As a utilitarian fly tier, if I can find a fly that’s both simple to tie and effective on the water, I’m in a pretty good place. I like flies that I can a dozen of at a single sitting and not feel like I’ve been hunched over the vise for hours.
Tim Flagler’s of the Wood Duck Heron fits the bill. As he noted, it was probably developed years ago for landlocked Atlantic salmon in the Northeast, but he swears by it for trout. I’ve never fished it, but this fly is exactly the kind of searching pattern I’d try in the lower Gibbon of the upper Firehole in Yellowstone National Park, where small wet flies and soft-hackle flies can be deadly.
But, tied in different colors—say, pink or purple—this is the kind of fly that could be deadly for salmon and steelhead. I’m going to tie a few for a summer 2019 trip to southeast Alaska, and I’m betting they work.
It’s easy to fly and when it’s done and still in the vise, it’s a handsome creation. Give it a shot and see if you don’t like it, too.
— Chris Hunt