The Wingman….a fly for any occasion

Hogan Brown resides in Chico, California where he teaches High School and guides on the Yuba, Sacramento, Trinity, and Feather Rivers.  He developed the Wingman as a multifunctional fly.  Hogan is a contract tier for Idylwilde Flies with some 24 patterns to his credit.

I’ve been using this fly in along Colorado’s Front Range for the last year….it has produced great results.

“Most of the waters I guide in Northern California are hatch specific tailwaters. The most effective technique is nymph fishing.  My boat bag is full of fly boxes filled with nymph in every possible variation, size and color. This leaves limited room to carry an arsenal of dry flies to match the hatches that one may encounter. This fishing situation requires dry flies that crossover to a variety of hatches and fishing situations.

The Wing Man is one of those patterns.  My home water, the Lower Yuba River, has both caddis and mayfly hatches that come off throughout the day.  Fishing a hatch specific pattern towards evening reduces hooks up because there are multiple hatches all mixed together with different fish in the same pod all looking for something different.  I needed a pattern that could be perceived by the fish as either a mayfly or a caddis.

Depending on the technique employed and some quick customizing the Wing Man can be fished for mayfly – caddis, adults, emergers and pupae.

Mayfly – Out of the box, the Wingman has a silhouette that can fool fish taking PMDs, PEDs, March Browns or Drakes.  Customize the fly for fish that are selective by removing some of the tail fibers until only 3 remain to imitate the natural more precisely.

Adjusted tail to mimic adult mayfly

Caddis – To fish as a caddis trim the tail completely off.  Use your nippers (point used for clearing the hook eye) to pick out the dubbing around the red bead.  For added reality use your thumb to flatten the hair wing by pushing down.

Clipped off tail for imitating Caddis

Fish the fly on a dead drift and when it starts to drag let it swing.  For the best results I add weight in front of the fly (either a heavier fly or split shot).  This allows the fly to sink when it is dead drifted.
When it comes tight and starts to swing the fly starts to rise imitating the natural migration of caddis to shore that trout key on.

Converted to a nymph or pupa

Down & Dirty – If the above mentioned modifications don’t get it done then I will take it to the next level.  Clip the entire hair wing off and pick the dubbing out to the sides.  Trim excess dubbing from the top and bottom of the fly and fish it deep with an indicator.  If you leave the tail on then the fly will be imitating a clinger mayfly nymph.  With the tail cut off the fly will be taken as a caddis pupa that fish may be keying on closer to the bottom. ” Hogan Brown