Herter's 3-to-1

Herters 3-to-1 Dry Fly imitates Baetis, PMD, and Trico for hard to catch, finicky fish.


CDC has revolutionized wing making in the hands of expert tiers. Click on the Learn More button under this dry fly for a great story about why it works and its development. Read it and you'll definitely buy this dry fly..
Size: 18, 20.

Cannot be shipped outside the US. Gift packaging not available.


Overall: 5.0/5 starsShow Rating Distribution 5.0 / 5 based on 6 reviews

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6 of 6 reviewers would recommend this product to a friend.

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Well-Tied Fly - 12/19/2012
    By: from Phoenix, AZ
    Top 100 Contributor

    I haven't fished this fly yet, but it looks like a well-tied fly that will hold up to the rigors of backcountry fishing. This has been my experience with all of Orvis' flies.

  • 5/5 stars 5/5


  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Nice ty - 10/18/2012
    By: from northern,Il
    Top 500 Contributor

    Ordered these for a trip up to the AuSable a while back. The brown's were sporatic but the brookies were hitting pretty good in late afternoon, evening and they loved this fly. This little guy is quite bouyant as is and after being chewed on afew times needed just a little blotting with some paper towel and a little liquid floatant to get back to work.

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Effective - 10/17/2012
    By: from CT
    Top 10 Contributor

    This is a very good pattern during a midge hatch and was productive for me

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    An "go2" fish catcher - 10/12/2012

    This fly is one that floas like a cork becasue of the amount of CDC and lim body and is perfect for fast water. However, I have used the saller version for pseudo hatches in flat water and it catches fish as well as other flat water emergers, stillborn duns. Perhaps it works on all conditions because u can see it so well. Won't fish w/out 3-1 in my box; its a "not so secret" weapon among guys fishing tough tailwater fish. Get it!

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Great fly - 10/12/2012

    Our tiny driftless streams have suffered from the drought of 2012 and fishing in mid October was over very skiddish fish taking BWO emergers in skinny crystal clear waters. A size 20 3-to-1 was perfect. One fly lasted all day by rinsing, blowing the CDC dry and fluffing it with a little fumed silica drying agent between fish. The fly is very easy to follow and see disappear as the fish suck it under without rippling the surface.

Learn More

Endura Waders

Triple Your Success over Hackled Flies with Herter's "3 to 1"

Herter's 3 to 1The “3 to 1” bug came to me almost by accident. I was wrestling with CDC fibers, trying to create a wing silhouette dun pattern for smart, wary trout in the Yampa River in Colorado. A great baetis hatch was in full swing and I had recently been humbled by the trout and a young kid.

It’s bad enough to think you can have every baetis secret known to man in your flyboxes and still have much success. Compound that with a kid from the US Ski Team less than half your age that is slamming fish after fish with a ridiculously oversized fly near you.

“Don’t you have to go train?” I would shout at every hook-up. The tiny town of Steamboat Springs has produced more Olympic athletes than any town in the world and a lot of these guys are first rate fishermen as well. This particular athlete, Travis Mayer, Silver Medalist at Salt Lake, grew up in New York State and fished over many smart trout back East.

“Hackled flies just don’t fool these fish and this CDC fly really fools them,” Travis explained. His New York State experience has served him well and I grudgingly marveled at the skill and results of this young angler. I hadn’t fished many CDC patterns lately, as I always felt they are a good one-fish fly and nearly impossible to float for a second fish. But after watching Travis’s success, I knew I had to find a CDC pattern that would work.

Every day, two seasons ago, I had the good fortune of working near the Yampa, doing stream improvement and building ponds. I was forever finding many creative excuses to drop every thing at 10:30 and race to the Yampa and fish a great baetis hatch.

The river is in a bloom state because the city of Steamboat is doing excellent stream improvement, combined with much better fishing regulations. I regard the Yampa as one of the best dry fly rivers in the West right now and certainly a top proving ground for fly patterns with big smart fish.

While fighting with CDC fibers, I found that by looping the fibers and cutting the loop off at the top, I could create a bug that floated well, gave a wonderful wing silhouette look, fool fish after fish, and more importantly, fool trout, 3 to 1 over any fly I had ever fished.

The pattern is so exciting because it works well as an oversized bug, a great joy for my 55-year-old eyesight. It presents a great wing silhouette look and can be dressed in almost any dry fly pattern-midges, tricos, baetis, pale morning duns, drakes, etc.. An oversized bug, easy to tie, that fools smart fish better than any other bug. I was delirious.

I tied up 12 prototypes and was fishing a particularly difficult section of the river, weed choked and slow moving. The rising trout would drift down with the bugs, carefully inspecting each one. My son, Tom, watched as a 20-inch brown casually swam over and confidently inhaled his size 18 baetis. A fishing frenzy followed and we lost all 12 bugs in 2 glorious hours. The “3 to 1” was born.

I’ve had the good fortune of developing fly fishing lodges in the West and hiring first rate fishing guides. These guides are now scattered all over Western waters. To a man, and a few good women, they all agree with me that the “3 to 1” is a great bug. For the last two seasons, this bug has been the secret weapon of some very good fishermen.

The cat is out of the bag now about the “3 to 1”. If this bug doesn’t immediately improve your success with big smart rising fish, perhaps you should take up golf.

Steve Herter, well-known Western angler, does stream and pond habitat consulting and lives on a little ranch in Colorado, near the “last bastion of normalcy”- Meeker.

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