Fly Patterns - Royal Wulff

                             Royal Wulff



It never hurts to revisit some of our “older” patterns that have been mainstays for a very long time. We tend to forget some of the old classics amidst the hype about new materials, exotic patterns, and an ever-expanding universe of new “must-have” flies. The Royal Wulff certainly qualifies as a classic Catskill-style dry fly. I have heard many opinions over the years as to why fish attack this odd-looking creature. What it boils down to is that no one knows why it works—it just does. I consider it to be a “searching” pattern because it suggests many different insects. For example, its body configuration could represent an ant.


The Royal Wulff is one of a series of Lee Wulff creations. If you want to learn more about Lee Wulff and his famous series of high-floating, durable dry flies, visit the following page from the Federation of Fly Fishers web site: .   


Tying Instructions

1. Smash the hook barb unless you are using a barbless hook. Cover the shank with thread wraps.


2. For the tail, cut a small bunch of calf tail or calf body hair and even up the tips after cleaning out the under-fur. The measurement reference for the wing length is the length of the shank. Tie in the hair at the end of the shank, just above the back of the barb (or where the barb would be if the hook was not barbless). Use the “45 degree" technique to tie in the hair,…see my web site for instructions on this technique, at the following page:





3. Move the thread forward to the forward 1/3 point. Cut and clean a larger bunch of hair, and even up the tips. The measurement reference for wing length is the length of the hook shank plus a tiny bit extra. Tie the hair in with the tips out over the eye, again using the 45 degree technique. Trim the butts on a taper toward the tail, and cover most of the butts with thread with firm wraps.




4. Stand the wing up and take a few wraps in front of it. Don’t apply more than a few wraps; building up a big shoulder in front of the wing base will cause big problems later when you get to the point of wrapping the hackle.


5. Take several wraps around the base of the hair to gather it into a nice bunch. Take another wrap around the base, but this time trap the thread in the remaining wing butts and pull the wing rearward. This will make the wing stand up straight. Apply a few more wraps in front of and behind the wing.


6. Using your bodkin, separate the wing into two equal bunches. Separate the bunches and wrap diagonally through the separated wings, first one way and then the other. Again, don’t use many wraps—a few will do. Apply a drop of super glue to the base of the wings.




7. Return the thread to the tail tie-in point and make a loop as you would if you were going to make a dubbing loop. Cut one end of the loop and let the loop  thread hang free for now.



8. Tie in three 3 peacock herls by their tips. Wrap these around the piece of hanging loop thread and twist the thread and herl into a tight “chenille.” Grab the herl chenille with your hackle pliers and make two or three tight wraps to make a butt. Don’t cut the herl. Instead tie it off and move the chenille forward and out of the way for the moment.



9. Tie in a piece of red floss or red mylar tinsel where you tied off the herl chenille. Take several wraps of this material and tie it off.



10. Wrap another section of the herl chenille up to the rear of the wings and tie it off there.



11. Tie in a high quality brown saddle  hackle just behind the wing. If you are using neck hackle, tie in two hackles as this fly is meant to be bushy.


12. Wrap the hackle forward, taking 5 or 6 wraps behind the wing and an equal number in front of the wing. Tie off the hackle and whip finish.



Tying Tips

1. I prefer the Mylar tinsel to floss. The tinsel will not darken like the floss when it is wet.

2. Apply a liquid silicone substance such as the one made by Mucilin to your dry flies as they come off your vise. Allow 24 hours drying time before using the flies. This will create a waterproof coating.


Fish this beauty in riffles. Keep it floating high and dry. You will like its visibility on the water. The white wings show up like a neon sign.





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