Welcome to Copper Fly - Begginners guide to tying

Wet and Dry Hackles (Cock and Hen Hackle)

Hackle for tying flies

One of the most challenging aspects of tying is acquiring a good range of hackles to tie both wet and dry flies. Paying $60 - $120 for a few chicken feathers seems like a lot, and so you should know what you really need. I have a few tips here for helping you pick the right feathers to make your fly tying a bit easier. Depending on the quality of the feathers, an average cape can produce 400 - 600 flies, and a high quality cape can produce beyond that.

Hackle refers to the feathers wrapped around a fly. These are usually chicken feathers from a rooster, or hen, and come from the neck or saddle of the bird. Hackles can refer to a cape, a saddle, strung feathers, or individual feathers. Hackle that is taken from roosters is mostly used for Hackle for tying flies tying dry flies. The feather fiber from this hackle tend to be shorter and stiffer. These help the fly stay afloat because they do not absorb a lot of water. Rooster hackle can also be used to tie wet flies. Saddle feathers are denser, and work well for streamers like the wooly bugger. Hen hackles are used primarily for tying nymphs and wing tips on some dry flies. Hackle comes in natural and dyed varieties. Some of the natural and dyed varieties are grizzly, chinchilla, furnace, badger, creme, light blue dun, dark blue dun, brown and black. You can also find lots of bright colors for specialty flies.

Rooster hackle:

Hen hackle: