Sulphur Quill Dun

Sulphur Quill Dun

A springtime standby

  • By: A. K. Best
We're not supposed to have them here in the West, but they are taking up residence in the Frying Pan River in Colorado. At least I think they are; while I'm no entomologist, they are the same sizes and color as the Sulphurs I've seen on Pennsylvania spring creeks. Bugs can't read, so they don't know where they are supposed to live. In both places, trout seem to prefer them to whatever else may be on the water. I prefer the quill-body version of this fly because of the reflective and buoyant qualities of a stripped and dyed rooster-neck hackle quill.

Attach the thread one hook-gap space behind the eye, wind to the beginning of the bend, snip off the tag and create a tiny thread bump over the last turn of thread.

Clip a sparse segment of spade hackle fibers, measure for length to equal entire hook, plus one hook-eye space, tie on immediately in front of the thread bump, and lash them forward to the thread start. Clip off butts.

For size 14 and 16 hooks, use two quills. One quill should be twice the diameter of the other. The smaller quill will function as an underbody to provide for a proper body taper. Clip off the tips at a point where the remaining quills will have a combined diameter of the hook eye. Use one quill for size 18 hooks.

Tie the clipped tips directly on top of the thread starting point, lash to the rear, bring the thread forward to the starting point, and wind the quills forward, being certain that the thicker quill covers the thiner one.

Select two hen hackle tips whose width is equal to the hook-gap space and cut them to a length that is equal to the entire hook plus one hook-eye space. This is for the tie down.

Tie in the wings just in front of the shoulder of the quill body, saving enough space behind the wings for two or three turns of hackle.

Select one hackle, trim the butts and attach it to the hook in your favorite manner. Take two turns of hackle behind the wings and three in front. Tie off the tip, clip off the excess, whip finish and apply a small drop of head lacquer.