Fly Tying Furs & Hair

Fly tying furs and hairs can be used when tying a range of different trout and salmon fly patterns and can be used in a number of ways, from creating a buggy looking body to tying in a large mobile wing on a salmon fly. We stock a wide range of furs and hairs, all available in a range of colours. Natural furs and hairs are often first choice for a range of fly patterns, especially salmon flies! Depending on the hair being used they offer a host of benefits. Materials such as rabbit fur or arctic fox add plenty of movement to flies thanks to the natural taper of the fur, some natural furs also have unique markings and colourations that can't be dyed into synthetic materials. Some natural hairs, such as deer hair, are also hollow adding buoyancy to your fly, particularly useful for tying dry flies.

Overview of furs and hairs for fly tying

Natural furs and hairs are vital materials in the realm of fly tying, utilised to construct numerous patterns that pursue a wide array of fish species. They offer natural movement, coloration and textures that synthetics often cannot replicate, contributing to the realistic and enticing qualities of a fly.

What are furs and hairs used for in fly tying?

Furs and hairs are employed in fly tying to achieve various effects and fulfill several functions:

  • Mimicry: They simulate the appearance of various creatures, like insects, crustaceans and baitfish.
  • Motion: Natural hairs and furs impart a lifelike movement in the water, luring in fish.
  • Texture: They provide a variety of textures, influencing the visual and tactile characteristics of the fly.
  • Buoyancy: Certain hairs are used for their floatation properties in dry flies.
  • Dubbing: Fur can be used for dubbing, creating buggy bodies and thoraxes on nymphs and dry flies.

Renowned Furs and Hairs for Fly Tying:

Various furs and hairs have established themselves as staples in the fly tier’s toolkit:

  • Deer Hair: Celebrated for its buoyancy and ability to be spun and stacked, deer hair is essential for patterns like the Muddler Minnow and various bass bugs.
  • Elk Hair: Often used for wings on dry flies like the Elk Hair Caddis due to its buoyant and durable qualities.
  • Rabbit Fur: Renowned for its softness and movement in the water, rabbit fur is often used in zonker strips and dubbing.
  • Squirrel Tail: Utilised for long, flowing tails and wings on streamers, providing a natural taper and subtle action in the water.
  • Muskrat Fur: Frequently used in nymph dubbing for its fine texture and natural gray-brown color.
  • Beaver Fur: Used for dubbing due to its fine texture and natural water-repellent properties.
  • Fox Hair: Employed for its soft, mobile texture in streamers and winging material.
  • Arctic Fox: Prized in salmon and steelhead flies for its movement and slightly coarser texture than regular fox hair.

Selecting Furs and Hairs:

When choosing furs and hairs, consider the following:

  • Quality: Ensure the fur or hair is high quality, free from excessive dirt, oils or damage.
  • Color: Choose natural or dyed materials to match the hatch or create attractor patterns.
  • Texture: Select textures that align with the desired outcome, considering factors like water absorption, stiffness and density.
  • Pattern Needs: Refer to fly tying recipes or guides to understand which furs and hairs are suitable for the intended pattern.

Storing and Caring for Furs and Hairs:

Maintaining the quality of furs and hairs involves proper storage and care:

  • Store in a cool, dry place to prevent the development of mold or mites.
  • Use plastic bags or compartmentalized boxes to segregate and protect materials.
  • Optionally use cedar balls or blocks to deter pests without imparting unwanted odors to the materials.

Summarising, furs and hairs are a cornerstone in fly tying, contributing natural textures, movements and colors to a plethora of patterns. From the subtle undulations of rabbit fur in the water to the buoyant, durable properties of deer hair, these natural materials offer an unparalleled authenticity to flies. Selecting, utilising, and caring for these materials appropriately ensures fly patterns that are not only visually compelling to anglers but irresistibly enticing to fish.