Fly Tying · Fly Tying Q&A · Material Talk · On the Vise

On My Vise: “The Moosemane Olive”, With tutorial and tying tips

“The Moosemane Olive”

“The Moosemane Olive”

Hook: Nymph Hook

Tail: Pheasant Tail Fibers

Body: Two strands of olive moose mane (one dark one light)

Thorax: Rabbit/Squirrel mix in olive and natural

Wing Case: Folded over pheasant tail

Im a big fan of trying to come up with “all around generic patterns” and this is another great one! These flies when tied very small, will imitate those little blue wing olive nymphs, and on a bigger hook are another great “generic” fly such as a hares ear and pheasant tail.

Back view of the Moosemane Olive

Tying them on a heavier hook and then dousing them with a little floatant, will allow them to ride higher in the column and work well on a swing during a hatch. Thats another effective way to fish these since Many mayflies are taken before ever reaching the waters surface, and swinging them is a good way to get a trouts attention when they are targeting emergers.

Moosemane: when using alternate strands, it will give you that segmented look
Enough in a pack to tie many flies!

What is Moosemane?

Well its a great use for tails on dry flies and used for segmented bodies on dries. If you have ever seen my friend and Catskill Fly Tyers Guild President Dave Brandt, demonstrating his Moosemane Adams, then you’ll know where I’m going with this. He’s a great teacher. And If not? Then you’ll learn today!

Another version of the Moosemane Adams Dave had given to me at a show.

I remember when I saw Dave do this with the natural moosemane a few years ago, I was astounded at how simple it is to use two strands and to what great effect it can achieve!  It was awesome. I then started doing it with my nymphs.

 Lets take a closer look..

A nicely dyed moosemane

I feel like I’m watching the movie Super Troopers..



Another closeup. As you can see the colors vary from light to dark



What you want to do is to select two fibers that are of about the same diameter to give you even segments when wrapping.

Got two? Now lets take an even closer look.
At the tips of the moosemane you’ll see that the colors are a little darker..

And then lighten up as they go down towards the base.

Remember this when tying in the material.

Because if you wrap it in too far to the tips, you’ll have to go 4 or 5 turns before they show the real segments.

“So the ends are better?”

Nope. Because if you tie them in too far down, they will be too thick and will make the fly bulky instead of tapered.

Ok! So here we go!  Decide where you want to tie them in!

First things first: Start with the pheasant tail fibers as a tail. Tied in at the rear of the hook but instead of cutting them off, move the thread over the fibers about 3/4 of the way up the shank and LEAVE it.

Now bring that thread back to the hook bend and tie in your two strands of moosemane.

Yes.. yes.. I know this isn’t a standard nymph hook, but this old Mustad was stuck into my sweater sleeve when i sat down to tie this demonstration so i figured I’d give the hook its 5 minutes of fame.😎

Tie them in by the tips.

Watch out! The strands have a tendency to slip down the bend of the hook!

Be careful! The materials will slip down the hook bend!

and.. Too much caffeine has resulted in me cutting the waste ends off of the moosemane instead of just covering them with thread like usual.

That resulted in this lovely bump you’ll see in the next photos.

I thought about re doing it. So I can tie a “Perfectly Clean” fly but decided since its something we discuss in class, to leave it there.

This way you can see that depending on the way you tie in materials, you will ultimately change your flies appearance as you continue through a pattern.

Live and learn!


I suggest when wrapping this material that you add a base layer of head cement to the hook shank to help keep it in place.

As you can see this one began to slip a little. Don’t worry, It happens.

Keep the strands together as you wrap forward

Keep wrapping.. anddd.. How awesome is that!? So simple to achieve.

A few more wraps and you’ll be all set

Remember how we didn’t cut off the pheasant tail excess? You’ll see why in a minute.

(If you are a beginner and need help tying off material, or just a refresher course on how to do it please click Here for a detailed step-by-step.)

Stop about 3/4 of the way to the hook eye
tying off.

Now here is a tip for fixing the problem that happens more often that not when you’re trying not to waste material.

When using a pheasant tail for a tail and wingcase simultaneously, you may run into a situation where there isn’t enough material to make a sufficient case.

Since in order to keep the tail fibers to a minimum you needed to use less than you’d want for a wingcase, but that’s not helping your current situation.😑

Here’s how to easily fix that:

Your current situation

(Please excuse the rabbit dubbing, I had gotten a little ahead of myself then went back to throw this tip in there.)😂

Whats the easiest way to fix this problem?

Problem solved!

loop over and tie it back in!

Tie the waste ends under where you will dub and cut off the excess. The trout will never know 😂

Now dub your thorax

There! You have a healthy sized wingcase! And a sweet bump at the base of the hook shank from cutting off your material! 😂😂

Wing case problem solved!

Now go ahead and tie that off.

Tie off

And clip excess

Be sure to add a coat of head cement or UV resin to the moosemane body to help it from getting to mangled from the trouts teeth.

“The Moosemane Olive”

Well, I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and please comment with any questions, I will do my best to help!

A great generic nymph

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