.  Here I have used about 8 woodchuck guard hairs on a size 12 hook.

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Body: Form a dubbed body and bring your thread to a point just forward of the mid-point of the body.

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Hackle: Tie in one or two hackles by the butt.  The one cree neck hackle used below is admittedly a bit oversized, but the bottom will be clipped shorter in the final step.  Wrap the hackle forward using as many wraps as you feel are necessary.  I have used about 10 wraps in this example. Be sure to leave enough room behind the eye for the poly-wing.

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Tip:  To provide some working room behind the hook eye, cut off a half-inch piece of a drinking straw and cut a slit in it.  (Keep your eyes open at restaurants and coffee shops and you will soon have a collection of different diameter straws.) Use the slit to slip the straw section over the thread hanging from the shank.  The slit will allow you to slide the straw up the thread, over the hook-eye, and over the hackle. The slit will be on the bottom and will allow you to pull the straw off when your are done with the fly.

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Attach Wing: Poly yarn makes a fine wing material.  In my opinion the best for this purpose is "crinkly" in texture, as this helps it resist matting when wet. My favorites are Crinkled Zelon, Para-Post, and Widows Web.  Shown here is Zelon: a few strands of dun and a few strands of brown.

  • Tie down the "hank" of yarn with 2-3 thread wraps. The fibers facing backward (left) will become the wing and the fibers facing forward (right) will be the butt.
  • Lift the butt and apply 2-3 thread wraps behind the hook-eye. When the butt is snipped off, this makes it easier to bind down the loose ends.

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Trim Butt and Wing:

  • Snip off the butt fibers, bind down the loose ends, and whip finish.
  • Remove the straw and fluff up the hackle fibers. 
  • Trim the poly wing to the desired length, typically the length of the body.

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Trim Hackle: I often trim the bottom hackle flush with the hook point (shown below) or cut out an inverted V-shape. 

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