2023 JSFF Catalog Cover FOM Featured Image

J. Stockard Pro Tyer: Paul Shurtleff, Springville UT, You can find Paul @: www.instagram.com/insectinside/, www.facebook.com/pauliescustomflies

2023 JSFF Catalog Cover squareWhen J. Stockard approached me about creating a fly for the cover of their 2023 Catalog, I was both excited and a bit nervous. It’s one thing to post one of my creations to Instagram, it’s another to think about a picture of my fly sitting on thousands of tying benches across the country.

After considering a few options, I settled on the “trude”, a style of fly patterns with hair wings. First introduced in 1901, the pattern is 121 years old and has many variants.  The Royal Trude fly (the one I submitted for the cover) is in fact a hair wing version of the Royal Coachman. It is an effective fly and I personally use this pattern for high mountain trout. This particular pattern shines on small streams and it punishes the native cutthroat trout in my area waters! There’s just something about the peacock and red band that trout love and the white wing makes it super easy to see too!

You can read more about the history of the trude here and see the recipe and instructions for my version below.

Recipe:
Hook: Partridge G3A-LY (or any standard dry fly hook)
Thread: Semperfli 18/0 Nano Silk (black)
Tail: Golden pheasant tippet fibers
Body: Peacock
Body band: Floss (red)
Rib: small wire (silver) – use extra small or brassie if smaller fly
Wing: Calf body hair or you can substitute Calf Tail.
Hackle: Whiting coachman brown saddle or cape
Coating: Loon water based head cement

Fly Tying Instructions:

Start by putting the hook in the vise and start the thread at approximately 1/4 of the hook shank behind the hook eye.
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Select a few golden pheasant fibers for the tail. Measure the length to be the hook length. Trim to length and tie in. Bring the thread to the beginning of the hook bend keeping the fibers on top of the hook.

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Select 2 or 3 strands of peacock for the rear body bump. Align the butts of the peacock strands, trim off the very tips and tie them in by the evened out tips. Spin the peacock around the thread to form a peacock rope. Wrap a few turns of the peacock rope to form the rear bump and tie off and remove the excess but save the remaining strands for the forward bump.

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Bring the thread the same distance as the rear peacock bump up from the rear bump to give an even section for the red band. Tie in the wire (optional) and the red floss for the band. Wrap the floss up to the start of the second peacock bump, then wrap it back, and then forward again creating a 3 layered band of red floss for the center bump. Wrap the wire over the floss in even spaced turns (2 to 3 max) and tie it off.

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Tie in the same 2 to 3 strands of peacock used for the rear bump, spin it around the thread again to form a peacock rope. Wrap 2 to 4 turns for the forward peacock bump, tie off and remove the excess.

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Select a small clump of calf body hair for the wing. After cleaning out the clump of hair, use a hair stacker to even the hair tips. Measure the wing to be the hook shank in length. Trim off the butts and tie in the calf body hair wing at the end of the forward peacock bump. Tie in the remaining wing butts and make a clean thread ramp for the hackle.

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Select a hackle and tie it in on top of the hair wing ensuring that the “shiny side” faces forward. Bring the thread to just behind the hook eye.

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Wrap the hackle in close touching turns, preening the fibers back after every turn to slightly compress the hackle turns and not trap any hackle fibers. Wrap the hackle to the hook eye, tie off the hackle, pull the remaining hackle back and whip finish behind the hook eye and in front of the hackle. Remove the thread and hackle and treat the thread head with head cement.

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9 Comments

  1. Hi Paul, thank you. Ever fish this pattern wet, for example maybe substituting soft hackle in place of the stiffer dry fly hackle? If so, how did that go? If the bright white hair wing looks unnatural under the surface, would a less-bright hair wing help in such a case? Just curious. Nice-looking fly.

    – Mike

    1. Hi Michael, I fish this pattern a lot in faster water in the summer months. It’s a great fly. It can be “Swamped” pretty easily and swung like a wet fly as well. I tie it without the wire that Paul uses though.

  2. Michael,
    “Ever fish this pattern wet?” Not really, to answer your question. This fly pattern was originally a streamer and then became a wet fly before it was a dry fly… When I first started tying and fishing this pattern, I wanted it to be a dry fly but I used the only hackle I had on hand which was actually from a hen cape and would technically be considered a soft hackle. Especially by today’s standards! Todays hen feathers, particularly from a cape (specifically Whiting’s hen capes) are almost as good as rooster feathers were back in the late 80’s early 90’s, so you can maybe imagine what the hen feathers I was using were like back then? Fishing the fly tied like that back then without treating it with floatant, it would sink mid drift. The soft hackle and solid fiber hair wing was too much to keep it afloat. Especially fishing “pocket water” or riffles. I used to let it sink and then strip it back from the drag loop. The white wing made it still visible when it sank, even in off colored water. I don’t think the “bright” wing had much effect on the fish because it did work that way, but I have never intentionally tied this particular pattern to be a wet fly and fished it as so. Another thing to consider is that a lot of the materials back then, particularly natural materials weren’t dyed or bleached and were somewhat “dull” in comparison to some of today’s stuff. If you’re concerned about the white wing being too bright, I’d recommend using a non-bleached hair, OR, simply tie this pattern in the traditional Royal Coachman with the duck quill wing foregoing the Trude hair wing all together. There are a lot of variations of “Trude” style flies out there and many are wet flies, or were at one point. The beauty of tying your own flies is that you can modify a particular pattern to suit your own style, needs, etc., etc., etc. and then go out and “field test” it for yourself to satisfy curiosity. I personally use high end dry fly hackle to tie this pattern with now and I treat it with floatant too. I fish it totally dry and I don’t like it to sink. Floats good and it’s easy to see. It works particularly well during the spring/summer months around “caddis season”, at least around my home waters it does…
    Thanks for your comment!

    ~Paulie

    1. Thanks Paul, for the detailed response. Sounds like the net result was that you did fish it wet through parts of its drift, even if that wasn’t your original intent. I agree on the “invent/modify, field-test, repeat” cycle…it adds a lot of fun to the whole thing. You’re right, maybe a duck quill wing would be better for a subsurface version.

      It’s also interesting what you say about the quality of hackle some decades back. I still have one or two old hen capes from back then, which I consider junk, but maybe I shouldn’t be too harsh in my judgment…they may have been considered good quality back in the 1970’s when I bought them.

      – Mike

  3. I’ve tied and fished the wet/streamer version of this (Royal Coachman) for 20 years and have caught trout on it all over the country. I think it ends up looking like a baby rainbow trout and so I’ve caught some dandy sized trout on it. I use a 6x long hook. I was so chuffed when I saw the cover of the catalog because I’ve never tied the dry version, but I also love fishing trudes like this (especially in those mountain streams!) so I’m glad you’ve written up the steps, Paul. Awesome job!

  4. Terrific work! I admire the old-school mentality towards working with what you have at hand. Also how to fish this fly can be easily managed with presentation. I don’t have any calf’s hair but will try tying a few with white parapost wing material. Might steam it and comb it straight if need be. A real beauty~

  5. Hey guys. Don’t knock the soft hackle hen necks. I’m a wet fly fisherman and would love to have some of those so called “junk” necks. It’s hard to find really good soft hackle necks anymore. If you guys have any of those “junk” necks lying around I would be only too happy to take them off your hands.😉 A long time ago I learned to fish wets when the old guys were sitting around waiting for the hatches to come off. Probably around the early ‘60’s then and we discovered that trout will eat just about anytime and not just when flies are hatching. So I’ve been doing the wetfly thingy for about 60+ years now and enjoying the devil out of it. So if you have some of those less than desirable second or third class hen necks, send ‘em on over.

  6. I quit using calf body hair or calf tail on dry flies back in the mid 90’s as it is too dense of a fiber to float very well. It is a counter productive material. I use Congo Hair from Fly Tyers Dungeon currently. I also use the hair from the throat area of a Whitetail Buck, as it is hollow and actually aids in the flotation of your fly.

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