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Three Hackle Dry Fly

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Jeff Mottern of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania was the apparent originator of this fly in the 1980s. He designed the fly specifically to take the finicky and frustrating brown trout that feed selectively on midges on the Yellow Breeches creek in south-central Pennsylvania's Cumberland Valley. The original recipe called for a size 22 dry-fly hook with dun, brown, and grizzly cock hackles. The adaptability of the fly is apparent and can be tied in a range of hackles (a barred hackle - grizzly or cree - should be included to promote variegation) and sizes. The most productive combination seems to be grizzly, brown, and cream, or grizzly, brown, and dun. The most productive sizes seem to be from 16 through 22.

Printable Version


Hook:Standard dry fly like Mustad 94840 - size 14 to 24
Thread:14/0 Black, brown, or dun
Tail/Body:Grizzly, brown and cream (or dun) hackle barbs
Hackle:Grizzly, brown, or cream (or dun)

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Tying Instructions

  1. Attach thread to the hook behind the eye and form wraps over the about one-half the shank, stopping opposite the hook point.
  2. Clip three small clumps of bargs from each of the three chosen hackles and align together (stacking tool optional).
  3. Tie in the assembled barbs, extending the tips about one-half shank length beyond the bend.
  4. Attach three hackles at the tying in point of the tail/body assembly and wrap all three in sequentially, dry fly style, interweaving hackles. Tie off and clip.
  5. Whip finish and cement head.

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