Popular Wet Fly Patterns and Dressings

Popular Wet Fly Patterns and Dressings

Wet flies are fished subsurface, often on a cast of two or three flies, and can be deadly for targeting both brown and rainbow trout, especially when there’s a bit of a wave on the water. Most wet fly patterns aren’t tied to represent any natural food item in particular but their general size, shape and colour could imitate a wide variety of natural insect life trout commonly feed on – from nymphs and hatching insects, to drowned adult or terrestrial flies and even small pin fry! 

Wet flies are commonly fished on floating lines just below the surface with a bushy, fully hackled pattern, also known as a bob fly, on the top dropper followed by one or two lighter dressed, smaller patterns fished below it. The bob fly is drawn through the water causing a disturbance that draws the attention of nearby trout. Fish rise to have a look at the bob fly when they’ll either take it or turn away, at which point they’ll often take one of the smaller, slimmer flies fished behind.

Below we’ll detail some of the most popular and effective wet fly patterns along with the full dressing and list of materials required to tie them. Plus a few bonus tips to add into your own tying to make your fly stand out from the rest!

1. Kate Mclaren

Kate Mclaren

The Kate Mclaren is a classic Scottish wet fly dressing that every angler should have in their box! This fly excels fished on the top dropper where it’s bushy hackle creates plenty of disturbance drawing fish in to investigate. The hen hackle gives plenty of added movement when the fly is retrieved through the water.

Hook:  Kamasan B175 size 10 or 12

Thread: Uni 8/0 Thread in black

Tail:  Golden Pheasant Crest

Rib:  French Oval Tinsel Silver

Body:  Seals Fur dubbing in black

Body Hackle:  Cock Saddle Hackle Black

Head Hackle:  Ginger Hen Hackle

 

Top Tip!: Trying changing the pheasant crest tail for a few strands of Glo Brite floss in lime green or chrome yellow to add a bright hotspot to your fly.

 

2.Bibio

Bibio

The Bibio is a traditional Irish fly pattern that can be fished on the bob or further down the cast. Tied heavier with more turns of hackle this pattern makes a good bob fly fished on the top dropper. The Bibio can also be tied sparser or in a smaller size, with fewer hackle turns and fished further down the cast. The black colour represents a wide range of insects while the red dubbing adds a nice hot spot for fish to home in on.

Hook:  Kamasan B175 size 10 or 12

Thread:  Uni 8/0 Thread in black

Rib:  French Solid Wire fine silver

Body:  Seals Fur Dubbing in black and red

Body Hackle:  Cock Saddle Hackle Black

Head Hackle:  Black Hen Hackle

 

Top Tip!: Try replacing the Seals Fur dubbing for Ice Dub of the same colours. This will give your fly added attraction by adding some sparkle and flash!

 

3. Black Pennel

Black Pennel

The Black Pennel is a classic pattern that has accounted for many fish over the years. The slimmer dressing of this fly makes it a good pattern to use on the middle dropper or point fly. It’s smaller size makes it a good imitation of small midge or black buzzers and it excels during summer fly hatches where the orange tippet tail gives the trout something to pick out amongst the natural insects hatching off.

Hook:  Kamasan B175 size 12 or 14

Thread:  Uni 8/0 Thread in black

Butt:  Silver Holographic Tinsel Medium

Tail:  Golden Pheasant Tippets

Rib:  French Oval Tinsel

Body:  Black Thread

Head Hackle:  Black Hen Hackle

 

Top Tip!: Trying adding a butt of holographic silver tinsel underneath the tail or finishing the head with fire orange thread to add a hotspot and help trigger takes!

 

4. Teal Blue and Silver 

Teal Blue And Silver

The Teal Blue and Silver is the perfect fly for late summer and autumn when fish are homing in on small fish and pin fry. The silver tinsel body and black barred wing perfectly represents the colour and flash given off by small fry. This fly is also a proven pattern for sea trout and is commonly fished on the point of a cast of wet flies.

Hook:  Kamasan B175 size 10 or 12

Thread:  Uni 8/0 Thread in black

Tail:  Golden Pheasant Tippets

Rib:  French Oval Tinsel

Body:  Holographic Tinsel Large

Throat hackle: Blue Chinese Cock Hackle Fibres

Wing:  Teal Duck Flank Feather

 

Top Tip!: Add jungle cock cheeks to give the impression of eyes and make this fly look even more like a small prey fish or fry. Finishing the head of the fly with fire orange thread can also add a hotspot for fish to home in on.

 

5. Greenwells Glory

Greenwells Glory

The Greenwells Glory is a classic British pattern that does an excellent job of imitating olive upwing flies and mayflies. This pattern can be tied in a range of sizes to imitate the natural insects hatching off. The grey mallard wing slips imitate the wings of an adult fly meaning this pattern is particularly effective fished near the surface.

Hook:  Kamasan B175 size 12 or 14

Thread:  Uni 8/0 Thread in olive

Rib:  French Solid Wire medium gold

Body:  Olive Thread

Throat hackle: Olive Hen Hackle

Wing:  Mallard Duck Wing Quills

 

Top Tip!: Try adding a fine silver holographic tinsel rib to give the fly some added flash.

 

6. Yellow Owl Sedgehog

Yellow Owl Sedgehog

The Sedgehog is a more recently created pattern, it excels fished on the top dropper where the buoyant deer hair keeps the fly near the surface and creates maximum disturbance. This fly perfectly imitates adult sedges struggling through the surface film, drawing fish in to investigate.

Hook:  Kamasan B160 size 10 or 12

Thread:  Uni 8/0 Light Cahill Thead

Tag:  Glo Brite Floss No.5

Rib:  Flybox Micro Wire Black

Body:  UTC Ultra Thread 140 Yellow

Wings:  Deer Short & Fine

 

Top Tip!: We like the yellow owl version of the Sedgehog but it can be tied in a wide range of colours. Try a black or claret Sedgehog for a more subtle pattern when fishing for wary trout or when they’re keying in on darker food items.

 

Click here to view our full range of fly tying materials and tools!

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