The Hairy Dog originates from Lake Taupo. I like this fly not only for its effectiveness as a night fly but also because it is one of the easiest of all the streamer flies to tie. It is, therefore, a particularly good fly for the novice tyer to start out on. I speak from experience here as the Hairy Dog was one of the first flies I learnt to tie, some decades ago, that I actually caught fish on! Mind you hair flies are generally the easiest type to tie.
According to Keith Draper, the Hairy Dog was originally tied using dog hair; most probably black spaniel – hence the name! I remember tying this fly using dyed black squirrel hair though nowadays almost everyone ties the Hairy Dog with possum tail. The later material is cheap and readily available. If you form the body from wool instead of chenille you can lower the material cost still further!
As to hook size make up a selection between size 4 to 8. A good choice of hook is the chemically sharpened Mustad 3666NPBR or the older non-chemically sharpened Mustad 3666 Limerick Tapered Eye Bronzed fly hooks of which I have sufficient to last me several lifetimes. You could also use a Black Magic B2 or Kamazan B830.
The Hairy Dog is most often tied with a black chenille body ribbed with oval silver tinsel. This is fly would imitate a bully worked up or across the current, or near the bottom of a lake, in a short jerky manner. The second most popular body colour is red. Both versions are also a good choice to try in slightly discoloured water and in overcast conditions.
I have also seen the Hairy Dog available in tackle stores sold in numerous other colours as well: grey, orange and yellow spring to mind.
I prefer to include a hackle under the hook only tied from the same possum fur as the tail and wing. You can leave this out if you prefer. However, it only takes a second to add it.
The application of a dab of luminescing paint to the head, or a short length of Aurora skirt strip tied at the head, produces a deadly “glow-in-the-dark” Hairy Dog night fly that rainbow trout will gulp down! New Zealand Fishing Flies.