Woodchuck, or is it Groundhog?

Lately I’ve been messing around with tying “one-animal” flies. That is, all materials come from the same beast, excepting the thread and the hooks. The post that I did a while back on the Casual Dress, got me thinking about this topic. The Casual Dress almost makes the cut – but the ostrich herl head rules it out. The first animal that I attempted is Marmota monax; the lowly groundhog – or woodchuck as some of you may say.

I’ve seen groundhog guard hair mentioned as a tailing material from time to time – so I picked up a patch of hog a few years ago, but never really used it.  The guard-hairs are great for tails, but I found that the banded coloration makes for nice looking wings as well.   The underfur is quite unruly, it is not easily dubbed – and you really need to use a dubbing loop to make it work at all.  That said, it seems to float well.  My “extensive” testing ( in a glass of water) revealed that it produces a pretty buoyant fly.

I have to admit that these are some fairly ugly flies. But there’s something buggy about them – I think I like them.  Please note that there has been no field testing of these flies.  This is merely an experiment at the vise – I’ll update you on the results if and when these make it to the stream.

woodchuck_comparadun

Woodchuck Comparadun

Woodchuck Comparadun:

Hook: Curved Shank, 3X-long hook

Body: Woodchuck underfur, tied in using a dubbing loop

Tail: Woodchuck guard hair

Wing: Woodchuck guard hair – I tied this in using a dubbing loop like a “fur-hackle”, then shaped it into the comparadun style “fan-wing”.

woodchuck emerger_01

Woodchuck Emerger

Woodchuck Emerger:

Hook: Curved Shank, 3X-long hook

Body: Woodchuck underfur, tied in using a dubbing loop

Tail: Woodchuck guard hair

Wing: Woodchuck guard hair.

Woodchuck Floating Nymph/Emerger

Woodchuck Comparadun:

Hook: Curved Shank, 3X-long hook

Body: Woodchuck underfur, tied in using a dubbing loop

Tail: Woodchuck guard hair

“Legs”: Woodchuck guard hair – tied in using a dubbing loop like a “fur-hackle”.

9 Comments on Woodchuck, or is it Groundhog?

  1. I’ve got a special place in my heart for the groundhog (my birthday is Groundhog Day). But I’ve never thought to use them for tying. Looks buggy enough to me. Let us know how it holds up to the water.

    • I really missed the boat by not getting this posted on groundhog day! I will keep you posted on any success with these.

      Happy belated birthday! Funny that you should bring that up because today is my birthday actually.

  2. Happy actual birthday! I hope it turns out to be a good one for you.

  3. Those will work! I particularly like the comparadun, but I suspect the trout will like them all. I’ve seen a few pictures of flies that used hair as hackle, tied sparse like a traditional soft hackle. Supposed to be very effective and more durable.

    Happy birthday!

    • Thanks Chris. I’m going to try some other “hair-hackle” flies, the idea is interesting to me for some reason. I’m thinking maybe a Sakasa Kebari/funnel dun style fly. I’ll post some pics if I come up with anything interesting.

  4. Hey Anthony…those are beautiful ‘buggy’ creations. I imagine you are itching to try them. Really suggestive…
    SB

  5. Nice Anthony,

    Another one animal pattern is Fran Betters “The Usual” it is killer here in New England.

    • Hey John,

      I’ll have to tie some up some Usuals. I had forgotten all about that pattern. I bought some snow-shoe feet a while back for just that purpose, but never used them.

what say you?