Video: How to Tie a Red Quill Dry Fly

Written by: Phil Monahan

The Hendrickson hatch is prime time on the Battenkill for catching large brown trout on dry flies, and everyone around here gets excited when the first reddish bugs are spotted on the water. The Red Quill is a classic imitation of Ephemerella subvaria, and there have been flies by this name since at least the 1880’s when Frederick Halford wrote about it. But the most popular pattern was created by Art Flick in 1933 and included in his Art Flick’s Streamside Guide (1947). The style is classic Catskills, with a slim, tapered body, and all the right proportions.

In this great video from Tightline Productions, author and blogger Matt Grobert demonstrates his technique for tying Flick’s pattern, and he makes the sometimes fussy Catskills process seem easy. So tie a few of these, and when the big bugs appear in April, you’ll be ready.

     Red Quill

     Hook: Standard dry-fly hook (here a TMC #100), sizes 12-16.
     Thread 1: Olive, 6/0 or 140-denier.
     Wing: Wood-duck flank-feather fibers.
     Tails: Medium or dark dun hackle fibers.
     Body: Quills from 2 reddish brown neck hackles.
     Hackles: 2 medium or dark dun hackles.
     Head: Tying thread.
     Adhesive: Light head cement.

7 thoughts on “Video: How to Tie a Red Quill Dry Fly

  1. Dan Gracia

    Another beautifully done video!

    I would suggest one little difference on the way it is tied. I would lay a thread base down to the tail tie-in position and put the tail in first instead of the wing. Then move the thread back up; mount the wings; and cut off the butts of the wings so they angle down to butts of the tail fibers without leaving a gap in between them. This makes a night and day smoother underbody for tying the quill in and makes a nicely tapered body instead of one with a dip in it in between where the tail butts ended and the wing butts ended. Yes, you do have to move the thread up and come back one more time than with the method shown here but it results in a superior looking nicely tapered body.

    I know it’s nit-picking and the fish won’t care but it definitely looks better if you get a smoothly tapered underbody before wrapping quill, floss, or tinsel bodies over it.



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