Royal Wulff Dry Fly – tying this popular dry fly with John Hey

Royal Wulff Dry Fly
Royal Wulff Dry Fly

Royal Wulff Dry Fly

The Royal Wulff is one of those flies that have no direct resemblance to a natural insect and yet is the most popular dry fly I sell. Whether used by itself or as a dropper for a nymph, the white calf tail wings make it easy to see, especially in fast water.

I have used this fly from small streams to large rivers like the Waitaki. It is a very versatile fly being tied mainly from buoyant materials. It is ideal to fish on a choppy lake surface. Most flies, no matter how well coated in silicone, sink after a couple of waves. The deer hair and calf tail wings of the Royal Wulff will stay afloat.

I remember fishing the Waitaki River on a day when it was heavily overcast and drizzling with no hatch obvious. I put on the Royal Wulff, as I use this fly for searching big water. You might think because of the sheer size of the Waitaki it doesn’t hold many trout, but I can tell those of you who might try it; it’s well worth the effort of exploring.

Tying the Royal Wulff.
Tying the Royal Wulff.

Working the fly just out from the bank I hooked a nice fish weighing around three pounds and while crossing a backwater spooked another. I guessed it was about six pounds. Fishing the next ripple I managed to raise a small rainbow. All this took place on a day not conducive to dry fly fishing.

So tie a few in various sizes from 12 to 18, as you know by now I like Kamasan hooks. I’ve had better hook-ups with these! Tie in your calf tail wing first, pointing forward over the eye of the hook dividing into halves and by taking one wing at a time, holding the tip of the wing and taking thread around the wing at the base four or five times doing that to both wings, then wind a figure eight through.

Take the thread back to tie in a tail, stack some fine deer hair in a hair stacker, tie them in loosely at first, and then firm after you have tied it in. If you wind deer hair in tight first it simply flares out. Cement for durability, tie in peacock herl and some red floss, wind the peacock four turns, then four or five turns of the red floss.

Tie in some more peacock herl, wind to just short of the wings, tie in a cock hackle, wind three turns behind the wings and two in front, tie in another hackle, and wind to the eye. Finally, tie off and apply head cement.

Tying the Royal Wulff Dry Fly 

1. Tie on the calf tail wings. Wind the thread around each wing.

2. Add in deer hair tail. Tie in deer hair loosely at first.

3. Wind in peacock herl and red floss.

4. Last, wind in herl and add hackle.

5. Wind hackle three turns behind wings, then in front. Add another hackle. Tie off and apply head cement.

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