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Thread: Roadkill Flies?

  1. #1

    Default Roadkill Flies?

    In a search for interesting fly tying materials, has anyone become a roadkill junkie?
    What is the most unusual or interesting animal that you have used as fly material?
    What patterns have you tied with that roadkill?
    And have you caught any fish with that fly?

    The reason for asking is more curiosity. Ive often looked at a fresh killed deer and thought " free bucktail!" and even more recently I ran across a big bird on the side of the road with barred feathers and thought "I bet you could make a great fly with that". Has anyone done this? Or is it even worth it?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Pocono Lake , Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: Roadkill Flies?

    Gotten many bucktails that way but always off of does. In Pa you may claim roadkill deer by calling the DEC but bucks are off limits . Check your local laws before taking fur , hair or feathers. You don't want the cost to end up being more then you could buy it for die to fines.
    Had an incident where while I was driving thought it was raining trout when one fell out of the sky. Moments later the osprey that dropped the fish came swooping down and proceeded to be hit by an on coming car. I stopped to see and the bird was dead. Called the DEC and they asked if I would bring it home and they would send someone out.
    Glad it was still winter temps as an officer didn't come for 2 days . Kept the osprey in my garage. When he did finally showup he thanked me for holding it and said that it was going to a local taxidermist and would be on display at one of their environmental centers. He also informed me had I kept the carcass or removed any feathers the fine would have been quite severe. Birds of prey are protected even as roadkill in Pa.
    So watch what you pluck!
    "I was born to fish" Lee Wulff
    "There's more B.S. in fly fishing then there is in a Kansas feedlot." Lefty Kreh
    " It ain't over till it's over." Yogi Berra
    "Your not old,you've simply acquired a patina." Swirlchaser

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    Manning, S. C. (formerly MD)
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    Default Re: Roadkill Flies?

    Not too much now, but used to pick up roadkill. I did a lot of hunting & trapping years ago, so picking up a fresh roadkill was not out of the question. I also sold tying materials too, & processed a lot of raw fur, so was not a big deal to clean & prepare roadkill that was in good shape.

    The main thing is that it should be during the colder months, or very fresh. Warm weather & things spoil quickly. Plus, you have to aware of rabies & other disease. The rabies virus can still be there & active even after the animal is dead awhile during warmer weather. I had a doctor tell me that rabies can even survive freezing, and can become dormant & active again after thawing & can be contracted afterwards. Scary stuff. Wear protective clothing & gloves.

    Also, be sure what you pick up is legal. Some bird's & animals, or the parts are illegal to even posses. Do not pick up owls, hawks, eagles, herons or such. All are protected & all illegal to have.

    I've picked up raccoons, opossums, foxes, pheasants, & ducks all of which have very usable fur or feathers. Hit a deer once too & ended up with it, but was given a tag by the police. It was actually during the deer hunting season & I had a license at the time anyway. Expensive road kill, $3500 worth of damage to the truck I was driving.
    Remember, no one likes to be behind the big truck, but that's better than being under it!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Roadkill Flies?

    I have and use quite a bit of road kill
    The usual squirrels and bunnies, woodchuck and 'possum
    Plus some more choice muskrat and red fox. You don't see those often as road kill, at least around here, so take advantage when you do.
    I've collected a number of birds too. Pheasant, grouse, song birds ()
    Once I brought home a road kill skunk. Believe-you-me, that's not something that you need to bother with.
    If you keep a pair of pruning shears and some plastic bags in the car they can come in pretty handy.
    I've never had the nerve to collect a deer tail, but woodchuck tails are very useful and plentiful on the roadside this time of year. Squirrel tails in the fall too if you already don't have enough.
    The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements. --- Horace Kephart

  5. #5

    Default Re: Roadkill Flies?

    Yeah, definitely good information.
    I'm lucky to be in a position where I have chickens and ducks, plus my barn cats have been known to kill a few sparrows here and there. But I always kind of wondered if the average bird (sparrow, finch, etc) was worth looking at or not.
    What kind of flies can you make with song birds?
    I didn't even consider 'possom. I figured that the body hair wouldn't be very good. I'm going to have to keep my eyes open for them. HeHeHe

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Roadkill Flies?

    Quote Originally Posted by iaflyguy View Post
    But I always kind of wondered if the average bird (sparrow, finch, etc) was worth looking at or not.
    I've only used oriole and cardinal for wet flies.
    The feathers are a handsome color but very delicate and not exactly legal either.
    I probably shouldn't have even mentioned it, but I seem to find one or the other every year right in front of the house
    The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements. --- Horace Kephart

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Roadkill Flies?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rip Tide View Post
    I have and use quite a bit of road kill
    The usual squirrels and bunnies, woodchuck and 'possum
    Plus some more choice muskrat and red fox. You don't see those often as road kill, at least around here, so take advantage when you do.
    I've collected a number of birds too. Pheasant, grouse, song birds ()
    Once I brought home a road kill skunk. Believe-you-me, that's not something that you need to bother with.
    If you keep a pair of pruning shears and some plastic bags in the car they can come in pretty handy.
    I've never had the nerve to collect a deer tail, but woodchuck tails are very useful and plentiful on the roadside this time of year. Squirrel tails in the fall too if you already don't have enough.
    Before I even opened this string I knew Rip Tide would be on it with some good advice! I like the plastic back and pruning shear idea.

    My father-in-law is fur trapper, so I get some stuff from him. I mentioned that muskrat fur is a traditional fly material last time I was out there, hanging around his skinning shop with 50+ muskrats also hanging around...but he never offered me one! He did give me a couple of buck tails, occasionally he accidentally snares a pheasant or duck.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Roadkill Flies?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rip Tide View Post
    I've only used oriole and cardinal for wet flies.
    The feathers are a handsome color but very delicate and not exactly legal either.
    I probably shouldn't have even mentioned it, but I seem to find one or the other every year right in front of the house

    Those would be nice. I don't tie many wet flies so I hadn't thought of that. I'll keep that in mind next time the wind blows hard this mating season. LOL
    I was blessed this year to have been given some Peacock tail feathers. My aunt has two peacocks and collects the feathers.

    ---------- Post added at 11:52 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:45 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by dean_mt View Post
    Before I even opened this string I knew Rip Tide would be on it with some good advice! I like the plastic back and pruning shear idea.

    My father-in-law is fur trapper, so I get some stuff from him. I mentioned that muskrat fur is a traditional fly material last time I was out there, hanging around his skinning shop with 50+ muskrats also hanging around...but he never offered me one! He did give me a couple of buck tails, occasionally he accidentally snares a pheasant or duck.
    Lucky you for having that in the family. I guess you'll have to step up the campaign for the muskrat. Try singing muskrat love every time you see him. He'll either think you've lost it, or maybe he'll get the idea. HaHa

    I'm starting to think we need to set up a roadkill swap for swatches of material. Between the surplus of all of us, I bet we could come up with quite a variety of material. Or we could do a roadkill fly swap, that might be interesting.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Roadkill Flies?

    Quote Originally Posted by iaflyguy View Post
    Those would be nice. I don't tie many wet flies so I hadn't thought of that. I'll keep that in mind next time the wind blows hard this mating season. LOL
    I was blessed this year to have been given some Peacock tail feathers. My aunt has two peacocks and collects the feathers.

    ---------- Post added at 11:52 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:45 AM ----------



    Lucky you for having that in the family. I guess you'll have to step up the campaign for the muskrat. Try singing muskrat love every time you see him. He'll either think you've lost it, or maybe he'll get the idea. HaHa

    I'm starting to think we need to set up a roadkill swap for swatches of material. Between the surplus of all of us, I bet we could come up with quite a variety of material. Or we could do a roadkill fly swap, that might be interesting.
    A "Roadkill" swap would hilarious...and great! Would dog hair and underfur count? I'd be a millionaire if I could figure out a good way to sort and package it and then start an advertising campaign about the benefits of dog hair flies.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Roadkill Flies?

    Quote Originally Posted by dean_mt View Post
    A "Roadkill" swap would hilarious...and great! Would dog hair and underfur count? I'd be a millionaire if I could figure out a good way to sort and package it and then start an advertising campaign about the benefits of dog hair flies.

    Yeah, you could market it as "hair of the dog" flies, "especially made to get catfish". HaHaHa

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