This is part one of three parts on dry fly winging material. The woodduck flank feathers you see here are one of my favorite materials for tying delicate dry fly wing. They are easy to use and many of the students in my fly tying classes use these to tie great drys on their first attempt. I have friends who use these on the Quill Gordon Dry Fly, March Brown Dry Fly, Light Cahill Dry Fly and many other patterns.
It is important to know the specific mayflies that will be hatching as the season progresses so you know which fly with which to fish. An easy way to predict this as I see in 30 years of my stream notes is to watch the wildflowers in the mountains.
*When the blood root is out full the Quill Gordons are hatching well so use a Mr. Rapidan Dry size 14.
*When the Trillium are beginning to break through the little Blue Quills are on in good numbers so use a Blue Quill Dry size 16 or 18.
*When the Trillium are out full all around the streams the March Browns are hatching well so use a Mr. Rapidan Dry size 14.
In fly tying, I believe the quality of the dry fly hackle is more important in floating the fly and catching the trout than color alone. When I started tying I could afford only one premium dry fly neck. I got an outstanding brown neck and caught many trout feeding on naturals from quill gordons to light cahills to march brown to sulphurs.