Leisenring’s Favorite Twelve Wet Flies in list form and photos

Last winter I posted a very popular series, James Leisenring’s Favorite Twelve wet flies, from his book The Art of Tying the Wet Fly. What was missing was a single reference list of the dozen. Let’s remedy that. So now you have the list, a photo of each pattern, and a link to the original post with my comments. For those anglers enjoying the Christmas holiday spirit, this certainly beats the snot out of twelve drummers drumming.

Leisenring’s Favorite Dozen. “As every fisherman has his favorite patterns, here are mine…” — James Leisenring

Brown or Red Hackle

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Gray Hackle

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Old Blue Dun

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Blue Dun Hackle

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Coachman

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Black Gnat

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Hare’s Ear

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Iron Blue Wingless

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Light Snipe and Yellow

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Pale Watery Dun Wingless

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Tup’s Nymph

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Iron Blue Nymph

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Leisenring’s Favorite Twelve Wets: Old Blue Dun

The Old Blue Dun would make a fine representation of those bigger early season BWOs we get on the Farmington. Use a darker blue dun hackle and it’s easy to imagine it as a Hendrickson. Clearly, Leisenring thought highly of this pattern. And the trout you present it to will, too.

Old Blue Dun

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Hook: Dry or wet fly, 12-14
Silk: Primrose yellow
Hackle: Blue dun hen
Tail: 2-3 glassy fibers from a rusty blue dun cock hackle
Rib: One strand yellow buttonhole twist
Body: Muskrat underfur spun on primrose yellow silk, a little of the silk showing through at the tail
Wings: Starling (optional)
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Tying Notes: We’re back to the DMC embroidery floss (#744) as our buttonhole twist substitute. Make sure you pick out the muskrat guard hair — you want the soft, dark underfur. I didn’t leave a lot of the yellow silk showing through at the tail here; I wonder if Leisenring’s intention was to craft the illusion of an egg-layer? Nonetheless, this fly will hunt.