iso klink scott fisher FOM blog

J.Stockard Pro Tyer: Scott Fisher, Somerville, NJ, you can find him on Instagram at

September is a special month for me. Every year I go on an eight day camping/fishing trip on the last week of the month in North Central Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is filled with wild trout streams, and it allows for endless fishing options if one stream is not working out that day. It is on this trip that I am able to really test out new fly patterns and give them the time test that’s needed to see how effective they are in various water conditions.

The hatches this time of the year include tiny Blue Winged Olives, Little Yellow Quills, Trico’s, October Caddis, and Slate Drakes or Isonychia.

The Isonychia or “ISO’s” tend to run quite large in the adult stage, and can be in a hook size range from #8-12. This comes in handy for me, since my eyes are not so great at seeing distance. So any larger, more visible dry fly I can fish, the better it is for me for observing my drift.

Since size is one of many beneficial factors, so is any possible sighter. Since dry flies aren’t fished with a strike indicator, some styles were developed to get around this issue. Hans Van Klinken, a Dutch fly tyer, developed the pattern in 1984 officially named the Klinkhåmer Special. It imitated an emerging caddis, and since the hackle and post helped the angler, the lower portion sat deep within the surface film for the fish, and was an immediate success on the water. It has since been adapted all over the world for many other bugs and fish, and this is where I use it for my Isonychia imitation.

I use a bright, bi-colored post to really stand out in the water, as the colors play off one another especially in different lighting conditions. These can be changed accordingly, with chartreuse and white, pink and purple, chartreuse and orange etc. the combinations are truly endless. It’s always good to have a variety of color combinations for different times of day.

The Claret colored biot is a perfect color match for ISO’s, and the natural ribbing effect the biot has when wrapped gives an excellent profile. It is an incredibly effective pattern that brings to net wild Brookies, Browns, Bows, Fallfish, and Smallmouth Bass, and it’s really a tough pattern for any fish to resist. Here is my Bi-Colored Iso Klink.

Hook: #10 FireholeOutdoors 315
Thread: UTC 70D Rust
Body: Turkey Biot Quill in Claret
Thorax: Semperfli Kapok dubbing in Rust blended with SLF Squirrel dubbing in Rusty Brown
Hackle: Golden Badger saddle hackle or Rooster Neck
Bi-Colored Post: McFlylon in Cerise and Purple

Tying Instructions:

Step 1.  Start your thread an eye length behind your hook eye, flatten your thread by spinning it counterclockwise and take touching wraps down the shank and deep into the hook bend. Clip a single Turkey Quill Biot as close to the rachis as possible to ensure the longest length you can get. Break or snip off the very tip of the biot, since they tend to be brittle, and may break off when you begin wrapping the biot. Make sure the concave side of the biot is facing you when tying in, as the segmentation will only happen when you have the fibers facing you.

Step 2.  Again flattening your thread to keep a smooth body, take thread wraps back up the hook shank until you land directly above the hook point. If you use an inline rotary vise, you can half hitch this spot, and put your thread over a bobbin cradle to prepare for wrapping the biot.

Step 3.  Take gentle wraps at first to start and begin wrapping the biot up the hook shank. At first, they will be close together, and you will notice the segmentation begin. Keep each wrap up against the last, making sure to not cover the fibers that make the ribbing effect. If you do, simply reverse, adjust, and continue. Once you reach the spot above the hook point, cross your thread over the biot and secure it. Clip the remaining tag and smooth out the area with flat thread to prepare for the next step.

Step 4.  Cut a 1” piece of McFlylon float yarn in Cerise and another in Purple. If the fibers are stuck together, you can use a small underfur comb to break these apart. Align the two bundles between your fingers and cut one end to get a clean top to the yarn post. Measure the bundle to the length of hookeye to the back bend of the hook. This will be your estimated post height. You can always shorten it later once it’s secured onto the hook. Using a pinch wrap, secure the bundle onto the hook shank making sure it doesn’t rotate.

Step 5. Cut the remaining tag to the left at a shallow angle to create a ramp for the thread to cover.

Step 6. After securing the yarn and covering the tag with flat thread, lift the yarn bundle up and build a thread dam in front of it. Continue to flatten the thread and once the post is almost vertical, you can start taking flat thread wraps around the post in a clockwise direction. Wrap your thread gently up the post until it starts to hold itself up. You can begin tightening these wraps by gently holding the yarn post with your other hand every few wraps. Stop when you are about 1/4” up the post, although I like to give myself a touch more just to give plenty of room for the hackle.

Step 7.  Measure a hackle feather on a hackle gauge a size or two larger than the hook size. Orient the feather so the backside of the feather, or dull side is facing you. Strip the fibers to expose roughly a 1/4” of stem, and additionally remove a few more from the left side. This allows the hackle wraps to have a clean, neat start. Tie the stem on the near side of the post at a 45° angle, allowing most of the stem to clear the post height. Take a gentle wrap or two around the base of the post to start binding the hackle stem to the post. Grab the hackle and move it to the right side of the post, so that the more stripped side of the hackle is touching the post. Wrap your thread up the post, securing the rest of the stem and take flat open wraps back down until you’re back behind the post and onto the shank again.

Step 8.  Blend the SLF squirrel dubbing with the Kapok dubbing by stacking two small amounts on top of each other, and begin tearing the bundle apart. Re-stack the two bundles and repeat this a number of times until the two are married. The Kapok gives extra floatation, and the rough, spikey squirrel dubbing gives the illusion of legs.
Create a tapered dubbing noodle and begin building a bulbous thorax, covering the shank behind and in front of the post. It helps to not overtighten your dubbing, as the coarser appearance gives a more buggy, lifelike appearance. Finish just behind the hook eye with bare thread, ensuring no dubbing is too close to the hook eye. This also ensures a clean finish.

Step 9.  Take your hackle and begin taking counterclockwise wraps down the hook shank. Remember, the first wrap is the most important wrap. Like a Domino effect, it will dictate how the rest of the hackle will land, so make sure this is oriented well. It’s never a bad thing to take your time setting up, and reversing if it doesn’t look right. 5-6 wraps should be just about enough. On the last wrap, finish with your hackle stem just behind and to the far side of the hook eye. Holding firmly in one hand, cross your thread over the hackle tag 2-3 times before increasing your thread pressure and securing the hackle stem. Lift the hackle stem and cut as close as possible to remove it. Take a few more wraps to ensure it is bound down well. I recommend using half hitches to finish this, as it can get into tighter spaces like this without trapping any hackle fibers. Add 3 half hitches to finish and cut your thread. This is where you can clean up any remaining unruly fibers with your scissors. Use Solarez Bone Dry to saturate your finishing wraps and fire with a UV light.

Tip: You can apply a small drop of super glue onto your thread post just before wrapping your hackle to make this fly extra durable.

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