Originally Posted by diamond rush
A couple newbie questions: How much hair is appropriate for the wings? I've got some deer belly hair that I found. But I don't know the proper amount per hook size. Nothing seems to look quite right. Will other types of hair (horse? dog? rabbit?) work? Silly idea, but pine straw's about the same consistency as deer belly hair. Does that work? What should I use as a tail? Hackles or no hackles?
Appears that although you got a lot of great suggestions and links to sites, some of your original questions (above) went unanswered.
> How much hair is appropriate for the wings?
This depends on the size of the fly, but typically on a size 12-16, you would use a bunch loosely the size of a wooden matchstick.
> I've got some deer belly hair that I found.
Deer belly hair is generally used for 'spinning'- to make heads on muddlers or what are typically referred to as "deer hair" flies, where you spin, pack, and trim the hair to make a shape. It is extremely hollow hair and tends to flare way to much to use for wing material.
> Will other types of hair (horse? dog? rabbit?) work?
To get the type of profile you're looking for on a standard EHC fly, these types of hairs would not be recommended. There is some GREAT info on this page about hair types and its uses in fly tying Riverwood Flies Hair Reference | Riverwood Blog
As mentioned by others, an underwing of CDC can make almost ANY HAIR act as if its 'bouyant', and if you fish fast water or areas with a lot of boulders and plunge pools, a slight CDC underwing is a good idea with ANY type of hair.
> pine straw's about the same consistency as deer belly hair. Does that work?
Well, you can try it, but I wouldn't have high hopes =)
> What should I use as a tail?
A 'classic' EHC has no tail, but many of the other patterns mentioned by others do. The 'tail' in many cases is intended to represent a shuck that is being shed during a hatch.
> Hackles or no hackles?
Again, a 'classic' EHC has a palmered hackle on the body, tied under the wing. Most tyers use a hackle one size smaller than on a normal dry fly, and some will counter wrap a rib of VERY FINE wire or monofilament through the hackle to reinforce it.
I've also taken to tying a small "indicator" fiber on top of the wing right at the tie down point in recent years- something bright or light colored- to use to help others I know
that have failing eyesight see their flies =)