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Trouts Journal

How To Tie // A Step-by-Step Guide To Tying The WD-40

Brandon Rodriguez / Oct 19, 2021

With the recent proper falling of snow dusting the ski resorts here in Colorado, my mind is starting to turn into the "off-season". There are many different channels fly fishing anglers can take when they are deciding what to do with their idle time during the colder months of the year. Drink. Ski. Tie Flies. Drink some more. For me, I see nothing wrong with doing all of these. Particularly in that order.

Jokes aside, the colder months of the year (like we are in now) are always a fantastic time to start fly tying. However, choosing the "right fly" to get started with in the realm of fly tying can be intimidating. It can be intimidating staring at a wall of fly tying materials and not knowing what to choose. Trust me, I have been there - almost in paralysis of choice looking at a shop's extensive selection of fly-tying materials. Personally, my favorite way to go about tying flies is to buy fly tying materials that go beyond the particular fly pattern you are interested in tying at the moment. As an example, if you are new to fly tying do not just start off by purchasing bright pink 1/0 thread for a particular saltwater fly if you predominantly fish freshwater streams in Colorado. Instead, I suggest that you start off by purchasing some Olive or Tan UTC thread which is used in a large number of freshwater flies here in Colorado. By deciding to go with a more general tying material to start off with you will realize that the material can be used in...well more flies thus setting you up with a more practical fly tying set up. Fly tyers with a more practical fly tying setup typically find themselves tying more flies and coming up with their own patterns faster than those who only get specific materials for specific flies.

Here at Trouts, we take great pride in our fly tying selection. We have a huge selection of tying materials that range from synthetic materials, natural materials, beads, hooks, thread the list could go on, and on. If you are new to fly tying or even looking for a specific material our knowledgeable staff is here when you need help deciding what material is best for your tying project.

Today we will be covering a fantastic pattern to start off your fly tying journey with, The WD-40. This fly is a fantastic tie to have in your box this time of year and is the best quality fly to have as we move into those colder winter months like January and February which is typically when the fly fishing gets a little technical and difficult.

The WD-40 was originally designed by Mark Engler and was designed to mimic a midge emerger. While originally designed to mimic an emerging midge, it does a killer job when fish are keyed in on blue-winged olive nymphs, as well (THIS TIME OF YEAR). This fly uses a good mix of natural and synthetic materials and is a fantastic way to learn how to use each one. Enjoy today's post where we provide you both a video tutorial and a step-by-step guide for tying up the WD-40. This video was originally shot and edited by Trouts Fly Fishing Guide and seasoned fly tyer, Josh Diller. If you have had the opportunity to get out on a guided trip with Josh you know he is a very "fishy" dude and an excellent guide. That passion for guiding shows in his fly tying as well. A list of materials can be found below or, come swing by the shop or hit us up over live chat and we will get you squared away for tying up the WD-40

What Materials Do I Need?
Watch How To Tie The WD-40 - VIDEO

Step By Step Guide

Step One:


Start by securing the bend of your hook into the jaws of your vice. Then, with your olive UTC thread establish a thread base just behind the eye of the hook.

Step Two:

Although the recipe for this fly calls for the use of wood duck, we will be using a mallard flank in the color "Wood duck" This material will establish your tail and your wing case for this fly. Removing 8-10 fibers you will measure your fibers roughly the length of the hook shank. Once you have your length correct you will secure your fibers with a handful of wraps making a slender body.

Step Three:


Next, you will establish a head for your fly. By doing this you will be using your olive-colored dubbing. In this step, it is important to remember that a little dubbing will go a long way. By grabbing a small pinch of dubbing and twisting it around your thread you will start making your "dubbing noodle". Once you have made an even "dubbing noodle" you will start wrapping your dubbing just behind the eye of the hook and continue making rearward wraps. Once you finish wrapping the dubbing you will have effectively made a "head" for your fly.

Step Five:


Once you have completed the making of your dubbing head, pull back the mallard flank (that is extending off the front of the hook) down the back of the hook shank and make a couple of wraps to secure. Once completed you will have made your flies wing casing. Once your wing casing is secured clip/trim the remaining mallard flanks.

Step Six:


With your wing casing secure, make a handful of thread wraps giving your fly a tapered body. Once this is complete, apply head cement directly to your thread and continue to make thread wraps to secure everything in place. With your thread wraps now secure, it is time to tie everything up with three whip finishes.

Make Sure You Have All Your Materials!

Umpqua TMC 2457 Fly Fishing Hook - Qty. 25
Umpqua TMC 2457 Fly Fishing Hook - Qty. 25
$8.65
Wapsi UTC Thread
Wapsi UTC Thread
$1.95
Hareline Mallard Flank Feathers
Hareline Mallard Flank Feathers
$3.30
Hareline Scud Dubbing
Hareline Scud Dubbing
$2.95

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