Royal Wulff

The Royal Wulff is one of three dry fly patterns that were designed and made famous by Lee Wulff. The others were the Gray Wulff and White Wulff. He often tied them by hand and fished them for trout but also tied them in larger sizes and fished them for salmon in Northeastern Canada. I always have a dozen or so of the Royal Wulff in sizes 14 and 16 in my fly box for trout in the California Sierras and Rockies. It is a very attractive patter that is relatively easy to see on the surface with its white wings. Materials for the pattern are as follows:

  • Hook: Daiichi, 1110, Size 12-18, or Daiichi, 1170, Size 10
  • Thread: Black, Gordon Griffiths 14/0 or Danville 6/0
  • Wing: White Calf Tail, Split
  • Tail: Black or Brown Moose Body Hair
  • Body: First 1/3 Peacock Herl, Middle 1/3 Red Rayon Floss, Front 1/3 Herl
  • Hackle: Coachman, Brown or Furnace Whiting Dry Fly Hackle
  • Head: Black Thread/Water Base Head Cement or Sally Hansen Hard as Nails

Tying the Royal Wulff as follows:

1. Bend the barb down as the hook is placed in the vise and start the thread at mid-shank with a reverse jam knot. Wrap the thread to eye, counter spinning the thread to flatten and lay each thread wrap side-by-side; don't overlap thread wraps to maintain a flat thread base. Wrap thread 2/3 back from eye towards tie-in point of thread at mid-shank. The thread will hang 1/3 of shank back from the eye as the tie-in point for the wing. I find laying the initial thread base on half the hook shank allows me to visually judge proportions more accurately.

2. Cut a bunch of white calf tail hair and stack to even tip ends. Calf tail will not stack perfectly even due to crinkly nature and that is fine. You will learn to judge the amount of hair with experience; too much hair can be removed as desired, but it is difficult to add hair. Remove hair to discard reversed hairs and re-stack hair. Remove hair from stacker with tips pointing towards hook eye with fingers of right-handed. Hold bunch equal to shank length with tips forward between left thumb and opposing middle finger and tie-in where thread hangs in step 1. Hold bunch on top of shank, make two thread wraps side-by-side and towards hook bend and pull thread up to tighten hair bunch down on top of shank. Continue thread wraps half way towards hook bend, tightening thread upward with each wrap to keep hair on top of shank. Cup ends of hair and wrap thread, always side-by-side to keep thread base flat, to tie-in point of wing, wrap thread in front of wing to eye and back to wing, holding wing upward to force thread wraps under front of wing base to hold wing upward. Make one thread wrap behind wings and leave thread hanging.

3. Post and divide the calf tail wing equally by pushing thumb nail at front of wing base towards rear of hook. Rock thumb nail slightly from side-to-side and the wing material will separate perfectly into two equal portions on each side of hook. Make four figure eights to post and separate wings and finish with thread wrap behind wing bases. Make three thread wraps around far wing and finish with thread behind wing to finish posting the far wing. Make three thread wraps around base of near wing, finishing with thread behind wing base to finish posting wings. Wrap thread to hook bend, above barb, and leave hanging.

4. Cut a bunch of moose body hair, approximately equal amount to wing stubs, and stack to even tip ends. Remove hair from stacker, check ends and re-stack if necessary. Remove hair from stacker with tip ends pointing rearward from hook. Tail should be approximately equal to shank length. Hold hair between thumb and opposing finger of left hand, if right-handed, and cut leaving stub ends length of distance from hook bend to stub of wings. Tie tail in on top of shank similar to method of tying on wing material. Hold tail up to keep on top of shank and wrap thread forward to base of wing and back to tie-in point of tail. Make one thread wrap behind and under tail to hold up slightly and one wrap over tail at tie-in point. Leave thread hanging at hook bend.

5. Select one peacock herl or barb from the left side of the feather shank and tie herl in on bottom of the hook shank at the tie-in point of the tail (see above). Herl should be tied in with barbules curling forward. Wrap herl forward four wraps with barbules curving forward. Tie in herl and wrap thread forward over herl on bottom side of shank an equal distance of the first four wraps of herl. Leave herl hanging at this point. Tie in one strand of red floss at this point and wrap rearward to herl and then forward to tie in point of floss. Tie in floss in front of hanging herl to equal distance of rear herl and leave floss hanging. Reverse wrap remaining herl forward a distance equal to rear section of herl. Herl will sometimes flip over to lay barbules towards rear when reversed wrapped. It is not a problem if they don't. Tie in herl and clip both herl and floss to remove. The herl and floss body or abdomen should be approximately one half the shank length.

6. Select a Whiting rooster hackle of appropriate size (approximately 1.5 gap width). Remove barbs from approximately 1/8 inch of feather shaft, hold hackle at 90 degree angle to underside of shank at tie-in point of abdomen, with top of hackle forward. Tie-in hackle shaft on underside of shank by wrapping thread in side-by-side wraps to eye. Make three wraps rearward from eye to what will be the forward tie-in point of hackle and rear of fly head. Wrap hackle forward, being sure to place one wrap in front of another as with thread wraps and tie in at forward tie-in point or rear of head. Tie-in by making three thread wraps towards eye and three more thread wraps rearward to back of head. Hold thread firmly with left hand and snap hackle off with right hand. This will leave the hackle shaft under the thread wraps with no exposed butt requiring covering. Remove remaining barbs at front of head with needle-nose pliers. Whip finish thread in side-by-side wraps from rear of head to hook eye, clip thread with one scissor blade and apply preferred head cement to finish.




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