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Fly Tying Terms

Gray Wulff

Tom Deschaine, Westland, MI - June 29, 2009

The Gray Wulff and the White Wulff were the first patterns developed for what is now known as the Wulff Series of flies. These patterns were innovations of Henry “Lee” Wulff. The Wulff patterns were the first to use hair (specifically bucktail deer hair) for wings and tails. These flies are highly visible and great floaters primarily designed for rough water fishing. The Gray Wulff, created in 1929-1930, was the first fly designed in the Wulff Series.



Step #1 Tie in a good base of your favorite black, 6/0 thread.

Step #2 Select fibers from your bucktail. I prefer medium brown, but vary the shade depending on the dark mayflies in your area, that you are tying to match.

Step #3 Align your hair tips by using a stacker. Now is the time to remove any unwanted hair fibers.

Step #4 Tie in your tail fibers then run your thread forward to the throat position.

Step #5 Tie in your wing fibers and trim off the unwanted material.

Step #6 Tie in your wing fibers, upright and divided, using the standard figure eight technique.

Step #7 Prepare your thread with dubbing wax.

Step #8 Add your dubbing to the thread and wrap the body forward. Muskrat may be substituted with any gray fur or synthetic if you desire.

Step #9 If your fly appears to ragged or buggy, trim it up before adding the hackle.

Step #10 Select and gauge a hackle from your neck and prepare it by trimming off the webbed portion.

Step #11 Tie in you hackle and wrap in the normal fashion.

Step #12 Using hackle guards or a piece from a soda straw --- pull the hackle and wings back out of the way while you tie in the head.

Step #13 Remove the thread and add your head cement.

The Gray Wulff was designed to imitate the Isonychia hatches of the Catskills, however it can be used to imitate any dark mayfly that the trout are feeding on. The Gray Wulff is a rough water fly, but try casting it to the surface of a deep pool during the summer, and twitch it just a little. There are many other flies that have been added to the Wulff Series, not all of which were designed by Lee, himself. Common tying variations include the use of brown calf tail or elk hair in place of brown bucktail for the wing and tail.

Historical note: The Royal Wulff is often miscreditted to Lee Wulff. However the actual design of the fly should properly go to Q. L. Quackenbush. “Quack” asked tyer Reuben Cross to modify the Royal Coachman with a stiffer wing design. Reuben substituted Impala tail thus giving birth to what was then called the Quack Coachman. It looked very similar to the Wulff Series flies and eventually became know as the Royal Wulff.

See you on the water…..
Tom Deschaine, Westland, MI

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