Leisenring’s Favorite Twelve Wets: Pale Watery Dun Wingless

We see the North Country influence again in Leisenring’s Pale Watery Dun Wingless. Leisenring chose the noun dun wisely, as this is clearly more adult than emerger — heck, you could even go spinner. It’s a far different pattern than the Pale Watery Wingless (AKA The Magic Fly) I tie; my version is more Usual than Poult Bloa, and I use it almost exclusively for the emerger stage. For Farmington River anglers, the Pale Watery Dun Wingless has Light Cahills written all over it, and I know of a certain pod of trout on a certain stretch of river that will be driven absolutely out of their minds by this fly on an early June evening.

Pale Watery Dun Wingless



Hook: Dry or wet fly, 12-14
Silk: Primrose yellow
Hackle: Pale honey dun
Tail: Two or three pale honey dun cock fibers
Body: Natural raffia grass, lacquer optional
Tying Notes: A light ginger hen neck makes a lovely pale honey dun. Use it for the hackle and the tailing material. I went all in on authenticity and bought a bundle of raffia grass online; you’ll need to strip or cut a strand so it’s about 1/16th of an inch wide. Treat it like tinsel: attach behind the hackle, wind to the tail, then back, making a nice segmented body. I can’t imagine this fly would last without some kind of lacquer, so I used Sally Hansen’s HAN. If you don’t want to bother with raffia grass, the fish will not object to straw colored silk or thread or even Swiss straw. You can find a general North Country spider video tutorial here.

12 comments on “Leisenring’s Favorite Twelve Wets: Pale Watery Dun Wingless

  1. Steve says:

    Never thought of Raffia being used as a fly body! That said its off to the Craft Store for embroidery thread!

  2. Greg Tarris says:

    Funny I was thinking your Magic fly was like a version of the Usual.

    Given I do not tie, I know that they are similar and can try to get a sulphur or creme colored Usual as an ersatz.

  3. michael silfen says:


    This series is great! I am tying all twelve in anticipation of trying to use only them as the season progresses.

    I have a suggestion that would certainly prove helpful to me and possibly other aspiring wet fly neo-traditionalists. Can I get a list from you that matches which fly to potentially which hatch? I know that for each pattern you describe you mention which hatch but I thought it might be useful to get a chart summarizing the uses for all twelve.


    • Steve Culton says:

      It’s a great idea, Michael, but it’s in want of some time and effort; I’ve got so many other things on my plate right now that I don’t see it happening in the near future. But it does have merit and I appreciate the suggestion! 🙂

  4. Ray Hamilton says:

    Steve these posts have been great. Love soft hackles. Keep them coming. Especially the Pale Waterless wet.

  5. […] action on the Squirrel and Ginger top dropper, Magic Fly middle dropper, and Leisenring’s Pale Watery Dun Wingless (pictured) on […]

  6. […] yesterday: a Squirrel and Ginger top dropper, Magic Fly middle dropper, and Leisenring’s Pale Watery Dun Wingless on point. First cast, BANG, and it was virtually non-stop action for the next hour. Pow! Smack! It […]

  7. […] a tag. Speaking of Pale Watery, keen students of Leisenring’s fly patterns will remember the Pale Watery Dun Wingless — one of his “favorite twelve” — from last year’s series here on […]

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