When was the last time you had a fish take your fly as it drifted down beside a natural, inches away? Or had an adult dragon, hovering in close for a good look? Maybe a swallow swoops down and inspects your offering just as it settled to the water? No? I won't tell you it happens all the time... but often enough to warrant interest in this winging technique.
Wallywing Photo
The Wallywing is not so much a single fly pattern but a single body feather winging technique that can be used on any mayfly pattern. The body feathers of upland game birds, and water foul can be used for the construction of these wings. Blue eared pheasants, and Canada geese are beautifully dun coloured. Guinea foul, mallard, woodduck, and teal all work well with this winging technique and are sources for excellent colours. Don't pass this fly off as just a "Wonder Wing Fly," (1934). William Golding's innovative fly uses two feathers (one for each wing), and retains the centre stalk in each wing. A very durable construction method. However two feathers on a dry fly add excess weight, stiffness and bulk to it. With the "Wallywing" innovation we remove the weight and bulk of the second feather and also the centre stalk of the feather we do use. Also, the inherent stiffness of the two feather fly is eliminated.

The Wallywing technique creates the most realistic translucent profile you will find on any fly. For spent wings their translucent appearance is enhanced when they touch the water. Take a bowl of water and float your current spent wing fly pattern. Then float a spent Wallywing made of white mallard wing and no hackle. Enjoy!

Match the hatch.
The finest thread you can handle.
Elk leg hair or any stiff bristly hair. Moose hair comes to mind.
Body feather, from any water foul or upland game bird of appropriate colour.
I like goose biots.
I like one grizz and one brown (ginger is good too). Or match the hatch. Tyed the classic way, or parachute. This wing is suitable for Frank Johnson's "Waterwalker" style hackling.


Soak the Ringneck pheasant feather in water to soften the stalk. Leave them for about 10 minutes or more, even overnight. I've left them soaking overnight and found they are very compliant.

While the pheasant feather is still wet, brush feathers' barbs against its stalk (against the grain) and leave a "V" (the feather's tip), pointing ahead.

When brushing the feather's barbs back against its stalk be careful to have them all stacked on the top side of the stalk. Looks like one end of a little canoe in your fingers (fig. 1). Hold the feather so that the barbs are snug against the stalk and mount the feather to the shank that way. Keeping the feather wet, helps to control the barbs. Always mount the feather to the shank with the butt toward the hook bend and the barbs stacked on top.
Figure 1

Clip off feather butt for a gentle slope to ward the flies tail.

Take a barb in your fingers (one that isn't tyed down), from the bottom of the "V" on the side of the fly that's away from you. Gently pull down along the stalk toward the butt of the feather (fig. 2). Peel the barbs off the stalk right down to the tying thread. Repeat for the other wing on your side of the fly. When you're done, it should look like figure 3.
Figure 2

Clip out the husk of the centre stalk.

Stand up the wings and secure in that position. Clip off the barbs that are sticking out on the top of your wings. Or if the wings are too tall, clip off the top of the wing to bring it down to the right proportions, (hook shank length). Pull out extra barbs after adjusting wing size. For better balance separate the upright wings slightly. At this stage the wings could be tyed in the spent wing position, with a figure eight of the tying thread.

Now for the rest of the dressing (start with the tail), and those wings are a great post for parachute style hackling. Or Frank Johnson's "Waterwalker" style hackling. For those unfamiliar with the Waterwalker hackling, its a hackle around each wing. Much like a parachute but instead of horizontal the hackle is angled down on each side and up between the now widely divided wings.
Figure 3


Mayfly drawings in header are by my 14 year old son & fishin' bud, Shane Henry Lutz, the others are mine.
If you use the wing, give me the feedback please. Wally Lutz can be contacted at: wallywing@telusplanet.net

Contents Copyrighted 1997 all rights reserved.