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HomeB4Dark 11-16-2013 12:00 AM

Which flies can I tie using Woodchuck?
Several months ago, I got to watch Mr. Walter Babb tie up some flies for about half the day. And he mentioned that the "old timers" used whatever tying materials they had available (yellar hammer feathers, squirrel, chicken feather, pheasant feathers from ladies Sunday hats, and woodchuck/groundhog). I found a place that sold Woodchuck (or Groundhog) skins and bought a whole skin and now I've got enough Woodchuck to tie with for probably the rest of my life.

My problem is that I don't know which flies in the Smoky Mountains you can use woodchuck on. I think Walter used woodchuck as a tailing material but I can't remember on what fly or flies. Any ideas on which flies I can use woodchuck fibers on would be appreciated. Thanks. Harry Crabtree

Slider 11-16-2013 01:18 AM

You could use it as dubbing and make all kinds of flies such as buggers, many caddis patterns, recently as a year ago I thought I would never use dubbing, now I use all the time.

If some of the hairs are longer, you might could make some small streamers?

HomeB4Dark 11-16-2013 08:45 AM

Thanks Slider. That would work and I haven't normally kept any of the underfur on any hair. Maybe I shouldn't have been throwing that stuff away!

silvercreek 11-16-2013 09:33 AM

You can use the guard hairs for caddis wings. Check out the Chuck Caddis which is a pattern that has been around a long time.

silvercreek 11-16-2013 09:55 AM

Here is a link to more uses.

narcodog 11-16-2013 11:09 AM

Get a fur rake and use that under fur, that is some awesome dubbing. There are some old patterns that will specify fur from different sections of the hide. Such as belly fur because it is lighter then the back fur. You can also mix it with other materials to give yourself some custom blends.

No Hackle 11-16-2013 02:05 PM

First you need to determine how much wood would the woodchuck chuck if the woodchuck could chuck wood.That will give you the number of patterns that will be produced from the material used. Sorry couldn't resist.

flyman 11-16-2013 03:06 PM

That's a good link Silver Creek. I cut the hair then remove the underfur and stack it before i use it HomeB4. It makes great tails on drys, much tougher than hackle fibers. Makes a nice wing on a stimi and a caddis variant type pattern like the chuck caddis.

Stonefly 11-16-2013 10:51 PM

Woodchuck is supposedly tough to skin, henc it's not always carried by the supply houses. A whole skin sounds like a treasure.

I think it was a chuck caddis that Len Wright talked about in Fishing the Dry Fly as a Living Insect. ( hope I got that title right w/o checking my bookshelves)


HomeB4Dark 11-17-2013 07:45 AM


Originally Posted by silvercreek (Post 109025)

Thanks Silvercreek. That link had some great ideas and photos for flies using woodchuck. I appreciate it. And it sounds like we are just rediscovering something in fly tying that has been used effectively for years. Old wise Solomon was right again wasn't he? The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9. Didn't want to sound preachy but thought this was appropriate. Harry Crabtree

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