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Old 09-18-2010, 08:56 AM
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Default hackle color

Hi everyone,
I'm going to be purchasing a Whiting cape for tying mostly BWO, quill gordens, and red quills. I've looked online at these patterns and different websites call for differnt color hackle such as medium dun and dark dun. So my question for you is what color hackle do you use for these flies? Also, is there a difference between dark and blue dun?

Thanks a lot,
Bobby
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Old 09-18-2010, 10:53 AM
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Default Re: hackle color

A medium dun selection would be able to cover a broad array, even when it calls for dark, etc. That's what I use for all of my patterns that call for some shade of dun.

Kelly.
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Old 09-18-2010, 11:24 AM
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Default Re: hackle color

Bobby-

Yup i agree with Kelly. You'll get more mileage out of a medium dun.

You'll find different recipes for the same dry fly often list different shades-- and sometimes different colors for hackle-- but just use whatever you have that's closest.

Different breeders also have different standards for shades and colors Metz's medium dun is much darker than Whiting's medium dun for example. And of course for capes and saddles with natural coloration, there are individual differences between birds. And there are also differences in the colors of insects imitated by patterns--- especially patterns like Blue Wing Olives and Sulphurs which imitate many different species.

One thing to note about the Whiting line of birds (red label) is that most, if not all, of their duns are dyed over white or grizzly. This means that the coloration is consistent from neck/saddle to neck/saddle but some tyers prefer the natural gloss and sheen from natural duns-- not that it matters to the fish. Other lines of birds including the "Hebert Miner" Line now owned by Whiting (Green label), and smaller breeders like Collins and Conranch have natural duns.

When folks use the term "Blue Dun" they are generally just referring to a medium dun shade. A true natural "Blue Dun" is a dun with a noticeable blueish sheen and is exceedingly rare.

Here's some hackle dressings for some of the classics-- note that you can mix two or more hackles to get blended effect to match different shades and colors:

Duns:
Light Hendrickson- Medium Dun
Dark Hendrickson- Medium Dun
Red Quill- Medium Dun
Quill Gordon - Medium Dun, Dark Dun, or Rusty Dun (you can mix medium dun and a turn or two of brown of medium ginger to get a "rusty dun")
Blue Wing Olive- Dark Dun or Medium Dun
Blue Quill- Dark Dun or Medium Dun
Pale Evening Dun- Medium Dun
Pale Morning Dun- Light Dun (or medium dun and cream or light ginger mixed)
Sulphur- Light Dun (or medium dun and cream or light ginger mixed)
Isonychia- Medium or Dark Dun

Others:
Light Cahill- Light Ginger
March Brown- Grizzly and Brown or Dark Ginger mixed

Medium dun is also a good color for many caddis hatches in the East- if you tie some up with Dark Gray bodies and wings and Medium Dun hackle in sizes 14-18 you'll be covered for stuff like:
Black Caddis (Chimera size 18 and 20 is one of the first hatches of the year in April and goes through early May)
Green Caddis/Sedge (some Rhyacophelia 16 and 18 in late May-early June)
Dark Blue Sedge (Psilotreta size 14 and 16 in June)

It's also good for generic patterns like the Gray Wulff etc.

Good luck
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Old 09-18-2010, 12:11 PM
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Default Re: hackle color

Excellent info, Mark. I have copied and pasted this in my fly-tying files. Thanks for sharing.

kelly.
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Old 09-18-2010, 12:23 PM
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Default Re: hackle color

Bobby,

Kelly & Mark have given you a good pair of replies, I will attempt to add some visual aid. The pictures are of skins that I used back east for achieving the different looks I needed for dry flies like have been mentioned. I realize it takes time to build a collection / selection of rooster capes and that you are just getting started. The pictures are meant to demonstrate the colors I found and used. You will eventually end up with more than one blue dunn cape, take my word on that. The pictures were taken with only natural lighting from outdoors and they look pretty close to what I see when looking at them in person.

These two I thought of as dark and darker;

[IMG]Click the image to open in full size.[/IMG]

These two filled my need for light tones of dunn hackle;

[IMG]Click the image to open in full size.[/IMG]

By mixing these feathers I was able to get almost any look I wanted.
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Old 09-19-2010, 07:56 PM
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Default Re: hackle color

Thanks for the great info as always.
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Old 09-23-2010, 08:43 PM
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Default Re: hackle color

Pick a color of hackle and I use it. ROY G BIVE and everything in between
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