Hawthorn Fly – Springtimes best fly


Hawthorn Fly –  A step by step tying guide.

Hook:                                      #12 Hanak BL130 or similar dry hook Thread:                                   Black Uni6/0                                           Abdomen\Thorax:                 Orvis Spectrablend Black (or similar)  Wing:                                      Niche Polypropylene Yarn           Legs:                                      Knotted Pheasant Tail Fibres (Black)Hackle:                                   Black

Here I’m using the Hanak #12 dry fly hook  BL130, but others will be just as good.  Personally I don’t like this fly tied on a larger hook, but that could be just a regional thing. 

Run thread to the bend of hook

Dub on a slim noodle of black spectrablend and build abdomen and thorax, thickening as you go.

 Make it look like this.

 Cut 1” of the poly yarn, hold in place on top of the hook, while you secure it with a single wrap.  The weight of the bobbin holder will hold it in place.

Now cut two of the pheasant fibre legs and hold in place on one side, secure them with another wrap over.  Repeat for the other side, before attempting to hold all items in position, while you tighten the wrapping, ONLY TWO WRAPS,  with the dubbing on the thread.

Trim the waste ends off the legs and the yarn, and top wing of yarn.  Now its time to put the hackle in place. Choose the hackle with suitably short barbs, they mustn’t be too long or they create problems in use.  The general rule of thumb is that the barb length shouldn’t be more than one and a half times the gape of the hook. 

Strip the flume off this feather, you can just see in the picture a dart of shading, pointing towards the tip, after this, the barbs are stiffer and have a little more sparkle. Strip the shaded barbs off, and then tie the feather onto the hook, just in front of the poly yarn. 


Wind the hackle no more than three times, prefably just twice around the hook.  Secure tightly the feather before you trim off the butt, – there’s nothing more aggravating than cutting it and watching it spring into unwind mode.

 Whip the head tightly and trim thread, – if you’re a bit paranoid about the thread coming loose at the eye after cutting, either do a couple more half hitch securing knots, and dab it with the tiniest drop of Sally Hansen Hard as Nails, or smear a short length of the tying thread with very small amount of varnish on the end of a dubbing needle or cocktail stick, then finish the whipping and tie off.  

Repeat another eleven times and then go fishing, this is a fly that works early morning as well as during the afternoons. 

 FISHING TIP:  Apply floatant only to the poly yarn, legs, and the top half of the hackle.  Then, consider carefully which way the wind has been\ and is blowing, you might  discover that there are strips of water, along one of the bankings, or by back eddies, where the wind might have blown them in numbers, it is here that the fish will have been picking them off and possibly anticipating others to fall.   

Alternative:   If you struggle tying in the legs, because they’re a bit slippy, do them immediately after the dubbed thorax, once you have them firmly in place, tie in the poly yarn before completing as above, remember to have some dubbing on your thread to complete the very noticeable largish head on the fly.


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