When I think about the many historical traditions that make up fly fishing culture, images of dry fly fishing for trout quickly come to mind. Dry fly fishing is truly an artistic pursuit, and for me, it is the most enjoyable part of the fly fishing experience. In Michigan, we are blessed with hundreds of miles of quality trout water and several months of quality hatch-matching opportunities.
The Hexagenia limbata hatch is probably the most anticipated hatch in Michigan. The Hex hatch means big flies and big fish, but this is also the busiest time of the year on our trout waters. As angling effort increases, our trout have a tendency to become more selective in their feeding behavior. Due to the increasing fishing pressure I was experiencing, I began experimenting with more elaborate fly designs to fish during the hatch. My goal was to come up with a fly that was completely different from anything else available on the market; a fly that I could fish with absolute confidence in any situation; and more importantly, a Hex pattern that consistently produces during the daytime when the bugs are typically not present on the water.
The All Day Hex Dun has been, hands down, my best Hex pattern for a while now, and it has performed in every situation. An earlier version I was fishing was made with real deer hair and other vulnerable natural materials. The problem with the natural materials was primarily durability. The natural materials just didn’t hold up as well in the mouth of a fish with more than a few teeth. After playing with foam and detached body pins, I was able to fine tune more realistic fly sizes and profiles. I was impressed with how much better the foam flies actually fished.
The combination of the foam and moose body hair not only provided a realistic silhouette, but also proved to be tremendously durable. Simply put, I love this fly and it just flat out fishes! The success of this fly over multiple seasons with variable conditions led me down a path of expansion. I knew I had to have flies in this template for the Isonychia and Brown Drake hatches as well. Thus began the evolution of the All Day Dun series.
Tying: (Stonfo) Detached Body Pin
Hook: Gamakatsu B10S Stinger Size 8
Thread: Uni-Thread Yellow 6/0
Tail: Moose Body Hair
Body: Cream, Tan, or Yellow 2mm Fly Foam
Marker: Prismacolor Canary Yellow and Dark Brown
Hackle: Whiting ® High and Dry Hackles, 1 Cree and 1 Grizzly dyed Golden Straw
Wing: White Deer Belly Hair
01. Cut two tapered foam pieces.
02. Place the Detached Body Tool in the vise and attach the thread as shown. Leave the thread tag long. Do not cut the thread tag.
03. Tie in the two precut tapered foam pieces.
04. Prep and stack a clump of Moose Body Hair. Tie in the Moose Body Hair for the tail and leave the butt ends. Do not cut the butt ends.
05. Advance the thread on the pin and tie in the next segment. Make it slightly larger than the previous.
06. Pull the Moose Body Hair forward and tie it down. Repeat this process to form 5 segments; each segment should be slightly larger than the one previous.
07. Tie off the last segment and remove the Foam Body from the pin. Do not cut the thread tag yet.
08. Place the hook in the vise and attach the thread.
09. Tie in the Foam Body creating another segment slightly larger than the one previous.
10. Pull the Moose Body Hair and thread tag forward and tie them down. Before securing the thread tag, pull it tight thru the body so that the tension on the thread will cause the tail to curve upward. Once you get the desired effect, tie down the thread tag and cut off the excess.
11. Advance the thread on the hook and tie in the next segment, slightly larger than the previous. Tie down the Moose Body Hair and trim off the excess.
12. Take your scissors and cut the excess foam under the moose tail fairly close to the thread wraps. To make the tail sparser and more splayed, pull 2-3 moose fibers to each side and cut out the remaining fibers in the middle. Next, tie in the deer belly hair wing and hackles. Make a few wraps around the base of both the wing and hackle to prepare the post.
13. Advance the thread forward and tie in the final segment just behind the hook eye. Make several wraps of thread over the foam wrapping toward the wing before cutting the foam. After you cut the foam, clean up the area behind the hook eye.
14. Wrap the two hackles simultaneously 4-5 times around the wing post and tie them off. Whip finish, trim the hackle tips, and clean up any stray hackle fibers to complete the fly.
15. ( Optional ) Take a yellow marker and swipe it down the sides and underside of the foam body. Allow the marker to dry a minute, then take the brown marker and lightly mark some areas on the side and down the belly to give the fly a realistic appearance.
16. A close up view of the underside after applying markings.