A Catskill Classic Translucence Dun

A rainy day yesterday, though a little box arrived from Dette Flies with enough inspiration to blend a bit more silk dubbing and tie a few flies. The results of my cutting and blending combine cream, brown, and cinnamon silk with a few inches of “Brick” colored Dazl Aire, frayed and blended to create a silk translucence series version of my reddish Beaverkill Hendrickson.

The package contained my white Ephemera silk, a better choice than even the finest polyester tying thread over the Crystal finish Daiichi 1182 dry fly hook. I wrote a few days past of Robert Smith’s treatise on Mr. Dunne’s white painted hooks; the reflective Crystal finish hook with pure white tying silk is my modern answer to honor Dunne’s concept. The fly is tied in the Catskill style on an 1182 in size 12. The tailing is speckled grizzly Coq-de-Leon, the hackle Charlie Collins beautiful Barred Rusty Dun. I can’t wait to get it wet and see the glow of spring sunshine through it’s silken body!

I plan to tie a few more Catskill Style dries to add to my Translucence Series: my Atherton No. 3’s, March Browns and Quill Gordons. The experiments will continue with CDC duns in each of those once my supply of hooks arrives. I can already tell I’m going to have to devote a separate fly box to the new entries in the Translucence Series, just to make it easy to give them a sincere trial on the rivers. I labelled one box for new dries today, adding various early spring patterns from my storage box, and it is already full. The Translucence patterns may well end up in a larger box than the thin Wheatley compartment boxes I have taken to carrying in my vest.

I love Charlie Collins’ gorgeous barred rooster capes, as I have for the past thirty years! Barred Rusty Dun and a dark Barred Ginger are my latest acquisitions: favorites for Catskill dries, whether classic or parachutes.

The success I have enjoyed over the past two seasons tying extensively with silk dubbing has made it worth the effort to expand the trial. The white silk and Crystal finish hooks should maximize the translucence of these dubbed fly bodies, particularly on the bright days many anglers view as a curse. I have had some of my greatest fly fishing under the kind of gorgeous clear, sunny blue skies that other fly fishers shun, days that have made me throw my gaze to the heavens and give thanks for the beauty and grace that was granted.

I have confidence when fishing clear water under bright skies, and that certainly helps. The fact that I have stressed natural coloring, translucency and movement within my flies for decades is, I believe, the major factor. There is no doubt that trout get a better look at our imitations under these conditions, especially in the slow currents of pools. Marinaro showed us the inspection rise decades ago. Trout aren’t afraid to take a closer look! Though quite clear, the waters of his Letort provided more challenging vision to the trout, due to the varying microcurrents from the stream’s wavering beds of water weeds. A slow, deep Catskill pool over a clean rock and gravel river bed with high sun must seem like HDTV in comparison.

The basic sulfur comparadun, enhanced with a Crystal finish hook, natural barred hackles for the tails, a two color blend of pure silk dubbing and natural dun and dyed pale yellow CDC for it’s wing: natural coloring, translucence and movement! A very simple fly…

4 thoughts on “A Catskill Classic Translucence Dun

  1. Hi,
    I really like today’s posting.
    Actually I enjoy all your posts, just today’s was extra good.
    It is nice to see someone mention an Atherton fly. I recently finished reading his book and find his theory on natural coloring very sound. Please tell me more about the silk dubbing and how you make it,

    “The results of my cutting and blending combine cream, brown, and cinnamon silk with a few inches of “Brick” colored Dazl Aire, frayed and blended to create a silk translucence series version of my reddish Beaverkill Hendrickson.”

    I did a quick search on the Dazl Aire and could only find brief mentions of it and they were 7 to 9 years old.Is it still available?

    Your Beaverkill Hendrickson looks awesome!

    I live in NH and fish the WB in early July. A friend invites me each year to join him and his sons at the WB Angler’s Resort.
    Where on the WB would I have to go to find some Small Mouth Bass?

    Thank you very much.
    Richard Sims
    Harrisville, NH


    1. Kreinik Co. of Parkersburg, West Va. makes the silk dubbing. To blend it I use a coffee bean grinder. You must pull out the silk in very thin veils of material then cut across the veil with cuts about a quarter inch apart. THat way you get short pieces with just a few strands of the fine silk. Don’t spin it much in the grinder, just touch the switch lightly once or twice so it starts and immediately slows down and stops.
      You won’t find bass on the West Branch Delaware. For those you will want to fish the mainstem Delaware downstream, mainly below Callicoon, NY, though if water temp gets high in summer you can find them upriver from there.


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