Fly Tying · On the Vise · PHWFF Fly Tying

On My Vise: Isonychia Soft Hackle

The Isonychia soft hackle is an excellent pattern to fish during an Iso hatch, and for me it’s a pattern that I will swing, even through rising fish.For those of you in our New City group, This was one of the patterns that we discussed and tied during our meeting on July 26, 2016.

Isonychia Soft Hackle
Isonychia Soft Hackle

Isonychia soft hackle

Hook: standard wet fly hook

Thread: black

Tailing and hackle: Whiting’s Hebert Miner Wet Fly Hackle in Wild type Brown.

Dubbing: A mix of red and brown SLF squirrel dubbing as well as guard hairs taken off of a squirrel skin.

Stripe: doubled over white thread or one strand of thicker thread or embroidery floss

Ribbing: Gold Wire


If you are looking for a substitute for the wild type brown, please see the blog post here.

Tie in Tailing

Load your bobbin, Secure your hook in the vise and start your thread. Run the thread down the hook shank to the base and Tie in your tailing

(If you are following along from our PHWFF group in New City, or just Need a little extra help; click the highlighted links to certain techniques and it will open in a new window)

Tying in thread stripeie in your white thread at the base of the tail

With the tailing in place, tie in your white thread at the base of the shank.

Tie in wire and stripe material

Tie in your gold wire at the base of the shank as well, to the side of the white thread.

Mixing the dubbing:

Next up is dubbing and SLF squirrel has got to be my favorite. What I do for this pattern is I take a mixture of red and dark brown SLF and I mix them together. I then snip a patch of guard hairs off of a full squirrel skin and mix them in.

This will give you a good reddish-brown mix but be sure to adjust this based on the Isonychias in your area because colors always vary.

Dubbing the body:

The dubbing noodle

Using your dubbing, create a dubbing noodle.

Dub forward

Start dubbing your hook shank, stopping about 1/4 of the way behind the eye, ensuring that you leave enough room to tie in and wrap the hackle.

Once you have dubbed the body it’s now time to create the visible stripe that goes along an Isonychias natural nymph body and rib it with wire . You will do this by Bringing the white thread forward, then using your finger nail it to hold it down as you tie it in with a wrap.

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Creating the hackle collar

Now its time to select, prepare and tie in your hackle.

Once your hackle is wrapped, you can whip finish and your fly is complete!

A few turns and your done!

That’s it! I hope this pattern brings you luck! I like to fish this one on an upstream cast and then a lift at the end of your swing.

If they are taking them on top as well, feel free to add some dry fly floatant to these and fish them right in the film. It has caught many trout for me that way.


12 thoughts on “On My Vise: Isonychia Soft Hackle

    1. Hey Vicky! I hope all is well I haven’t seen you in a while !

      if you need to purchase them immediately online they have them here
      Scroll down to “Brown’s natural and dyed” and select wild type Brown. It Comes up as $12.50 on the menu.

      If you don’t want to order online, you can try Tom’s over at Anglers Den again, and I have also purchased them from Joe over at Dette trout flies

      The Beaverkill angler has them also as well as Joe but they’re not on their site for some reason I did a search

      It seems to be difficult to find that wild type Brown from what I hear. So when I go around looking for more, I do find it I buy an extra one. You can use other substitutes such as just a mottled brown hen saddle, and adjust those colors to where you are fishing.

      But take a look and try those places and if worse comes to worse and you can’t find any, please send me an email and I will send you some in the snail mail!


      1. Yes they are (if not already) This is a great iso pattern. Honestly don’t go to crazy if you can’t find it right away. Just use a mottled dark brown hen saddle (and if you don’t have any, I have plenty of those if you need! I’ll drop one in the mail tomorrow) just send me and email


  1. Thanks for posting this pattern. I had to substitute almost every element (except for your optional flashabou back stripe), but the basic design followed yours posted here. Fished damp straight across, it was drawing strikes left and right (a nice fish broke off due to a compromised leader) and then an identical replacement ended up netting me a very nice 20″ brown on the Housatonic yesterday. Great, simple, and effective ISO design. Two thumbs up!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Indeed, it is quick. Sorry about the mistake with the flashabou — I got that from a different (and much more fussy) online pattern, which is what induced me to bring it into your pattern here. Having just started fishing NY/CT, I’m finding the Housy an interesting riddle. Very different from the California waters I used to fish. In any case, thanks for the pattern and I”m slowly scanning through your excellent blog. The tying and photography are well above par. Kudos!

        Liked by 1 person

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